Should Small Investors Hate the Stock Market?
Correction: They dove into the Facebook IPO, not the market, headfirst.
It made me sad to read the story of the 34-year old husband and father of two from Baton Rouge who dropped $4,000 -- one month's salary -- on Facebook stock. How about the woman from Granite Bay, California who "thought it would be fun to get in on the initial frenzy"? She bought 100 shares shortly after Facebook's debut.
You do not have a heart if you respond to these experiences with "serves them right ... idiots." We all get caught up in some form of excitement and make poor choices from time to time. If you cannot empathize or, at the very least, sympathize with your fellow human, you're the one with the real issues.
That said, these two folks and the thousands -- or millions (?) -- of others who made similar Facebook-related missteps deserve a tongue lashing. However, they do not need us -- members of the financial media, readers of TheStreet and self-proclaimed savvy investors -- to provide the verbal punk slap.
When I screw up, I am my own worst critic. After I conclude beating myself up, I seek out the information I need to ensure I do not make the same mistake multiple times. I do my best to not jump back in until I have my ducks in a row.
I hope the folks who got burnt on the Facebook IPO do not throw in the towel. Instead, it would be heartening -- and, frankly, good for the country -- if they went back to the drawing board, did a little bit of hard work and came back stronger for it. As much as they have themselves to blame, room does exist for some finger pointing.
We all run in a society full of short-term thrill seekers where the sky is perpetually falling and If it bleeds, it leads . Large factions of the media -- financial and mainstream -- exist to do little more than create a scene. Events such as the Facebook IPO end up becoming spectacle, rather than thought-provoking and analytic learning opportunities.
Outside of a handful of worthy contributions, most of the hype leading up to the Facebook IPO consisted of man on the street segments where, ironically, an attractive woman asked people if they planned on buying shares. Most subjects had to ask what IPO stands for.
The guy from Baton Rouge apparently included the Facebook buy as part of his self-directed retirement account. The lady from California wanted to be part of a monumental occasion. In that regard, we share some similarities.