Common Sense: Owning Up to Your Mistakes

Beware of people who never admit mistakes. They are sure to repeat them.

I'll go one further. Beware of people who say it's a mistake to question them, for they shall make the most mistakes.

I could be talking about Alan Greenspan, but I'm not. I'm talking about a lot of Wall Street pros. Not all, mind you. But a lot. Those who feel they are so smart that you can't afford not to get their guidance. They go so far as to say we can't handle investing on our own. That we make silly mistakes. Foolish mistakes. Avoidable mistakes.

Please stop before I gag.

You want to know the truth? They can't handle the truth! You know why? Because they are liars, that's why!

That's not me saying that. That's the Wall Street Journal saying that — in a way.

The Journal followed scores of top mutual fund managers, the so-called brainiacs of the investment world. But brainiacs who succumbed to the same high tech, Internet temptations many of us did and refused to let go of those stocks, just like many of us did.

Here's the kicker though. These are the same guys who had the gall to criticize us for hopping on these stocks and not realizing they had no earnings. Seems some of the biggest funds were trapped in the biggest debacles, Cisco, Amazon, Yahoo!, Lycos, and on and on. And they continued to hang onto them, some to this day.

Hey, we all make mistakes. But I just figured these guys were paid to make fewer of them.

Some did. Some do. Most did not. Most do not.

So the next time some guy wants to make you feel inadequate by pumping his own chest, tell him to pump this. And remember that anyone worth his salt in this business, or any business, doesn't have to give you the business.

Because before you can start making money for others you have to stop making an ass of yourself.

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