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 www.leedistad.com.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Getting Out of Debt October 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I know people that had money accidentally deposited into their account and guess what? They went out and spent it! How dumb is that. However, I had a coworker that was paid too much money and she went and spent it! Now that’s really dumb especially when you work in a place that doesn’t have overtime. They were garnishing her check forever. Yes, that’s how much she was overpaid.

I just couldn’t understand how these people could spend money that didn’t belong to them. I wouldn’t inquired about the error and returned it. I believe it’s just common sense.

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