Ask Paul B: Investment is Common Cents

Dear Paul B,

I am not a financial genius, nor do I comb through the Wall Street Journal each morning to see whats HOT and whats NOT. I have been a beautician my whole life, and watched my Mom and Dad turn their savings into mush. My brother and I had to buy our own clothes and other possessions, but this was all good. We grew up with a great sense of values and are very happy with who we are. My folks taught me one thing—don’t chase the fast buck, because it never seems to work out for the “outsiders.” I am not jealous of the rich, or the Wall St. bankers, because they earned what they have, even if our “tax dollars at work” have lined their pockets. I do believe that over time, good companies, diversified portfolios, high dividend payers and patience will prove out over the years. Walmart, Ford, IBM, Microsoft and AAPL, Haliburton, Monsanto and Freeport are seven of the twelve companies that I have chosen to start our portfolio from seventeen months ago. I would have added just 25 shares of Google, but my husband claimed that it’s “too expensive.” What a goofball—we left about $3600 on the table, and it’s coming out of HIS END!!!



Dear Sheila,

I love you! You are savvy, gutsy, market-smart, and too darn funny! You must keep your husband in stitches most of the time. I would not change much in your “diversified portfolio” except for two to four medical/pharma additions. Bristol-Meyers, Walgreen, Merck, and Novartis are excellent choices, and most of them pay a nice dividend for a kicker. Tell “goofball” that expensive stocks become expensive stocks because they earn lots of money, people then buy them, and they become even MORE expensive. Seriously, give me 10 shares of $90 stock and it will earn MORE than 1,000 shares of $1.25 stock. Staying with well known companies with successful track records, best of breed, experienced management, and a great product or service, and you’re cooking with oil, sister. Thanks for your letter. Peter Lynch always says “stay the course.” I add “don’t get emotional” when the xxxx hits the fan during volatile markets. This is a long marathon, not a sprint!

Paul B


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