Monday, December 22, 1997

A Rookie's Fribble
by JimSOhio (

I am a cheapskate. I know it. My friends know it. (Boy, do they know it.) So when I made up my mind actually to put some money in the market, I was probably as surprised as anyone. But we're talking very small sums here, and very modest goals. I take a portion of what I consider to be disposable income, and instead of putting it in a passbook savings account, or short-term CD, I act like a true capitalist and invest it. My only goal is to outperform the going CD rates, about 6%. Not too tough, right? Well, since I don't have a big wad of cash to set up a brokerage account, I get one without a minimum deposit, but with bigger commissions. So now I not only have to beat the CDs, I also have to make up for the transaction costs. In other words, for a guy whose total investment is likely to total less than $1,000, I've got my work cut out for me.

I'm trying to do this right, or shall we say, Foolishly. I go with business sectors I know. I look at both the history and the future of prospective buys as far the data allows. I try to make sense of the numbers, and look at what the marketplace might be like in three to five years. I can't afford to be a day-trader. So what have I done so far? I've taken a small position in precious metals mining. That's my hedge in case all you bulls are wrong. Plus, $100 goes a long way in that business these days. Next is consumer products, then a utility. And if I do my job right, in ten years or so, I'll be able to buy my little plot of woods and build a cabin on it.

But I've already gotten part of my return -- in education. If every person could feel the rush of enthusiasm I did when I bought my first stock, or take pleasure in absorbing mind-numbing piles of data… if every person could feel like they were a part of the economic machine, and not a victim of it, how might our perspective and our lives be different? With chest proudly puffed out (and my investment down by about $3.00), I say, Fool on, America!

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