How early is early?

How about 7-years-old?

I remember my father, Col. C.H. Breedlove, unfolding his portable, 4-legged, card table in our family front room, pulling out his legal-size yellow paper pad, sharpening his pencil, and settling into his easy chair. I was second grader, in those simpler and gentler times, at Westwood Elementary, located a couple of blocks west of our West 4th Avenue and South Walnut Street rental home.

I vividly remember my father looking at the various papers he routinely received in the mail, regarding his stock market activity, and sometimes talking to himself about the paper contents. Occasionally, he pointed out certain things to his youngest child (i.e., me) about his stock market information. He would then record some of the information onto the yellow legal pad for his own “permanent” record, and his way of carefully following his investments. From those modest beginnings on a quiet residential street in Our Town, the seeds were well-planted for how I have operated my personal business dealings my entire life.

I remembered him telling me that famous Wall Street motto of “Buy low, sell high”, and it has resonated inside my head over and over and over again for many, many years. Heck,occasionally, I have even used my Plan B of that quote, “Buy high, sell higher”, instead.

Probably one of the biggest things I took away from my father’s investing influence was his teaching of patience, and staying-the-course.

Certainly over a lifetime of investing in the stock market, several times my patience has really been tested to its maximum extent. It is very easy for me to remember the last time it happened to me BIG time was the economic downturn/crash of 2008. Every month my family would receive our monthly financial stock statements, and I became almost scared to open the large envelope each month for fear of just how much our holdings had decreased from our previous month’s total  To say it was an utterly shocking experience month-to-month for me would be an understatement. But due a great deal to my early front-room upbringing, as mentioned earlier, I stayed-the-course. Many of my friends, associates, etc. couldn’t tolerate the constant daily pressure of their steadily decreasing financial values, and, many, got completely out of the stock market then, by selling all their holdings. This fact is recorded in today’s national numbers that state about 50% of Americans are invested some way in the stock market. Prior to the disaster in 2008, that investing number was almost 70% of Americans. 

Let’s mention another interesting factoid..

Over time (around 120 years?), bar none, the overall BEST return on investment of ALL the major investing items – art, collectibles, precious metals, energy products, real estate, etc – has been the stock market. It is absolutely astounding to look at the various economic grafts over many years, and just see the dramatic upward slope, indicating the value of how stock market investments have increased over time.

Another memorable factor my father helped me cement in my youth-filled head, was the principal of buy-and-hold, which, over time, is incredible for its multiplier effect. That is to say, merely allow all the monthly/quarterly/yearly dividends and capital gains a stock pays, to stay in its account, and, thereby, purchase more stock shares, rather than taking the money out of the account. Today, some financial folks advise their clients not to do this. However, I have practiced my father’s advice, and have never considered not doing it, in this particular aspect of stock investing. 

Lastly, because of my father’s early guidance, I have always been interested in the business aspects of our economy. At Oklahoma State University as an undergraduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, I took several “outside” courses in the College of Business, such as economics and accounting. This lifelong interest in the business world has been an asset to me over the years. Thank you, again, Dad, for skillfully imparting this trait to me! 

In conclusion, in the vast array of entertainment choices we are given each day via cable television, the internet, etc., guess what I watch I choose to watch regularly? Not a difficult answer for sure; the business channels! I absolutely love the information they provide. The apple certainly didn’t fall too far from the family tree, did it?

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