Becoming a successful investor is one thing. But, building your own investment analysis and research company? Well now, that is a different thing altogether. Meet Sandy Chaikin. She is the co-founder of Chaikin Analytics, a ground-breaking stock research & analysis company. Here, investors get better results when choosing individual stocks. More importantly, it’s a story of how one retiree believed it’s important to seize the opportunities when they arise.
A bit about building a tool for investors
Sandy and her husband, Marc, a former Wall Street executive, combined their talents to capture a process and build a web-based tool. The purpose is to helps you choose when to buy and sell stocks. It’s for us “regular folks.” But underneath the hood, it applies the same approach that professional equity managers use to pick stocks. We get see the results with easy to read displays.
The process simplifies an investors list of required tasks when analyzing investments. For non-professional investors, their tool, the Chaikin Power Gauge™, is power-packed. It pulls in reams of complex financial information about an individual company’s performance. Next the code analyzes it and delivers output results in an ongoing stream. This allow an investor to make buy, sell or hold decisions at an appropriate time.
The analysis is in a color-coded, easy-to-read format. The result is a far cry from tracking stock prices in black and white tiny type in the Wall Street Journal every day!
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
To be honest, it wasn’t the Power Gauge that caught my attention—although it is cool. It was the dynamic, engaging, entrepreneurial woman herself. Sandy didn’t just help build this successful company. Rather, she did it after she turned 60. And she’s still going strong!
What would drive someone to start an investment research and analysis company just as they were reaching retirement? As the old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
Like so many of us, Sandy thought she was on the road to a comfortable retirement. Her career began with cosmetic giants L’Oréal and Elizabeth Arden. There she rose to senior levels in marketing. She also spent years at The Franklin Mint. Successful as she was, she was looking for a change in her 50s. But it’s not so easy to get a new job when you’re north of 50. That’s the reality.
So, she decided that she was done working for others and set out on her own. She moved to Connecticut and started a marketing consulting company while simultaneously opening a bed & breakfast. Thus, she found herself immersed in the tourism industry.
Time to seize the opportunities in front of her
Sandy quickly figured out how to be more successful growing her B&B. She tapped into her years of marketing expertise. She first looked for opportunities and focused on her niche market. Then, she took advantage to seize the opportunities when an unexpected door opened.
Sandy was adept at watching trends and activities of consumers. She knew this was her way of figuring out what was changing. She started her B&B before there were websites and technology. There weren’t even many computers at first. She was working at time when it wasn’t so easy for customers to find a B&B that met their interests and budget. Computers were just starting to be used for reservations. But Sandy could see how the future was changing fast: “Technology is the way it’s all going,” she noted.
She embraced new advances in computers and became the “go-to-gal” in the New England travel and tourism industry. Her peers appreciated how Sandy shared her knowledge, skill, and enthusiasm. You can tell by talking to Sandy just how enthusiastic she is about pushing the envelope. She loves trying new things. The result in her business was finding the right match between consumers and solutions. Plus, she is open to share what she discovers with others who are trying to make a go of their own businesses.
Hitting a Speed Bump
All the while Sandy was working and building a business, she was a saver. She invested in her employer’s 401(k) plans and worked with an advisor to manage her investments. Looking ahead, she had plans to retire from the B&B and tourism consulting business. She would “dial back” her work load.
Then, Sandy hit a big speedbump. The great recession of 2008. Just on the cusp of retirement, she lost 40% of the value of her retirement accounts. Like most of us during that period, she was surprised, disappointed, and a little angry. But, true to form, she smelled an opportunity. An unexpected door had opened, so what should she do about it? How was she going to seize the opportunities?
Sandy took at good hard look at her situation. She had been working with a financial advisor and asked good questions. She even challenged his recommendations for her to hold her investments during the financial meltdown. While concerned, she found she lacked the confidence to challenge or over-ride her financial advisor. And, while she is a very confident woman in so many areas of her life, money was a shaky area. She grew up in an era where ladies simply didn’t talk about money.
Breaking through the Money Taboo
In fact, during our conversation Sandy recalled how “girls didn’t ask how much something costs. It wasn’t considered polite.”
She added, “Girls and women were to be shielded from finances. There were even separate menus for women at restaurants. Theirs did not include prices.”
Money was a taboo subject that caused even this self-assured woman to be somewhat hesitant. But, suffering a huge loss in her investments and putting her retirement in jeopardy was the final straw for Sandy. She found the silver lining. It was time to jump into money and investing with both feet.
She took control of her money and moved what she had left to mutual fund company Vanguard. Sandy made the time to learn about investing. By using the tools her husband created for Chaikin Analytics, she got a head start. She needed to own her money and her investments. And, she had no time to lose.
“Seize the opportunities” turned into weekly webinars
Starting as a novice, Sandy only had time, commitment, and trial and error. As she figured out how to be a good investor, she knew others could use what she learned. Naturally, someone like Sandy figured out a new business!
She created and embraced a simple, 5-step strategy to profitable investing. Her approach is disciplined, strategic and tactical at the right time. It’s unemotional, rational, logical, and professional. And, she teaches her 5-step methodology to individuals who who are at all levels of investing. You can be a novice or knowledgeable. You can be comfortable or uncomfortable with investing. All are welcome at Sandy’s weekly webinars.
There is something for each of us to learn. Especially women who may not be as confident or familiar with making investment decisions. Sandy is taking a lead in empowering women to go beyond the financial basics of running a household and budgeting. While certainly these skills are important, there is more to money than finding a good deal at the store. It’s about using those skills and talents for finding a bargain with good investments. And making your money work harder for you.
How Do You Describe ‘Retirement’? Boring!
As Sandy thought about what she would do in retirement, it just wasn’t that exciting. She gave the notion of retirement a try. Sure, she attended performing arts events, visited museums and such. But she needed more. When the door opened to take ownership of her financial future, she found that exciting.
In addition to running her company, she is involved in teaching investing basics. She loves running webinars and organizing other professional women to help get the word out on financial empowerment. She continues to look forward. And finds trends and opportunities for where the future might be going.
Sandy’s advice for having a “not boring” retirement can be found right in your own shoes. Take stock of what you’re good at. Use all your previous experiences. Then, find a way to share what you spent all these years learning.
Make this chapter just as important as all the prior chapters in your life. Or, make it even better! As Sandy put it so well, “I just couldn’t sit back, have lunch, and go to a concert. There is so much more I can do to help people become confident, fearless investors!”
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It’s never too late to learn to be a better investor.