Summer Reading

This month’s blog was written by our Director of Client Relations, Jim Grenn.  Jim is a Hattiesburg native, Golden Eagle, and your point of reference for any question you may have about Raanes Capital Advisors or your portfolio with us.

            At 15 years old, I was told I needed my entire large intestine removed to help alleviate complications from an autoimmune disorder with which I was diagnosed at age 12 as well as to avoid it turning into cancer at a young age.  Now in my mid-twenties, I’m thankful for having made that choice to go ahead with the surgery because first and foremost, it taught me this life we live is indescribably beautiful, and that the joy we find often results from a trial through which we’ve been.  But also during my time of recovery from several surgeries, I was given the opportunity to fine tune an area of my life that most 15 year-olds simply were not doing or even thinking of doing – becoming financially literate.

            I spent weeks on end resting at my home following surgeries.  My life beforehand had been mostly filled with track meets, football games, and basketball tournaments.  With that being stripped away from me for nearly the rest of my high school days, to be honest, I got pretty down and depressed.  My father could see that in me too.  Being a successful businessman in real estate and an overall knowledgeable individual, he decided to share some books with me on personal finance as well as investing, and how to live your life well by stewarding your finances well.  As I began to recover and get out more, my dad and I would practice ideas and concepts I learned from reading.

            On Saturday mornings, we would get up and go to estate sales.  We were never the first to show up trying to get the chest-of-drawers at a bargain, but rather to find something of unique value to different individuals.  It gave me the opportunity to learn how to negotiate deals.  One morning in particular, I found a red, diecast Volkswagen Bug - about the size of a good slingshot rock.  I negotiated the owner from a dollar down to a quarter, put it on craigslist and within a couple of days had a buyer.  We met in the Stein Mart parking lot, and he traded me 20 quarters for my little toy – my first arbitrage.  I traded 1 quarter for 20.  I thought I was brilliant. 

As I continued to practice these concepts as well as getting into more sophisticated investing, I found that my 20:1 profit may never happen again – especially not in two days.  More importantly since then, I’ve learned that the bad deals I’ve made have been the most rewarding in terms of my financial intelligence – an idea that seems so opposite to how to become successful.  In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki explains this well.  “In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them.  Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes.”  In our society and school systems, financial literacy is not held as high as it probably should be, and I am concerned about our future generations’ outlook on finances as a whole.

With the summer coming to an end and schools getting back into the swing of things, I encourage you to reach out to a young individual in your life, maybe your own child or grandchild.  A financial education in addition to the education they’re receiving now will pay dividends for years to come. Encourage them to learn from the mistakes they make and to appreciate their successes.  It may even impact the direction of their career choices just as my own father’s teaching did for me. 

Email jgrenn@rjrca.com for any financial book recommendations for you or for our next generation, or drop by the office any time!