Investing: Like moths to a flame - MoneySense

Investing: Like moths to a flame

Investors line up to buy a joke investment that’s guaranteed to go bust.


Are you interested in an ETF that promises to “go bankrupt within the course of most trading days” and offers “an efficient way  to vaporize profits”? No? Then you’re in the minority.

When financial author Jason Kelly wrote a satirical press release on his website announcing the launch of such funds from Kelly Capital, he was dismayed  to find that not only did most respondents think they were real—they wanted to buy them.

In his release, Kelly  announced two ETFs with 100x leveraging. The first offers 10,000% of the daily performance of the NASDAQ 100 Index (ticker: SOAR), the other offers 10,000% of the inverse daily performance (ticker: SINK).

Kelly says he only meant to poke fun at the deluge of unnecessary financial products being targeted at gullible investors. However, of the 300 investors who wrote to Kelly, 65% of them expressed an interest in buying the products, and strangely, 5% thought they already held the investments. Only 30% realized it was a joke.

“What this little experiment tells me is that most people are dangerous to their own money,” says Kelly. “I consider it to be  a proven fact that the majority of individual investors will do better over the long haul by just indexing and adding more money to  that account on a regular basis. Beyond that, they’re using investing to get thrills they should get from gambling.”