This past week, while on sabbatical leave, I had the pleasure of attending an Ag Finance Class that featured a speaker discussing investments. There were many interesting perspectives.

Points to Ponder

  • Online trading has declined about 50% since the stock market downturns.

  • If you are feeling bad about low commodity prices – don’t. The investment advisor’s average portfolio lost 32% over the past 12 months. Personally, I am down 7.9%, so I’m not feeling bad. How do you stack up?

  • Americans have lost $4.4 trillion in paper wealth over the past year.

  • The investment advisor’s biggest investment losers were people who moved lower and modest return investments to higher risk and return options in 1999 and 2000. Does this sound familiar in marketing crops and livestock?

  • Greed and fear still move the markets.

  • Nearly a third of a class of 114 students had started long-term investments. About half began before they were 15 years of age. Yes, there is hope for the younger generation.

Question and Tip of the Week
This comes from a student at Virginia Tech.

"Do I have to make big money to be able to retire comfortably?"

The investment advisor’s response: "One of my great success stories is of a retired Sears repairman who had made modest earnings, lived frugally but enjoyed life. He and his family invested monthly and attempted to earn an 8% average on investments. They currently have nearly a seven-figure retirement investment portfolio!"

Most farms are increasing debt loads as it pertains to machinery debt, capital leases, and credit cards. In a downturn this could be a bad sign.

Sports Perspective
Do you find NBA basketball boring? I would still rather play than watch.

Next week I am with an agrilenders group – tune in to find out where I have been!

Final Note
I received some really good questions from readers this week that you will see in the weeks to come. Keep sending.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors note: Dave Kohl, Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He currently is on sabbatical and working with the Royal Bank of Canada.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures click here

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