MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.


February 28, 2010

The Main Event: Debt vs. Cash Flow


Ladies and Gentlemen.

In this corner weighing in at a crushing amount we have DEBIT!

And in the other corner standing out urgently we have CASH FLOW!

Come out swinging!

Ok, enough with the dramatics.

There are [too] many websites and blogs that speak only of dealing with your personal debt (and by "personal debt" MasterPo means credit cards, mortgage, auto loan, etc). So this won't be yet another get-out-of-debt article.

But what is important to remember is the balance between debt and cash flow.

Many pundits and experts (often self-proclaimed) espouse that you should pay off your debt as quickly as you can; That you should pour every unspent dime into paying down your debt.

Conceptually, it's not a bad idea. Especially the very high rate debts of credit cards. Not much argument can be made there.

But you still need cash to live on.

You need to buy food, clothes, transportation, energy, medicine and so on. And you should have some kind of rainy day fund too.

Yet in the middle is reality of your cash flow. There just isn't enough money to service your debt to the max and still have a positive cash flow for daily life and savings.

MasterPo can't tell you how much to allocate to debt vs. living. There is no magic formula or equation to figure that out. But the reality of life is that just can't put every extra dollar into debt service. You may (will) end up paying more interest in the longer run but you need cash now.

One further point to add in to this topic:

Paying off your debt is not an "investment"!

Pundit/experts will tell you that paying off high interest debt gives you the best return you can.

Wrong!

While you are reducing your interest cost which will give you more money in the longer run, it is not the same as making an "investment". The reason is simple:

If you put $1 towards your debt you have reduced your debt by that dollar and cut some amount of future interest you owe (regardless of how small the amount is). But that dollar is gone for good. You can never ever get that dollar back without re-incurring more debt! And there is no return from that $1 you can spend. You do reduce your overall debt such that in the future you won't have to spend any more on the debt but that's a future time which involved time-value risk and economic uncertainty risk.

By contrast, putting $1 into an investment gives you the investment plus some return that you can spend. So when tomorrow comes you could get back your $1 and spend it (presuming a low risk or risky-free investment, but even a high risk investment realistically has little chance of going totally to zero-value in the short run at least).

How much you put towards paying your debt is up to you. Each person has a comfort zone for these things. And there is the reality of daily life and opportunity risk.

Think carefully.

As the Chairman says: Let the battle begin!

February 24, 2010

The Economy: A Report From the Front (All is NOT Well!)


It has been said (in jest) that a recession is when your best friend looses his job and a depression is when you loose yours (and a recovery is when Obama looses his, but let's not digress right now…).

As of writing this MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo have returned from exhibiting the home business at an annual 3-day show/expo. This is an event that has been undertaken for 9 consecutive years. The show is as much a sales opportunity as it is a marketing and PR venue. But there is a cost to attend (booth, inventory for sale, transportation, food, temporary extra help with the event (can't do it just two people) etc).

Some year's sales are better than others.A few years outstanding.

But 2010 was abysmal!

Didn't even cover booth rental costs.

It wasn't just MasterPo's business that was hurting. All the vendors at the event were telling the same tale of woe. And many had much large booths and inventories to cover costs for!

Additionally, there was a similar event the week before in NYC that was equally poorly attended (MasterPo did not have a booth at that event). And MasterPo already discussed not spending the money to travel for an annual fly fishing show/expo in New Jersey that apparently was very poor too.

There are other events schedule for the winter season but hopes are not very high. When people do not have discretionary money leisure time activities are the first to feel the brunt of it.

And even those with some disposable income are tight about spending it for fear of the unknown in the weeks and months (and years!) a head. Can you blame them?

For MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo 2010 will probably be the last year our business will take a position at this event. A 9 year tradition is over. There are smaller 1-day events that have lower costs and should be easier to at least cover expenses that will be explored for 2011. That's presuming the business itself can survive that long too.

MasterPo makes no illusions about the impact of 1 small home-based business on the economy. It certainly was never going a retirement plan from the start. But a few extra dollars would have been helpful. But more importantly if the business goes under for good that's one less source of revenue for the suppliers and manufactures, the [evil] banks and credit card companies, the web host, the tax preparer, sales tax to New York state, etc etc.

Economic turn around?
Recovery?
Saved from the brink?

Can't prove it by MasterPo!

February 21, 2010

Is It Time To Panic Yet? (Part 2)


In a previous article MasterPo explored the idea of being panicked about current events. And more recently it was discussed how today's events are not relatable to the Great Depression .

