Common Sense: Bulls, Bears and Braggarts

Do you know what's worse than a bear market? Someone who tells you he saw it all coming.

Now, to be fair, some did. But most did not. And what I find incredible are those perennial bears that have come crawling out of the woodwork to say, "I told you so."

What gall!

A lot of them missed a nearly 10-year-long bull market, warning doom and gloom every step of the way, and now they have the nerve to come out and preach, "if only you had listened to me."


Even broken clocks are right twice a day, and that is a hell of a lot more often than you newfound soothsayers are.

When people feel compelled to brag, I feel compelled to bolt.

It was the same way last year at this time, when I'd pop up at parties and some guy would angle up to me and say, "Hey, Neilster, I'm up 300 percent on my tech stocks."

I just made a beeline for the bar.

I don't know what makes people want to do that. But I'll tell you this: I'm much more impressed with people who don't do that. People like Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch who freely tell you they have no idea where the market will be next week or next month. People who have the smarts to see and the humility to know that no one can really do that. People who are people. Not jerks, braggarts or charlatans.

People who get the big picture and try not to sell you on a stupid snapshot. People who see a market for what it is, a crapshoot in the short-term, but hopefully a better bet in the long-term.

So the next time someone comes up to you at a party and says, "Oh, baby, am I ever glad I sold all my stocks a year ago and put it into T-bills. Man, am I something!" Do me a favor, take that drink in your hand and fling it at him.

Let's see if he predicted that.