Misers Investment Club celebrates 60 years

By on February 1, 2017

 

Presenting the certificate to the Miser’s Investment Club president Larry Loose(seated, second from left) is Bruce Kennedy (kneeling, left) from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Investment Clubs. Other members of the investment club include (front row, left to right) Steve Graybill, Arthur Graybill and Kenneth Loeffler; (second row, l-r) Joel Callihan, Dennis Ward, Albert Blough, Doug Mackley, William Funk, Matt Smith; (back row, l-r) Tom Andersen, Mike Hoffman, John Bright Jr., Scott Cover, Phil Fassnacht, Richard Cummings, John McBeth, Mike Gerhart and Tony Kilkuskie. Members missing are Craig Ebersole, Constantinos Scaros, Tom Stradling and Dennis Stuckey.

Presenting the certificate to the Miser’s Investment Club president Larry Loose(seated, second from left) is Bruce Kennedy (kneeling, left) from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Investment Clubs. Other members of the investment club include (front row, left to right) Steve Graybill, Arthur Graybill and Kenneth Loeffler; (second row, l-r) Joel Callihan, Dennis Ward, Albert Blough, Doug Mackley, William Funk, Matt Smith; (back row, l-r) Tom Andersen, Mike Hoffman, John Bright Jr., Scott Cover, Phil Fassnacht, Richard Cummings, John McBeth, Mike Gerhart and Tony Kilkuskie. Members missing are Craig Ebersole, Constantinos Scaros, Tom Stradling and Dennis Stuckey.

Misers Investment Club celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. A representative of the National Association of Investors Corp. honored the club for its longevity in December.

The Misers Investment Club’s first meeting was held March 1, 1956. There were 15 charter members and today there are 23. The charter stipulates a maximum of 25 members for the men-only investment club.

“We have room for two more members. For the first time we don’t have a wait-list. I think that’s because people have the opportunity to invest at work. Plus there are more opportunities to invest in mutual funds and discount brokers have emerged that allow online trading,” said Akron resident John McBeth, who also serves as the borough’s mayor.

“When I joined, my number one goal was to learn more about investing in stock and the discipline of investing money. After 25 years, I’m still learning,” he added.

The National Association of Investors Corp.’s website, betterinvesting.org, indicates that there are a number of investment clubs organized from 1952 to 1965 that still meet today.

According to the website, an investing club provides the opportunity for its members to share the load and pool their knowledge to learn more, with less time and effort, than they can on their own.

“New investors find that a club provides a safe and supportive environment to learn the basics of investing, while experienced investors gain an opportunity to sharpen investing skills. All club members benefit in added buying power through a shared portfolio that enables the club to invest in stocks that an individual may not be able to afford on their own and quickly build a diversified portfolio,” the website said.

The Misers invest in growth stock and McBeth said the focus is U.S.-based companies. Currently the clubs’ two largest holdings are Celgene, a biotechnology company, and Apple. Other investments include Visa; Bank of America; Phillips 66, an energy manufacturing and logistics company; BlackRock, an investment management company; Facebook; and Walmart.

“We want diversification,” he said, “At our monthly meetings we decide if we’re going to purchase new stock or sell any existing stock. There are different schools of thought, and knowing when to sell is the hardest thing. We do try to use good principles of investing to guide our decisions.”

McBeth used Apple as an example.

“We had that stock a number of years ago and sold it and then bought it again in 2004. Before the iPhone they were floundering,” he said, adding that in some years Misers Investment Club’s holdings outperform the S & P 500 index.

According to Nasdaq.com, the S & P 500 is an index of 500 widely held common stock that measures the general performance of the market.

A new member makes an initial investment of $1,200 and then contributes $40 per month ($480 per year) to the club. McBeth said those two figures have remained steady over the years.

“We don’t want the price to discourage membership. We do have an up-front amount so we know that someone is definitely interested. But by keeping it and the monthly contribution modest we’ve been able to have an investment club with a lot of diversity among members,” he explained.

Member contributions and funds from stock dividends are how the club pays for its investments. Decisions on investing and divesting are made at each meeting.

McBeth said that members are free to recommend an investment by doing a presentation about the company — it’s history and products. If the membership approves purchasing stock in a company, generally the member who proposed it would be responsible for tracking the stock’s performance and keeping other members informed.

Currently he said the investment club’s total assets are $358,860. The largest member holding is $56,027, while the smallest is $2,512; with an average member investment of $15,000 in holdings.

McBeth stressed that no matter the value of a member’s holdings, each member only has one vote.

Misers Investment Club meets the second Tuesday of every month. Meetings are held in member’s homes. McBeth said that gentlemen interested in joining the investment club should contact a member. He explained that typically a potential member attends a meeting to be introduced to other members and see how the club operates. At the following, meeting members vote on extending a membership invitation.

“To my knowledge, we have not turned away any prospective member,” he said.

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