Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.
“Now that the market is down, you may wish to get into the market,” my financial adviser advised. We were communicating via telephone.
“What?” I replied. When my financial adviser had called, I had not recognized her voice because I had been EQing a snare drum. I do not excel at EQing snare drums. EQing a snare drum requires my full attention. Thus, when I am EQing a snare drum, I do not have spare attention to devote to identifying my financial adviser’s voice, especially since, until that moment, my financial adviser had never called me.
“You are familiar with the subprime mortgage crisis?” my financial adviser pressed.
“Peripherally,” I replied. I forego the use of adverbs in one-word replies but, in this case, thought doing so appropriate.
“As you may have read, the subprime crisis is rippling through the globe’s financial markets,” my financial adviser explained. “The NYSE, NASDAQ, Dow Jones, FTSE, and Tokyo Stock Exchange have had us on a roller coaster ride. Housing prices are in the toilet, and September employment reports may prove none too promising. Many traders fear long-term economic recession and, like so many sheep, will be exiting the market.”
“The herd’s flight impulse in understandable,” I remarked.
“Perhaps,” my financial adviser said. “However, it is in your financial interest to go against the herd. Those exiting the market will be parting with their assets at bargain-basement prices. In the long-term, their assets are undervalued. You should take advantage of their fear and, in the long-term, profit from it. What say you?”
I considered my position as an economic actor in the postindustrial economy. I was being presented with an opportunity to buy low, sell high—-the hallmark of any profitable economic transaction. Though excited by the prospect of “making a killing,” I wondered about my financial adviser’s motives in contacting me. Though my adviser worked for a corporate firm and would always represent their interests before my own, I did not suspect her of any fraud or foul play. Instead, I wondered why she had become a financial adviser. Had she been motivated by a high salary? Did the unpredictable ups and downs of the global financial marketplace—-and the never-ending quest to, against all odds, predict that behavior—-captivate her? Did she satisfy some philanthropic urge by helping the irresponsible masses manage their money? Or had she fallen into her current position after a failed career as a cab driver, nurse, CEO, or donut-maker? Yet, I knew my financial adviser only as my financial adviser, and neither of us wished our relationship would grow, mature, or evolve. I could not ask her “deep” questions, and the information I sought remained unknowable.
“I will need some weeks to ponder your proposal,” I replied. Then, I remembered that my financial adviser had recently gone on vacation. “Did you enjoy your recent vacation?” I queried.