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How did you first learn about investing?
Old 05-25-2019, 04:33 PM   #1
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How did you first learn about investing?

When I was in college, a big brokerage (Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith) offered free classes on the stock market. I thought that sounded interesting, so once a week I took the subway into their offices in Manhattan and took copious notes as they explained it all. I think the classes were two hours and I remember going weekly for at least a month, probably longer.

Learned about so many different aspects of investing that it kinda made my head swim. Of course I didn't have two nickels to rub together at the time so I couldn't put my newfound knowledge to work, but a great deal of the information stuck with me.

About 6 or 7 years later I guess I was considered affluent enough that I started getting cold calls from local brokers. I still remembered quite a bit of my early education, so I could go to the library and refresh my memory. Began by little investments in good dividend-paying utility stocks, and the game was afoot!

What was your introduction to the wonderful world under the buttonwood tree?

I thought growing old would take longer.
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:18 PM   #2
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A good friend was watching the new CNBC and buying tech stocks in the 90's. I followed along and promptly got crushed.

Enlightenment came five yrs later with introduction to Bogle/Malkiel/Fama. About eight years of that, along with furious saving, and I FIREd modestly.

And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:35 PM   #3
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My father was a minor bank executive and my grandparents were Scots so I learned key concepts from them - saving and the miracle of compounding (for and against) from DD and being frugal and LBYM from grandparents and reinforced by parents. I loved reading and it wasn't long before I found Bogle, Siegel, Berstein, Malkiel, Tobias, Swedroe, Schulthesis, Solin, Zweig, etc.
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:47 PM   #4
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My Dad was SVP at the first publicly traded mutual fund back in the 50's, He made me look up stock prices in the WSJ everyday when he got home from work. I guess it was all I ever knew! Glad he did it, as it sure beat the hell out of working for a living!
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:54 PM   #5
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Mid 80's I lived next to a guy that was in "high Tech" for the time. A spinoff I think from a local company. I bought a few shares and watch it bounce around $6-8 bucks. Sold after a few years. No good reason just wasn't going up much. Bought some Nike.It didn't do much for a couple years. Then they built the big campus and i thought here we go. My memory is it went up but not straight up. I just looked it up.I sold about 2000. See the vertical growth right after?

I had a IRA since the late 80's or early 90's. In Vanguard, but don't remember the fund. Wasn't really putting a lot in. Finally in '96 our boy was born and I had a **** just got real moment. Right at that time our business was taking off and that freed up some cash to dump in the market

edit to add: In about the 85ish time frame I invested some funds from a brokerage. It was a smallish national firm. But..they had front loads. After a year or so of seeing 95% of my money invested I'm like wrf I believe that is when I found Jack Bogle
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:14 PM   #6
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I was about 27 flying in the Navy and my room mate said "I'm going to invest everything in the Stock Market as soon as I get to a phone" (This was in 1980 and he had to wait for 3 weeks before we got to Hong kong and he could call his broker). I was just into CD's and I asked him about it. He then proceeded to tell me that Volker had whipped inflation and the markets were down sharply. They could only go up from there. I found some Money mags, and started doing research after that and went with his suggestions. Best advice I ever got.
Wild Bill shoulda taken more out of his IRA when he could have. . . .
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:22 PM   #7
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1957 an Aunt of my Dad died. A 'live in maid' in New York for most of her working years she left him about 10k in mutual funds. My Father knowing that stocks were evil courtesy 'The Great Depression' promptly sold and bought a house in town with sidewalks for 7.5k.

Even in the 7th grade I knew a log train mechanic made more than a maid in New York City. So I went to the Public Library (pop 6000) and found 'The Handbook of Mutual Funds.'

Having read sporadically on investments thru High School and College soon as I had a job I got a Dean Witter broker and began my investing reading and talking stocks with my like minded fellow employees. We engineers read the Wall Street Journal 'just knew we could master this'.

heh heh heh - Bogle's Folly is another fun story aka my success in getting to ER.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:29 PM   #8
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Soon after I became a Lieutenant my parents said, “Look into no-load mutual funds.” I had no idea what they were talking about. I went to the library and found one of Suze Orman’s books. I’m not a big fan of hers but I do have to thank her for setting me on the path! I opened my first CD, brokerage, and Roth accounts that year.
W*rking hard, enjoying life.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:31 PM   #9
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In the late 70's and early 80's when CD's paid ~15+%
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:47 PM   #10
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I "learned" about it on TV. Thuston Howell III, Gomez Addams, and the Dreyfus Fund lion walking out of the subway. Those things actually made a mark.

