For Todd Goergen, it’s feeling a little bit like Christmas in May.
It’s Bordeaux futures season, after all, when wine lovers can stake an early claim to cases of the 2010 vintage from the world’s top chateaux. For Goergen, managing partner of a private-equity firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, that means it’s time to add to his growing collection of Lafite, Margaux and Haut-Brion.
Bordeaux might not be your typical futures market, in the fashion of corn or soybeans. But not only does it pair well with a filet mignon, it can also prove to be a stellar investment. “Last year I bought 2009 futures, and the retailer has already offered to buy them back at double what I paid,” says Goergen.
If you’re wringing your hands about prospects for the U.S. dollar, take some comfort: You’re part of a large club.
With the Federal Reserve essentially printing money to help the U.S. out of the Great Recession, while keeping interest rates low, there’s not a lot of robust dollar-defending going on.
With the economy still struggling, unemployment still lofty, and retirement savings lacking, more Americans than ever are terrified of the idea of dying penniless.
Financial adviser and author Stephen Pollan wants to remind you: That’s the whole idea. Not the prospect of outliving your cash; no one wants that. But the idea of using up all of your savings while you’re still here to enjoy it? That’s the mark of a well-lived life. Says Pollan, always outspoken: “You’re a jerk if you leave a single penny.”
Think about educational fundraisers, and you likely have some very refined images in your head. Maybe a tasteful wine-and-cheese at a country club, with a live string quartet playing in the background.
Nancy Wurtzel has a memory that’s a tad different. It was more like stumbling onto the set of WrestleMania.
In this stock market, size matters. And not in a good way.
As the Dow flirts with two-year highs – Middle East chaos and nuclear meltdowns be damned – it’s the smaller and riskier companies that have benefited most dramatically. The big, safe, dividend-paying megacaps? They’re still shivering on line, desperate to be let into the party.
“The rally of the past two years has left many blue chips in the dust,” says James Early, senior analyst for popular investing site The Motley Fool. “They’re suffering from what I call Middle Child Syndrome: The speculators only want growth, the doomsayers only want yield, and the blue chips just get left behind.”
If retirement saving is a 100-yard dash, take a look down the track. Ionnie McNeill already has you beat.
Though she’s just 22 and a senior at Howard University, McNeill has been investing in stocks for more than a decade. She purchased her first shares (Citrix Systems) at age nine, and opened her own Roth IRA at 15. Now, at an age when most college kids are perfecting their beer pong and playing clumsy guitar in their dorm rooms, McNeill has assembled a powerful $50,000 portfolio.
It’s not hard to pinpoint exactly when Tim Wiedman began to sour on the idea of April Fools’ Day pranks in the office. It was shortly after his hair had been set on fire.
Wiedman was an assistant manager at a fast-food joint at the time, and wearing one of those flimsy paper hats. His colleague Rick thought it would be a riot — and a fitting tribute to April Fools’ Day — to sneak up behind his buddy and set his cap aflame.
Here’s the stereotype of the typical empty nester: Depressed, without purpose, weeping quietly into your chamomile tea and staring out the window as Junior finally heads off to college.
Not so for Carol Margolis. Quips the 52-year-old Orlando, Florida travel writer: “It’s been so great. I’m having the time of my life.”
Jade Boyd lives in the People’s Republic of Pickup Trucks. As a science editor for Rice University in Houston, he’s literally surrounded on the road by Ford F-150s and Chevy Silverados. “I grew up in Texas, my dad always had a pickup, and if I had my druthers, I’d have a pickup too,” says the married father of two. “The Texan in me would love to drive a truck every single day.”
But then there’s the little issue of gas costs. With his friends filling up their pickups at around $75 a pop, twice a week, that’s $600 a month disappearing right into the tank. That’s why in 2007, Boyd went against his natural Texan instincts and bought himself a hybrid Toyota Prius.
“How can you do that to your kids?”
That’s the question Sacramento’s Sarah Cook hears all the time. And rather than making her feel embarrassed or guilty, she revels in the scorn. Because it tells her she’s on exactly the right track.
To be clear, Cook isn’t quite the Tiger Mom made famous by author Amy Chua, whose drill-sergeant approach to parenting has lit up message boards all over the Web. She doesn’t loom over her three kids during their piano lessons, or fire thousands of math problems at them until they achieve absolute perfection.