is the 2nd of twelve articles for light holiday reading in my 2020 series of Tom's Summer Shorts. The tales are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories. My hope is that in them you find joy and inspiration.
Work in my investment business was stagnant. With little to do, I left my office and drove downtowm. The hand-painted “Noah's Ark Investments” sign outside a slightly shabby shop front caught my eye. Intrigued, I parked up and went inside.
“How can I help you young fella?” came the hearty greeting from a ruddy-faced gent lolling in an old rocker. I kind of liked the 'young fella' line so immediately felt at home.
“What's with the Noah's Ark Investments?” I queried, “Is this an investment business?” - my face screwed up in puzzled mode.
“Oh it's an investment business alright my friend,” came the assertive reply, “But not just any investment business. It is the investment business., the genuine article, the real McCoy. You see, what I do here came around long before you or any slick greenhorns saw the light of day and it'll be here long after you're pushin' up daisies.”
“So what do you do?” I asked feeling well scolded, “And how come the odd name?”
“Nothin' odd about the name,” he snapped back, “It says what it is. Clear and simple.” Then, leaning forward he indicated that I park my butt on the threadbare recliner at his side and added, “Listen in an' you might learn something.”
“Old Noah of biblical legend was no fool,” he started, “When he filled up that boat of his with two of every animal, he knew just what he was doing. He was investing in his future. Think about it lad.” Now I was a 'lad', even better! I eagerly leaned in to grasp the wisdom in prospect. It wasn't long in coming.
“In due course, each pair of animals reproduced. Then the offspring in turn did likewise. Soon he had herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. That was his capital growth.” He paused to let the significance of that revelation sink in. Then he continued, “Some calves, lambs, chickens etc. he slaughtered. These gave him food, clothes and shelter. That was his income. Those he didn't kill grew into the herd or flock. That was his reinvesting his profit, his futures market if you like. And so the cycle continued. When he required something outwith of his own production capability, he bought and payed for it with a lamb, calf or chicken. That was his spending money.
So you see son … “ (wow, now I was his son, how could I not like this guy)!, “ … Noah was the original investor. His methods are tried and tested. There is nothing new to learn about investing. All you need do is follow his example. Think about it. Noah neither attended Harvard nor wolved on Wall Street, he was much smarter than any of that.”
Now my new friend beckoned to me and, with a conspiratorial wink, invited me to follow him. He led me to the back door and, throwing it open, revealed a back yard where gamboled several lambs, ducks and chickens.
“These are but a few, my full 'investment portfolio' is on the farm out of town,” he laughed, “But I assure you young fella, good times and bad, they provide for my every need. More than that, what I do gives me, my family, my friends and my clients the greatest pleasure imaginable. Yes son, what I do is fun!”
“So you recommend these 'investments' to clients?” I asked slightly bemused.
“I surely do,” he responded, “I recommend them, supply them and provide ongoing management advice. It's a full proactive portfolio management service. Yup,” he slapped his thigh, “That's what I do,” and let out a hearty laugh. I was deep in thought.
When I got back to my office some hours later, my PA was curious as to the cardboard cartons stacked in the back of my car. She was the more so incredulous when I explained it was my new investment portfolio and astounded when I showed her the rooster and six hens I had acquired. Back home I built a wooden henhouse in the yard. Every day I collect the eggs, sometimes I roast a chicken. The flock grows with each hatch of chicklets. I sell some to fund my next investment - a piglet. The “Noah's Ark Investments” sign I put above the henhouse door attracts a steady stream of inquirers. My investment business is flourishing!
Easy teaser : Who is the legendary investor who, minus the farmyard, nonetheless employs the Noah's Ark investment strategy?
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
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NOAH'S ARK INVESTMENTS is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this Summer Short and found it to be of value.
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See you there! Regards, Tom.