The Market May Be Irrational, But You Shouldn’t Be

by Lee Distad

I woke up to a shock as I went online to check my banking.

On the screen, one of the equities in my account was showing a value of $47,025,120.00.

Yes, $47 million.

As delightful a fantasy as that is, I had no real temptation to print off the screen and go take out a loan — I knew something was wrong.

Turns out, the equity is in the process of being taken private, and sometimes when that happens, the stock units get mispriced as the back office software collates outstanding shares in the process of automatically buying them from shareholders.

I knew right away that it was a math error: a “divide by zero” type of thing, and that the bank’s software would correct itself as the purchase process winds along.

The money wasn’t real, so I wasn’t touching it.

Coincidentally, I’ve known more than one person to whom a bank error has delivered an apparent windfall. Most of us know that fairy tales aren’t real, but thankfully we don’t act like this guy, who reportedly gambled away £20,000 in two hours after finding money that had been mistakenly deposited in his bank account.

Look, there’s really no major life lesson here, beyond sharing a laugh and remembering that you should always look a gift horse in the mouth.

About the author: Lee Distad consults with CE integration firms on design, installation and project management processes and Best Practices, and offers provides professional copy writing services for websites, brochures, and marketing initiatives. Visit him at

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