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Hey Buddy, Spare a Cup of Latte?

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Message Arthur Pesin

               About one year ago, someone asked what field I worked in. After saying I was retired, I thought about the morning’s trade. I invest in fertilizer, I said. And invest in fertilizers I did. All kinds of fertilizer. Norwegian. Canadian. American. Israeli,

But my portfolio was more diversified than that. Although now that I look back on it, I realize that it was all fertilizer, a fertilizer spawned from an organic compound more foul than potassium nitrate. Yes, diversified I was. I had it all.

Large cap stocks.  Small cap. Mid cap. Micro cap. Blue chip. Value. Growth. Preferred. Tech. Pharma. Natural resources. Human resources. Energy producers, drillers, transporters, and pipelines. REITS: industrial, commercial, residential, retail, even timber. Domestic. Foreign. Emerging markets. The BRIC’s. Japanese. South African.

And for balance, I had bonds. Munis. Savings. Treasuries. Corporate.  Everything but convertibles, which only Buffet understands. I followed the sages’ advice. Took the brokers’ words. “Time has come today.” “Talk to Chuck.” “Citi never sleeps.” (Now I know why).

All I needed to do was give up a cup of latte a day, invest the savings, and I would become a millionaire. So I gave it up. The white chocolate mocha latte. The café dolce latte. The latte rich roasted from Sumatra. The Pike Place roasted.

And I’m not a millionaire. Not even close.

Well, I learned. From now on, I’ll live for the moment. Smell the rose hips. Savor the wild orange, blackberry and peach passion teas. Sit by the fireplace of my local Starbucks. Settle into a distressed leather sofa while I sip a Seattle’s Best mocha latte at Borders and read Yankee Magazine. 

Forget the liquefied coal from South Africa. The only African liquid I’ll concern myself with is Kenyan roast. The only froth I’ll worry about is the one that erupts from the designer plastic lid atop my cappuccino.

And the only bubbles I’ll consume will come from a vanilla flavored Italian soda. I’ll leave the riches to the big boys. Next time I hear of a casino in Macau, a copper mine in Peru, a phase two trial for targeted gene therapy, a newly minted derivative, or a situation along the Georgia-Florida coast, I’ll take the change I have left and savor the fleeting moments of my latte over the fleeting promises of wealth and good fortune.

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Hey Buddy, Spare a Cup of Latte?

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