When words die because of overuse or misuse, they can provide an important view into what we feel and think. When I hear someone of advanced years, say something is "cool," a harsh wrong note is struck. At some point, certain words must be dispatched for sanity's sake. Otherwise, one's whole individual demeanor becomes pathetic. Moving on can be tough, but one must. Language moves on too.
When I see politicians — Barack Obama is simply the latest — spouting the joys of "investment" in education, health care etc., I feel that "investment" is the latest candidate for euthanasia. It must die.
Ponder this: investing is putting your money in a financial instrument and getting your money back, plus some sort of return or profit. If I buy a stock, it appreciates (hopefully) and I sell it, get my money back, and a profit on top of that. Bonds do it differently, but the result is the same (again, hopefully). I'll forgo the list of investments like real estate, art, gold, baseball cards etc., because the concept is rather obvious. However now, politicians of all stripes extol the virtues of "investment". You'd think after the Internet bubble, this term would have been ditched. Enron, World Com, Global Crossing should have damaged this one, but words die slowly.
We interrupt this discourse for a disclosure announcement.
Yes, I once did own Enron. No, I didn't lose everything. I lost 10 percent. The thing that saved me was something I read in this book, The Battle for Investment Survival, by Gerald Loeb. It's called the ever-liquid account. I won't explain it here because if you are interested, I want you to read the book and learn. What's so special about this book? I could say Barton Biggs loves it, but then I'd have to admit I'm just using his name cause I like the sound of it (like something from Dickens). The real reason is, this book lays out exactly what we do when we invest. We are speculating. Our money may vanish in a flash. This is risk. Like the ocean, speculation holds no mercy in her. You adapt to her, ride her or suffer the consequences.