If you’ve read my novel, MASQUERADE, you know that I used my knowledge of investing when writing that book. Not that I was ever a stock broker like Ginger. Some years ago I started an investment club with thirteen women who belonged to a businesswoman’s organization. I had read an article in the newspaper about the NAIC (National Association of Investment Clubs) and liked what they offered. My previous reading on the subject led me to fear that investment clubs consisted of reckless people who bought into Broadway shows, prize fighters and thoroughbred race horses. NAIC’s rules were to invest only in common stocks, preferably “growth” stocks, and reinvest all dividends. That sounded good, especially when they indicated that–over the years the Association had existed–all-women’s clubs had done better than all-men’s or mixed-gender clubs.
So we each began to put $20 a month into the club, little realizing that the stock market was about to have one of its usual “bear” periods, that one lasting over two years. Everything our little club bought went down! We thought we were the “kiss of death” to the stock market and had we not started our club, that would never have happened.
Well, of course, we had no such control over anything, and I proceeded to read 23 books on the stock market and get educated. And when the tide turned upward again, as it always does, our club began to do very well. So well, in fact, that nineteen years later, when I had to leave the club because I moved away, our gain averaged over 14% per year for all those years.
In fact, we did so well, we were featured in Money Magazine and my picture was on the cover of another magazine. That one has since changed its name and content, but–if I may brag a bit–Angela Lansbury was on their cover the month before me and Walter Matthau the month after. So, in a manner of speaking, I moved in great company. That cover picture is reproduced here.
Following NAIC guidelines, our club members used the Stock Selection Guide to find good companies to invest in, and, since I seemed to have a knack for filling out those forms, I soon became a teacher of the technique, even going to other investment clubs to teach their members. I also helped several other clubs to start, and, as a result of all that, I wrote my non-fiction book WALL STREET ON $20 A MONTH, “How to Profit from an Investment Club,” which was published by John Wiley & Sons.
Although the book is out of print now, I think it still has a lot of valuable information in it. If you’re interested, you can usually find a used copy of the book on Amazon.com or ask me for one of them (but my supply is limited).
Since leaving the investment club, I’ve invested on my own and had average gains of 14.3% a year. However, between December 31, 2005 and December 31, 2006, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16%, my little portfolio went up 25.4%.
I am no Suze Orman, who knows everything about money, but I’m happy to share what little I do know about investing with my readers. Just ask.