Golf and the Municipal Market

"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated: it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and is without a doubt the greatest game mankind ever invented." – Arnold Palmer

As anyone who has played the game of golf knows, it can be both fun and frustrating at the same time. While it may look easy to someone unfamiliar with the game – after all, what's so hard about hitting a stationary ball of a well-groomed surface in a wide-open environment, with a few distractions and no time limit? Yet, as any golfer knows it's not nearly as easy as it looks. Even the best, most experienced golfers hit errant shots that land in sand traps, go out of bounds, get lost in the rough, and even, on occasion, hit spectators. Understanding and perfecting the mechanics of the golf swing is challenging enough, but mastering the mental aspect can be even more difficult. A love-hate relationship with the game of golf is not unusual, even among those who play if often.

Investing is like golf at times. It can be both simple and complicated; satisfying when things go well and frustrating when they don't. Yet, one of the most rewarding endeavors ever, particularly for those who can master the mental aspect. These truisms apply to all types of investing, of course, but particularly so for those who invest in the fixed income markets. For an asset class in which the dual objectives of principal safety and income are dominant, investing can seem overly complicated, particularly the municipal market which is primarily the focus of individuals rather than institutions.

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