Recently I accompanied my mother, for the second time, to an investors meeting. The meeting is an exchange of information among a group of people who are investing, or want to learn about investing their money wisely. Both times that I have been to one of the meetings, it has been in the conference room of a library building. When my mother and I entered the room, most of the group had already arrived and arranged a number of chairs in a loose circle. They were chatting as we walked into the room and no one greeted us directly, but they smiled in an inviting way. There were about 10 men, my grandfather being one, plus my mother and I. Soon, they began asking if anyone had a specific topic regarding investing that they would like to discuss.
My grandfather had done some research into a certain type of investment and had some questions about it. The topic in question was the risks/benefits of investing in MLPs, or Master Limited Partnerships. Before they began discussing the MLPs themselves, the gentlemen doing most of the talking asked if everyone knew what an MLP was. I didn’t, but if I had asked a question every time I didn’t fully comprehend something, the meeting would have devolved into less of a discussion and more of a one hour question and answer session. Thankfully, they briefly explained the difference between an MLP and a stock before delving into the more detailed conversation. I didn’t have a full understanding of the conversation, but I gathered that with MLPs there are two kinds of partners involved in the company, one or more master partners who run the company, and limited partners who are essentially the investors. I also understood that MLPs are taxed differently than other stocks although they are traded similarly now. There were other specifics about MLPs that were covered, but although I understood a bit of the vocabulary I didn’t have a very large background to compare the ideas to.
Another topic covered was the wisdom of taking advantage of the volatility of the market due to the recent elections. At this point there was some friendly banter and joking on various topics. The group, though mostly focused on the serious discussion, was not without a sense of humor.
As of now I can mostly only listen and try to learn the vocabulary specific to investing, but even with my limited understanding I could follow the discussion enough to learn and remain interested for the whole hour. I probably wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the topics discussed at these meetings for more than an hour right now, but that hasn’t been an issue thus far since both meetings I have been to have only lasted one hour. After each meeting I have been able to ask my mother and grandfather questions about specific items that were confusing or that I wanted to clarify.
I have done very little investing, but I intend to keep learning about it and doing it. In addition to all the information and advice I will get from my mother and father, as we continue to study this subject, I may very well attend these meetings more often to hear about other approaches to investing and learn from other people’s experiences. Someday I hope to be able to evaluate companies and different types of stocks myself and receive income from it that validates the time spent learning and investing.