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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thank you Abdul!

The other day I drove my niece to the Shady Grove/Gaithersburg subway so she could spend a couple of days in D.C. with my daughters.  On the way back, I stopped in at 7-Eleven to get a coke and a couple of candy bars.  If I'm not in a hurry, I like to take my time and watch what people buy.  I meander along the candy aisle watching out of the corner of my eye.  I note as the bottled water, potato chips, newspapers, detergent, etc.make their way to the cash register.

Finally, I made my way to the cash register and met Abdul.  Abdul smiled and asked if I needed anything else.  As is my practice, I asked him how business was going.  He said it was good.  I asked him how many hours he had put in that day - six, with one more to go. And so we chatted.  Finally, I thanked him for the great job he is doing and explained to him that I and my clients own just about all of the companies that produce the goods he is selling and I appreciate his smile and willingness to help customers.  In fact, I explained to him that I even make money when customers swipe their credit cards.

I don't have an iPod.  I don't drive a fancy car.  Sad to say, my cell phone isn't very smart.  In fact, I made a conscious decision sometime ago to forgo such luxury (in my view) items and put money into businesses.  So, as people buy iPods, luxury SUVs, and fancy cell phones, I just hear ka-ching, ka-ching.

I own these companies by investing in a broad stock exchange traded fund.  So, as I see you tapping away on your Apple computer or arranging a vacation on line, I see you using one of my businesses. When I  turn the pages of a magazine and see every other page is an advertisement (produced by geniuses who graduated from the nation's best universities, no less!) for some drug, I reflect that all kinds of businesses that I own participate to bring people what they need and want.

I know Wall Street isn't real popular these days.  I know that investing isn't seen as a wealth-creating activity.  I do have to wonder, though, if people hear even a small whisper suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the historically unprecedented wealth creation of America is related to the fact that it has the world's most well developed capital markets system.

Today, everyone can own the wealth-creating businesses of America.  Abdul is in.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a healthy way to think of investing. Sometimes it is easy to dismiss this fact because the number of shares may not give one a significant ownership stake. Nonetheless, he or she is still a partial owner, watching the very businesses that fill his or her portfolio doing what they do best should generally be a source of pride.