How did you get started investing?
When I was around eight years old, I played little league baseball and learned that certain baseball cards could become more valuable over time. That idea had instant appeal. So I would spend my allowance on baseball cards, and hunting through all of them for a quality player was part of the fun. Soon after, I added early edition comic books, and I accumulated boxes of them over time. This made the occasions I got dragged as a child to an antique shop or market more tolerable. I rifled through boxes of discarded baseball cards and comic books looking for a hidden gem. The idea of buying something discarded for a few cents that could be worth more in the future was an exciting discovery. Stock investing came later, right after college. I was set on law school, but my future father-in-law advised me that “you cannot opt out of the money game in life” and so he reasoned that spending at least a year or two in the financial world would create a lifelong skill. I agreed, and was very fortunate to get hired in the research department of Robinson-Humphrey in Atlanta. It was an amazing time and learning experience. This was in 1999, at the height of the tech bubble, and I was reading "Security Analysis, The Madness of Crowds," and had just met Sir John Templeton (who was shorting tech stocks at the time). In the dotcom bust, I was a junior analyst writing an earnings note on a carpet tile manufacturer called Interface, and realized that one division in the company was depressing the share price, and that on a sum of the parts basis, the business was potentially worth multiples of its share price at the time. It was a simple insight, but powerful. The stock eventually rose sevenfold during the next several years. However, long before that I knew that I was forever hooked on investing. Continue Reading »