Money, money, money

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Thu 16 Jul 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Jul 2020, 9:00 PM

I have a friend who plays the market. And makes money. Since, for me, a market is a place with aisles and stuff on them that you do not need but will purchase anyway because they are two for one or whatever worm is on the hook to lure you, we often talk at cross purposes. I once bought stinging nettle juice (fortified) because it was a promotion and no one even took a trial sip. From my market, not his.

I digress. My friend, whenever he drops in or calls, is an expert on bulls and bears and keeps saying things like it suddenly turned bearish and you have this vision of the bull putting on a Halloween costume. Since my relationship with stocks and shares is more like chicken cubes and sending a forward to five people on WhatsApp, I have no idea what happens when you average down a moving average, like you capture it as it is skidding past and then shove it down.

I must admit, for a long time, I was under the fond impression that Arbitrage was a five-star hotel like Hermitage or something close to it. Where are you staying? At the Arbitrage. Look at this ad, the Arbitrage is giving a weekend for two for only 200 dirhams, that sort of stuff.

My friend who has been trying to convert me into investing money (I keep protesting, what money?) suggested I could take baby steps with pink sheet stocks at a dollar a go. That was in 2003 but we still haven't done it.

The market will rally, he said with profound conviction, this is a temporary setback. With a super burst of brilliance, I said, like Lewis Hamilton losing pole position. In return, all I got was a withering look.

The other day, he looked doleful and I said, what's up and he said, put money on some haircut options, no comeback.

I said, you don't look like you had a haircut, the barber cheat you or what. He said, I don't know why I keep trying, you are abs useless, now don't bother me, I am afraid the markets could turn volatile.

You see, as I have said before and much to my wife's embarrassment and acute discomfort, it doesn't bother me if the market turns volatile, green with envy, red with rage or does the tango, absolutely of no consequence, I have no stakes, no skin in this money game.

Ever so often, I get these mobile calls from financial hubs around the world reassuring me I am a valued customer and they would like to discuss wealth management with me. Look, I don't mind the flattery and, on a dull day, I let them chat me up because it is good for the ego and then when it comes to hardcore money bottom lines, I let them down by saying, well, I will have to look at my portfolio and see what's liquid, call me back. And they do. Why would I give my money to people who think I have money, that's rank poor homework.

Though all I want is a little leverage.

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