If they had invested $650.47, I would have $20,000!

My son, Zander (6yrs old) asked me this morning about Google Finance.  He is fascinated by the Internet and often watches over my shoulder while I’m surfing/working/etc (sidenote for Dad’s – they are ALWAYS watching you on the internet – keep that in mind!).  When he asked what Google Finance was, I replied “this is an investment website, son.  I’ll explain it to you when you are older.”

Then I thought about that.  Zander seemed to accept that answer, but it bugged me.  When did my parents tell me about investments?  I don’t recall ever being taught about investments.  I don’t recall ever being taught about savings either.  I’m not saying there was never a conversation, only that it wasn’t part of the culture growing up.  I want savings, investment, and financial planning to be part of the culture for my children so they aren’t living paycheck to paycheck when they get older.

I decided that 6 years old isn’t too young to learn about investing.  I explained that companies need money to grow the business.  I went on to explain that the graphZander asked about was showing the price over time, that the low points were where the price was lower and the higher points was a higher price.  He listened and even asked questions, like “why do people buy shares”.  I showed him that over time the value of a stock can go up significantly.  As an example I told him “If my parents had purchased 10 shares of IBM when I was born, they would have paid just under $200” (history on Google only goes back to 1978, but close enough).

“The stock has split three times since then, once as a 4:1 split, and twice more in a 2:1 split.” I went on.  “So today, I would have 160 shares for those same 10 shares [10 x 4 = 40 x 2 = 80 x 2 = 160].  At todays price, thats about $20k.”

Then it hit me.  If my parents had invested $200 in 1978 for me, I would have $20k today!  Well… wait, I thought what about inflation.  I mean, maybe $200 in 1978 was $20k in today money.  So I checked using an online inflation calculator – and it turns out that $200 in 1978 would be about $650.47 today.  I get that $650.47 isn’t a small amount of money – but it ain’t $20k either! [the use of slang here is intentional for emphasis].

Zander asked, “why don’t you ask them to buy it for you now daddy.” — kids are soooo cute, right?

“Zander, its too late now”

“But you always tell me its never too late for me”

“That’s true,” I chuckled “but that was 32 years ago.”

Zander was quiet for a second, then responded very matter of fact “Won’t you live another 32 years?”

Uh… yeah.  I hope to.  Wow… out of the mouth of kids.  So… my goal over the next couple of years is to start investment accounts for all three of my children with no less than $650.47 in them.


Voice Mail left by my son Zander…


Peoria Patriots Win Big, No Thanks to Me

Game Day again – this time it counts (last week was pre-season).  Kick off at 1pm, players show up at 11am.  I knew this would be different than last week.  Last week I got a lot of playing time as the starter was willing to swap between each series – I actually played about half the time the offense was on the field.  This week would be different.

The first half, my team dominated the game.  I watched from the sidelines as we scored six touch downs (two by our defense) and a field goal.  Even though we missed two extra point kicks, we went into the half leading 43 to zero!

As we take the field for the second half, I know I’m going in and I’m excited.  The defense is lining up slightly different than we practiced, but the starting guard explained the differences to me and what to do in each situation.  I thought I understood what I needed to do, but when the ball snapped I blocked the outside linebacker into the play instead of away from it.  A few plays later, we punted the ball away (our first and only punt of the game).

When I came to the sidelines, I knew I messed up that play, so did everyone else, and even though we were well ahead on the scoreboard – the starter went back in and I ‘rode the pine’ for the rest of the game.  We went on to win 55-0.  While most of the team walked off winners, I felt more like a player on the other team.

On the way home, I heard Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” come on my iPod.  A portion of the song spoke directly to how I felt and the message I want to give my teammates regarding my performance:

Just don’t give up I’m workin it out
Please don’t give in, I won’t let you down
It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around…

Just don’t give up on me
I won’t let you down
No, I won’t let you down