Yet still bad news and more bad news keeps coming.

Let MasterPo be clear (to borrow a phrase from our great leader President Obama): At any point in time – no matter how good things may be going at the moment - you can always find a gloom and doom article, someone saying the end of everything is just around the corner, or a conspiracy theory who/why/how events are being manipulated by a handful of people.

MasterPo used to enjoy watching the Louis Rukeyser show "Wall Street Week in Review". One of Lou's favorite market 'elves' was the late Martin Zweig. No matter how good the market was doing he was a perpetual bear. Every week he constantly said that all his indicators were pointing downward. Never a positive comment. Yet the market trudged onward.

And of course the now infamous Elaine Garzarelli made the call on Black Monday, yet hasn't been right since. Timing is everything apparently.

Call the end of the world often enough and sooner or later it will happen, though having insight about it can't be said. The boy who cried "Wolf!" was eventually right. Even Chicken Little will be right eventually too.

But is now that time?

Greece is in financial turmoil. Whatever bailout the EU is planning is a band aid at best. And many other EU nations like Spain and Italy aren't too far behind Greece either.

China is tightening its belt. Many pundits believe it too is in the throws a deep recession, just the totalitarian government is carefully hiding it. Pretty easy to do when the government is the only source of official data.

Russia isn't doing well either. And they trade heavily with China and the EU as well.

No need to go into the disaster that is the American Federal budget. And the U6 unemployment numbers are around 17% (Investopedia.com by way of Yahoo Finance has a good article about how the U1 thru U6 employment/unemployment numbers are computed). Not to mention President Obama just signed legislation increasing the government's debt ceiling (and the same day China released new requirements for borrowers – MasterPo does not believe in coincidence!).

There are also the unverifiable (or at least difficult to verify) articles and stories on blogs and websites about people buying gold and silver at record paces regardless of price or possible asset bubbles. And recently a responder on a certain financial blog stated that hedge fund managers in New York City, Boston and DC are buying up mid-west farms and farm land at frantic rates presumably (if true) as survival shelters when the economic collapse leads to social collapse.

Take that for what it's worth.

Then there is the constant commentary stream of darkness from sources like Beck, Limbaugh, Levine, O'Reilly et. al. Entertainers all (and good at their role, can't deny that) but factually wrong? MasterPo has looked into some of the statistics and figures these commentators have sighted and can't find any errors. The issue is the conclusions they draw from it.

Panic feeds on itself and snowballs. But truth is truth too. 1+1 still equals 2. It is part of the human condition to deny reality when that reality is horrible to our sensibilities. And no one wants to be seen as a panic stricken hot head yelling about the end of the world.

But MasterPo can say this: Economic turmoil usually happens fast! (ex: Enron collapsed in a matter of days) Extreme political change follows very quickly (ex: the fall of the USSR and the East/West German wall) and violent social upheaval that often follows also usually happen fast.

By the time the reality sets in for you it has probably already set in for all your neighbors and preparation and/or escape will be impossible as thousands, if not millions, of others will be thinking the same thing. But at the same time you can't live like a wacko hermit expecting everyday to be the last of life as you have known it to be.

MasterPo doesn't have the answers.

MasterPo is still trying to work this all out too and decided what is likely and what is just theoretical possibility (anything is possible but what is likely to happen can be totally different).

We are still living in interesting times and will be for a long long long period to come.

February 19, 2010

The Unfairness of Fairness


Fair and Fairness are two words that if MasterPo had his way would be expunged from the American dialog.

For 25 years at least we have been bombarded on nearly a daily basis about how "unfair" this or that is to some group of people. Or our so-called leaders have said they are for some system of "fairness" for all.

Don't misunderstand MasterPo. "Fair" and "Fairness" are great concepts for discussion in a college philosophy class. Just not practical concepts for the application of life.

Nature is not "fair".

No aspect of life will ever be totally "fair".

Individuals by the sheer virtue of being individuals (as opposed to carbon copy clones or something like that) will always be different and thus the out comes of their lives, and society as a whole, will always be different. To force an artificial "fairness" upon people create a false environment that spawns yet more problems.

Two people can grow up in the exact same kinds of houses next to each other in the same neighborhood, go to the same schools, play the same sports, study the same subjects, etc. And yet 30-40 years into their lives one will be a well established and highly paid executive (such a evil thing in today's society!) at a Fortune-whatever company while the other is the overnight supervisor at the local Wendy's.

