Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Don’t Know

because of my job in the wide world of finance, people sometimes assume that i have insight into where the market is going. they think that i might know what makes for a good investment, one that will surely make their riches grow overnight. they think that financial knowledge is transferred through osmosis, maybe by sitting on the same toilet seat as an investment analyst, and that even the janitor who works the night shift probably has some good stock tips. to that i usually reply, “are you fucking stupid?”

if i had those answers, i certainly wouldn’t still be working. i’d be retired, lounging with my off-shore accounts in tahiti while a cabana boy with soccer thighs peeled me grapes and fanned my pasty skin. if i had those answers, i wouldn’t be sitting in a cube farm, pretending to work between youtube videos while counting down the minutes until the clock hits 5pm.

so please stop bothering me with your money questions because i don’t know of any secret investments that will make you a millionaire. and please stop asking me what i do with my own money because i barely have any — i just bought a house, remember? plus, i wouldn’t want to give you any bad financial advice and then feel responsible for your life savings going down the drain. so quit asking me, mom and dad!!

but seriously, i don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than the next person despite my job in finance. but because of my job in finance, i do know that all investments carry a certain degree of risk. i know this because my new role in my company’s compliance department centers on ensuring that the fine print no one but me reads on financial documents says what it needs to say. and if you ever bother to read it, you’d be shocked to find out that it reads, “All investments carry a certain degree of risk. You may lose money.”

ok, so you may lose money. you probably have lost money. i know i have, but since i’m not planning to retire anytime soon, those losses seem more imaginary than real. sadly, i have also lost money on some shorter-term investments i had, losses that very much feel real, but staring at risk language all day helped cushion that blow.

still, i’m not worried. i’m not particularly euphoric either, but i’ve promised myself that i won’t worry until i have a reason to. and as long as i still have a job, i don’t have a reason to worry. of course, i’d be silly to say that my job is totally secure in this climate — or any climate really. but i’ll take comfort in my boss’ assurance that my new spot in the compliance department means i’m a regulator now, and regulators are the new black. people actually want us around to piss on their parade.

as for the lost money, i’m going to rely on that old cliche that if you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. no, that sucks. maybe evaporated earnings are like spilled milk - not worth crying over. that’s a bit better. better still is that all investments carry a certain degree of risk, so you may lose money. and i did.

No comments: