As human beings, we’re all very complex. Sometimes(often, in my case) we do things for reasons we don’t clearly understand. We can be influenced in ways we’re not fully conscious of by our families, our friends, our neighbors, our heritage …as well as by daily bombardment by media of all types.
Sounds silly, but:
–Early in my career as an analyst, I remember calling the CFO of an oil and gas exploration firm to ask him, in polite terms, why anyone would buy the tax shelter programs he was selling through investment advisers, since my reading of the prospectuses seemed to show that virtually all the benefits went to the promoter. His reply was that buyers were not particularly sophisticated financially. They typically bought the programs as a way to signal to others that they were wealthy enough to have a “tax problem.”
–Some people are attracted to the riskiest stocks simply because they’re risky rather than because they might offer superior returns. Buying them is in effect a substitute for going on a thrill ride at the amusement park.
In my experience, successful investors and successful traders have one thing in common. They are clear about their purpose …which is to make money. They’re not working to feed their egos, make friends, or enhance their standing in the minds of others, although these positive things might be nice as side effects. It’s all about making a return.
This is not to say one shouldn’t have scruples. As an active manager, I avoided tobacco stocks, for example, because I believe this is a morally bankrupt business.
There’s also no way to know whether you can make money buy buying and selling financial instruments–whatever your holding period–unless you try.
Nevertheless, if you are going to be successful, the bottom line must be that you intend to make a profit.