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Hedge Fund Cowboy: Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home


Hedge-fund manager bids farewell to greedy pursuit of outrageous fortune.

Slaving away under coma-inducing florescent lights, listening to the ceaseless droning of automaton bosses, watching our best years crushed under stacks of monthly bills - All have distinct benefits.

After all, when it's over we get to let it all go, head south, lounge in the Floridian sun, sip piña coladas and field visits from begrudging grandkids while our skin prunes, our hair falls out, and our bodies generally deteriorate. Finally, we return to that happy place where someone else gives us baths and spoon-feeds liquefied pears into our toothless mouths.

Unless, of course we get our grubby little paws on a little f&%k-you money in the interim. Then we can offer the world the finger while riding off into the proverbial sunset.

One hedge funder, Andrew Lahde, manager of the small California fund that made headlines by making over 1000% betting against subprime mortgages, is taking his blood money and going home.

Last week, he released a letter explaining his decision, mocking those he took money from, and thanking the "people stupid enough to take the other side of [his] trades."

Lahde admits that "some people... might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards." He's leaving the business he now abhors.

Lahde lauds the creation of a new world order, free of the rotten values of our failed capitalist state, while extolling the virtues of hemp, the much-maligned sibling of its more popular -- and more enjoyable -- sister, marijuana. According to Lahde, hemp, "unlike alcohol, does not result in bar fights or wife-beating."

He appears to be one of the few who are successful enough, and disciplined enough, to know when enough is enough. However, his success did come at a cost: "I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past 2 years, as well as my entire life."

ING (ING), the ubiquitous orange-tinted Dutch bank, runs an ad campaign that asks savers the slightly alarming question, "What's your [retirement] number?" Retirement, it seems, could be just a mouse-click away.

Ask any banker, or aspiring investment banker, and they have a number too.

But that number doesn't include years of working for the man, adhering to antiquated populist notions like "putting in your time" or "paying your dues."

Instead, such a pursuit often requires abandoning such luxuries as "personal time" or "vacations" or "family" while biting, scratching and kicking through the ranks of Goldman Sachs (GS) or Merrill Lynch (MER) in the hopes of reaching that pedestal from which money can snatched from the trees upon which it's rumored to grow - assuming that trees can grow anywhere in lower Manhattan.

Most, much to their chagrin, never do set sail on that 72-foot Hatteras Motor Yacht, complete with scantily clad South American models (of the gender of their choice) hanging off the bow.

Indeed, as deflation takes hold, the social mood shifts away from consumerism and we collectively realize that it is indeed possible to be happy with less, rather than more, Lahde may simply be the first in a long line of pilgrims headed toward a simpler life.
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