Easy Money

Pocket investment club is golden after 25 years

By Corky Mau
April 2019

Upside, downside, P/E ratio, EPS, options, short sells, PERT, SSG, REIT—all foreign terms to me. But I am a little smarter now after attending a meeting of the Pocket Change Investment Association.

The investment club was established in April 1994 by Pocket neighbors. Founding members Michael Fong and Dr. Helen Kwong considered the monthly $25 dues as “pocket change,” which fit perfectly with the name of their neighborhood. And so the Pocket Change Investment Association was born. It meets monthly.

The group celebrates its 25th anniversary this month with a weekend trip to Sonoma County. The club has 13 members, which includes five founders.

The focus is business. The club collectively buys stocks, and each member is expected to make one annual stock presentation for the group to purchase.

Members also present one business topic for discussion, such as work after retirement. Meetings rotate among members’ homes. The Pocket Changers like solid bets, and don’t go for risky investments. But inflation is unavoidable—monthly dues are now $30, up from the original $25.

“Over the years, our membership has changed due to the usual life changes,” Kwong says. “But the positive benefits of participating in the club still remain. We still have fun learning and earning with friends. When you consider that it’s easy to spend $30 a month on coffee and get nothing but a great cup of joe, our monthly $30 has not only reaped us a decent return on our investments, but a wealth of knowledge and, more importantly, long lasting friendships.” 

In 1994, the group immersed itself in learning how to organize, open a brokerage account and educate members on investment tools. The Pocket Changers purchased four stocks that year—Biomet, Cisco Systems, McDonalds and Zenith Electronics.

 

Today, the club’s portfolio has 24 stocks with a market value of more than $470,000—a big jump from five years ago when the portfolio had a market value of about $217,000.

I found the investment club meeting interesting. I learned how investment clubs function and enjoyed talking with new friends over dinner. And I can’t wait to see how the Pocket Changers will be doing on their 30th anniversary.

E-WASTE & SHREDDING

Bring unwanted e-waste materials and documents for shredding to the Kennedy High School parking lot Saturday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

No charge for dropping off eligible e-waste products, but there’s a $3 to $5 fee for document shredding. For information on e-waste, call (916) 386-8394. For information on shredding, call (916) 392-2317.

EARTH DAY VOLUNTEERS

Celebrate Earth Day 2019 by volunteering to clean up Garcia Bend Park on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Minimum age to volunteer is 14 (3 if with an adult). Dress comfortably and wear closed-toe shoes. Equipment and snacks will be provided. For more information, contact Devin Lavelle at (916) 808-7192 or parks@devinlavelle.com.

EASTER EGG HUNT

Grab those Easter baskets and head to the annual Egg Hunt at Garcia Bend Park on Saturday, April 20. Enjoy entertainment and children’s activities before the hunt, which starts about 10:30 a.m.

Designated age-group areas will be set up with plenty of eggs for everyone. The Easter Bunny also will make a guest appearance.

SOCCER SIGNUPS

Greenhaven Soccer Club is registering young people ages 6 to 13 for spring soccer. The next session is May 15–31 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Garcia Bend Park.

Cost is $90 per child with a $20 discount per sibling. Register at campscui.active.com/orgs/transatlanticsoccer.

SUMMER @ CITY HALL

Deadline to apply for the 2019 Summer @ City Hall program is Friday, April 19. Current sophomores and juniors living in or attending high school in the Sacramento city limits are encouraged to apply.

The six-week program is a unique learning experience that emphasizes civic engagement and youth-development principles. For more information, contact Maria Vides-Medal at (916) 808-6162 or mvmedal@cityofsacramento.org.

LOVE THIS PLACE

I want to give a shout out to my wonderful neighbors who helped me and Freddie, my senior dachshund, while I recovered from hip-replacement surgery. I hear complaints about car break-ins and irresponsible pet owners who don’t pick up after their dogs, but the vast majority of Pocket residents are great people. Like the familiar adage goes, “It takes a village.” Love my Pocket village.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month.

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