Monday, December 6

Gambling with others’ money

A few years back, we decided to invest some of Hilary’s money she gets for letting us use her ranch in the High Sierra to run the resort. (Her grandmother left the ranch to her in a generation-skipping trust, so legally we had to rent it back from her.) Instead of paying her directly, we bought her some stock in Apple since we liked and used their products and I had a belief that newly-returned co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs could do no wrong, or at least very little wrong.

At the time, Apple Computer was struggling. Pundits predicted its imminent demise, and Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Computer, a high-flyer at the time, suggested that Apple be broken up and the cash reserves divvied up among its shareholders. Today Apple, Inc. is the world’s second-largest company by market valuation, trailing only ExxonMobil. Bigger than Microsoft, bigger than Walmart, and way bigger than Dell.

We paid $14.50 per share. Soon the stock split two for one, doubling her shares and making the investment cost $7.25 per share. Today it closed at $320.15 per share.

Karla and I also bought stock for ourselves. Dang! If only we had known how it would perform, we would have bought ourselves two shares!

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