This is part of a series of profiles highlighting women investors in the Fool community. Find out what makes the fairer sex better at picking stocks at fool.com/girl.
Western gal frogfarm (as she's known in our community) prides herself on "learning to get through life's hard knocks by using my brain and skills." She's done just that, with careers including commercial fishing, computers, and ranching. After the sudden death of her husband of 30 years, Russ, five years ago, she has rebounded once again, relocating to Arizona and honing her expertise in precious metals. Read on to learn more about frogfarm, including where she's looking for her next winners right now.
How did you first become aware of investing?
My parents were savers and big on buying tax-free municipal bonds. I remember in grade school I was taught to save any money I earned and buy a bond for $18.75, which would "magically" become $25 in a few years. My folks provided all the usual clothing and school supplies, but if I wanted "extras" (like white go-go boots, yeah, yeah!) I had to buy them out of my hard-earned funds from babysitting. This taught me the true value of what I was purchasing, because I did not like those jobs!
My first stock purchase was Maytag, in the mid-'80s. I promptly lost money when the stock went down. I sold immediately and recalled my dad's love of guarding the principal.
How would you describe your investment approach?
My investment approach is eclectic. I tend to have a five-year plan and review it annually. This plan includes reviewing my costs of living and my allocations between asset groups (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) and sectors (small/mid/large cap, commodities, foreign/domestic, etc.). I have a particular affinity for mining and oil sector stocks (or as one Fool puts it, "grease and dirt"!).
Russ was quite knowledgeable about mining stocks, and I learned a lot from him. I invest more prudently now that Russ is gone; he was an eternal optimist about his picks. I may well hold a stock that's hit a rough patch just as Russ would have, but I believe it's because I've researched the holding more fully before I bought.
In our upcoming book, Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl, we make the case that women are better suited temperamentally to be great investors – they are generally more patient, take less risk, stay calmer in turbulent markets, do more research, and hold for the long term. Do you think you invest like a girl?
My biggest success has been in the precious metals arena. But those precious metals holdings have not gone straight up. My temperament of liking to research and analyze helps. I can't tell the future, but I know which of my advisors (I subscribe to several newsletters) have a knack for reading trends. And on days when Mr. Market is particularly punishing, I spend more time walking my dogs.
What advice would you give other women interested in getting started with investing?
First, know yourself. Take a thorough and honest assessment of your expectations and abilities. Read, read, read. Suze Orman has excellent resources, and of course I would recommend the Fool site!
Finally, what stocks are you buying (or watching) now?
I'm interested in silver, silver producers, food commodities, and oil service companies.
Silver is the poor man's gold, both of which are safe havens when the dollar falls. (I think the buck is Wile E. Coyote, off the cliff and still runnin' as he hasn't realized his situation mid-air.) Silver is consumed in manufacturing, and the mining is not able to keep up the production. Food commodities I like because people have to eat, and they keep making babies, so I don't see demand falling there.
Lastly, I've read that during gold rushes, the people who made money were not usually the miners; they were the people who supplied goods to the miners. Those who provide services to the oil companies will have profits, even if the driller finds only a dry hole.
Want to learn more about how to invest like a girl? Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl is available June 21, but you can get chapter one today for FREE.
Robyn Gearey does not own shares of any company mentioned here. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.