Quick Thought Of The Week: Kapow!

I remember once being driven by a London cab driver who spoke English with a distinct Eastern European accent. Like most cabbies, he could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

Amusingly, he would refer to traffic lights that interrupted our journey as “pesky”. But he would say it in the style of Elmer J Fudd. Sometimes he would use the adjective “despicable”, if another driver should cut in front of his car. But he would pronounce it as Sylvester the cat would.

I just had to ask him where he had learnt his English, though I probably already knew. He told me that he watched lots of Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a young boy in Bucharest by. Yabadabadoo!

Education purists would probably say that cartoons are not the right way to learn a language. But it certainly didn’t do my cabbie any harm….

…. Nor I think, has Stan Lee, the creator of Spider Man and the Incredible Hulk, done any non-English speaker any harm with his fantastical comics and over-the-top speech bubbles. He has made learning English fun. He has just passed away. He will be sadly missed.

Stan Lee kept thing simple.

Learning to invest should be simple and fun too. It should not be about ploughing through the pages of “The Intelligent Investor” or “Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham on day one. That’s a sure-fire way to be put off investing for good.

Instead, it should be about putting a small amount of money to work in the stock market. We could, for instance, buy shares in a company whose products or services we particularly like. It could be a restaurant, a cosmetics company, an airline or a shopping mall….

…. then follow the progress of the progress of the business and, maybe, even compare it with some of its competitors. Find out as much as possible about the company. Why have sales risen or fallen? Why have profits grown or shrunk? Why have dividends increased or decreased?

You might make money from your shares. You might lose money. But that is not the point. You will learn lots about investing simply by doing. Kapow!

A version of this article first appeared in Stock Advisor.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.