October 8, 2008


naked shorts

I've been an interested observer of the stock market for many years including the years I spent in Winnipeg as a stock broker. Being able to tell the so-called unwashed masses that you are a stock broker has mixed benefits. When times are good, it is a rather popular career to tell people at a cocktail party, along with property developer, software inventor and plastic surgeon. When stock market news hits the front pages like it has lately, those same people tend to look at stock brokers rather skeptically, as though they are to blame for the financial woes that are being experienced.
Throughout these scenarios I have observed that about 90% of people I have encountered have little or no knowledge of how the market works - and that includes the politicians currently vying for your vote. It definitely includes the wags of the media breathlessly reporting the ups and downs of currencies, market indices and commodities. The industry, like most, is couched in a language that precludes the average person from understanding the workings of the market. It forces people to seek the advice of a paid professional or abandon the whole effort all together. If there is a course in high school explaining the financial markets, it is probably a little used optional or at best, something endured rather than presented in a light that could offer real possibilities to each of us.
Consequently, I am thinking about writing a common sense based outline of the stock market for people without any sort of industry based esoteric initials behind their name. Something for the average person to be able to understand and perhaps make use of the markets to help as part of a financial plan and if nothing else, present a starting point to asking questions of those salesmen masquerading as financial planners. What do you think - would it be useful?
At the very least you would be able to drop the phrase, "covering my naked shorts" into a conversation and understand what it means.

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