Investing / Personal Finance
Caveat: I am not an investment advisor and have no certifications or formal financial education
I was in grad school from 1998 until 2000. The Army had sent me to get a master’s degree prior to teaching at West Point. Grad school wasn’t easy but it was way easier than being an officer in a regular unit. As a result, I had more time to explore other things besides work and family.
I’d been investing since 1990, mostly in mutual funds. About 1996, I started doing some individual stock picking. My emphasis was on blue chips. I was a long-term investor and thought I could do okay with a buy-and-hold strategy. This has proven true over the past 25+ years. There’s been some misses, but I’ve done well overall.
The internet was still pretty new and shiny. The NASDAQ, where all the internet stocks were listed, just kept going up and up. Everything I’d read, everything I’d studied, talked about profits, earnings, value. None of that seemed relevant to what was happening with internet stocks.
I watched and watched, gloating that I was going to look so smart when the bubble burst. I was going to look smart because I knew better. I was smarter. But it kept going up. And up. And up.
It went on so long I started to believe all those idiots talking about how it was different this time. The world had changed. Profits didn’t matter. I was an avid consumer of CNBC and Lou Dobbs’ Moneyline on CNN. This was before Lou went to the wacko side of the news world. He seemed rational, neutral, even thoughtful. And then there’s now.
Finally, I broke. I bought a couple of internet stocks. In February 2000.
Yep, that’s right. I was the last sucker in. The NASDAQ peaked in March and then declined until it bottomed out in October 2002, down a total of 78%.
I didn’t wait that long to sell my shares. I went ahead and took my losses in 2000 and then went back to buying McDonalds, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble.
So now we have cryptocurrencies. I came across this yesterday from Bloomberg:
Wall Street pros are cleaning up in…