Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Keeping Up Appearances

My grandfather was a stockbroker. Very respectable. His family were very proud of his choice of profession and had no reservations talking about it when asked.

He lived in leafy Surrey, Chipstead to be precise, and went to work every day in the City with his bowler hat on and smart suit. He was good with numbers, searched for value, and acted when he found it. He paid taxes on his earnings.

His grandson was a ‘gambler’. Not quite so respectable. His family were not so proud of his choice of profession and didn’t like to talk about it when asked.

He lived in leafy Surrey, Caterham to be precise, and went to work every day in his spare bedroom with his underpants on – the only suit he possessed was the one he was born in. He was good with numbers, searched for value, and acted when he found it. He paid no taxes on his earnings, (although he did pay a hefty Premium Charge from October 2008).

They both flourished in their own areas of expertise, but it’s interesting to me how outsiders view both scenarios. Why is it more respectable to exercise your talents in stocks than sports? It’s certainly not as exciting (although yesterdays little plunge in the FTSE caught my attention).

As for insider trading? I would bet that there is far more inside knowledge in stocks and shares than there is in sports (excluding horse-racing).

My mother is actually coming round to the idea that what I do may not mean the end of the world. She seeks regular updates on my progress, but still tells the neighbours that I “am between jobs at the moment”. Got to keep up appearances.

4 comments:

BarryO said...

What a load of pants!

It`s the normal reaction when you try to explain trading/betting to an outsider, they always think of gambling.

Since I~ve started to wear shorts and stopped shouting "come on my son" I`ve had an elevated status im my local bookies.

Cassini said...

I tell my Mum, there's a big difference between trading or value betting and gambling. If I call it investing on sports and she's ok with it - If I call it gambling and she's not. I used to trade commodities - pork bellies, corn etc. Didn't have a clue what I was doing, but it was respectable! A losing proposition, but respectable nonetheless. Thanks for the comment.

Stuart said...

As I keep telling people there is one big difference between what you and I do and what the respectable folk in the city do Roberto. When we lose we dust ourselves down and get on with it and take our losses like the men that we are. When the respectable folks in the city lose they cry and ask the taxpayer for their money back. Frankly, I would rather continue sitting in my underpants and keep my self respect ;-)

Cassini said...

Agreed Stuart. "Working in your underpants" should become a euphemism for trading like a man.