DOW up 150 points, Nasdaq up 57, my portfolio down a few dollars. What the heck is happening? During the past two years when it seems like everyone has been making a killing in the market, my net worth has dropped. Of course I've also outspent my salary, but that is another story. My investments should be increasing in value along with most everyone else's investments. I'm reasonably diversified according to my broker, so where have I gone wrong?

To make matters worse, I had to pay capital gains tax this year on a portfolio of stocks and funds that are worth less than they were a year ago. Would someone explain that to me? Stop the market, I want to get off.

Not only have I diversified my investments, I have diversified the management of my investments. A professional broker manages some of my investments, I manage some of them, and I try to follow the advice of a few "expert" friends of mine with other investments. I'm doing poorly in all areas.

Six months ago I was desperate and followed a "hot tip" from a former student of mine who worked for a large investments firm. I purchased the penny stock he recommended. I read up on the company and it sounded like it was well established and had potential. I bought it at $0.47 a share. He said it would be in the two-dollar range before long. It promptly dropped to $.12 and has been hovering there ever since. My "friend" has since realized his ineptitude in the investment area and quit his job. Now he is installing hardwood floors.

Next, a finance professor friend of mine, who shall remain nameless in case I have to kill him, told me of a good solid company stock that was not speculative, and selling for below value. I purchased it at $10 a share and have subsequently lost 20% of my investment.

The only smart thing I did was to sell some funds and buy real estate. That property has appreciated, but I have to pay real estate tax on it every year, so those gains are being eaten away by the government even before I can sell it and realize a profit. When I do sell it I will have to pay capital gains, so I may be worse off in the end.

What have I learned from all of this? I've learned that I had better spend it before I lose it. That means I won't be able to retire when I reach the age where everyone else is retiring. Big deal. I like my job, it gives me lots of time off, and I can work until I die. Bottom line: I'm going to have fun and stop worrying about what the DOW is doing, or whether my stocks are up or down. No more investing for my future - I'm investing in my present. So, if any of you single women out there are looking for a good time, come help me spend it before I lose it. Of course I do expect some return on my investment.