This Day On The Street
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Lenny Dykstra Takes a Swing at Wall Street

I was known for playing baseball very aggressively, and my trading style is the same -- I'm forever seeking a competitive edge. But becoming a winner in the crucible of Wall Street wasn't a goal, a hobby or even a passing interest; for me, it was a necessity.

After the bloody post-2000 market crash, I found the value of my brokerage account cut in half and realized I'd paid dearly for some miserable "advice." In fact, it was that crash that gave me the drive to fire my brokers, move my money to the safe harbor of a passbook account and head for spring training with all the vigor of a teenage phenomenon gunning for the big leagues.

My thirst for knowledge about the market was slaked by the daily briefings of more than 30 newsletters, plus an unusual trade: private baseball tutoring from me for one-on-one coaching from a leading trading expert. I peppered my newfound mentor with questions until I was certain I had the necessary edge to win. The ability to barter baseball expertise for expert tutoring in investing -- encompassing virtually everything from moving averages to the potentially treacherous world of options -- was perhaps my best investment to date. I am thankful to this gentleman (who shall remain nameless) for his expert tutelage.

I also take Warren Buffett's advice to heart: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful." I have Mr. Buffett's quote taped on my computer.

In the year I spent learning about the market and its many nuances, I determined that one of the major flaws in most brokers' style is a lack of diversity in their so-called diversified blue-chip funds. In understanding what went wrong with my brokerage account, I came to realize that the "first class" mutual funds that I was put into, from different fund families, nearly all invested in the same stocks. So, for example, when Sun Microsystems (SUNW) or AOL went down, all my funds went down.
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