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When I was 16, in 1966 I worked in a shoe store after school. My family was broke. My mother was raising 3 teenagers at the time - my father, a WWII vet was killed after the war in an accident. This was before welfare and social service programs.....I guess that makes me sound ancient, but all of us kids worked to help our mother, buy school clothes, etc.
My boss, a great guy, smart businessman (owned a chain of shoe stores) - spent his lunch hour down the street at the stock brokerage. This wasn't a Charles Schwab easy access office (that would come much later), but an imposing building that was clearly "men only". Every once in a while I would have to deliver him a message drop something off for him.
It was a cavernous building with leather seats, dark lighting, great ticker tape action and lot's of cigar smoke. I started asking him questions about how it all worked. My boss was a student of Graham and he explained to me the basics of saving, compounding and investing. I saved some $$ and he helped me buy 10 shares of stock - I can't recall what stock it was, but I caught the bug. Fast forward to about 1976, I was working in SF and wandered into a Schwab office. It was EASY...and by the way, I do credit Schwab for bringing the stock market to the mass market, especially working women. I opened an account and started purchasing shares of companies I knew about. I read more, books and magazines, and studied.
I've weathered the ups and downs, wacky market gyrations. I put my daughter through college, bought a nice home (in California), and continue to reap the benefits of my dividends. Any pensions I paid into I eventually put into self-directed accounts and churned for profit rather than pay fees. I call myself a "worker bee". I've paid my own way, haven't tried to make money by marrying and divorcing, and I try to stay calm.
Easing into retirement over the next few years. Definately a dividend investor and if you ask me why my answer will be....It works !!!
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