Moving along to the early 80's I was just starting to make "real" money. Was able to have some left every month consistently plus I had spent 2 remote tours in Alaska and saved pretty much my whole paycheck so I had a wad sitting in the bank. Began reading Money Kiplinger's, the NY times Sunday financial section. That was sort of the finishing touch I needed to follow up on Thurston, Gomez, and The Lion
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:26 PM   #11
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At about 30, I took a job at Schwab. I had an IRA and 401k already but had never really paid much attention to them. I was amazed at how obsessed my coworkers seemed about the market. My job didn't require any financial certifications, but it was easy to learn by osmosis.
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:50 PM   #12
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I learned from my dad at the age of 15, when I bought mt first stock. He was more into dividends, and I remember two stocks he owned; National Gypsum and US Pipe and foundry. When the dividend checks came in, we called them either a piece of wall board or a piece of pipe.
He was very conservative, but taught me how to read the stock pages. As time progressed, i became more aggressive in my investing. I have him to thank of where I am today.LR/FI
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:05 PM   #13
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Money, Kiplinger's, and Louis Rukeyser 30 yrs ago
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:10 PM   #14
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I 'knew' about investing from MBA classes but never put it together until a friend of mine was a metals market trader. Suddenly the ideas took an active form. Started with some (load!)mutual funds and a couple years later openned a trading account. Over two years I beat the S&P500 by a bit but discovered two important truths to my investment understanding 1) it was not worth my time for the attention I had to pay to this small test account (I didn't have a large amount to invest) and although I think I could figure out when to buy I really could not figure out when to sell. Sooooon to VG, underfunds and Wellesley and a couple others. Still do well enough in a small trading account but don't dwell on it and will be selling as need arises not market speculation.
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:48 PM   #15
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I started writing code in the financial services industry in the early 80s. I was pretty ignorant but doubled my knowledge quickly. I thought it was pretty awesome to own some stock and be paid to own it.

I learned from some pretty smart people who understood the industry. They taught me to invest when I was too ignorant to do it on my own. The Megacorp I worked for was contributing to a profit sharing account and paying the fee.

I'm fortunate enough to have been in the back offices and data centers for many large players in the industry. You really get a feel for who cares about their customers. There was only one company that ever called me out over an expense report that was over their daily rate. Ticked me off then, today I invest with them.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:33 PM   #16
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I didn’t learn anything about investing from my Dad, but I did learn to save a lot. I’m not sure exactly how I waded into investing but in the early years it was a combination of reading Peter Lynch, watching Rukeyser on PBS and Megacorp 401k guidance. But I do know exactly when I really got started investing, I went all in with everything we had the day after Black Monday in 1987. I later started to follow Bogle’s guidance and then still later remade our portfolio to closely follow Bernstein’s The Four Pillars of Investing when that came out around 2002, where I still remain somewhat. Other than my 401k, all my holdings were individual stocks until well into my 40’s, and my AA was 100% equities until my early 50’s, it’s much more conservative now that we’ve ‘won the game’ sorta. I was with a full service retail broker for the first 3 years or so, then Fidelity for about 10, and Vanguard for almost 20 years now.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:42 PM   #17
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1982 - newly married and saw many relatives that had earned good money retire in poverty. Went to the local library, checked out every investment book (they had about 5) and began the journey. Self-educated and determined to not end up a financial train wreck like so many in my family. Husband thinks I am a financial genius so it all worked out at least so far.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:05 PM   #18
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well, it wasn’t my idea. let me set the scene. very early 80's, we'd been married for 12-yrs. i grew up in a household where the 5% passbook was king. my wife's father and brother were into mutual funds but i don't recall knowing that at the time. we had good jobs, a nice life and no thoughts about a future that was a long ways off. at least i didn't.

opening the mail one day i find either a quarterly statement or maybe it was a transaction advice statement from 20th Century. my bro-in-law had convinced my wife to open an account without telling me. she knew i would likely be opposed. shocked is not the right word...very, very worried was more like it but i trusted my wife and together we decided to see what would happen.

when the world didn't end and after a chat or two with my BIL we decided to start what i didn't know then was dollar cost averaging every month. that went on for a year and still the world didn't end. we expanded into other funds within 20th, then other brokerages. i started reading and learning. then traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, later, 457b plans at work, balancing, re-balancing, asset allocation, yadda, yadda, yadda. some mistakes but nothing fatal. no brokers or advisors...we did it all ourselves.

