Sunday 13 May 2007

Blasts from the Past

My Mum is clearing out some old junk and found a folder of my old receipts and financial records. Looking through it I found some interesting tid-bits:
* My accounts record book from 1978, when I was working part-time in a market garden and at the local supermarket on weekends while in High School. One entry records that I was paid $10.50 for an 8.5 hour day's work.
* I found the cost of my very first computer system - a Sinclair ZX80, with accessories - bought in 1980 for around $550. If I'd saved this money (the computer was outdated and superceeded by the IBM PC soon after) I could have bought Microsoft for the equivalent of 8c per share (adjusted for splits since then), and my $550 investment would now be worth around $250,000 - even without any dividends being reinvested. Contrary to what you might expect, I actually find this reassuring. I'd always remembered thinking when I first heard about Microsoft being listed that it was already expensive on p/e basis, and that all the big gains had been made by private investors pre-IPO, so I didn't investigate how to invest in a US stock (at that time it was hard enough to trade Australian stocks, let alone arrange to buy a foreign stock directly). Now that I realise that even if I'd invested 10% of my entire net worth in this one US stock when it listed, it would only have added about $150K to my current net worth. So I can forget about this "one that got away".
* I also found some annotations in my accounts books listing my total assets back then (I didn't have any debts, so this is the same as net worth). I'll add some of these ancient figures to my long term net worth plot. As an example, I had the following;

date net worth
30 Aug 79 $1,330.00
30 Aug 80 $700.00
30 Aug 83 $2,518.00
30 Aug 84 $3,168.00
30 Aug 85 $5,070.00

* I also realised that I was a lot more enterprising in those days than I remember. I have entries for my casual weekend jobs, but I also have some cash entries for payments received for getting computer programming articles published in an electronics magazine in 1981, and some payments for some craft works I sold in a local gallery. It seems I had the drive to make some extra money back then, but I had a problem finding a money-making scheme that was scalable during my uni days. That's probably why I stuck to a salary job and concentrated on learning how to invest my savings.

Enough Wealth

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