Discount broker blues
by Dan Weinberg
"Do-it-yourself investing is easy!" —a discount broker ad
"There's a sucker born every minute."—P.T. Barnum
"I really thought I knew what I was doing!"—Anonymous
All your life you've scoffed at people who read Barron's or the Wall Street Journal . They're just
money-grubbing capitalists who are already rich and enjoy checking out the ups and downs of their pet
corporations to see if they can get even richer. Not like the ordinary working man, someone like you, who
has to work hard for his take-home pay. It's just a simple case of the "haves" and the "have-nots" and the
"have-nots" just don't have time to keep their noses buried in the stock pages.
Then, one day, while waiting in the dentist's office or at the gate where your wife's plane was to have
arrived an hour ago, you happen upon a copy of your local newspaper's business section. Having nothing
better to do, you glance at the stock quotations and notice that the stock of a company you've recently
heard about went up three points just yesterday.
While you don't know much about the stock market, you certainly could have predicted that company's
rise, because the other night Dan Rather announced on the evening news that this particular company
won a big, fat government contract for something or other. So the stock went up three points. Big deal!
Even a know-nothing like you could have predicted that one.