Can you tell I’m happy and proud to be an InvestorGeek? Though I’m one of the new writers here, I have been blogging about investment and finance issues for a while now. Nevertheless, I am excited and looking forward to sharing with you some of my thoughts on investing. Why did I decided to join with the geeks? For that, let’s go back to Wikipedia’s defintion of a geek:
A geek (pronunciation /gi:k/ ) is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination.
It’s hip to be geek nowadays! Just look at the varieties we have — music geeks, movie geeks, gaming geeks, singing geeks. Even when I was young, the foundation was being laid out for me to become the InvestorGeek that I am today.
Wait a minute! Most teenagers would not give a second thought to stocks and bonds and investing in securities, right? I agree that it would take a special person to develop that kind of interest so early in life. I was just like you — an average kid with simple dreams of enjoying my childhood. So how did I get started?
Kids Can Invest Too!
I earned money doing chores around the house during that restless summer. When I stepped through the doors of the convenience store next to my house, I could have blown it all away on candy and snacks. Perhaps I already knew enough about finance at that age? Or perhaps those dreams of being a pro hockey player were too strong? In the end, I decided on a packet of O-Pee-Chee Premier hockey cards.
At home, I quickly tore through the foil package. The elation from looking at, and reading about my favorite sport heroes was addicting for a young teen. I went back many more times that summer, and amassed a small collection. Thinking back, it was a smart decision since the pleasure certainly lasted more than candy would have! I was already investing in assets that could appreciate in value and there was no stopping me. My collection grew year after year until the habit finally stopped sometime during my high school years.
Collecting sports trading cards would be my first experience in investing. Even Mark Cuban said that
“when a stock doesn’t pay dividends, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between a share of stock and a baseball card”
I didn’t stop with trading cards, but evolved to collecting comic books. I clutched copies of Beckett and Wizard hoping that one day those publications would tell me that my Spawn #1 or Jaromir Jagr rookie card had amazingly shot up in value.
Comics & Trading Cards vs. Stock & Bonds
Some people have made a fortune trading such collectibles. It is very rare for a good collection to not appreciate over time. However, you should be aware that collectible industry is also susceptible to cycles. The returns can often be multiples of what you originally paid. As well, the invested capital can range from very little to large amounts if you are looking to buy that ultra rare item. You have a huge influence over the value of your collection through maintaining its condition. Finally, remember that there isn’t a real way to valuate such investments beyond evaluating its condition criteria. The value is in the eyes of the beholders; in this case — the collectors’ eyes. One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.
Has a stock ever brought you happiness? I don’t mean the delight that you feel when you see it increase by a dollar. I doubt many people can compare worrying about stocks to the enjoyment of reading your favorite comic book, or cataloguing your trading cards. I was a geek and I’m still proud of it! But I had developed the respect for appreciating assets. Extra care was always taken when handling my collection to keep tem in as good a condition as possible. Though I never deprived myself from enjoying them whenever the mood struck.
My friends and I would trade our unwanted comics or extra cards with others for those we coveted. It was our very own supply and demand marketplace, and our introduction to economics. As we grew up, the arenas changed. However, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same! When you are building you wealth, you might look into securities. When you become a millionaire, you will probably start collecting other appreciating assets such as antiques, artworks, cars, bikes, or even record-breaking baseballs like my comic book idol Todd McFarlane. (Remind me to tell you about the story of how I met him a couple of days before he bought Bond’s ball!)
Investing: The Next Generation
If you have kids, that time may come when your children want money to buy trading cards or comic books. You might crack a smile, and be happy that they didn’t want candy instead. Help them learn to respect their purchase and you could influence them down a path of investing for their future, to becoming an InvestorGeek!