“Your problem with money,” explained the advisor on the phone, “is that you aren’t doing the things that make it grow into more money.”
I granted this. “But I do make the effort. I give my money plenty of food, fresh water, let it winter over in the greenbackhouse … ”
“The problem is your investments. Have you figured out any that give you a better return than Mallo Cup redemption points? If I know you, probably not, because you keep losing the Mallo Cup cards after licking the mallow off them.”
This did sound like someone who knew me. “What should I be investing in, then?”
“You need to buy into sure-fire investment classes. The first one you should look at is United States small-cap stocks.”
“Well, naturally,” I said, “but why not explain what those are just in case someone happens to be eavesdropping?” I hoped he wouldn’t stoop to explaining what “United States” are. I was pretty sure about those.
“Small cap stocks are those in companies you can consider to be fast-growing because their names are written all in lower-case scripts. This shows they’re working hard to expand their market share, because otherwise all those shift keys at their computers are going to go to waste and it’d be foolish to just write those off.”
That sounded sensible as these things go, so I guessed I heard it wrong. “Well, what’s another kind of sure investment?”
“Ah, now, another sure-fire is US large-cap stocks.”
“These are the ones that put their names in all capital letters?”
“Are you sure you’ve never taken a course in practical economics?”
I confessed as how I hadn’t. “But I did spend a couple weeks in home economics once trying to sew a pillow that looked like an Amiga 1000.”
The person on the phone ignored this, for the best. “Now, large-cap stocks are poised for faster-than-average growth because they give the impression of being shouted all the time, suggesting confidence. Some of them have even managed breakthroughs in business harmonics. Now, if you’re satisfied with your buying in them you’ll want to look into mid-cap stocks.”
“Those are the ones where the letters are kind of hunched over?”
“Those are the ones that capitalize in the middle of words.”
“And you see faster-than-average growth out of them?”
“Especially the ones with long names. Each letter’s a potential growth point.” This got me wondering about company names with numbers. A number could keep growing forever, but, who puts numbers in the company name? 20th Century Fox, sure, and of course Wheat 2500. “You’re forgetting Tape 4.2,” the voice said, which I bet voices get tired of being asked.
“Wouldn’t that only increase in, like, tenths? Is that above-average?”
“Potentially, which is why you might want to look at international large-cap stocks instead.”
“They get to sing confidently in all kinds of lands?”
“Yes, but the important thing is that by being international they get reported in the A section of the newspaper, instead of with all the business news in the C section.”
“What makes that better?”
“Being in the A section means their news is slightly noticed by people flipping over to the editorial letters, which leave them feeling angry and superior. In the C section they’re noticed only as people flip over to read the comics and the medical advice column, so they associate normal business news with unhappy wives and obscure toenail deficiency syndromes.”
I associate the C section with the bridge column, so I had to disagree with that assessment, which didn’t help.
“That suggests you’re looking for the faster-than-average growth of international mid-caps.”
“What are international small-caps doing these days?”
“Oh, they’re … growing.”
“Compared to average?”
The voice considered this and drew out a fine silence before admitting, “Above.”
“Is there anything going a little slower than average?”
This provoked another little pause. “There’s municipal … italics.”
“Just the municipal italics?”
“Also on the county level.”
I did this mouth-clicking thing that isn’t nearly as clever as I think it is. “Where do you keep your money?”
“And how’re they growing?”
“They’re potentially boundless.”
So that’s how I came to buy two and a quarter of seven and three-eighths, with an option on four and three-sixteenths of negative 355 117ths.
2 thoughts on “Investment Advice As I Got It”
I feel like I may have actually had a very similar conversation before.
I find it strangely comforting when conversations turn around on themselves like this. It’s reassuring, kind of a guarantee that even though I don’t know what’s going on I haven’t missed it.