Fair?

Philosophically, no. But practically, absolutely YES!

The true "unfairness" comes from trying to impose the false mirage of "fairness" upon people of different talents, different abilities, different work ethics, etc.

"Fairness" is better refereed to "Sameness of Result" which just isn't true. There never is the same result for any two (or more) people. The world, indeed the universe itself, is not fair even balance between anything.

To force such a sameness of result balance harms society in far more ways than it helps. It degrades the achievements of those who have worked hard to get where they are, it de-motives others from trying hard, and it rewards the lazy.

More over, it is not the function of a government to enforce the sameness of result upon all persons regardless of abilities or efforts or achievements. And the simple reality is that not everyone can be anything they want. Someone somewhere will always have and advantage that someone else doesn't.

We may be more evolved than the jungle but the rules of nature still apply.

February 16, 2010

What Motivates YOU?


If you work, or even if you're still in school learning or training for a profession, what is your motivation?

In other words, why are you working that job or preparing for that work?

Certainly having a knack for work is a good reason. Having a keen interest in the work or believing in the value of the work is always helpful. And actually enjoying what you do, believing you get a sense of achievement from the work is a good thing as well (there is nothing worse then slugging through the day of a job that is uninteresting and you never seem to get anything accomplished or finished).

But, what about the money?

MasterPo knows.

How awful MasterPo is for thinking about money.
How greedy MasterPo is for actually wanting to get paid well for his work.
How wrong it is to expect all the compensation MasterPo can get.

Get real!

While all the reasons prior are good and helpful for doing your work, anyone who tells you that the money earned isn't important to them is either a liar or a na├»ve fool – or both!

Yet in the current political climate it is practically a Cardinal Sin to seek out fortune. And if you do find your fortune through hard work and concentrated effort (or just luck, what is wrong with that?) then you are to be punished via taxation.

How did we get here?

The answer is simple: Whiney lazy people!!

Hard work and effort is just that: hard!

And no matter how hard you work there is no guarantee of a successful ending, though if you don't work hard there is the certainty you won't have a successful ending.

But why work hard when you can whine and the government will just give you want?

Housing
Food
Medical
Education
Retirement
Etc

So why bother?

And there in is the problem.

Why bother?

Why bother spending years in school and/or training (and the cost), then years and years hard working from the bottom up to maybe (because again there is no guarantee) you will be very successful and rich (how evil!) someday?

No society has ever grown and prospered (much less survived for very long!) without people making the effort to strive to be more.

To be sure, not everyone is like this. There still are hard workers.

But there is a break-even level. A point of critical mass. A minimum number below which if there aren't enough hard working people then the few there are can't support the rest. And the economy – and society – collapses.

Chew on that in between beers and Xbox.

February 14, 2010

It is Not 1929 All Over Again! (Unfortunately)


Politicians and pundits love to characterize the current economic plight as being a cat's whisker away from being the same as the Great Depression. While that may look good in the headlines, and certainly some of the "symptoms" of now look the same as back in 1929 (e.g. unemployment, bank failures, etc) looks can be deceiving and in this case MasterPo believes they are.

On a recent Glenn Beck show, Beck listed 3 points as to why he believes today and 1929 are not at all similar:

1) National debt as a percentage of GDP – According to Beck, in the Great Depression the national debt represented about 15% of the GDP. That means it would take 15% of the GDP during the Great Depression to pay off the U.S. debt. By comparison, today the national debt is about 90% of GDP (and projected to grow to 95%+ in 5 years!!). That means basically everything the American economy produces would need to go to just paying the debt.

In terms of our personal lives, imagine if 90-95 cents out of every dollar you earned went to paying your mortgage or car loan or credit cards – How much do you think you have left for food? Energy? Clothing? Transportation? Etc.

2) Unfunded programs and commitments – National government programs like Social Security and Medicare did not exist in 1929. They do today. And there is no money to pay for them! There is no "social security trust fund", no pot of money or secured vault loaded with cash to pay for it. Same with Medicare. All that is paid for (barely!) on the presumption of income tax revenues (a dollar in, a dollar out). Problem is a dollar in needs to no pay $4 or $5 out! Paper doesn't stretch that far.

