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ralph robert moore


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ralph robert moore

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fat cats
february 13, 2000

Mary and I are trying to become fat cats.

At our age (me 49, she 46), we're starting to think more and more about our retirement. Like most people, we want to retire early, and wealthy. Wealthy enough, anyway, to be able to live as we do now, only without working. Lay in bed until two in the afternoon, putter around in our garden for awhile, then, as the sun goes down over the trees, move upstairs, me writing, Mary painting. We want to live in a world of weekends, in other words.

Mary's company was recently bought. It's probably going to shut down in the next six months. My company was also recently bought. At my location, about 225 of the 250 workers have been laid off. I still have a job, but how long will it be before, down the carpeted hall, the pale rider comes galloping, pale horse hoof-lifting and snuffling outside my office?

Both of us invest 10% of our incomes in 401k's at our work (my best advice to anyone: (1) Find someone who loves you just the way you are, who you love just the way they are, and marry them; (2) get a job doing something you would do even if they didn't pay you; and (3) participate in a 401k as early as you can, with as much of your income as you can. You have no idea how important that will be later on in life).

What we've just recently started doing, for the first time in our lives, is buying individual stocks.

Buying stocks is a form of gambling. Anyone who tells you differently has his hands in your clothes. But with the way the market is going, with proper research, which Mary has done, it can be good gambling.

In case you're interested, here are the stocks we've bought so far, with the prices we paid for them (you'll see our investments thus far are heavily into genomics, which we believe will be the Internet stocks of 2000 and beyond). We bought all of the stocks listed below within the past three weeks.

Cuagen (we bought it at $116.00 a share)
Genome Therapeutics ($21.38)
TenFold ($50.38)
Ariad ($13.06)

In just three weeks, our investment has increased 48.1%.

That means that for every $1,000 we invested, in three weeks we realized $481 in profit.

If we had put the money into a savings account, at 5% interest (if you can find a savings account that pays that much), we would have realized, on every $1,000 saved, about $3 in profit.

It takes a while to realize money is important. Should that be the way the world works?

It doesn't matter.

It is the way the world works. Money is like magic. It gives you the power to do what you want. Is that fair? Is that good? Is that healthy?

Maybe not, maybe not, maybe not.

But it is the way the world works. It's the difference between having to bag groceries at 70, saying 'Yes Sir' to teenagers, and getting out of bed at two in the afternoon at 70, wandering outside to prune roses and spade holes for bulbs, sitting outside in the late afternoon as the sun infuses the trees, drinking beer as a butterfly lights on your shirt front, rolling its spiraled proboscis down to a button, tapping around the cross of threads.