My grandmother left behind a million dollar portfolio
I’ve always had such a special relationship with grandparents, and not only mine but old people in general. I love them. I think they are walking, talking bundles of wisdom. There is something so beautiful about the lines of their faces that tell stories of where they have been, before I existed. They have seen the world through a different lens, one we can learn so much from. Sitting for hours on end with my grandpa's hand in mine, drinking copious amounts of tea, with *almost* stale biscuits, will forever be one of my favourite memories.
One of my grandma’s (who I called Dibby because I couldn’t say Granny, Grandma or her actual name Patricia), came to NZ from England in 1937. Before that she worked in the British Intelligence Department M15 - not as a spy, but still pretty cool. She loved to knit, she learnt Spanish in her spare time, but perhaps the most impressive of her extracurricular activities was an investing club that she was a part of.
Keep in mind this was before you could invest online with $1. This was back in the day when you checked company shares every day via the newspaper… Honestly, I have no idea how anyone did anything before the internet existed, let alone research and invest in stocks. Once a month, her investing club would meet for afternoon tea and talk about stocks that interested them. And the coolest part? Everyone in her investing club was a woman.
My grandad paid for all of the main expenses like the house, bills, groceries etc, but since my grandma had been given inheritance from her family, she was allowed to do with it what she liked. And rather than shopping, or going on holidays, she decided to invest it. This was a time when women weren’t allowed to work in the finance industry. Muriel Siebert was the first woman to work on the stock exchange and this was in 1967. So to think my grandma knew what investing was, blows my mind.
She invested constantly for over 40 years, in all sorts of different companies, and countries from all over the world. Not all of her investments were good ones, she lost lots of money, but she also made a lot. Looking at her portfolio, it was clear that she was playing the long game. Vic studied her portfolio, and we did a big breakdown of her portfolio. We looked at her investing strategy, the companies she picked and talked about all of the things we can learn from her. If you want to have a listen, the episode is here.
Dibby invested just over $12,000 which at the time would have been a lot of money. Fast forward 55 years, and her portfolio is now worth over a million dollars. My dad has decided to keep the money invested (great call from dad), and although he wants to redirect some of her money into different companies, he plans on keeping it in stocks. Her portfolio feels like an extension of her, a gift of intergenerational wealth.
Sometimes it’s hard to get your head around why we invest, especially when those goals seem so far away. But nothing makes me a prouder grandchild than to think that she was a trailblazer. To think that her investing is going to set my dad up for a more comfortable retirement, makes me feel so grateful to her. Investing ahead of her time, and being at the top of the learning Curve (excuse the pun).
I wish I could sit down with her today and hear her investing ideas, her passion to support the economy, and belief in herself to grow the money she already had, but I think the biggest learning is the power of investing for your future. You can invest for your kids, and for your kids' kids and that money compounded over a long period of time can quite literally change their lives.
If you want to learn how to invest, but don’t know where to start - you should think about investing in your own learning first. The Curve Classroom starts in a few weeks and it’s a chance to be a part of your very own investing club. Community is everything. There is a strength in numbers, and what’s cooler than learning how to invest? Learning how to invest alongside heaps of other new investors, with a teacher who has invested for over 20 years herself.