3) High personal debt and the lifestyle of debt – Back in 1929 credit cards didn't exist. People paid with cash for what they wanted to buy. No cash? No purchase. Simple as that. Same with most homes (very small mortgages, mostly paid with cash, certainly no 120% loans!). And people where able to make more of their own subsistence. People grew more of their own food, even in the cities. People made their own clothes (especially for children). People did much more their own furniture manufacturing (at least basic tables and chairs etc.) Unlike today where people just buy on credit whatever they feel like and push off paying for it – maybe never!

To this list MasterPo would add two other points:

4) Crushing compounded taxation! – In 1929 the income tax as we know it today didn't exist. Neither did sales tax or use tax or energy tax or a hundred other taxes, fees, licenses/registrations, and other government charges that everyone pays with every step you make during the day! By them selves it's little. But it all adds up. A single snow flake is barely noticeable. But put them all together and you have a deadly blizzard. Same with taxes.

People and businesses of the Great Depression were not weighted down already by taxes at every twist and turn of their lives! People did have to make very hard choices of spending what money they had. But it was because of a lack of income and not because their income was being taxed away with everything they did in life!

5) Vilification of people and business – In the last 2-3 years, and in the last 12 months especially, the worst thing a person can be in America today is "rich" (defined however you want). Even felons (save for perhaps Madoff) get more respect than a millionaire or a CEO. And if a business is actually doing well these days it must be trickery and theft from the poor masses! Can't be good business practice.

MasterPo is reasonably good student of history and does not recall the President or Congress or anyone (of any particular note) publicly vilifying the "rich" and business during the Great Depression. And certainly no one in 1929 was talking about raising taxes on the "rich" and business as the solution to the problem! But that's what our [so-called] leaders are saying today.

History does repeat itself.
Sometimes that takes a lot of time for the cycle to come around.
Often it can't be avoided no matter how much we want to try.

The issue is: Have we learned from the last cycle what to do in this cycle?

Seems like we haven't. Or are just totally ignoring it.

May you live in interesting times.

February 10, 2010

Obama Can Learn From South Park


MasterPo normally does not like to use pop culture as an example. But often many a truth is said in jest.

In a classic episode of the show South Park the town is besieged with 60's style hippies. They quickly start a new Woodstock style event with load acidy music, drinking, and much pot smoking.

The main South Park kid's characters (Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Eric) get drawn into this event by the self-proclaimed reasons for the events: To resist the tyranny of conformity, to make their voices heard as individuals, to rise up against the evil rich corporations that destroy everything, and to make them (the evil rich corporations) respect the people and change the way they do business for peace and prosperity to all. You know, the typical hippie slogans.

This sounds good to the kids so they join in (minus the drinking and pot smoking of course). But after a few days in the crowd at this event Kyle starts asking some basic questions:

Why are we here?
What has been accomplished so far?
When are we going to start making ourselves heard by the evil rich corporations?
When are we going to start making them change?
When will this change start?

With each question the hippies around him just resort to the same old lines about making themselves heard, not being part of the evil war machine and rat race, making the evil rich corporations take them seriously, etc etc – then take another drag of pot.

Eventually the kids realize it's all for naught, no real change comes from just standing around and listening to music, and they leave the party.

President Obama could take a lesson from this episode.

He can take all the credit he wants about creating or saving (prove it!) jobs, all about tax cuts for the middle class, making this or that easier for people etc etc. But people have to see the results themselves.

When a person drives down the road and sees empty store front after empty store front that's reality.

When a person hears about more friends laid off work, or gets laid off themselves, that's reality.

When a person spends $50-$60 for 4 or 5 bags of basic groceries that's reality.

When a person has to decided on new shoes or paying the electric bill this month that's reality.

The President can speak all the glowing promises he wants. Part of the job of a leader is to keep up beat in bad times. But sooner or later that leader must deliver for the masses or be rejected by them.

As Eric Kartman says "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

February 7, 2010

Shopping for Health Care Just Won't Work!


MasterPo is definitely a free-marketer. The market place sets the price and availability of products and services based on the laws of supply and demand that have been proven time and time again. MasterPo doesn't want to tamper with what works much less for the government to tamper with it.

After all, when was the last time government controls on supply and pricing ever worked for the betterment on people?

However, when it comes to medicine and medical services, "shopping around" in the market place for services isn't practical.

In a recent article posted Yahoo Finance one of the regular writers lists his ideas for controlling healthcare costs. Not unusual. Rather pie-in-the-sky in MasterPo's opinion but nothing new. However, one of the comments that was left by a reader expresses the idea that hospitals and doctors should somehow/somewhere post a price list of their services so people and shop around for the best prices.

