When I was growing up I NEVER pictured myself participating in the stock market. It was another world, akin to a science fiction novel. When I married my husband, we began a limited savings program and became aware of inflation, which lead him to investigating investment choices. For some reason, he decided to get me interested and pass on to me what he had learned. Whether he consciously knew it or not, I immediately recognized that he was guiding my shopping tendencies. Now, for some of my shopping, he could actually keep the money!
We opened an account with an internet based brokerage, a fairly new concept at the time. Next, he exposed me to Yahoo! Finance and a handful of evaluation criteria. My head was swimming. I felt stupid and slow, but gradually gained familiarity with a few basic concepts, such as what “share price” actually is. 🙂 I read a couple of popular stock market books, including Beating the Street by Peter Lynch. The market’s mystique began to fade slightly and I even offered a couple of semi-informed recommendations. But I knew I still had a lot to learn.
One practical reason for my involvement is that the market is only open for trading during limited business hours, when my husband is at work. We prefer to make final decisions on our activity when we can see what the market is actually doing any given day. So we occasionally had “team meetings”, the results of which I applied the following day. We were not (still are not) day traders, sometimes going months without making changes. We made some good choices, some bad ones, but gradually our savings grew faster than a plain savings account.
The housing bubble burst at almost exactly the time we went to live in Taiwan for a few months. Besides needing to devote much of my energy to learning to live in a foreign country with a language I didn’t know, I became acutely aware that I needed to increase my learning curve if we were going to be able to make wise decisions about further investments. For a few months, however, I just concentrated on learning a bit of Chinese, teaching my three youngest children in this new environment (high schoolers, at home as always), and enjoying adventures on the Asian, semi-tropical island. Fortunately, the educational journey lead to Thomas Sowell’s book, Basic Economics 4th Ed: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, which proved to be an excellent foundation for further investment studies after we returned to Idaho.
With renewed dedication and enthusiasm, we are pursuing wise investing. While cognizant that the world may descend into chaos or communism at any moment, we intend to manage our resources with what care we can. We have made a better plan for regular “seed” money; and are becoming more proficient at critically judging companies on a deeper level. My father, being well along on his own investment path and keen to share, has been encouraging me to begin meeting with him. I have been concerned my head might explode. Both he and my husband are engineers, very quick with numbers and data synthesis. My husband has strongly encouraged that it would be time well spent and I do like spending time with my dad, so I am throwing myself into it.
They weren’t in collusion, but both men finally admitted to training me for future usefulness. Hmmm. I know I still have a lot to absorb, but also admit I am increasingly enjoying discussing this subject matter with them. If they are willing to patiently include me in the proceedings, then, the game is afoot!