Why are my friends all making money in stocks, but I’m not?

The answer, my friends: They’re all lying. Their portfolios are getting killed, just like yours. Here’s the deal.

A stock chart you never want to see.

WASHINGTON, September 4, 2015 – “April is the cruellest month” American-English poet T.S. Eliot observed in the opening line of “The Waste Land.” But for most investors, year after year, August and September are generally the cruelest months. Those fully invested in 2015’s catastrophic, volatile markets will readily agree after the last few weeks of sickening volatility.

Only the lucky few – the short-sellers and the criminals running HFT firms – have made a dime lately. The rest of us… well, our portfolios look like they’ve been through a few rounds with Muhammed Ali in his prime.

So why are most of our investor friends and nearly everyone on stock and bond investment boards getting rich while the rest of us are pondering a request for government assistance?

The answer, my friends is easy: Our neighbors, associates, fellow worker bees, and yes, that legion of online braggart-geniuses are all lying through their teeth.

With a hat-tip to ZeroHedge, we recently spotted an interesting piece on a site that calls itself 330ramp – an allusion the massive buying or selling action that always seems to flood in during the last hour of daily trading.

330, whoever he/she/it is, is irked by the same kind of lying jokers we all endure; in this case, the ones that brag about their nonexistent Wall Street Casino winnings on Twitter Finance. He refers to these braggarts as “you” in the following. The Prudent Man’s comments follow each data point in italics.

  1. When it comes time for a market correction you make sure to let everyone know that if they would have followed your advice, $29.99 newsletter, or real time alert they would have been fine and avoided disaster.
    This garden variety brag always appears AFTER the correction—a clear indication that the braggart got hosed just like you did but won’t admit it.
  2. You are an “expert” in every facet of the economy (Greece, oil, China, Central Banking) yet you graduated with an Art History degree from some community college and live in your parent’s basement using Time Warner Cable’s 5MB/s internet speed.
    No one in this century is a Renaissance Man. Life it too complicated, requires too much specialization. At best, the braggart is citing various widely-read source like the Wall Street Journal and passing the info off as his own.
  3. You put #timestamps where #timestamps are not needed and then delete tweets when it turns out you were wrong.
    Sort of like Hillary changing dates and security designations on her illegal emails hoping no one will notice and perpetuating her many boldfaced lies. Changing dates and timestamps on bragging investment comments and tweets is like the loser rewriting history on the fly so he looks like a winner.
  4. You tweet too much and don’t click the buy button enough.
    “Investors” who tweet all the time are not making the trades they tell you they’re making. Real trading and investing requires too much homework, leaving little time for bragging. Plus, the REAL winners don’t even want you to know who they are.
  5. After something bad happens, you tweet archaic quotes from 3rd century B.C. Roman poets that no one cares about. (e.g. “Fortune favors the brave.” -Aenied)
    … which they can easily get from Bartlett’s or online clones of that volume. Misspellings in the quotes can be a dead giveaway.
  6. You consistently quote tweet or RT followers who give you praise for nailing the bottom. (e.g. Thanks! RT @XYZ Great call on $AAPL! Now I’m rich! You nailed it!)
    These clowns have no followers. It’s all an illusion. They’re posting their own phony praise tweets and comments via the myriad different username aliases they employ. The same multiple userid tactics are employed by left-wing trolls to destroy comment threads on any post that drifts a millimeter to the right of Karl Marx. In reality, all of them are lonely psychopaths with no friends who have a neurotic need to feel important.
  7. You say “I nailed it” way too much.
    Back in his Merchant Marine days when his ship was in port, the Prudent Man was frequently buttonholed by drunken fellow sailors spinning wild, exuberant tales about the many shady ladies they’d bedded while on shore leave. That was always a clue that these hapless losers hadn’t gotten any while uptown. It was always those sailors who returned quietly without comment who had actually scored.
  8. You only post about the trades you made money on.  You never post about the trades you lost money on.  This is the oldest trick in the book to make people think you are actually good at what you do and that they should follow you.  They shouldn’t.
    It’s an unfortunate part of human nature that many of us want to brag about our wins, never mentioning our sickening losses, which, in many cases, more than outweigh the gains. Worse, those minimal gains are generally greatly exaggerated, making this particular tall tale an even greater lie.
  9. You incorrectly say $STUDY and annoyingly use it too much.
    Not quite sure what 330 is alluding to here.
  10. You post charts that look like this:
    Phony stock chart, via 330ramp.
    Phony stock chart, via 330ramp.

    We posted this chart, likely a satirical image created by 330, as our header graphic. No genuine technical analyst would scribble out a meaninglessly detailed chart like this one. Many charlatans (including “theorist” English professors) spin out verbal and pictorial bafflegab to create an impression of towering genius. Such efforts actually exemplify towering ignorance.

If you find that you are pointing to yourself on 5 or more of the bullet items above please delete your Twitter account immediately.

Not a chance, 330, not a chance. Losers like these jokers are probably adolescents, pathologically hungry to justify and embellish their phony resumes. It’s very likely that not a single one of them has ever actually invested a dime. Or ever will. Real investors don’t have the time for this kind of crap. And if they’re winning big, they’ll never tell you. Or the IRS, if they can get away with it.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17