For just about anything else MasterPo is in 100% agreement with this idea.

But it just isn't realistic for medical services.

In spite of how much we have been bombarded in the last 10-15 years or so with the so called "crisis" in healthcare, in spite of the personal drama stories about this or that person having difficulty getting treatment for some affliction, the vast majority of Americans are mostly healthy most of the time. Even the senior citizens. And the vast majority of medical services are for serious conditions or conditions that if not treated immediately can quickly grow serious. Very few medical tests or procedures (relative to the over all medical field) are voluntary or "elective". So when we do need medical attention it's for an urgent situation.

When someone does get so sick or so injured they need prompt medical attention, that simply is not the time to start going online or calling around doctors and hospitals and clinics asking for their prices to treat you. It's not practical. (and even more so for an emergency condition!)

For example, imagine you're using some tool, it slips and you get a gash in your arm. Let's presume the bleeding isn't too bad (not an immediate life or death emergency), but it is a large gash and runs deep.

Are you going to open the phone book and start calling doctors for prices to fix it?
How would you even describe your injury properly enough for an accurate quote?
Are you really expecting a doctor to diagnose and recommend treatment over the phone? (imagine the liability of that!)
Do you really want or need a price breakdown of everything from gauze and anesthetic to surgical thread and biohazard disposal?
Would you even know what these things are and if they are legit for your need?
And what if the best priced doctor is on the other side of town while the closest doctor is the most expensive?
You going to travel all that way with an injury to get the best price?

Let's say you do shop around and find a low priced doctor to fix your arm. You get there and he wants to do an x-ray or MRI to check tendon damage too. Are you going to accuse him of padding his bill or of having given you a false or misleading quote?

What if he wants to give you a Tetanus shot or an antibiotic? Are you going to say "Hey wait, you didn't say anything about that! How much more will that cost me?!"

The list can go on and on but you see the point.

Shopping around for competing prices is a great idea for just about everything else in life. But medicine and medical services simply can not be held to the same rigidly defined and finite terms of product buy/sell as ordering a pizza or getting a new set of tires. There are just too many variables and unknowns to give that kind of quotation for services.

If medicine, medical diagnosis and treatment was that simple we'd all do it.

February 4, 2010

"The Rich" – The New American Punching Bag?


Seems there days you can't open a magazine or newspaper, turn on most TV news (Fox News being a notable exception) or read most news and commentary websites without yet some other national problem being blamed on "the rich".

Healthcare? "The Rich" aren't paying enough!
Social Security? "The Rich" aren't paying enough!
Schools? "The Rich" aren't paying enough!
Housing? "The Rich" aren't paying enough!
Banks and insurance? "The Rich" aren't paying enough!
etc
etc
etc

There are many articles and sites dedicated to maligning "the rich" and MasterPo is not one of them!

But how – and more interestingly, when – did we get to this point?

"The rich" are an easy target. Hard to garner sympathy for someone who makes perhaps 10 times or more than you do and yet says they can't afford to pay more taxes. Doesn't help either when the news constantly report sensational stories of celebrity divorce settlements where a spouse only married for a year or two (and that originally came from very modest means) receives millions in settlement and then claims how unfair it is.

When MasterPo was little MasterPo was inspired to be "rich". As just a kid MasterPo wasn't clear how exactly MasterPo was going to get there. MasterPo did know it had to do with working for it. But MasterPo always wanted to be "rich".

More importantly, MasterPo (and MasterPo’s parents) did not see "the rich" as the enemy. "The rich" were not seen as evil or immoral and certainly not as the brunt of the cause of all that is wrong in America.

Even when MasterPo grew up more, went to school and then ultimately college MasterPo still didn't view "the rich" as evil. MasterPo certainly had good reason if so wanted to view them that way. MasterPo’s mother literally worked nights and weekends to help pay for college. MastePo received next to nothing in financial aid in spite of MasterPo’s mother being a widow and MasterPo himself maintaining an "A" average. Meanwhile, there were kids who drove to school from Dix Hills and Commack (those were very ritzy areas of Long Island back in MasterPo's college days; Still are to a great extent) in daddy's Corvette or Porsche that MastePo knows for a fact were getting lots of grants and other non-repayable financial aid! (the school's comment about it was "There will always be those who slip through the cracks"). Obviously these families had better accountants and planners than we had to help them hide their wealth on paper (because they certainly weren't hiding it in life!). Yet even still MasterPo didn't hate them for being "rich". MasterPo hated the overt blindness of the school to what was going on but not to the "rich" people.

