Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Lessons My Father Taught Me


Dad died last year. He was 89. The varied riches he left me were personal, spiritual, useful. How he taught me about investing came about oddly.

Several strokes and loss of his vision had threatened to separate Dad from following the market. This depressed him. Following the market had allowed him to feel some connection to contemporary life.

As Dad's primary caregiver, I became the one who would help him deal with this loss -- me, the singer-dancer-poor-math-student-number-hating-Pisces-person! Under Dad's specific instruction, I began. First, he had me order Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Next, he had me make huge charts of all his stock positions and separate charts for stocks we should follow. Every day he had me fill in changing prices, read him relevant news items, and discuss strategies.

At first I (silently) hated all the numbers/money stuff. I had been a philosophy and music major. The market bored me. But something funny happened in the process of trying to keep my father connected to his interests. It became interesting to me!

Two years ago, I picked my own Foolish five: MacDonald's, Lucent, Alltell, PSIX, and Ford. Alltell was originally 360 Communications, which I bought for $16 a share. Today it's $65. PSIX, I bought at $20, today it's $45. MacDonald's and Ford are also doing well. Lucent is my favorite and my largest position.

Thanks, Dad.

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