Beardstown group shares wealth
Making money in stocks and mutual funds takes more than good luck and deep pockets. Successful investors are information-rich as well.
But what's the best way to become fiscally savvy? For a growing number of Missourians, MU Extension is offering answers through consumer and family economists, who enlighten citizens on money matters, big and small.
Women are becoming the most active consumers of economic information across the country, which is why Extension offers the Women's Financial Information Program (WFIP) and organizes events such as the "Invest for Success" night in Hannibal.
Nancy Flood, a consumer and family economics specialist from Putnam County, wanted to reach a general audience - the majority likely women with investment information. So who better to educate women on money matters than the world's most famous group of money-making women - the Beardstown Ladies. The Moline, Illinois, group of 12 started an investment club in the early 80's with no financial background; just the commitment to educate themselves and contribute $25 each to a monthly "investment pot."
Today the group holds a portfolio worth more than $100,000. Their average rate of return on investments is a whopping 23 percent, better than scores of professional investors.
"One message we convey in our programming is that anyone can make it in investments, you just have to do your homework. And that's the message the Beardstown Ladies shared during our 'Invest for Success' program," said Flood.
On that note, Flood also included on the ticket an expert in mutual funds, MU consumer and family economics professor Craig Israelsen.
Betty Dolbeare, a retired schoolteacher, traveled from Louisiana, Missouri, to Hannibal for the program. She described herself as hungry for financial information and pleased she walked away from the extension program a little wiser. "I definitely learned something," she said.
Like many of the people who attended the program, Dolbeare has not been a regular consumer of extension information. About half of the 130 people who attended said the event was their first known encounter with extension. "We were hoping to reach new audiences and it was exciting to see we could," said Flood.