we were steady and regular investors though out the years watching the magic of compound interest and re-investing dividends. we were both nervous during the downturns in '87, the dot-com bubble and '07/'08 but we hung on and rode them out. we had been 100% debt free for several years paying off the 15-yr mortgage in 2002, 3-yrs early. prior to that we had been free of CC debt since 1972 and paying cash for cars since 1990. that freed up a lot of cash for investing.

we had talked about retiring early for several years and i had been keeping a spreadsheet tracking and projecting income and expenses. i had no idea that FIRE or FIRECALC existed but my projections looked very good so....we both pulled our respective plugs in '05 and '06 at age 55 with zero debt, DB pensions and a low 7-figure net worth. two-years later the recession hit but because we had been through this before and our plan/projections were solid we weren't fazed. by 2010 we had not only recovered what we lost 3-yrs earlier we were way ahead. today we're 13/14-years into retirement, still no debt, still living way beneath our means on our pensions and SS.

i give my wife full and complete credit for everything. had she not opened that first account we wouldn't be where we are today. we just celebrated 49-yrs of marriage (51-yrs if you count high school). life is good.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:17 PM   #19
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My father. He got into stocks in the 60's with a broker. Won some, lost some. He started buying mutual funds and dumped the broker. Everything was done by mail with the mutual fund companies back then. Lots of paper.

He used to go to SF to buy treasuries at the auction, although that might have been later in the 70's or early 80's. Somewhere in a box I haven't gotten to yet are binders of Value Line publications probably from the 70's or 80's. Louis Rukeyser showed up on PBS about the time I got out of high school and we watched that every Friday evening.

I think I got my first mutual fund when I was in college. My aunt died and I was the beneficiary of a small life insurance policy. I sold that in 1984 to buy a house. By then I was employed by a government agency and opened an IRA in addition to the DB pension. So I had some mutual fund accounts, one of which was an IRA. The IRA was funded every year without fail.

I was in a real estate related field and I knew people that did well in real estate investing. I started buying rentals in 1996. My father was in his 70's by then and was not excited about that. Leverage and patience worked for me, despite making some mistakes along the way.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:24 PM   #20
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My parents were immigrants from Ukraine after World War II. I remember my father urging me to buy a house when I was still a university student. He had two rental properties and felt real estate was the key to a secure life...along with a good education.

I did not want to buy a house because I was still a student and did not know what or where I would be living after I graduated.

My first year teaching in a small town, a good friend convinced me to buy some penny stock. He worked in a local movie house and fancied himself a young investor. So I borrowed two thousand dollars from the bank and we both invested in some movie stock. The following year he convinced me to go into partnership with him in a rental house. I found a great rooming type house but he could not qualify for a mortgage. My dad thought it was a good investment, he lent me the 2000 dollars for a down payment cosigned for the loan and I rented the house out and made payments. The following year, I moved back to Edmonton, moved into my house and enjoyed being a homeowner with all the work and worry.

Four years later, I was married, living in another house with my husband and young baby. We had a VCR at the time and taped a show called Louis Rukeyser on PBS. We would watch that show and start learning about investing in the stock market. Before then I was just concerned with getting an education, learning my profession and paying down a mortgage. Investing in the stock market was something rich older people did. But this show was very informative and piqued our curiosity. A few years later a good friend convinced us to invest in something funds. And all of a sudden there was so much information available. Money magazine, and other investment publications. Investment shows on television. Information was readily available and gosh darn...they made it look so easy. Double your money in seven years was a great slogan. Freedom 55.. RRSP's. So many vehicles to save and invest.

For 30 years we had a rising economy. No matter what you invested your money in...chances were good you made money. Then the Teck crash....and the big 2008 crash. Huge quantitative easement payments to keep everything from crashing. It has been a wild ride the last 10 years and I do not think we are out of the woods.

Today, we are near the end of our working lives. We have been invested in the stock market in a big way due to our work pensions and personal investments. But the economy that floated the investments of the boomers is winding down and since I do not have a crystal ball planning on what to invest for the future is getting more and more iffy every day. What to invest in? Uber, cryptocurrencies? Land? Traditional stocks such as utilities and real estate? All up in the air.

But the values that got us below our means....will still be the values going forward. I think I will invest in my health and my spirituality. The rest will have to look after itself. Thanks for the great question.

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