Years ago, I vaguely remember hearing someone comment that it was interesting how differently we measure wealth today compared to British society at the end of the 19th century. This made me realize that most people don’t even know there is a difference; that there are primarily two ways you can think about measuring your wealth and which you choose for your own household will influence how you behave, the capital structure you employ, and even how you think about risk.
The older, more experienced, and wealthier I am, the more I am convinced that the average person has no business managing their own money. People are too busy living their lives and getting ahead in their careers to focus on growing their capital. As a result, they make stupid decisions that cost them enormously in the long-run.
When it comes to diversification, you have to look at your entire life and not just your portfolio. Several years ago there was a book I really enjoyed that dealt with this topic called Are You a Stock or a Bond?: Create Your Own Pension Plan for a Secure Financial Future. It provided a valuable framework for understanding how the stability of income in your life should inform your approach to asset allocation.
How We Used Shares of Coca-Cola to Teach My Youngest Sister About Investing (and Why the Cycle of Consumption and Financial Stress Starts as a Teenager for Most Americans)
When I was a senior in high school, I bought my youngest sister a single share of Coca-Cola common stock for her 6th birthday. It’s been a teaching mechanism throughout her life; one that is far more important and beneficial from an academic and educational standpoint than any investment return it could generate.
There is a traditional Chinese proverb that goes something along the lines of, “Do not take the seeds and throw away the melon”. Though there are many ways you can approach this, and multiple lessons that can be extracted from reflecting on it, it can be particularly sage when it comes to running a business and allocating the cash flow from that business. One of my favorite examples comes from The Coca-Cola Company.
How My Grandpa Dennis Could Have Turned His Pepsi Habit Into a 7-Figure Estate I’ve written in the past about how nearly every American alive today has been confronted with perhaps a dozen different companies that they knew first hand because they enjoyed using the firm’s products for years (in some cases, their whole life)…
I love Apple’s products and what Apple has accomplished over the past few years. However, it is amazing to see how little even journalists understand the way companies or valued or how to properly compare the total return generated by one business over a given period of time to another business.
A week or two ago, I wrote an article called Understanding Stock Repurchase Plans for About.com, a division of The New York Times, which discussed Sonic Restaurant and the massive stock buy back program that had taken place over the past few years. In it, I walked the readers through a lot of the math and explained that I had purchased a couple hundred shares to watch and monitor the stock through one of my companies, Mount Olympus Awards, LLC. (I’ve since increased it to about 500 shares to continue watching and waiting to see how events unfold).
John Templeton was a billionaire mutual fund pioneer that specialized in using a value investing strategy to buy stocks around the world. By practicing a disciplined version of Benjamin Graham’s teaching on a global scale, Templeton amassed an astounding record that made shareholders of his fund wealthy and earned him hundreds of millions of dollars in well-deserved fees. Toward the end of his life, John Templeton ran his international investments from his mansion on Lyford Clay in the Bahamas.