People often ask me how I became a municipal bond analyst, as if to say how did you contract this terrible disease? Since no one asks doctors, lawyers or business tycoons how they became what they are, I sometimes feel resentment at this question. Imagine people asking, "Mr. Trump, how did you decide to become a real estate magnate?" I could imagine the Donald reflecting for a moment. "Well, first I considered being a muni bond analyst," he replies. "But I decided that the potential for philosophical gratification and self-realization in that, ah... profession, was not, well, what I had come to expect."

Usually I'm bored with this topic, so when someone asks that question (I stopped years ago trying to explain what I do to someone outside the financial community), I simply state that I was born a muni analyst. That cuts the conversation short, with the questioner nodding in apparent understanding. I can see the thoughts flickering across the faces of these people. "Of course," they are thinking. "What a terrible burden to carry through life. Amazing that he turned out so well - considering."

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