First Person: Return On Investment
In 2007, I was finishing up graduate school and just landing my first job at the Rams Club. At the ripe age of 25, after finally receiving a real paycheck, I decided celebrate my financial independence and do some investing. I was no longer a broke college student, and with a bit of disposable income on my hands, I decided to sock a few thousand dollars away in the stock market. My investment knowledge was limited, but I knew you were supposed to buy low and sell high. With the market down a bit from the previous few months, it seemed like a perfect time. Maybe beginner’s luck would strike and I’d find the sought-after bottom.
You can stop laughing now.
Of course, it wasn’t the bottom, not by a long shot. One year after my initial investment, I had lost almost half of my money. Welcome to financial freedom. This was not exactly what I had in mind.
I wasn’t alone. You probably lost money too, probably much more than I did. But when you’re just starting out and not accustomed to the ebbs and flows of the stock market, seeing $2,000 turn into $1,000 quickly was disheartening. As the market continued to plummet, it was tempting to pull out what was left and walk away. I had already lost enough.
You may have experienced some similar feelings of disappointment lately. These are some tough times for Tar Heel alumni, students, faculty, and fans. It seems like we can’t seem to catch a break. A small scandal here or there is an unfortunate reality of a University as large as ours, but what has unraveled in recent months has taken everyone by surprise.
As an investor, you probably weren’t eager to check your portfolio during the recession. This year, you probably aren’t eagerly rushing out each morning to check the headlines of the local paper, if you haven’t cancelled your subscription all together. You are invested, so bad news hurts.
So what did you do during the recession? Did you take all you money out and bury it under the mattress? Were you so fed up with the state of the economy that you pulled out entirely? Or did you ride out the storm? Did you have faith that although we were in dark times, our nation’s economy, the strongest in the world, would eventually see prosperity? If you did, you’ve recouped your losses and you’re seeing brighter days.
As an American accustomed to prosperous times, events like the recession can knock you off your feet. If you haven’t already gotten up, hopefully you’re well on your way. It’s the same with our University. How do I know we will overcome these difficult times? The same way I knew our country will. Because those who stand behind it love it too much to let it fail. Because at its core, it is good.