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Edward Zajac – 94 year old investor


This is a story I came across in the Economic Times.It seems to be a reprint from Bloomberg.I have this story pinned to my notice board just to remind me how Dumb Money can become Smart Money.Here is a person who seems to have made good money without trying to become an expert at investing.He has accepted his lack of expertise and found a way to benefit from the expertise of the “smart money”.His method involves just looking at some basic facts before putting his money in a company.The skills required are really basic.The rest of his magic merely seems to be a result of compounding due to his Time in the Market and the wisdom that comes from experience.To follow him we don’t need to understand financial statements or master technical analysis.

 Buy & hold strategy not dead yet for 94-year-old investor

wealthymatters.comNEW YORK: Stick with stocks, says investor Edward Zajac. He should know. The 94-year-old has been trading for 72 years and said he’s made about $2.5 million.

“I am a live, open-hearted investor,” said Zajac. “I’m willing to hold that stock 5, 10 years, if I have to.” Zajac, who lives with his daughter in Henderson, Nevada, bought his first stock, Petroleum & Resources, in 1937 while attending the University of Illinois. He’s invested full-time since 1968, after retiring from installing computer systems to travel the US in a recreational vehicle with his wife.

He has stood firm even as many investors fled equities and hoarded cash since the financial crisis. More than $600 billion have gone into bond funds since the end of 2008, according to the Investment Company Institute, a Washington-based trade group. That’s even as 68 stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index paid dividends exceeding the average corporate bond yield of 3.8% as of August 31, more than at any time in at least 15 years.

Individuals can make a profit in the market, according to Zajac, who said he’s in good health except for “numb feet.” He researches companies using Standard & Poor’s guidebooks at public libraries or more recently on a computer at home and places orders by calling his broker through a 1-800 number. As of September, his $412,000 portfolio held about 8 bond funds and 50 stocks, including Dow Chemical, International Paper and Microsoft.

EZ Method

He said he’s earned $2.5 million over the years using what he calls the “EZ investment method” — after his initials. The six-step investing strategy fits on an 8-and-a-half-by-11 size sheet of paper and includes:

1.Seek firms with promising products, “like a hula hoop.”

2.Buy companies with an A or a B credit rating.

3.Pick stocks that are at least 25 percent owned by funds and institutions because that means smart analysts are recommending them.

4.Look at the stock’s high and low closing prices for the past two years. Don’t buy if the current cost is near the peak.

5.”I don’t play anything where the odds are against me. “I don’t buy anything on margin. None of this fancy puts, calls, futures.”

6.The price-earnings ratio, or share price divided by earnings per share, should be less than 16 while the dividend yield has to be 2% or higher, said Zajac, who only buys equities that distribute income. He prefers companies that have paid dividends consecutively for at least 10 years.

Handwritten Records

Zajac has recorded his earnings in handwritten notebooks for decades and checks on his investments daily by calling his broker of almost 20 years, Chris R. Freymuller, a senior vice president of investments with Wells Fargo Advisors, a unit of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo.

“He knows every penny of dividends and interest that hit his account,” said Freymuller, who is based in Salt Lake City.

Zajac said he bought 100 shares of Caterpillar at $27 in March 2009, for example, and sold them this month at $70.

“I take advantage of opportunities,” he said. “If we have a second dip like they keep talking about, I’ll be in there with $100,000.”

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About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

One Response to Edward Zajac – 94 year old investor

  1. Pingback: A brilliant 94 y.o. investor?- 7million7years

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