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October 25th, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street ****

“The stock market is way too complicated for you to deal with. Just trust us with your life savings. We’re professionals.”

 

Sincerely, your money manager

 

 

The full service brokerage industry is an absolute scam.

 

They scare you into thinking that the stock market is an unruly beast that you can’t possibly control. And then they promise that they have found a way to tame that beast and use it to make you rich with very little risk.

 

The truth is that nobody knows for sure which stocks are going to go up.

 

And if there really is a man who can flawlessly predict the future of the market, he is probably sitting on a beach in the Cayman Islands right now, day-trading on his Mac Book Pro with a beautiful 19-year-old on each arm. He’s certainly not on the phone trying to get money out of you.

 

I am not saying that you will do great as an investor. I’m saying that if you do some research, your guess will be as good as theirs.

 

Plus, you have two advantages over a professional broker: you genuinely care about your money and they don’t. And you won’t charge yourself a fee to do the work and they will.

 

Under the best of circumstances, you are better off not paying a money manager to manage your money.

 

So imagine how foolish it is under the worst of circumstances.

 

“The Wolf of Wall Street” tells the outrageous but true story about a shameless salesman who made a fortune swindling chumps out of their life savings.

 

It was the late 80s, and Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) began selling penny stocks by phone. Penny stocks are shares of tiny, unprofitable companies that he sold on 50% commission. What that means is: the poor investor put in $10,000 and got $5,000 in worthless pieces of paper. And Jordan got $5,000 in cash. He was on the road to riches.

 

Along with his stock broker buddies, Jordan founded the respectable-sounding firm Stratton Oakmont so he could take his swindling to a higher level.

 

In 1993, he pulled off his biggest scam: the Steve Madden IPO. Steve Madden shoes was definitely a legit company, but the way Stratton Oakmont released the IPO was not. Jordan had his crew of brokers pressure clients to buy Steve Madden stock at an inflated price without telling them that the firm actually owned most of the shares and had bought them at a much lower price. It was immoral, illegal, and immensely profitable.

 

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is the uncensored story of real guys who bilked retirees out of their nest eggs and partied like rock stars with the loot.

 

The movie is half “Goodfellas” and half “Animal House,” with more sex and drugs than I have ever seen before in an American movie.

 

“The Wolf of Wall Street” never gets preachy. To his credit, director Martin Scorsese doesn’t demonize Jordan and buddies or portray them as villains. They simply were villains.

 

And remember: villains like this exist in real life. And they are after your money right now.

 

So don’t trust them. Invest yourself!

 

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