Blogs > Your Money

Dave Patterson and Erin Preston, a father-daughter team of Certified Financial Planner® licensees, provide thoughts and suggestions on a broad collection of personal finance topics.  Information provided in this BLOG is intended to be of a general nature and may not be appropriate for all situations.  Readers should consult with their own financial advisors before relying on any information contained herein.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Mark Twain

We all know Mark Twain from his wonderful novels: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. According to Wikipedia, he started out as an apprentice to a printer. He also became a typesetter and while doing so, he contributed articles to his older brother Orion’s newspaper. Following that, he became a riverboat captain and then went out West to join his brother. He tried gold mining but failed at that and then turned to journalism. He wrote travelogues and became famous with his story- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

He made a lot of money as a speaker and writer but was not a good businessman. He was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy. It seems ironic therefore, that he was known for his quotes about money and the markets. Our book of financial quotes that gives us ideas for our “Words of Wisdom” blogs, has no less than seven quotes from Mark Twain.

One of his quotes seems appropriate for the current times. Indeed, it’s actually appropriate for all times. He said: “there are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when can’t afford to and when he can”.

Lately, the stock market has been on a tear. It’s tempting for all to jump on the bandwagon. We don’t want to be left behind. We don’t want to miss the party. But whether we are wealthy or whether we are struggling to make ends meet, we should pay heed to Twain’s advice. When a “can’t fail” hot asset comes along, should you invest a bit? Maybe. Invest a lot? Probably not. The wise investor, buys low and sells high. Twain should know. He learned the hard way.


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