Our family will soon be taking a road trip! One that, for me at least, is a bit overdue. We usually make the trip to Las Vegas about once a year or so, and it's one I'm really looking forward to.
We just love the great swimming pools (especially Little Eldrehad) and the free shows (again, especially Little Eldrehad -- she's very excited about seeing the circus shows at, you guessed it, Circus Circus).
And I do sometimes like to gamble -- just a little bit.
Actually, I can't help but think of some parallels between gambling and investing in stocks -- while perhaps a bit worn, tired, and things you've likely heard before, I still think they're pretty important.
When I do gamble, as I said, it's not much -- and it's certainly not with money my family actually needs. I probably spend less money gambling than many people spend taking in one of those fancy shows -- and while I know that the odds are stacked against me and I will, more likely than not, lose, I consider the house edge nothing more than the fee the casino charges me for providing me with the enterainment of gambling.
I know that for some it's a compulsion or addiction, but it's a real shame that all too many people actually risk money they or their family actually need. Then again, I can't help but be reminded of one of those news shows I saw a little while back in which the people who thought themselves just a couple/few years away from retirement were devastated as they openened their 401k statements and began to wonder when they'd be able to retire, if at all. Of course most of them were unfortunately all to heavily invested in stocks.
One reads "Never invest in the stock market money you will need in the next 5 years" in quite a few places for very good reason (though I've always thought it should be at least 10 years -- the recent market collapse reinforcing that point in my mind).
Reminds me of a conversation I had once with Mrs. Eldrehad after a little lucky streak I had at the tables one trip. Upon hearing the news her response was (said tongue-in-cheek), "Is that all? I'll be happy if you win some real money."
My resonse, "Well, to win big, one generally has to bet big, and risk losing big."
"Oh" she smiled, "Never mind then."
I'm also genuinely surprised by the number of people I see playing roulette. Maybe it's just a matter of taste (I prefer games where I have to make at least some kind of decision). As I mentioned, I think of the the house edge as simply the fee the casino charges for providing entertainment -- but why pay more than one has to? Why play roulette, one of the casino games with a relatively high house edge, when often a few steps away there's a blackjack or craps table where one can place the same wager with a substantially lower house edge? Sure, to get those lower house edges on blackjack and craps, one actually has to do just a little bit of homework and know what one's doing (not every bet on the craps table carries the same house edge -- some are far higher than others) -- but it's not difficult.
Then again, I've run into a number of colleages over the years who don't know what fees they're paying for their mutual fund holdings. Maybe it's me, but I generally like knowing what I'm paying for something.
Anyway, I'm sure I've probably bored you senseless (if, that is, you're still reading) as all of this is stuff you've likely read or heard countless times before.... I suppose my mind is too busy contemplating the 'lazy river' or thinking about watching Little Eldrehad stare in rapt attention at the jugglers and trapeze artists to write anything much more interesting.
After all, we're headed to Vegas!
Russell (a.k.a. TMFEldrehad)