1929 again?

I'm no whiz at picking stocks, nor do I aspire to become one. But since I'm self-employed and solely responsible for financing my kids' college education and funding my own retirement plan, I've taken more than a cursory glance into that abyss once known as the greatest bull market of all time. And I've noted the increasing alarm with which some financial pundits foresee today's stock market repeating the collapse of 1929.

Are they right? Even the best market whizzes don't know for sure. Increasingly, though, I've come to feel the question itself isn't the one I need to answer, and isn't even the one I need to ask. Not the direction of the stock market, but the direction of my thinking, that's what has become key for me. What's impelling my financial decisions? That's the question. And maybe the answer will help me see that whatever the market does or doesn't do can't make or break me in any way. And here's why.

Common market wisdom says up and down are the only directions in which the market moves. and that fear and greed are the forces that move it. But I don't want either of those "forces" impelling my investment decisions.

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My brother—what a treasure!
July 15, 2002

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