I never cease to amaze myself with the depth of my ignorance. Just the other day two wildly different examples cropped up. The first involved a small holding the Old Bat has in a unit trust. Said trust wants to change its rules so that it can invest in derivatives amongst othet things. Personally, I just want to run a mile from any such investment, but that might be simply because I have no idea what derivatives are. I always associate them with the riskier side of investment on the stock market but I am more than willing to be corrected if I am wrong.
That said, it does seem to me that almost any investment on the stock market is on a par with an investment in a one-arm bandit. My experience is not quite the same as that of Mr Buffett. The most sophisticated type of deal I have ever made on the stock market - or, for that matter, understood - is stagging. I did make quite a bit of money doing that. I'm not sure if it is still done, but back in the days when I worked for a bank there were two of us at one branch who got into this in quite a big way. It involved applying to buy shares that were being issued by a company which was going to be traded on the stock exchange. One applied for the shares in the hope that a number would be issued and they could be sold as soon as the company was quoted on the stock exchange and the share price was higher than the issue price. I say I got into this in a big way but I am really talking about investments of £100 or so and profits of perhaps £20 a time.
When my grandmother died she left me a sum of cash - I think it was about £1,500 or so. I decided to split this (then) largish sum in half. One half would be invested in speculative shares, the other half in a safe, blue chip company. As luck would have it, the gambles paid off, but the safe blue chip? I chose Rolls Royce, which promptly went belly up and lost me £750! Since then I have been a rare and reluctant investor.
But to get back to the subject: my ignorance. The second example was my sighting of a small, brown flying object, butterfly or moth. I knew not which it was. Which led me to muse that I don't know the difference between a moth and a butterfly. I had always thought that moths fly at night, butterflies during the day, but now I know that to be incorrect. I suppose that is one step forward - but I really must look it up.