Dear Mr. Berko: I like your column because it also makes me laugh, but one big criticism I have is that you never follow up to advise people when to sell the stocks you recommend. I think the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority should require this to be standard practice for all financial columnists because it would be helpful to lots of people.
In mid-2011, I wrote to you and asked about investing in the health care industry. You told me to buy Aetna, Centene, Molina Healthcare, WellCare Health Plans, Cigna and Pfizer. They all doubled except for Pfizer, but Centene was bought out by Aetna. I put $5,000 in every stock and have over $30,000 in profit, and I need advice on what to do. I am worried that higher medical costs for these companies will cause their stock prices to fall, because my doctor told me that too many more people with bad health and no money want to get their health fixed. I will retire in six years when I’m 67 or 68. So should I hold these stocks or sell them or purchase more with the money in my money market account?
EM, San Antonio
Dear EM: I remember your email because on that specific day, one of the numerous stupids from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority called my office and, without preamble, requested that I email him a copy of an earlier column in which I discussed Abbott Laboratories and Johnson & Johnson. And without preamble, I told him to stick it in his ... ear!
I can’t give you the personal advice you need, because, other than my feeling that your IQ may be only modestly higher than your age, I don’t know anything about you. Therefore, I suggest that you search for a professional adviser in San Antonio who can give you the ongoing counsel you definitely need. If you discuss your goals, needs, risk tolerances, investment experiences and personal finances with the right adviser, he/she can guide your investment decisions for the “best” of your life. Recognize that there are legions of suave incompetents who, like swarming locusts, are inexorably searching for chumps to feed on. Don’t be swayed by an engaging smile and silver tongue. It’s inordinately safer to hire an average money manager you can trust than one who claims to be a genius but who you think may not be trustworthy.
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