Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Would You Take Investment Advice from Teddy Roosevelt?

My husband and I are just back from a one day vacation. Actually it was a continuation of our honeymoon a year ago last July. We had planned to go many places on our honeymoon but quite frankly we’re not as young as we used to be and we were just too tired to do everything we planned.

So, today we headed off to Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. We were hoping to be there during peak foliage season however the foliage is running a bit behind this year due to all the glorious sunny warm weather we had in September.

Castle in the Clouds was built by a man named Thomas Plant who started out in the shoe manufacturing business and worked his way up until he owned the place. He invented some shoe making machines and when he finally sold his shoe factories he was a man of great weal th.

He decided to build a castle for his second wife Olive (having paid off his first wife with a check for a cool mill.) He went to a mountain top in New Hampshire and built an awesome mansion, truly a “castle in the clouds”, complete with a secret room where he could hide away from everyone and do some reading.

He installed a phone that could only call out, since he didn’t want to be disturbed by incoming calls. He hung out with Teddy Roosevelt who gave him some bad investment advice. He lost his whole fortune and died penniless. His friends had to take up a collection to bury him.

Of course, I have to look at the whole story from a business perspective. If only Mr. Plant’s investment advisor could have called him to tell him his investment in Russian bonds wasn’t looking good---seems there was this little revolution, the czar and czarina came to an unfortunate end, and the country went into a teensy little tail spin. If only he had talked to a professional before he took Teddy’s advice on recouping his losses---apparently while Teddy was charging up San Juan Hill he decided Cuban sugar would be a great investment, except for a teensy little crop failure.

Mr. Plant never recouped his losses because soon after he lost his fortune, the stock market crashed and the country entered into a little something called the Depression. Even though he was sitting on thousands of acres of land which today are worth a mint, he couldn’t pay his bills.

The moral of the story: get advice from professionals not your friends and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Another moral for you is this---make the honeymoon last for years.

Until next time,

Caroline Jordan
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