Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Relationship Stock Market

I think when you talk about "kids in the ghetto" and what’s missing from an inner-city education, though I didn't learn much about this in my hoity-toity schools either, is knowledge about the financial markets. They don’t teach money or business to young kids. I don’t understand that. In a capitalist society how can you not be showing flash cards of P/E ratios to your children at five years old? It’s not to say build your world around money. But it is the most powerful man made force on the planet. We should know it like the palms of our hands (which I personally know better than the back).

And I don’t think it’s about young folks not being able to handle the information. I think it began with just a simple selfish withholding of knowledge. "This info is privileged." And now that it’s not necessarily [as] privileged, it’s more muscle reflex. Our curriculums have not evolved.

If you ever reclaim the space in your brain, and file for your rebate on useless education, make sure you don't get rid of the money info.

Anyways, I’ve had some recent dialogue with friends about their relationships, and started thinking that perhaps we all buy, sell, and trade on the relationship stock market. If we look at some of our dealings from that perspective, particularly in the romantic sense, there's a lot that makes sense.

The people around you are stocks. Everyone. Male, female, and other. They are forces you can monitor, you can profile and evaluate, you can draw opinions about, you can speculate on, but you can't control. And their value to you may go high, or it may go low. But the bottom line of it all is that:

Past history is no guarantee of future results.

No slick-talking, shucking-and-jiving, TAN stock trader is going to be able to guarantee what TAN is going to do. What value it’s going to hold for you in a month, 6 months, a year, ten tears. They can project, and they can back that up with a world of data, "Look at this chart, says here, 'TAN is the future' - we can't go wrong with TAN. TAN's smart, funny, and wears a mask. His growth potential is HUGE." And they can be right 10, 20, even 30 percent of the time *say ooooohhhh*- it will mean nothing if I rob you the next day for all your jewelry.

Of course, in this world, the only real broker is you. You make all the transactions, you manage your own private fund of relationships. Perhaps you've been investing in short people and negroes for the past five years, and you're seeing no results. Just remember, you don't want to get to caught up in the moment. Have good reasons to sell. Past history is no guarantee of future results. When a movie about short black people comes out, don't be the person calling up all those old friends of yours whom you ditched because other people kept asking, "why do you keep buying in on short people and negroes? Those stock attributes haven't been a growth indicator since the days of Different Strokes and Webster." So you sell, and now you're pissed because you knew the guy from Bad Santa was going to make short negroes hot again.

Now, what was I talking about? Oh, why people and relationships are just money, errr stocks.

So, just like the financial stock market, the thing to do if you just want a good safe investment of your money/heart/time, is to get a little fund of blue chip stocks. Then buy and hold. And the biggest ingredient in terms of evaluating whether a stock is a blue chipper or not? Time.

You need time to find out if this in fact is one of the best companies on the market. Cause with blue chip stocks, you don’t care about the state of the market. Whether they did something particularly good or bad today. You only care about the company. Is it fundamentally strong? Will it grow? Is it stable? What’s the environment around it like? When you get a relationship that clicks on a lot of cylinders, you say ok, I like what’s going on here. I’m going to invest. And you just invest more and more over time. Eventually, your position might be such that you're almost like partners.

This all presumes there are no unforeseen dramatic circumstances. Like someone starts lying and telling secrets, and/or posting your insider information on their blog. Or they start shredding their clothes. Or, like, everyone in the world starts hating them and all of a sudden you look and think Kevin has turned into a bad person. There’s been some sort of shift in the company, with management, and the outlook on Kevin is not looking so bright anymore.

Because ultimately the value of a stock is only really known when you cash out. When the person dies. Or you break up/split. To know the true value of a stock, you have to get rid of lose it. Your blue chip friend of twenty years, you refer to as Disney, might decide suddenly he's into child bestiality. That stock, for most people, is likely going to nosedive. But these things happen, you never know.

Beside the blue chips, you also have penny stocks. For ladies, this is the equivalent of the bum-ass trife mofo you met out late at the club. Actually, not even the club, you met him in the McDonald's after, and you thought he went to the club, but really he was in the McDonald's all night waiting for girls to come out the club and think he was in the club. Most of those penny stocks represent penny companies. But some have potential. I often think TAN is a penny stock. Especially when I'm out on a Saturday night, in McDonald's, waiting for girls to come out the club.

Ok, where was I ...?

I'm going to have to pick this up another time...

The relationship stock market ladies and gentleman. Buy and sell wisely, carefully. Stocks have feelings too.


  1. Ahh, sweet-pea.
    Write this date in your diary and draw little love hearts around it.
    April 21st.
    Cos that's when everyone's favourite Noo Zillander is coming back to NYC.

