Articles by: Kirk Spano

2008 Letter: 2007 Was a Major Turning Point

[this letter was emailed to clients January of 2008]


2007 Review: Turning Point

A Glance Back, A Look Forward & Philosophy

2007 was a very eventful and fitful year in the stock and bond markets around the world.  Credit markets finally started to shake the fleas that had taken residence over several years of record breaking money creation by government, lending institutions and a quasi-banking system composed of hedge funds and private equity firms.  The volatility we saw in 2007 is not likely to subside in the short run. In fact, I believe that the problems at Bear Stearns are the tip of the iceberg regarding problems that are likely to emerge in the financial sector. 

Rather than bore you with a rehash of what went on specifically (there are plenty of out there), I am going to talk instead about our investment philosophy and how I look at investing- which is how I think you should look at investing. 

When I was in college, my first landlord was an older gentleman named Bill who owned a lot of property in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee area.  One day I asked Bill about property ownership and he was kind enough to discuss the process of buying, fixing up and renting out apartments.  When I offered up some bad information regarding the process I had gotten from a friend, Bill offered me some advice that is the best advice I have ever gotten from a non-family member.  He said, “Kirk, if you want to learn how to do something, learn from people who have done it.  Don’t ask your friends or your neighbors, ask somebody who has done it, learn from their experience.

To that end, I believe that there is a pretty good shortcut out there to doing well with investing. 

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