Why upgrading your Harley’s tranny is same as fixing your portfolio.

An old friend of mine asked me a good question:

Hey Mal appreciate your opinion on OPTI TSX.  Have some money invested. Not too much.  What is your opinion take the loss and cash out. Or ride it out hoping they’ll somehow miraculously come back.  Sincerely Zen.

Let me give an example.  The transmission I installed (Screamin’ Eagle) on my 2005 Springer Softail Classic seemed to leak oil every 1000 kms or so.  I’d spend a ton of money replacing a seal (it would wear out) repeatedly, so finally I decided to replace it with a new
Baker transmission. 

Even though I had some issues (mechanical) having it done, I figured what the #$%$ – I can’t have a relaxing ride knowing the thing will again be a problem.

Why is it so easy to replace something like a transmission (if costly), and so hard to sell a stock that has been a disappointment?  It has something to do with human nature.  As bizarre as it seems, people become emotionally involved with their portfolio and its contents.  Since the stock is priced every minute of every day, what you actually paid for it doesn’t matter anymore.  Nevertheless, investors just hang on hoping as Zen (above) hinted waiting for a miraculous comeback.  In my mind, what they’re really waiting for is an apology.  The stock has insulted them by misbehaving, and humans are spiteful.  When it comes to their money, people are funny!  Hope isn’t what is delaying action, but rather it’s spite.  “I’m not stupid, and this stock makes me feel stupid…I won’t sell it until I get retribution.”

My advice to Zen was simple.  If it bothers you, get rid of it and find another stock out of the thousands out there.  The stock doesn’t know you own it, and doesn’t care.  Why should you?

About Mal Spooner

Malvin Spooner is a veteran money manager, former CEO of award-winning investment fund management boutique he founded. He recently authored A Maverick Investor's Guidebook which blends his experience touring across the heartland in the United States with valuable investing tips and stories. He has been quoted and published for many years in business journals, newspapers and has been featured on many television programs over his career. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, and known across Canada as a part-time musician performing rock ‘n’ roll for charity, Mal is known for his candour and non-traditional (‘maverick’) thinking when discussing financial markets. His previous book published by Insomniac Press — Resources Rock: How to Invest in the Next Global Boom in Natural Resources which he authored with Pamela Clark — predicted the resources boom back in early 2004.
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One Response to Why upgrading your Harley’s tranny is same as fixing your portfolio.

  1. Tom Burke says:

    Mal,
    Love the format. But I do not get the Libya connection with Canada. Are you trying to tell me that we could have one consolidated monolithic financial institution and a foreign stock exchange running our beautiful, entrepreneurial capital markets;
    and that financial institution would be run by some megalomaniac? Ok, now I follow.

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