Back when I was only 11 years old, an elderly Cuban lady, who was like a grandmother to me and the one who helped raise my mother, passed away. She left my three siblings and me $5,000 each for our college tuition. Since I was still about 7 years removed from going to college, it was important to find a home for this lump of cash until then. Thankfully, my father used it as an opportunity to teach me something that would pave the way for a lifetime of learning and, unbeknownst to him, start what would eventually become a livelihood for me.
We took that money and put it in the stock market. What a time to do it, too! It was the 1990s where everything went straight up. No pullbacks, no flash crashes, no quantitative easing. It was the stock market's gold rush, and everyone was clamoring to get in.
Desk jockeys were leaving their professions en masse to become self-employed day traders. If it was tech, then it must be had. If it was a “dot-com” stock, then sell the family farm for it. They rose from pennies per share all the way into the $100s. Anyone and everyone wanted in.
My father took that money and guided me into choosing two mutual funds. One was an Alliance fund, and the other was a Putnam fund. We invested $2,500 in each one. After seeing my portfolio go from $5,000 up to $7,000, it became quite natural for me to grab the newspaper every morning, and instead of reading the sports section for the latest ...