In the three or so weeks since my cover story on the financial crisis appeared in the Atlantic (subscribe now, and you're guaranteed a place in heaven when you die, and also possibly a tote bag), I've received more than two hundred solicitations from financial advisers and brokers looking for my business. I'm touched, but I'm now in a steady relationship with a new guy who's going to manage my vast wealth. More on that later.
I've also received a fair amount of anti-Semitic mail (big surprise there). One letter links me to Madoff and Pollard and Menachem Begin. Go figure. Then there are letters like this one, which fall into a gray category. Read it carefully, and you'll see why:
I enjoyed your article so much that I sent it to a dozen or more friends and family.
My investing experience is similar to yours except that it is longer (I retired at age 71, 3 years ago) and it probably involved more money due to my long career. But the losses, observed unhelpfully by my advisors and custodians, sound similar.
I decided to fire Fidelity Professional Advisory Group and put much of our savings into investment grade bonds maturing in 1-5 years. I entrusted $200K into the care of a professional bond manager with a Jewish name, low fees, and good reputation. Besides all that, she buys flour in 50-lb bags for baking at home. My kind of business person.
In 5 months her small firm has grown my account to $210K, while avoiding junk and without putting more than 5% into any one issue. I doubt that they can duplicate that indefinitely because there were some rather unusual opportunities in the midst of the recent debacle, but even if the performance drops in half from 1% gain per month to 0.5%, I will be happy. And I'll sleep well at night.
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