Friday, June 11, 1999

Maybe I Am Interested After All


I have always disliked the stock market. It has confused me for years to say the least. My Father loves it and follows it daily. He started investing in the market in 1948. Over the years he has done quite well. I followed his other money-making example of buying real estate. I learned how to be a landlord by watching my parents from the time I was born. Sadly, my Dad never shared the "market" with my sister and me.

Last year, at 44, I retired from my 9-5 job with a large utility company. On my dad's advice, I had been socking my money into my 401(k) for years. I also had retirement money to cash out. My dad wanted me to open an investment account with a discount broker. I was scared. If I took possession of the money improperly, the tax penalty would kill me. I knew very little about the stock market. It seemed so intimidating. I went to an investment counselor six months ago. The counselor advised me to invest in a mutual fund. So far I haven't made anything. When one fund goes up, the others go down. I end up with no gain.

Again my Dad suggested I manage the money myself -- foolishly I told him I had no interest in the stock market. I would take the money out of my retirement account if I could. I had no interest in spending the time I believed was required, learning how to handle my own money. I even told him I was proud of the fact that I recognized my limitation and disinterest. Wasn't it better to let someone professional handle the money? I envisioned the stock market just the way "they" wanted me to. Not suitable for the non-professional! When I told my Dad I had no interest, he was sad, he advised me to move the professionally managed money into a money market. He then went on a two month vacation overseas.

Enter the Fools!

The Fools were interviewed on a local PBS radio station. My husband was more excited than I was by their Foolish advice. We purchased You Have More Than You Think. The first half was a review for me. My Dad has been a Fool for years. "Credit card and consumer debt are like working for someone without getting paid! You're throwing your money out the window," he'd say. Something else he taught us is "Never be afraid to borrow money to make money." Money you can borrow for 8% and safely (not in the stock market) invest to earn 10% is 2% in your pocket.

I can't wait for my Dad to get home from vacation. He is 79 years old. He just bought a computer. He has never used one before. We have been teaching him how to look up quotes on his stock portfolio. I am so excited to show him the Fool. I want to say to him: "Let's have some fun! Now that I know I can understand the market, it's an adventure. Show me how you did it." (By the way, his portfolio holds many Foolish stocks that he has held for a long time. I can't wait to hear what criteria he used to choose them.)

Thanks Fools. Finding you has been like turning on a light in a room of my house filled with treasures. I never even knew it was there.

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