In school itself MasterPo had many friends who were studying business, accounting, finance, marketing, advanced computers and engineering programs, even pre-law and pre-med, etc. None of these are careers that are slouchy payers. So they didn't seem to hate "the rich" and in fact inspired to be one too.

And those who are most loud in attacking "the rich" as not doing enough are themselves among some of the wealthiest people in the country. Does anyone consider Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Harry Reid, Bill and Hilary Clinton or President Obama to be run-of-the-mill middle class? Can anyone tell MasterPo with a straight face at any time in the last 20 years these people had to make the choice of paying for food or a utility bill? Let's be real!

You simply can not have a growing, healthy, prosperous economy by taking money from those who have earned it!

Who in their right mind would work so hard to achieve higher levels of success without the potential for the great financial gains?

Don't give MasterPo the crap about loving your work or just wanting to help people! Anyone who says they work long and hard but don't care about money must be independently wealthy already. If not they are either a fool or a liar – or both!

With high income and wealth comes high achievement. You simply can not separate the two. The very essence of human nature is work for a goal. The harder the work, the greater the goal that includes the realistic chance of achieving it (but not a guarantee necessarily) and then keeping it once achieved.

Life is not a board game where at the end of it you put the piece back in for the next time.

Attacking "the rich" is the cause of problems, not the solution.

Destroy the very real goal of achieving and keeping wealth and you handicap innovation and incentive.

Next time you're out of work ask a poor person for a job. Then come back here. MasterPo would love to know how that goes!

February 2, 2010

1987 Wake Up Call


On financial/life styles blog that MasterPo frequents the author recently posted an article stating how he and his wife were truly devastated by the market downturn of recent times. Although he states they have long since paid off their mortgage and other debts they still were badly hurt financially by the market drop.

Stating the obvious. So were millions of other Americans. Nothing special with that blogger's revelation.

What made MasterPo raise an eyebrow was this blogger's comments about the market dropt back in October of 1987 ("Black Monday", also sometimes called a "Black Swan Event", on October 19, 1987). The blogger stated that back in '87 once again he took a very deep hit (so did we all). The blogger stated that he was heavily in debt (mortgage, car loans, etc) at the time, basically breaking even in terms of cash flow and counting heavily on investment returns to support his lifestyle. He also claims to have been devastated emotionally and psychologically, having been tossed from his Ivory Tower of expectations of life and work. A fair reaction to an extreme event.

However, the blogger says today he's in his 60's. So in 1987 he would have been in his late 30's to early 40's. MasterPo is very surprised that someone who has since claimed to be insightful and savvy can be so caught off guard by an event like Black Monday and also be so devastated (in every sense) by the event. But hind sight is always 20-20. Sometimes no matter how old we are it takes a major Earth shaking event to provide the epiphany that shocks us into action.

But apparently, in spite of having his entire world rocked by Black Monday, it wasn't all that epiphonic (coining a new word) for this blogger because he was once again caught off guard by the 2008/2009 market drops. And, once again he has been very badly hurt financially due to his expectations of market results to finance his family's life style.

To reiterate, the blogger isn't alone in this. So MasterPo isn't singling him and his family out for any more criticism than anyone else.

Nevertheless, it begs the question: Why wasn't this blogger more prepared for now given his prior devastation in 1987?

To put it another way, why wasn't 1987 a wake up call for him to change his life style so as not to be so heavily market-results dependent to live as he wants?

As long time readers of The Po File well know, MasterPo has no issue with people earning big money through investments and living well from it (no "evil rich" on this blog!). But this blogger's lament about the current market drops rang as a touch of whining more than a commentary.

Someone who's life and life style (and apparently a good part of his ego and feeling of self worth) is so inexorably tied to market results should have taken their misfortunes of 1987 to change their live to either not be so market results dependent or to have some kind of hedging strategy for the "what if" event because the Black Swan does come around again in life.

MasterPo has sympathy for this blogger and all the others who have lost much in this market environment. MasterPo's portfolio too has been hit. But sympathy has to be tempered with the reality of asking what a person has been done to cushion the blow if and when another significant market drop occurs. In this blogger's case, apparently not much.

Hurt me once, shame on you.
Hurt me twice, shame on me.