STOW — If the stock market is something you’ve wanted to invest in but were intimidated by all the choices, numbers, and abbreviations, a local club can help educate you.
The Wampum Investment Club meets the third Wednesday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. at Stow City Hall. An open house is scheduled for April 15 and visitors can see what the club is like.
The Wampum Investment Club began in 1959 and celebrated 60 years in 2019. The local club is one of 8,600 that belong to Better Investing, a national organization with 90,000 members.
The local club is a small group of individual investors who come together to learn, share investing experiences and help each other become successful investors, said president Galdys Werts. The club uses a set criteria and software by Better Investing to select stocks.
"I wanted to educate myself and participate in my own investments," Werts said. "They learn the basics for investments."
Potential members are required to attend two meetings and will be voted on to become members. They are required to attend monthly meetings. BI membership is $48 per year and includes a Better Investing monthly magazine.
Wampum members pay a $10 new member fee and contribute $10 to $300 every month to buy the club’s stock. Members pool their investment dollars, review studies of stocks presented by an Investment Committee member and select one or more stocks to buy at the meetings, The club uses Discount Broker- TD Ameritrade to execute stock transactions.
The large volume of money is better for the club to make money, said treasurer Pete Feisthamel.
"Members need to have a commitment in investing so the money grows and the club grows," Werts said. "Put it in and make it work."
Every member is assigned a stock or two and presents a report on it every month, Werts said.
"A committee person tells us how a stock is doing," Werts said. "We constantly watch the stocks."
There are no more than 20 stocks to keep the investments manageable, she said.
Principles of investment include investing on a regular basis over a long period of time, reinvest all earnings, dividends and profits, buy growth stocks with a goal of doubling the investment in 5 years (15 percent per year) and diversify the portfolio.
Feisthamel said they teach new members how to read the information on the Value Line which is updated each month for each stock.
"We look for warning signs," Feisthamel said. "I look for no debt and also how a stock did in the past, present and estimated future. We want better than 15 percent return a year and try to double the stock in five years."
Members are taught to understand what the numbers mean and how to interpret them as a whole, Feisthamel said. Does the good data outweigh the bad?
"New people can learn a lot from older members," Feisthamel said. "We share our knowledge and bring them along."
The treasurer provides monthly valuation statements covering the club’s stock, broker and bank holdings and a member status report as well as year-end distribution reports.
For more information about the club, call Pete at 330-204-7521 or Bill at 330-289-4784.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.