Friday, June 08, 2007

Confessions of a money manager wannabe

So I had started another big App Recap post focusing on the 'what do you want to do when you grow up' question and got incredibly bored of it. Maybe I've done enough app recap anyway. Anyhow, I was inspired to post this instead when I went to log onto my discount broker account with great dread to allocate my 2006 (!) IRA contributions. Mine and the whole fam's. I also finally got my little stock portfolio out away from my former employer (where I was required to house it while employed there) and, having not looked at all at that portfolio for about 2 years (!) (bc trading was such a pain in the ass compared to my discount broker), need to finally see what I have there. And given that I aspire to make a living of sorts in this realm of money management, I thought this was pretty embarressing. Or is this like the chef who, exhausted by 12 hours in the kitchen, goes home and eats toast for dinner? (though I've actually not thought about stocks for about 6 months, since I left my former life in Portland)

So I thought I'd post this as my confession - hoping confessing would inspire me to log on and just do the deed when I'd really just rather take a nap. My potential excuse is that choosing investments w/o the databases and such that I used to have access to, before my detour to the world of tech contractor, made these decisions much easier. But I was struck by the thought, not the first time, do I really want to go into investment management? I've wrestled with this question for years. I find myself jaunting off on career tangents (commercial real estate and development, consulting, non-profits, stay in sell-side research, start a company ... any company as long as I started it) and then, exhausted, deciding that I've come this far, invested this much, I just shouldn't even consider anything else. Having a focus is such a relief. And I really like investment management and it's a pretty good match for me to boot. But when I can't even bear to make decisions about my piddly little retirement account, I feel a little bit nervous about my career plan. I feel like if I was truly meant to be a great investor I wouldn't feel overwhelmed and annoyed by the process. Instead I would feel intrigued and fascinated, no?

So I've never actually read a single issue of my Financial Analyst Journal subscription (courtesy of the CFA Institute) but I started reading the latest one and it was actually pretty interesting. So I take some heart in that ...

Frankly, I don't like working from home at all. I don't miss the commute but when I don't go to work I find myself sitting at the computer at 1:20 p.m. having forgotten about lunch or drinking water, still in my pajamas, unshowered, braindead ... Y is so excited to work from home in Chicago. The plan is that his employer in Seattle will employ him as a contractor or such in Chicago and he won't have to find a new job. I understand the appeal to not finding a new job but I can't relate to the attraction in working from home. I think I would turn into a miserable slob (perhaps my true self). Having to be somewhere outside my apartment each day keeps me civilized. I ate half a watermelon yesterday! (and it was fantastic) But not something really has time to do in the office.

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