A Word In Your Ear with Jon Rhodes - June 16, 2011

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FOLLOWERS of slick Hollywood drama will know all about Gordon Gekko.

He of the sharp suits, and even sharper “greed is good” and “lunch is for wimps” patter, which made the film Wall Street such an iconic 1980s hit.

On the flip side readers of this weekly column will know I am the polar opposite of Michael Douglas’s seminal movie character.

His ability to create wealth, albeit fictitious wealth, was as impressive as mine is to lose cash on a monthly basis.

Deep down, I’ve always fancied dabbling in the stock market, it’s just a lack of cashflow and knowledge of the fineries of the stock exchange (all right, a bit of insider information) which have stopped me.

So imagine my surprise when that most frugal controller of household finances – namely The Put Upon Wife – announced boldly “I think we should buy some shares.”

To be honest, I thought she said eclairs because the closest thing we have had to stocks in our house comes branded by Oxo and Bisto. But no, she was deadly serious.

When probed on where she would be placing part of our platinum overdraft, she then announced we would be investing in a little known Norwegian solar panel company, currently operating out of Singapore.

“Oh, your dad’s company then,” I said, with a knowing feeling of dread, King Tat had got to her.

Tat is of course my father-in-law, the man ready to take a punt on almost anything, be it a canal cruiser (although he had never sailed before), a TV from a bloke called Brendan he met outside his local Spar, and now sinking cash into the company he happens to work for as engineer/purveyor of comedy Taiwanese cigarette lighters .

Before I could say “we’ll think about it”, we had splashed out on a “sure thing” and were just one more buy away from boasting a shares portfolio.

It all started off so well with the wife and Tat keeping me informed on a daily basis how our shares were doing, telling me how much profit we were making. That all strangely stopped about six weeks ago when I realised this crack father and daughter financial team had moved onto other topics of conversation, and our Norwegian friends were suddenly no longer in vogue.

I decided to investigate and, to my horror, although it was to be expected, the shares were worth a third of what they were originally.

“Shares can go up as well as down,” I am reliably informed, but I have a bad feeling about this.

But should I be surprised it all went pear-shaped?

As I said, me and Gordon Gekko are complete opposites.

“Greed is right, greed works,” he says – well not for me and the wife (oh and the father-in-law).