We continue with Dad’s story, which began in his youth with the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, which had convinced him never to put money into shares of stock.
He matured. US Marines during WW II, Bronze star, Purple Heart, college degree and three children taught him a lot. Being married to Mom helped. She wasn’t afraid to invest in real estate. He had a good job, home, car, smart gorgeous wife. He felt safe.
By the mid-1950s, he was ready to “play the market.” [Uh-oh]
In 1956, he found a stock broker at a big brokerage and bought Ford stock. Skipping over the *very* colorful early history of the company, we find on Ford’s website:
In 1919, Henry Ford bought out all … investors and reincorporated the company in the State of Delaware. From 1919 to 1956, all stock in the company was owned by members of the Ford Family, the Edison Institute, and the Ford Foundation.
First offered to the public on January 18, 1956, when the Ford Foundation began to sell its stock in the company. The price was $64.50 per share. The stock first traded on the New York Stock Exchange on March 7, 1956.
This was just a few months after Ford’s most successful year ever – the 1955 Ford was a huge seller. Dad was getting in on a “sure thing” at the “ground floor.” Cliches all. After a year of record profits and sales, the company faltered in about 1957 as the era of fins took hold and Ford’s fins were high enough. The price plunged. Dad sold the stock.
Now, 1955 was a good year for all car companies in the U.S., but after that, mirabile dictu, just about everybody had a car and the age of the two-car family had not yet arrived.
IFO didn’t pay much attention at the time, but later learned that Dad bought High. You know the old saying, buy Low sell High? He did the opposite and was nearly permanently embittered.
We wonder now whether his Dad, or someone else close to him, lost money in the market in the 1930s. That was an era when blue collar guys didn’t “manage wealth” they saved money, if they could. But just prior to the big stock market plunge, everybody was getting in on “the game” of get rich quick with no effort.
A few more than 20 years later – 1950s, all that (as well as previous financial panics) was forgotten. Dad may have gone from fear (losing money) to greed (win big!) and pride (beat old Dad!)
Then came the 1970s. Dad and mother met a young woman at another brokerage. They loved her like a daughter. IFO thinks she and mother kept the investment strategy on a more conservative path – at least they didn’t lose big bucks any more.
Investment lesson: Live and learn. Work hard, play hard, love well.