[FYI: I know it’s Mean Week, but here’s something not mean. Bryan Charles’s memoir will be published by Open City Books in November. New York folks, Charles reads with Ed Park at the KGB Bar on Wednesday, 10/27. – JT]
I received a box of business cards that said BRYAN A. CHARLES, STAFF WRITER. I sent one to my mother and she was delighted. I started reading the Wall Street Journal and various financial websites, learning the biz. I made sure Clara saw the Journal open on my desk every morning. Occasionally if I felt comfortable I’d mention an article or some topic of interest to the markets generally. I ran drafts of my “Thinking Primarily About Mutual Funds” piece by Peter, the senior writer. He was in his early thirties, had been at the game a while, and had a great gift. Peter could open his mouth and speak fully formed marketing sentences. But there was an irony in his manner that subtly conveyed the absurdity of our task. Peter taught me that financial services involved pushing and repackaging and reselling the same few concepts: diversification, buying a new home, saving for your children’s college education or your own retirement. But the bedrock tenets of financial marketing were stressing the importance of taking a long-term view and encouraging investors to consult financial advisors.