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Excuses I've Told Myself and Others


No one wants to lose face when their investments take a loss. Here are some euphemisms Jeff Brown, MD, has heard people use to hide or explain away financial failings.

We manage our financial affairs hoping to make a reasonable gain over time and even to look sensible doing it. Unfortunately, it is inevitable, over that time, that everyone, even the Warren Buffets of the world, will take some losses. However, it adds insult to injury when we take a loss AND lose face at the same time.

We are all great rationalizers, fortunately, and words rarely fail us.

Financial pros are not immune, either, from losses, foolishness or handy expressions to blithely explain away their pain and embarrassment. So I have taken the liberty of compiling some of these expressions and their true meanings from a variety of sources. I'll bet that everyone reading this column has either heard, thought or likely even said some of these euphemisms for our financial peccadilloes.

Financial euphemisms

"I'm a conservative investor." — I have a) no real idea of how to invest or b) I took a flyer on some tip from my brother-in-law and lost my shirt or c) I have only half my portfolio in high-tech stocks.

"I am satisfied just to match the market’s return." — But only when stocks are going up.

"I am well diversified.” — I own three stocks.

"Thanks to the internet, you can do great research yourself.” — Sure, and internet bulletin boards are where Warren Buffet gets his info too.

"I saw this financial guy on TV who really likes this company and touted its stock." — That's why it was up $5 when I bought it and the talking head had already sold out his position.

“I don't pay any attention to the market's daily fluctuations." — I stopped looking after my stock(s) got hammered.

"I own last year's top-performing fund." — The problem is that I bought it this year.

"The fund that I bought has a great record." — I'm great at predicting past performance.

"My broker sold me a real loser." — After I begged her to get me some shares of the IPO.

"I picked this great stock." — After my broker recommended it.

"My broker has done a great job for me." — She tells me that every year and I do seem to have more money … I think.

I love this group

“The market's undervalued." — All my holdings caved.

"The market's overvalued." — I got nervous, sold everything and the market has been rallying ever since.

"The market's back up, so it's safe to get back in." — I missed the rally.

"The market always goes higher; I'm not worried." — If I ever get out of this hole, I am going back to CDs.

"I have a high risk tolerance." — I only sell after I take a very big loss.

"I'm a long-term investor." — But I am often forced to sell overnight.

"My portfolio is pretty eclectic." — I have no idea what I am doing.

"I am a diligent saver." — Hey, I usually forget to take out my dividends.

"I'm a tax-aware investor." — I had horrible losses last year.

"I've made a ton in the market." — Unfortunately, I started with two tons.

You get the idea. Just check off your favorite box for future reference. But lastly:

" Last year I bought a stock that tripled." — Don't ask what the rest of my stocks did…

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