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Creating Wealth

November 9, 2001

If you are a Brahmin, you can disdain the making of money. You can ignore commerce and the creation of wealth.

Brahmins are the highest caste in India, although the term is creatively used in the northeast U.S. to mean “old money” — people of inherited wealth going back to colonial days. American brahmins are not so concerned with making money, because they already have it, and so they have often involved themselves in public service.

Wealth creation is for the rest of us. Obviously, some are better at it than others. Wealth creation is something our country is good at, and thus American stock markets are favorites around the world.

People create wealth by creating, improving, and growing businesses, and by investing in such businesses. In reality, most American brahmins do this, as well. Investing is participation in wealth creation.

Through the 1990s, personal investing rivaled genealogy as America’s fastest growing sport. It may not be the most delightful sport right now, but many people continue to handle their own investments — of such things as 401(k)s, IRAs, disposable income.

I’m going to tell you to come to the library for investment advice. Of course, it’s up to you if you take financial advice from the staff. What I’m thinking of are the resources the library collects for your own use.

The library has long subscribed to The Value Line Investment Survey and for several years has also received The Value Line Expanded Edition. The Value Line is one of the most well-known and highly rated investment newsletters.

To verify this claim, you could look at Hulbert Financial Digest, which monitors the performance of financial newsletters. It would seem that if you took the
monkeys away from their typewriters and put them to work picking stocks, they would do better than most financial advisers.

The Value Line and Hulbert’s are shelved in the Reference Room beside the Morningstar Mutual Funds books and the Kiplinger Washington Letter.

On the newspaper rack upstairs, you’ll find the Wall Street Journal, the Investor’s Business Daily, and Barron’s weekly. I notice that many people also use the Denver Post’s financial information.

The library subscribes to magazines such as Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, SmartMoney, and Mutual Funds. Others of interest to personal investors might include Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, Colorado Biz, and the Economist.

The Economist is a British weekly that covers economic, social, and political matters around the world. It would be a good publication to read in these interesting times, because you will see America from a different perspective — from the outside looking in.

Another British magazine, New Scientist, is similar in this way, although it is about science and technology. Both of these necessarily spend a lot of print on the U.S., because of the magnitude of U.S. influence around the world, but the points of view are different than you’ll find in Time and Newsweek.

On the book shelves are many investment guides of varying wisdom and eloquence. Even though there are a thousand such books, we’re open to keeping a few new ones coming in. In fact, we just got an old one: “The intelligent investor: a book of practical counsel” by Benjamin Graham. This classic about “value investing” was first published in 1949 and has remained in print. Graham can list Warren Buffett as one of his many successful students.

As always, we’re open to suggestions about other useful sources of investment information we might add to our collection. Libraries enrich lives.

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