Becoming a successful investor is one thing. 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 that helps investors get better results when choosing individual stocks.
Sandy and her husband, Marc, a former Wall Street executive, combined their talents to capture a process and build a tool that helps you choose when to buy and sell stocks. It’s for us “regular folks” and takes the same approach that professional equity managers use to pick stocks… but with easy to read displays. The process simplifies the task list of analyzing investments for non-professional investors, and their tool, the Chaikin Power Gauge™, is power-packed. It pulls in reams of complex financial information about an individual company’s performance, analyzes it, and delivers output results that allow an investor to make a buy, sell or hold decision at an appropriate time. The analysis is in a color-coded, easy-to-read format which 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; 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 where 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. It’s a 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 establishment… thus, found herself immersed in the tourism industry.
Sandy quickly figured out how to be more successful growing her B&B by using her years of marketing expertise. She looked for opportunities, focused on her niche, and took advantage of opportunities when an unexpected door opened. Watching trends and activities of consumers was her way of figuring out what was changing. She started her B&B before there were websites and technology that made it easier for customers to find one 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 with her knowledge, skill, and enthusiasm. You can tell by talking to Sandy just how enthusiastic she is about pushing the envelope, trying new things, and 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. She had plans to retire from the B&B and tourism consulting business and “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?
Sandy took at good hard look at her situation. She had been working with a financial advisor, asking good questions, even challenging his recommendations for her to hold her investments during the financial meltdown. She was concerned, but 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, she grew up in an era where ladies simply didn’t talk about money.
Breaking through the 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 that 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 and jumped in to money and investing with both feet. She took control of her money, moved what she had left to mutual fund company Vanguard, and made the time to learn about investing, using the tools her husband created for Chaikin Analytics. She needed to own her money and her investments—and she had no time to lose.
Starting as a novice with time, commitment, and trial and error, she created and embraces 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.
How Do You Describe ‘Retirement’? Boring!
As Sandy thought about the idea of what she would do in retirement, it just wasn’t that exciting. She gave it a try by attending performing arts events, visiting 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, running webinars, and organizing other professional women to help get the word out on financial empowerment. She continues to look forward, finding 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, and 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.