Looking In The Rear View Mirror Part 1: Reflections on Investing from an Old Timer

This article is about what an old investor has learned over the years. Today at the tender age of 68 I can look in the rear view mirror and actually see my lessons learned.

I realize I am not the only senior citizen who can make that remark. However I am the only senior citizen who volunteered to step up to the plate and look in the rear view mirror and expound on what I have learned.

My background includes being a: stock broker, real estate broker and mortgage banker. I was a stock broker in the 1980’s when the Dow took its biggest dump in history. I’ve dealt in the foreclosure market of the 1990’s and was a mortgage banker in the 2000’s when real estate was booming.

I am also a retired military officer who took every opportunity the military or anyone would offer to further my education. I learned early in life it isn’t education that carries the biggest costs. It is ignorance. I believe education is the reason I made money in all those markets.

Investing from an Old Timer

Less than 1% of Americans Have an Investment Plan

 

When I was a stock broker I learned only one percent of Americans actually had a personal money management plan and even fewer had an actual honest to God investment plan. I was blown away at the one percent figure. I interviewed 2,000 people face to face in my office and of the 2,000 only 20 had a personal money management program.

Of the 20, probably 10 to 13 had an investment plan. I simply could not fathom that people would agree to hand me money without knowing anything about the investment. Oh, sure, they heard of stocks and mutual funds and bonds but according to them, what else do we need to know? “You’re the professional you manage my account!”

The Greatest Tool the Investor Has: The Internet

I relay this biography and my experience because if what I am reading today is true, my unscientific statistic still holds true. This is with the greatest learning tool in existence – the Internet – at people’s instant disposal.

As a real estate broker, I learned people who were serious investors did their homework. They had a plan and they knew the numbers. The remainder just wanted a house and if they saw enough of them they would pick one. To me, that was alright. I was in the business of selling houses and not home counseling.

That is a lesson that holds today. Know your business and work your business. Don’t become something you aren’t. People can tell you don’t know what you’re talking about. As I surf finance oriented sites, I find the site owners are trying to be everything to everyone so they can sell them something.

I am partners with my son in a financial article directory site – http://www.moneyferret.com – that attempts to post articles on a wide range of financial topics. Hopefully the articles will inspire those interested in the topic to research it until they get their answer(s). That was a shameless plug but I am not trying to sell you anything so I don’t feel bad telling you about it.

I could go on for another three pages with what I learned. Rather, I believe I will summarize the past 50 years with an investment strategy that works all the time and every time. It is easy to follow and doesn’t cost a dime. Next week, I will go over my step by step process and reflect on some changes I would have made, looking in the rear view mirror.

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