Why I refuse to give stock tips.

Because it’s stupid to jeopardize your relationships, that’s why. Here’s a cautionary tale.

In 2014 my grandfather died and left my brothers and me a small inheritance. My youngest brother wanted to invest it, so he asked me what stocks I liked. A couple of months previously I’d read The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon–which you should read immediately, or sooner–and decided Amazon was a stock I wanted to buy and hold. I promptly caught a nice move upwards, so I recommended it to him.

Shortly thereafter AMZN plunged a hundred bucks, which at the time was 25% of its value, and there it languished for a year. Needless to say this caused some friction between my brother and me. And to make matters worse, I bought more AMZN during the downturn but he no longer had money to do so. I’d pretty much broken his GI Joe.

Fortunately in the years since that plunge AMZN has run up to $1,200, so my brother has tripled his money and now he no longer flings cranberry sauce at me from across the Thanksgiving table. But what I’d done was nonetheless foolish. It would’ve been far better to give my brother some general advice on optimizing his financial situation rather than just telling him a ticker symbol. Hand a man a fish, etc., but also remember that relationships are far more important than money.

All that said, if asked I’ll always share with people the basics of sound personal financial management. I’ll explain debt snowballing and the advantages of 401(k) plans and the way compound interest works and why low-fee index funds are great and such, but having taken one too many glops of cranberry sauce to the noggin for recommending specific investments/stocks, I’ll never do so again.

Author: ER Dude

Sick of your job? After a thirteen-year career, Early Retirement Dude fled corporate America for good. You can do it too! Visit http://EarlyRetirementDude.com or email EarlyRetirementDude@gmail.com.

3 thoughts

  1. Yeah, I don’t even pick stocks but you’re right, it’s just not a smart thing to do if you care about the relationship. You’re rolling the dice somewhat with the stock pick itself, and then you’re double-rolling with the relationship.

    If I wrote this post with your title, it would have been one line “Because I suck at picking stocks”

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