One final comment on Enron.
I am not an apologist for management. I am a realist for investing. And I'll admit, I'm kind of a simpleton on such matters.
But, the way I see it, if I can't simply explain in a sentence what the company I'm investing in does, then I'm not investing in that company.
Think about that. Can you say in just a few words what your company does?
Dell makes direct-order computer stuff.
Saks sells high-end retail stuff.
Costco sells low-end retail stuff.
Sometimes they sell a lot of stuff. Sometimes they don't. It's clear when they do. For the most part, it's clear when they don't.
Enron was a tough one. Energy contracts and natural gas swaps and other such stuff is more than my feeble mind could master.
Any company, even those in businesses you can understand, can cook the books. And no investor should be held accountable for malfeasance. But all investors should be held accountable for what they own and why they own it.
There are plenty of scapegoats in this Enron mess. Management that might have misstated figures. Accounting firms that might have helped them do it. Scores of big brokerage firms that might have been duped by it. And some Enron workers themselves who, regrettably, chose to invest in only it.
But since we don't much raise these issues when our stocks go up, we shouldn't wait to raise them until they go down.
What do you think? Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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