I'm about to put my money where my big mouth is. Carrie and I invest, mostly in index funds and ETFs, every month through Sharebuilder, which allows fractional purchases of shares in stocks and funds for a flat monthly fee.
The vast majority of our modest monthly stake goes into a total-market index fund and an aggregated bond fund.
But I'm going to make a modest investment in a stock portfolio -- a mini-fund of my own making, if you will -- called "White Trash and Minor Vices" (motto: don't beat your wife, beat the Dow) the constituent stocks of which are:
- BFB - Brown-Forman Corp. Cl B
Holding company for distilleries that produce Jack Daniel's, Early Times, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, and others. Recently acquired a major stake in a Mexican tequila manufacturer.
- BUD - Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.
Brewer of cheap domestic beer; owner of theme parks.
- CHB - Champion Enterprises Inc.
Major manufacturer of mobile homes and modular buildings.
- F - Ford Motor Co. and GM - General Motors Corp.
Contrarian picks to be sure, but here's the key: GM's share of U.S. pickup truck sales is 38.2%. Chrysler has 16.4% of the market. FordMotor Co. has 36.5%.
GM is in talks to acquire Chrysler. Enough said.
- IGT - International Game Technology
Designers and manufacturers of the most sophisticated video gaming machines (slot machines, video poker) on the market; they own the supply lines for low-end gambling.
- KO - Coca-Cola Co.
Fizzy, flavored, caffeinated water.
- MCD - McDonald's Corp.
Supersize me. I'm lovin' it.
- MO - Altria Group Inc.
Holding company for Philip Morris USA and Kraft Foods, among others. Marlboros and Velveeta, baby. Spinning off Kraft on 30 March 2007.
- WMT - Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
One-stop shopping for lower-middle America.
(Possibly coming soon: a "Freaks and Geeks" portfolio, including Apple, Google and Starbucks.)