Words of wisdom to ponder even as your stocks keep rising

MIDWAY between the first day of winter and the arrival of spring, assorted notes about your money:

GLOOMY SIDE: "Disappointing stock market years generally follow exceptional ones like 1995. In years following S&P; 20 percent-plus gains, stocks inched up only 3.2 percent." (Charles Babin, strategist, Forbes, Feb. 12)


BRIGHTER OUTLOOK: "Demographic factors clearly bullish, with retirement worries pushing more and more baby boomers to invest. With bond and savings interest low, stocks provide best returns." (New York Times.)

SUGGESTION: Regarding the above, instead of randomly following general advice of columnists, broadcasters, "experts" and newsletters -- especially in this booming market -- why not consult professional financial planners for individual guidance?


CAPSULE COMMENTS: "Pessimism is especially high among baby boomers, with twice as many expecting family income to drop this year as last. When government shuts down, people fear for their jobs." (Lutheran Brotherhood survey)

"My philosophy: Buy cheap stocks at giveaway prices and sell when they're no longer cheap." (Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, share price $31,700, no misprint.)

"Balance your checkbook by computer. If you're up to your eyeballs with ATM slips, canceled checks, etc., use Quicken 5 from Intuit." (Money, February)

WOMAN'S ANGLE: "Women created disposable diapers, Snugli and Scotchgard, and now many mothers work in kitchens to devise products making parenting easier," says Redbook, February, in "Make Lots of Money Doing What You Do Best."

Excerpts: "A good idea is easiest step to becoming a successful inventor; it's executing that separates 'wannabees' from winners. Work terribly long hours. To get your invention into stores, do a patent search, then protect your idea. Next, do market research. Know your costs." (Many helpful specifics appear in the article.)

LOCAL SCENE: Baltimore-based Adams Express is listed under "Solid Choices in Closed-End Funds" in Money, February.

Lockheed Martin, headquartered in Bethesda, is written up extensively under "New Strong Buys" in S&P; Outlook, Jan. 31.

Jude Wanniski, economist and colorful speaker, addresses security analysts on Feb. 15, at Stouffers Harborplace Hotel at noon.


MIDWINTER MEMOS: USF&G; stock appears under "Rising Stars" in S&P; Outlook, Feb. 7. ("Company is restructuring and booking more profitable business mix.")

The Kiplinger Washington Letter says Amtrak trains will run between New York and Washington in two hours by 2000. "Money-Saver: Supplement dwindling woodpile by using rolled-up newspapers as logs. 10-inch-high bundle equals 10 pounds of coal." (Tightwad Gazette)

"If a couple at age 25 squeezes a mere $6.98 a day ($3.49 each) from its budget, invests it at 8 percent until age 65, they'll have about $620,000." (Living Cheap News)

LAST LINES: "Best newsletters for five years, in order: Timer Digest, Fundline, Stockmarket Cycles, Equity Fund Outlook, Fidelity Monitor. Average gains 100-plus percent vs. T-bills, 24 percent." (Hulbert Financial Digest)

"If you're eligible for an IRA deduction, you have until April 15 to open one and make a contribution." (Ernst & Young)

"The more money a company spends on research and development, the higher its earnings prospects. Over 5 percent of revenues is desirable." (Merrill Lynch)


"One man: 'I just made a killing in the market.' Second man: 'How did you do that?' First man: 'I shot my butcher.' " (A Glen Burnie reader)

"Better get cookin' if you're aching to retire. Pillsbury recently upped the grand prize for its perennial Bake-Off from $50,000 to $1 million." (Worth, March)

Final Reminder: Tonight, former Microsoft CEO Steve Jobs will appear on "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser."