Be careful whom you idolize: I guarantee you'll be disappointed.
When I was in school, there was this kid in my class who was amazing. He always got As and aced every conceivable test you could think of. He seemed destined for greatness. Until we found out he had a drug problem -- a really bad drug problem. He dropped out of school and checked into rehab. It left me -- and everyone who knew him -- stunned.
It wasn't his fault that he was human. It was our fault for thinking he wasn't.
The lesson learned: Be careful whom you put on a pedestal, because as a society, it sets us up to bring us down.
Take now. Right now in this world there are three generally recognized financial geniuses ruling this world. One is Warren Buffett. Another is Alan Greenspan. And still another is George Soros.
Warren invests well. Alan knows global markets well. And George trades currencies very well.
They're good, but they're not great.
We'd be wise to remember what they get right, but wiser still to remember what they get wrong.
To look at Buffett, you'd think he always hit financial homeruns. He didn't with US Air.
To look at Soros, you'd think he still rocks the currency markets. He hasn't in a decade.
And to look at Greenspan, you'd think he had done no wrong. But he did plenty wrong hiking rates three years ago when he shouldn't have and not moving to cut them faster, when he should have.
Look, we all make mistakes. Just realize these guys do too. And just because they're good money experts, doesn't mean they're good tax experts. Engineering financial fortunes doesn't grant you any wisdom on re-engineering social ones.
The sooner we start thinking anyone's infallible, the sooner we all look gullible.
Someone once asked, who are you to take on investment giants? I'll turn that around. Who am I -- or you --not to?
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