  2. Anonymous2/28/2006

    I like your take on this, although it's admittedly a little underdeveloped...I think most women need money/relationship advisors, since they tend to have unrealistic expectations on their stocks/relationships performance. They often think that every relationship is going to be a Microsoft, but don't realize that it took time, perseverance, and hard work for Microsoft to become the blue-chip it is today. Most women rely too heavily on the prior history of a similar stock's performance, and soon as it shows signs of taking a "dip" they're all: "sell motherf*cker, sell!".

    Me, bitter? No...


  3. Anonymous2/28/2006

    I particularly like this section

    "when you get a relationship that clicks on a lot of cylinders, you say ok, I like what’s going on here. I’m going to invest. And you just invest more and more over time. Eventually, your position might be such that you're almost like partners."

    as it seems to really sum up what relations are or should be all about. Partnerships between people who click and want to invest, not people who think they need to. And I am gonna link back to your ass on this one!

  4. Anonymous2/28/2006

    How very Carrie Bradshaw of you, TAN! ;) I can totally see this post narrated over an episode of Sex in the City.

  5. Wow, I'm reading this at just right time as I'm about to start making "future investments." Or at least play the market a bit. Hmm. Well thought-out post, TAN.

  6. This could be book material. The new theme of dating. We forget the fluctuation of relationships from time to time.

  7. Anonymous2/28/2006

    Actually, many moons ago when I was in college in Atlanta, the thing we did was play video games and watch movies (there was once this place called 'Blockbuster Video') until 1:30-2am, then head over to the IHOP to look at and eat with post-clubbing girls. We all thought of ourselves as 'highly undervalued' at the time...

  8. Not the puppies!

    I'm diversified. I'm part blue-chip for the long term, part bonds for the even longer term, part pure gold as a hedge (and a shiny one, at that!), part risky stocks for the danger and thrill, and a healthy cash reserve.

  9. Anonymous3/01/2006

    Having worked for a company that looked better on the outside than it did on the inside (at least until business realities caught up with it) and having invested in a few friendships that looked better on the inside than they did on the outside, I think the key to good "investing" (be it monetary or human) is to observe the fundamentals closely.

    Forget the investment pundits (be they friends or the talking heads on MoneyLine). Instead, get to know the management. How are they thinking? What sorts of decisions are they making? How do they treat their employees? How to they treat their business partners?

    If we treat our investments (in money or in friends) as a form of get-rich-quick speculation, we'll get burned more often than not. If we treat them as long-term investments, we'll still get burned every now and then, but we'll come out ahead in the long run.

    The difference, of course, between investing in people versus investing in companies is this: If you're a bad investor with money, you're the only one who gets burned. If you're a bad investor with people (perhaps "speculator" is the better term here), you're also burning others, and your own personal "stock value" is taking a hit in the process.

    The corollary to this is that stocks don't care personally whether you buy them or sell them. You can always buy them back at the new price plus broker's fee. But if you make a bad call in "selling" on the relationship market, "buying back" carries a far heavier broker's fee at best, and usually you can't do it at all.

    Invest slowly and wisely. Don't churn your portfolio, because the broker's fees will eat your lunch. And remember that while you're placing your bets on others, they're also placing their bets on you.

    Finally, remember that you have more influence with the "management" in the relationship market than you do in the stock market. You can sometimes affect the performance of a "friendship" stock by leaning on the management. You can't do that as easily with a corporation, unless you're Warren Buffet.

    And if you are Warren Buffet:


  10. Anonymous3/01/2006

    Betty --

    Definite book material. TAN could become the Robert Kiyosaki of relationships.

    Mr. Kiyosaki --

    Discuss this with your literary agent. And as much as it breaks my heart to say this (because I really do like that picture), you can't use the Almax mask in your dust jacket photo.

  11. okay, this is one of my favorite posts on anybody's blog to date. very thought provoking.

    now you need to do one on the fake investment advisors like oprah and dr. phil...and that friend who think he or she has all the answers but can never seen to stay in a relationship his or her damn self.

  12. Well said, TAN. A very creative way to explain things and examine the fluctuations in any given market. I'd like to think my blue-chip stocks are steady but my husband might say the daily fluctuations (and hourly fluctuations) make me a volatile investment that luckily, in the end, yields gains which are worth every penny and dollar of his time. =)

  13. Statistics show:

    8 out of 10 White People loved this post.

    Click 'here' to add some Mr. Drummonds to your portfolio TODAY!

    But don't go complaining to TAN if it Wall Street goes "bearish" on honkies.

  14. i'm declaring bankruptcy...

  15. Anonymous3/01/2006

    Paging Brother Lawrence, Brother Lawrence, please report to this post immediately.

    Right now I'm dating a junk bond that would make Michael Milken nervous. She prefers to be called "high-yield" but we all know she's just one vodka-soda away from default.


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