Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016

by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Boca Raton, Fla.
April 21, 2002
Market Mover

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BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Sometimes going to a new barber can prove instructive for everyone. Artie the Barber didn't know what he was starting, but, hey, he was holding the razor.

Mark: Howdy, what's your name?

Barber: Artie, what's yours? What line of work are you in?

Mark: I'm Mark, work for an investment firm down near the park. Artie: What do you think of Cisco here?

Mark: What do you think is wrong with my back?

Artie: Whatya mean?

Mark: Worked out this morning. Bad pain lower right back. Do ya think it's kidney trouble or pancreatic cancer (God forbid)?

Artie: Whatya mean?

Mark: My back, what's wrong with it?

Artie: Tough to say.

Mark: Why's it tough to say?

Artie: Well, I'm not a doctor?

Mark: Oh? Artie: Why you ask?

Mark: Just cause you can't diagnose 'cause you're no doctor, and I know nothing about you, your family, or your money, and you asked me about Cisco stock.

Artie: Whatya mean?

Mark: Well, you get guys in the chair all day long, and I suggest that the first guy who actually answers your question about Cisco, or any other investment, is a guy you should run - not walk - away from. Fast.

Artie: I don't follow. You must have an opinion?

Mark: I suppose my 24-year-old son in the Army, single, no kids, if he wants to speculate and throw a few hundred bucks at Cisco, he could be rewarded in 10 or 20 or 30 years. He has that luxury, and you?

Artie: Whattya mean?

Mark: How many times a year do you go to Vegas? The ponies? Artie: Well, I have enough trouble paying my bills, but I had Cisco and it was up over a hundred, and I never sold, so I figure it will come back. Mark: And how old are you?

Artie: Well, actually close to retirement, and maybe I made some bad investments and can't see where I'll support myself in this country, but see that book over there, reading about retiring to live cheap in Costa Rica.

Mark: All other things being equal, there was a gal named Venita or Vanetta Van Caspel a few years back who wrote a good book on financial planning, sort of like Sylvia Porter.

Artie: Yeah, I remember her.

Mark: Well, in the back of the book, she went over about 50 different plain, common stock, investment grade mutual funds, which have averaged 15 percent a year for more than 60 years. Funds like Dreyfus, Putnam, Fidelity, Delaware, Lord Abbett, Seligman, Wellington.

Artie: Had Wellington years ago. They still around?

Mark: Yeah, in the Philly area and Boston, managed a lot of money for Vanguard.

Artie: Yeah, Vanguard, heard of them.

Mark: Anyway, do some homework, and don't look for buddies at the card table, club, or here in the shop to give you stock tips and tell you what to do. Think about the few years until retirement, and about your own future.

Artie: So, you're not angry?

Mark: Angry? No, didn't mean to be too sarcastic, but I used to do one of these call-in radio shows on investment issues on a national radio network, and I'd get sick and tired of people refusing to answer personal questions.

Artie: Whattya mean?

Mark: They'd ask a question like you did, and you ask them right back about age, kids, health, savings, credit card debt and such, and they got defensive. They like the shows that have an instant "buy," "hold" or "sell" or "top picks" without regard to who's listening.

Artie: Well, looks good. Ya still got plenty of hair in back, you'd be a good candidate for one of those transplants, anyway, thanks for straightening' me out, some good advice there.

Mark: No problem, take it easy, catch you again.

Artie: One more thing...

Mark: Yeah...?

Artie: I've got this buddy who's already down there in Costa Rica, works at a fish camp, and he says they got these here CD's paying 29 percent for one year, and I wondered what you thought about ... .

Mark Scheinbaum is hairline challenged and serves as chief investment strategist for Kaplan & Co., members Boston Stock Exchange, NASD, SIPC.

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