One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise

Hauteur (haw-TYURE) – This is a word that you should almost never use because it almost always sounds pompous. It means “disdainful arrogance” or, less often, “overbearing pride.” You will come across it a lot in magazines like Vanity Fairand in art books.

So don’t use it… but be sure you recognize it when you see it.


If you want a model of productivity, James Patterson is a great candidate… 

He writes novels as frequently as I try to retire – like twice a year. His secret? He doesn’t work alone. He teams up with other less famous and less successful but very capable writers. He gives them the outline. He edits for pace and tension. The emended manuscript goes to his publisher. And then he moves on. He’s not Cormac McCarthy, but he does good work and his books are almost always bestsellers. Plus his co-writers – really apprentices – get to learn some of his secrets while they get their names out there. It’s a win-win proposition. Actually, win-win-win, if you count his readers. There are other creative people who do/have done this. Andy Warhol and Michelangelo come to mind. The challenge is to keep the quality consistent.


 Principles of Wealth: #13 of 61

We buy financial products and services because we believe they will make us richer. But we should never forget that the purchase itself is almost always a cost that makes us, for the moment at least, poorer.

You buy the new $45,000 Audi you’ve been dreaming of. It makes you feel like rich. But the moment you drive it out of the dealership its value – and your net worth –go down by about $6,000.

“One day this watercolor will fetch a hundred grand at Sotheby’s,” the art dealer tells you. You want to believe him. But his profit on the $80,0000 artwork is $20,000, which means you are now, for the moment, at least $20,000 poorer.

It’s no different with stocks. You have read about the company in your favorite financial newsletter. Your broker agrees it’s going to double or triple if this or that happens, as it surely will. So you buy it and can almost see all those dollars in profit appearing on your account statement. But at that moment, at the moment when you buy it, you are poorer by the fees and commissions your broker is taking.

This is not to say that fees and commissions are bad. They are simply part of the cost of buying.  All financial products and services, however advertised, have a cost of buying.

When you buy a “no load” index fund you pay a very small cost of buying – usually about one half of one percent. But when you buy a penny stock or whole life policy your cost of buying could be 30% to 50%.

The prudent wealth builder knows the true cost of his buying and understands that in nine cases out of ten that cost will make him, for the moment at least, that much poorer.

Words of Wisdom From Dave Barry

* Never lick a steak knife.

* You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she is pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

* A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.

* No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

 (Source: DaveBarry Turns 50, by Dave Barry)

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