If only we could travel through time when making investment decisions — go back and purchase Apple at $75 a share or fast-forward into the future to see if that biotech company you have your eye on makes the next big breakthrough. If only… Well, since we can’t bend the space-time continuum, let’s do the next best thing and transport ourselves into the Star Trek universe to see what kind of role models some of our favorite space travelers would be in the world of finance.
“Risk… is… why… we’re out here.”
-Capt. James T. Kirk
Jim Kirk never saw a risk that wasn’t worth taking, and he has no problem rolling the dice with his money if there’s any hope at all of winning big. Junk bonds, speculative stocks, and emerging markets don’t phase this intrepid captain one bit. Stock options, penny stocks, bitcoin, tribble futures — no problem. Our favorite day-trading swashbuckler may even try to time the market and buy a few stocks on margin when he has a gut feeling. But, before you put all your faith in the captain and blast “warp speed” into the nearest hedge fund, remember things don’t always work out well for him in the end. After all, Kirk never did make it off of Veridian III in the seventh movie (no, the prequel doesn’t count).
“Live long and prosper.”
We like the way this guy thinks. And the way we see it, if Spock wasn’t a science officer, he might have been a pretty darn good financial advisor. Spock would take a very reasoned and logical approach to mapping out his investment plan. Target date retirement funds appeal to his logical nature, as do tax efficient investment strategies, because nothing makes more sense to a Vulcan than surefire tax savings. So Spock is a big fan of muni bonds and index funds, which have historically performed well and may offer greater tax efficiency than more actively managed funds. And since he intends to live long and prosper, Spock carefully considers annuities that could support a comfortable retirement on Vulcan.
“I’m a doctor not a magician.”
-Dr. Leonard McCoy
Clearly Bones isn’t expecting a lot when it comes to his investment returns. And he doesn’t much believe in taking chances with life or the stock market. McCoy plays it safe — give him a high-yield money market account, and maybe some laddered CDs, and he’s basically all set. Sensing the possibility of trouble down the road, Bones maintains a strong cash position and rumor has it he’s stashing some C-notes under his mattress just in case. McCoy will sit out on risking his money in the stock market, and as a result he risks having inflation eat away at his future spending ability. However, knowing the potentially disastrous impact of high medical bills in this century, he long ago purchased long-term care insurance to help pay for any unexpected medical costs that could detract from future earnings.
So which one of these sci-fi icons best matches your investment style? Well, before you go “all in” on any one approach, remember that when Kirk, Spock and Bones worked together, they always beat the Klingons. And there’s probably a role for each of them in a successful investment portfolio.