Wall Street WARZONE
Trust No One With a Yacht, No Bankers, No Brokers, No Fund Managers, Not Even “The Buddha”
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | Print | 5/10/2010

Some things never change. Wall Street’s script was written long ago—long before behavioral finance came on the scene—it was written and memorialized in Fred Schwed’s amusing 1940 classic about Wall Street’s insatiable greed. The message rings as true today as back then, when America was still smarting from Wall Street’s disastrous 1929 Crash and a long Depression. Schwed charms us from the start in “An Ancient Story,” his explanation of the origin of his title: “Once in the dear dead days beyond recall, an out-of-town visitor was being shown the wonders of the New York financial district. When the party arrived at the Battery, one of his guides indicated some handsome ships riding at anchor. ‘Look, those are the bankers’ and brokers’ yachts.’ ‘Where are all the customers’ yachts?’ asked the naïve visitor.

“Once in the dear dead days beyond recall” is the first line of the enduring popular tune, “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” by James Malloy back in 1884. And with that  bit of historical context, let’s flash forward to the present and consider why Schwed’s book is so relevant in today’s Wall Street war against Main Street. A couple years ago I was reminded of Schwed’s challenging question while flipping through Fortune magazine when my eyes locked on a photo of “Utopia,” the aptly-named new mega-yacht built for legendary fund manager Bill Miller. (More)

Yes, God Really Wants You to be a Rich Investor! Just Ask Joel Osteen, Paul Zane Pilzer, Robert Kiyosaki, Gary Zukav, Deepak Chopra … and Woody Allen!
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | Print | 4/28/2010

What’s faith got to do with getting rich? “I am plagued with doubts,” says Woody Allen: “What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? I definitely overpaid for my carpet. If only God would give me a clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank.” Yes Woody, God really does want us to be rich. But sitting around waiting for a “deposit” isn’t the way. Besides, the only guys making deposits for us aren’t gods. They’re conmen who insult us by sending token rebate checks, while they’re making huge deposits of your money in Swiss banks. Woody’s great at making us smile. But he’s not really waiting, he’s taking action, making films.

Faith plus action really works. So today, let’s you and me develop our own “Faith-Based Rules of Getting Rich.” I got five ideas. I’ll lay ‘em out, you refine ‘em, pick the ones that work for you. Nothing’s wrong with getting really rich on a little faith, especially when our leaders have screwed things up so badly. Faith’s a great way to start! I’m sparked about this message because lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “How to Get Rich” books, magazine stories and newspaper articles. US News even put out a special: “Secrets of the Super-Rich.” No surprise, publishers know we want escapism. A headline selling promises of a better future sell lots of copies during bear/recessions.

God Does Want You to Be Rich, But is Faith-Based Economics Destiny or Serendipity?

My files are loaded with them: But the one in Portfolio about Joel Osteen, “God Wants Me to Be Rich,” was especially inspiring. Not because he’s the author of 7 million copy bestsellers like Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You. Not because he’s the super-successful pastor of America’s biggest mega-church, grossing $75 million a year. And not because he encourages us to “focus on the positive and banish  negative thoughts.” What really touches me about Osteen is that he wasn’t prepared and besides, didn’t really want the job. (More)