A few years ago, I decided to open an IRA. Although there are tax advantages to an IRA, that was not the reason I opened it. If I was only interested in tax sheltering, I can reduce my taxes more by putting the same amount into my deferred compensation account.
The main reason I set up an IRA was to give myself more choice in where I invested my money. My deferred compensation account offers many providers and each provider has many investment choices. But none of them provided what I was looking for.
And what I was looking for was an investment opportunity that allowed me to put my money where my personal interest is: gaming. I figure that since I visit Vegas regularly, I should put my money into gaming. Then, I’d at least recoup some of my losses….. 😉
That was easier thinking than doing because I was looking for a mutual fund rather than the hassle of investing in individual stocks. After some Google searching, I was finally able to identify exactly one mutual fund that included gaming. But it was not limited to gaming; it included three other industries: alcohol, tobacco, and defense. It was named the Vice Fund (although I’m not sure why defense qualifies as a vice).
Now I don’t drink, smoke or support any military action taken by the government since the end of the Second World War (and that includes not supporting the Korean intervention). But I decided to invest in a fund that buys only stocks in companies involved with “bets, booze, butts and bombs.”
Thinking about each category, I saw the wisdom of “bundling” them into one mutual fund. Alcohol, for example, seems to me to be profitable. When times are good, folks celebrate with a drink. When times are not so good, folks drown their worries with a drink. Ka-ching!
Then there’s tobacco. While taxes and health concerns may be reducing cigarette sales in the Western world, cigarettes are big in the rest of the world. Especially Asia, where smoking is widespread. Ka-ching!
Gaming is also very popular in Asia and seems to be ever expanding in the U.S. Ka-ching!
Finally, there’s defense. Seems the U.S. just cannot stop itself from regularly fighting dragged out overseas boondoggles. The military needs bullets, bombs, etc. Look at the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan. They were not the first foolish military adventures, nor will they be the last. Ka-ching!
The virtue of vice has been evident. Yes, I took a bath when the stock market underwent a… correction. But when I checked the Vice Fund’s year to date performance last Friday there was this fact: an almost 14% increase in value since January. That was a much better performance than four of the five different mutual funds my deferred compensation account holds. Those four had less than 10% increase and only one had more than 10%.
So for those of you who like to visit casinos, who smoke, who drink, and/or who support interminable military interventions overseas, I thank you for your support!
Here’s what the Huffington Post said about the Vice Fund.