Editor’s Note: Today I want to introduce you to a new and very special contributor.
I met Mark Morgan Ford, founding member of The Oxford Club, this past February at a meeting in Delray, Florida.
I was six weeks on the job and I knew very little about him… And what I had heard was nothing short of impressive.
I was excited to meet the brain behind much of what made The Oxford Club what it is today.
Turns out he reminded me a lot of my dad…
Mark was born of humble beginnings – so humble, he himself has said it “wasn’t on the other side of the tracks… it was on the tracks.”
He had no prominent legacy to lean on, no fancy degrees and no Fortune 100 grooming. Yet he’s been involved in dozens of multimillion-dollar business, including one whose revenues exceeded $100 million and another that broke the billion-dollar mark.
To me, he epitomizes the “self-made man,” built on old-fashioned American grit.
Chief Investment Strategist Alexander Green and Mark have known each other for many, many years. The fact that his “view of things overlaps with [Alex’s] in many places” is a huge part of the reason Mark agreed to share writings from his archives with Liberty Through Wealth readers in the weekly Wednesday spot.
To ensure you don’t miss an issue, whitelist Liberty Through Wealth so your email service (ahem, Gmail) doesn’t think it’s junk. Instructions on how to do this for different service providers, including Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL can be found here.
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Donna DiVenuto-Ball, Managing Editor
Consult an expert, if you like experts. Talk to your broker. Read your broker’s “research” recommendations.
But don’t ask me what you should be doing with your money right now.
I have no qualifications as a financial advisor. No certificates. No degrees. I’ve never taken a single class in economics or accounting…
I’ve read a few books – ones that came highly recommended.
And yes, I was an advisor to and publisher of investment advice for nearly 40 years…
Which gave me an inside view on how the business works and a contact list of several dozen of the best-known stock analysts in the world. I know how they work, and I’ve seen the results of their work, good and bad.
I keep tabs on the best of them… and incorporate the recommendations of a few. But when it comes to making decisions about what do with my (now my family’s) money, I follow my own rules.
My rules are not for everyone. And you may decide that they are not for you.
But if, like me, you are a timid investor…
If, like me, your fear of losing money is greater than your greed…
And if you are willing to work hard to make sure your active income is always increasing… every week and every month and every year…
Then you may be interested in knowing some of these rules that I follow and what particularly I plan to do with my money this year.
I have several dozen rules. Here are 10 of them:
- I don’t invest in anything I don’t fully understand.
- If I am determined to break rule No. 1, I admit to myself that what I’m doing is gambling, not investing. And I proceed fully expecting to lose every penny I put on the line.
- I would never put all my savings into stocks or even into a portfolio of stocks and bonds. I have my money allocated in at least a half-dozen asset classes at all times.
- I don’t try to get from any asset class (stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities) or subclass (blue chip stocks, growth stocks, etc.) more than 10% to 20% of its natural (historic) rate of return. When someone recommends an investment “sure to” do much better than that, I steer clear.
- Before investing in anything, I have a Plan B in place. A proper Plan B is a preset (and if possible an automatic) protocol that cashes me out of the deal as quickly as possible and with the least amount of damage.
- As a rule, I don’t invest in growth stocks. I prefer buying shares of world-class, income producing, Warren Buffett-type companies that I feel confident will still be strong in 20-plus years. And I do not sell these stocks in market downturns. I often buy more of them in order to “average down” my buy-in price.
- I devote the largest portion of my portfolio to income-producing real estate and use a trusted partner to manage them.
- The next largest slice of my investment pie goes to private businesses – either in stock or debt or convertible debt. When considering such investments, I ask myself how well I understand it and whether I have some control – or at least influence – on management, should they take actions that seem wrong to me. (And I have my Plan B.)
- I don’t “invest” in hard assets or currencies because I don’t consider them investments. (They have little or no intrinsic value, do not produce value and do not earn income.)
- I never invest more than a very small portion of my net investible wealth (net worth minus my house and other things I don’t intend to sell) in any single investment. (Long ago my limit was 5%. Now it’s 1%.)
I should say that I’ve been doing this (i.e., writing about it) since 2010. I’ve done well, but again, I’m not contending that this is what you should be doing.
For one thing, you may not be willing to put money into rental real estate or private businesses.
And my “fine art portfolio”? Well, that’s a very personal thing…
[Tune in next Wednesday for “What I’m Doing With My Money Now (Part Two)”]
Thoughts on this article? Leave a comment below.