Tuesday, March 2, 1999

My Daughter, The Fool

by Chile Doctor

My daughter turned nineteen on October 4, 1998. She bought her first house
on December 15, 1998. She's more a Fool than her Dad is. I'm still renting, for crying out loud!

So how did this all start anyway? When my daughter, Alana, was five she was like every other kid. Dad could do no wrong, and he knew everything there was to know. Dad also had limitless resources and could buy her anything her little heart desired. And whatever Dad couldn't manage, well, there was always Santa. He always managed to come through somehow, no matter what the economic indicators were at the North Pole.

It was about this time that she started to go fly-fishing with me and my buddies. She also wanted to have a little money of her own to spend. A deal was struck. Her job was to keep the campsite clean and she could have all the pop and beer bottles and cans (mostly beer, since we were fishing!). Refunds on pop cans go for $.05 each and beer cans $.10 each up here in Canada. After the first two trips she cashed in about $35 or $40. I didn't know it at the time, but a Fool was born!

A good fly fisherman pays a lot of attention to the details at hand, while watching the surrounding area for changes that will affect the fishing. She was a great fly fisherman. She realized that the fishermen in other campsites drank beer, too! Why not see if she could have their empties as well? Now she was bringing in $40-$50 a trip!

Dad and the guys have fishing derbies for the first, most, and biggest fish. She asked if she could enter. By the time she was seven she had to prove she was entering with her own money or the guys wouldn't let her in. She always won at least one, and usually two of the three categories. She started bringing home $100- $125 a trip. She even bought her own little boat and electric motor so she could fish more.

By this time she could spot a can from a block away. She never left the house without a plastic bag to throw her booty in. She always kept an eye on her surroundings for opportunities. By age nine she had made more than $2000 -- just from picking up bottles and cans! My little Fool!

It became time for the next step. I opened an account for her with a full-service
broker (every parent is allowed a mistake) to teach her about investing. She sold out of her first position for a 300% profit (I held on for an 80% return), took the money and ran.

At eleven she tried to buy her first piece of property. A friend had a cabin for sale on an island near here. It was rented out. "Hey Dad, couldn't that rent help pay for it? What's a mortgage?" He sold it to another friend. She still hasn't forgiven him.

Next came that girl thing -- the pony. "Ok, you buy the pony and Dad will help with the board." Dad ended up moving onto acreage. She just sold her 8th horse and made money on every one while enjoying herself at the same time.

Was everything rosy? No way. She gave birth to a little boy when she was 15. She still graduated with honors and won university scholarships. She has lived on her own with her son since she graduated. She and his dad just got married. They split the down payment on the new house and got a certain Dad to co-sign. They've already put in a suite downstairs. They'll do just fine. The Fools!

Oh, and my grandson? I saw him picking up a couple of beer cans the other day! Watch out Fools!

[Start your kids on the path to Foolishness early. Send them to our Young Fools area.]

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