What I Learned When My Portfolio Burst into Flames... Twice
There are some things that we have to learn the hard way. Most important, money is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Money invested in stocks is never “real” and it is never really ours; neither is money in bonds or cash or commodities or real estate or anything else.
Money is not a measure of intelligence or significance, but when I first became a rich guy, I stupidly thought that it was. (I was not the first or last rich guy to think so, either.)
There is no substantive difference between poor guys and rich guys, and I know, having been a poor guy, a rich guy, a poor guy, a rich guy, a poor guy, and (now) a retired guy.
There is a superficial difference between poor guys and rich guys, due to effort or luck; more effort than most poor guys admit and more luck than most rich guys admit.
The first time my portfolio burst into flames, I cried, thinking that it made a difference. The second time my portfolio burst into flames, I laughed, knowing that it did not.
Using our own steam, we can probably reconquer almost any peak that we once summited, and we can probably pull ourselves out of almost any hole that we once excavated.
But, the way out is often the same as the way in, so if we blasted in, with a broken bottle and a busted barstool, we likely cannot stroll out, with a polite wave and a sheepish grin.