By: Laura Cowperthwaite On: March 08, 2010 In: Investing, Wealth Building Comments: 0

My father died 2 weeks ago & his memorial service was this past weekend. When the pomp & circumstance was complete, my siblings and I spent a few hours pouring over photographs & other memorabilia, telling old stories and for the most part laughing about the adventures and mishaps of our youth.

During our dance down memory lane I uncovered a frame that held 5 stock-transaction receipts near the top of the frame, a short poem in the center and the calculations of what could have been at the bottom. The stock receipts showed the sale of 2000 shares of Pizza Hut stock over a period of 1 year – 1975, my sophomore year of high school. Sale of 300 shares, sale of 500 shares, and so on. The last 700 shares were sold on 6/26/75 and settled on 7/3/75.

The poem goes like this:

There once was a young man named Dick
Who sold his Pepsico stock too quick
Making money had been easy
His attitude was breezy
He thought he was really slick

From this sale a lesson was learned
Easy money should never be spurned
Dick bellowed and blew
But from then on he knew
Keep good stock and you’ll never be burned

And at the bottom were the split dates:
07/21/75 – 3 for 2 = 3,000 shares
11/07/77 – 1.55 for 1 = 4,650 shares
05/07/86 – 3 for 1 = 13,950 shares
08/10/90 – 3 for 1 = 41,850 shares

Dad figured those original 2000 shares would be worth about $5M today had he held onto them. What did he get in return? New siding on the house, a groovy little sports car and a 10-day family vacation to Los Angels.

My father left me many things, among them; a commitment to honesty, a thousand great memories, 4 fantastic siblings, a small gold pinkie ring with the classic 70’s smiley face (the symbol of his life’s guiding principle, “Think Happy Thoughts”), a very small amount of money, and this 8.5″x11″ frame with a powerful reminder of what’s possible when we use our cash to buy assets and then leave the assets to work their magic.

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