Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Wall Street Dollies: Investing in Friendship

Kathy Sullivan outlines the bucket list and challenges. Photos by Maureen Chodaba

Kathy Sullivan outlines the bucket list and challenges. Photos by Maureen Chodaba

By Maureen Chodaba

Understanding the ups and downs of the stock market can be a challenge. The jargon itself can prove to be baffling. For 20 years, a group of Marco Island women have been meeting to learn about the market and do some investing of their own. The Wall Street Dollies are proud to be one of the longest existing investment clubs in Florida.

The group originally started as a mini club within the Newcomers Club of Marco Island. Original member, Phyllis Marco, said, “Two other clubs said we would never survive. Here we are 20 years later!” The club’s primary objectives are to learn about the market and share that knowledge with each other.

Each member is responsible for researching specific stocks for the club’s portfolio. At their meetings, these stock updates, quarterly reports and SSGs (Stock Selection Guides) are presented and discussed. A portfolio bucket/watch list is created with the categories of rebalancing, potential to sell, hold, potential purchases, quarterly review, a “to do” list and a watch list. The bucket list provides a look back at a stock’s performance over the years. The club gathers much of its information from the Value Line, a highly regarded stock analysis. Members vote on the decisions to buy, sell or hold.

If you are at all like me, some of this lingo may seem like a foreign language. However, several of the members admitted that they felt the same way when they attended their first meeting. Wall Street Dollies President Jo-Ann Sanborn said, “If I can learn this, anyone can!” The club is not just about the act of investing. It is about the education that comes about from their collective efforts. Club member Kathy Sullivan said, “These investments are not our life’s savings. Most members have other personal investments outside of the club. Many use the knowledge they have achieved through the club to help with decisions regarding those personal investments.”

In researching various stocks, the Wall Street Dollies also become apprised of new products, trends and technology. Several of the Dollies could claim to be experts on upcoming versions of the iPhone, Roomba, cloud computing and even Pokémon Go. Knowledge of these trends is actually a side effect of their stock market research.

Prospective members of the Wall Street Dollies must attend two consecutive meetings before obtaining full membership. There is an initial fee and a monthly fee of $50 for the club’s nest egg. Full members are required to attend seven meetings per year.

The Wall Street Dollies are a delightful group of enterprising women motivated by their desire for knowledge. But their most valuable attribute may be their spirit of friendship. After each meeting, they go out to lunch for fun and fellowship. At that special time, discussion of the stock market is considered to be off-limits!

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