"The broker said the stock was "poised to move". Silly me! I thought he meant up." - Randy Thurman
From whom do you want to get your financial advice? Some lucky financial guru like Warren Buffet who has the Midas touch or someone who has been educated at the school of hard knocks? Warren Buffet wasn’t available to write this blog and my financial advisor told me that I am not quite bankrupt; so I feel eminently qualified to provide timely commentary on investing and spending.
My qualifications, you ask? I consider myself a Baby Boomer even though I predate the boomer generation by a couple years. Baby Boomers - folks born between 1946 and 1964 - are the wealthiest generation in history. Apparently, depending upon whom you choose to believe, "Boomers" collectively have between 11 trillion and 30 trillion dollars - that is TRILLION with a giant T - which they will be transferring to their heirs. That's a massive pile of cash. No wonder. Boomers had a multitude of opportunities to get rich. We should consider ourselves lucky to have been offered the many get-rich-quick schemes boomers were so fortunate to have. And being magnanimous, charitable folks we should share our wealth generating secrets so that every generation can be as wealthy as we are.
I am referring here to the foolproof money making schemes advertised in comic books in the 1950's and 1960's. The very astute among us invested in our own printing presses just printing money as we needed it. The more energetic individuals raised chinchillas in their basements or back yards for fun and for profit.
The ads intrigued me, but not being completely gullible, I went in another direction.
I considered the stock markets. Unfortunately, what I didn't know is that they resemble a casino - or maybe a Sotheby's auction (sky high) when we want to buy - and almost identical to a garage sale (dirt cheap) when we want to sell. The little guys - that's you and me - get in at the wrong time and don't know when to get out. If we plunge into the stock market we personify buying high and selling low. By the time euphoria is at its peak we are just starting to catch wind of the terrific gains to be made in the market, so we step in with both feet just when the expert traders are taking their profits and abandoning the market.
I had a plan to outsmart the wolves of Wall Street. I thought, “Canadian banks are reasonably stable investments.” With that in mind, in the 1980’s I researched some shares in Northland Bank, an Alberta based Canadian bank. The shares were down significantly, encouraging me to dream of tripling or quadrupling my money as well as collecting dividends while holding the stock. I bought some shares and my dream turned into a nightmare. Very shortly after my purchase the bank became insolvent.
I still own shares in this now defunct Northland Bank. The original cost was about $3000. The share certificate may now be used as valuable toilet paper. I could have used that toilet paper when Northland Bank bit the dust. I had quite a bowel movement that day. But I'm not sure I ever made it to the bathroom in time to deposit my dividends, if you know what I mean.
I shouldn’t complain too bitterly though. I am the proud owner of a $3000 piece of memorabilia – it is a collectors’ item and a bitter reminder of the perils of the stock market. One of the features of many old stock certificates is that they were quite artistic, including engravings of erotic, scantily clad men and women. Occasionally I just take out this stock certificate and sneak a quick peek.
On second thought, you might not want to get your investment advice from a "boomer", particularly from me. But, if nothing else, I can always serve as a bad example.
Whether you are a boomer or not, best wishes for wealth, health and happiness. Gerald M. Sliva
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