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How It All Began
Frank Armstrong

Back in 1964, I was working in Washington, DC as a special delivery mailman, putting myself through college. On any given afternoon my route could take me from the White House to Embassy Row to some of the worst neighborhoods you could imagine. One experience, working in what can only be described as the slums, truly changed me and inspired me to become an investment advisor.

Whenever we had a postage due letter, we would pay it in advance and then had to collect it from the patron. That afternoon I knocked on a door in an old apartment complex and a kindly heavyset woman opened it with a warm smile on her face. Before I handed her the letter, I informed her that she owed two cents in postage. The woman invited me in and asked that I take a seat while she gathered the money.

When I stepped into the single room apartment, I was taken aback. The walls were dilapidated, there were six mattresses laid out on the floor all over the room and in the corner there was a small wobbly card table with a hotplate on it. That single table was the kitchen…and the dining room. As I sat down, the woman walked over to the table and grabbed a sugar jar, which she then poured out into a bowl. At the bottom of the jar the woman pulled out three pennies, which had been carefully wrapped in nylon. She proceeded to count out two pennies, handed them to me, and then very carefully wrapped the remaining penny back up in the nylon, placed it back in the jar and poured the sugar back over it. At this point, I couldn’t tell her that I didn’t need the two cents, and that I was happy to cover it for her. She looked at me with such pride that she had those two cents to give me that I couldn’t bear to say anything.

When I made it out to the hall, I cried. I couldn’t believe that in this great and wealthy country we had people in so much need. And so, when I went back to the University of Virginia, I majored in Economics to understand why some individuals and countries prospered while others were left behind. I studied how the markets worked and finally, how we could make markets work for the people, not the reverse.

Markets can help you achieve your dreams – if you know how to use them. Products and services are getting better and better every day – if you understand how to select them. The price of investing has gone down dramatically from when I started this business. Economic theory has evolved. And, across the board the tools used to manage a portfolio are much improved. But, if you don’t know how to pick and choose, then you won’t benefit from any of it.

 

Investor Solutions is our step toward making the market work for the people.

For our clients.

For you.