After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

One of the reasons that I love my shares is because they are so easy to look after and manage.

Sure you get the occasional kick in the goolies but over the long term, they can reward you very well.

Even a dog requires more management and thought-consuming time than holding shares, as all you new COVID lockdown designer owners are about to find out.

Spending $5000 on a dog, which has been interbred to suit the owner’s own desires, will inevitably test the bonds of friendship when the vet bills start to mount up.

They know what you spent. They will play with your heartstrings whilst emptying your wallet and putting you into an emotional spin.

People always ask me what advice I would give to a wet behind the ears daytrader and it is always, “get yourself a dog”.

Not a new one, but one from the pound.

This way you have managed to save one from death and in return you will get unconditional love and someone who will listen to your frustration when all your trades go wrong.

If they do become ill (emotional dog lovers look away now), you can always get another one to replace it, for free. No insurance policy needed!
 

Shares vs dogs

Now with shares, you don’t have to buy insurance in case they burn down, flood or get broken into. You don’t need to find a tenant or pay rates or any strata fees.

You can negatively gear them and if you get a good one, it will pay dividends, with no 8% management or Airbnb fee.

Also you don’t need to find a sober, non-smoking and honest cleaner to rely on every time someone pays to stay in your house.

Dividends can also include a tax credit and if you need to raise the odd 10 grand (designer dog emergency operation, kids wailing), you can cash out part of your holding and get cleared funds within three days.

Try selling just the bathroom in your investment property to calm the family down, in an emotional mercy dash.

I was lucky enough to discover shares and all their benefits, having left school at 16 and gone straight into broking.

Others find it hard to compare them with property (especially in Australia), though we never had a permanent holiday home, we would just rent one or become friends with someone who owned a nice one.

That way we were never stuck going to the same place year after year.

Same goes for boats. Better to rent one for a few hours and hand it back than suffer all the agro that a tub floating in a sea of acid creates.
 

Something about a man’s home, something about castles

There used to be a ‘nouveau riche’ trader whose biggest boast to all the women hanging around the bar was that he owned an apartment in every major European city in the world.

He thought these were great assets to own. All I could think about was all of those keys.

How do you manage, like, 15 sets of keys and the cleaning and rates and the bills? And this was pre-internet and smartphones.

Apparently, Barings Bank gave him his own assistant, just to manage his collection of follies. I met him once and thought he was a knob. After he blew himself up trading exotic derivatives, they sacked him and his assistant.

Then this week I discovered that another wealthy person has joined my cult, disposed of all major physical possessions and gone to cash and shares.

Then he did something that even Mrs Broker has steadfastly refused to do – sold the family home and moved into a tiny house. One of these tiny houses:

The newest member of my cult is none other than Elon Musk, the US$115bn man, and even though I have never managed to call one of my children anything like X Æ A-12 (pronounced, as we all know, as X-Ash-A-12), we still welcomed him into the cult with open arms.

Over the last year, Elon has sold over seven properties, listing all of his properties on Zillow as “for sale by owner” for a combined value of $137 million after vowing in a tweet to get rid of most of his physical possessions.

Even his tiny house is rented and comes on its own trailer.

So, as the shackles of COVID start to thaw, think about all of your possessions and how they possess the time you have left on this planet.

The kids don’t care about what they inherit and will sell what they can, as soon as they can. You may as well do it for them and then race them to the bottom of the barrel.

I’m still stalling on Mrs Brokers argument about where do you fit the wine cellar in a house on wheels that measures just 375 square meters, though I bet Elon doesn’t drink, which is probably why he owns a few more 000s than me.

Could make a great man cave at the bottom of the garden, according to me. Or an ideal dog house for me, according to you know who.

Either way, I think I know where my next holiday will be.

The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected]

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.