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PROPLAN > “Rogers Story”

Hello all,


For nearly 20 years now I have been involved with people and their finances, and have come to recognise that there is often a huge amount of emotional baggage that people bring to the financial decision making process. The story below deals with a man with “emotional intelligence”. He rules his wealth, not the other way around.


Below is borrowed in part from the book “Motivated Money” and deals with a gentleman named Roger that Peter Thornhill (the books author) met in 1991.  Roger was in his 80’s then and more alive than many 30 year olds. He has done well, this is his story:


“I was brought up by my mother in the depression years. They were hard times, I remember going to school in barefeet and eating bread and dripping. We lived in one room till I was 16, in a semi detached house. We let one of the rooms for one pound a week. At Mosman school, I played a lot of sport and was good at it. I collected bottles off the beach and sold newspapers for pocket money. The fact we had no money made me want to get it when I was in a position to do so. I left school at 16 and was lucky to obtain a position in the investment ledgers section at Perpetual Trustees in 1938. I had never heard of shares. We sat on 5 foot high stools and posted all movement in clients assets in ledgers along a 20 foot desk.


This went on for years and I wrote up the huge ledgers by hand with what the clients bought and sold, what dividends were paid and where share prices went over the long term. I became interested in how money was invested and how it soon increased in value. When we left for the war we jumped for joy. The depression was still severe and to us it was an adventure.


I married a girl from Newcastle in 1946 prior to my discharge and returned to the office. We saved for 7 years for a deposit on a house in Mosman. Looking back I guess the urge to make money was triggered by this struggle.


At 55 I attended a touch typing school and learned to type. I wrote and had a book published in training dogs. We tried, but could not have children, we had dogs instead and I became an obedience judge with the canine council. My wife worked at a haberdashery shop for about 20 years and in 1980 I left Perpetual and retired with about $300,000, and as you can see I have benefited. I rarely sell; just purchase more when they drop. I didn’t have a big portfolio then, only 6 holdings. When I retired my knowledge of how the stock exchange worked was extensive, and I am of the opinion that the future of the general share market will out perform all other types of investments.


Despite my view, some folk are sensitive when it comes to buying shares and worry whenever the price slips back. Share people have to grasp the mettle and buy more when there is a slump-and learn to go to sleep with a smile on their face.


One thing is true-when a person retires it is the most important part of their lives.”


None of this does justice to the powerful simplicity of the man. He and his wife cannot spend the income they now generate. Theirs is an amazing story.


When Roger retired his income at Perpetual was about $13,500 per annum. His investment portfolio in his first year of retirement yielded about 3.7% or $11,000. In 1991 Rogers portfolio had grown to $1.3million. Not one of his boring investments went bust in the crash of 1987. In 2009 his portfolio is worth approximately $8 million and is now yielding just over $400,000 per annum or about 5%. The value of his investments is of no more than academic interest to Roger.


To give his slightly bizarre stance, let me quote him: “I have a policy to try and buy 10,000 shares. I look upon this as a nice neat number. I must stress that I keep $100,000 in bank at all times to be ready to buy when the market drops……”


This man has earned more income since he retired than he did in 42 years of work. He is no superman, no more intelligent than you or I. One of my simple goals in life is to do what Roger has done, but to do it before retirement (hopefully).


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