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lucky, and with the expectancy of reaping large profits in a new and untried field-not properly called investments.
Classes of Investments. Investments are of two classes: First, the class in which the investors become the absolute owners of the securities, as in purchases of real estate, government bonds, etc.—these being purchase investments—and second, the class in which investors advance money upon the promises of borrowers to return the money with interest, and upon the securities which the borrowers pledge or bind in support of their promises, as in loans upon mortgages,-these being loan investments.
Margin of Safety:- In determining the worth of an investment, the difference between the actual and permanent values of securities and the amounts of the corresponding investments is taken, this being termed the margin of safety. It is evident that this margin will vary in a direct ratio with the rate of income. A United States Government bond, for instance, yields less than 2 per cent to the investor, a state bond may pay 4 per cent, and a western farm mortgage 8 per cent.
Public Securities.-Government bonds open to purchase have the advantage of safety, but the rate of interest is so low as to put them out of the investment class except where unconditional security is a prime requisite. The bonds of states which have borne a good financial reputation are comparatively safe. Municipal bonds are now very popular investments, yielding 342 per cent to 5 per cent to the investor and at the present time are good and safe.
Real Estate Securities.-Contrary to the general opinion, real estate, improved or unimproved, is often a poor investment. Improved property, subject to taxes, depreciation, repairs, insurance, etc., often disappoints the owner Real estate bought to lease for others to build upon is a good, but necessarily limited form of investment. Farm lands in the middle west have made fortunes for many in the past ten years, but taken year in and year out they may be said to be only a fair investment. Farm mortgages are among the best investments for safety, convenience and rate of income of any line offered the investor. Such investments should be passed upon by competent authority as to their legality, title to property covered, whether first or second mortgage, etc. Certain states have laws so framed that foreclosure is difficult and designed to protect the debtor. Loans in such states should be avoided except under exceptional conditions.
Building and Loan Associations.-Speaking from wide experience in investments, David R. Forgan says:
"One of the worst forms of investment in real estate, in my opinion, is building and loan associations. They are gotten up in most attractive form to catch the month's savings of thrifty people with moderate incomes. I know there are some of these in the older parts of the country that are apparently succesful, but my experience of them in the west leads me to consider them as a whole almost the easiest concerns to get your money into and the hardest to get it out that I know. Their plan seems so simple that anyone can understand them; nevertheless one of my friends in Chicago, who is a thorough accountant, lost the savings of years in a building and loan association of which he himself was the annual auditor."
Corporation Bonds.—Bonds of corporations, as well as other securities should be purchased only after their safety has been assured by actual experience. The first issue, particularly of railroad bonds, is liable to contain some "water," for which the immediate investor will have to pay. Money should not be invested in bonds of any enterprise, as those operating public utilities, until the company is actually earning money to an amount not less than twice that required to pay the interest on its bonds. The reason for this is that the risk of financing an enterprise lies with the buyers of bonds. In case of success get but 5 per cent per annum, if a failure they are the only losers.
Stocks.—There are two main differences between bonds and stocks: (1) Bonds are a lien upon property of some kind, while stocks frequently represent nothing tangible other than earning capacity, good will and hope of the future; (2) bonds bear a promise to pay both principal and interest, enforceable at law, while a stock promises nothing, the stockholder becoming a part of the company. This is often an: advantage, particularly to a young business man, giving him a chance as a stockholder to see the actual workings of a company, identify himself with it and be elegible to hold office. This is of particular value in a small town, as it often identifies a man in a business way, strengthens his credit and gains favors that would not otherwise be extended.
Wildcat Investments. A large class of so-called investments are constantly being offered the public, such as mining stocks, oil stocks, plantation stocks, etc. Some of these are actual frauds, some partially fraudulent, and all are risky. They are often promoted by men having no means of their own and even if successful are so managed as to give those on the inside the profits. As a general rule rates of interest greater than 6 per cent or 7 per cent involve risks putting the in. vestor in the speculator class.
SHORTHAND The term stenography is often given to shorthand, being used synonymous with it, John Willis in 1602 publishing a treatise entitled, “The Art of Stenography.” Phonography, tachygraphy and many other names have been or now are designations of this art.
There are numerous systems of shorthand, probably upwards of two hundred, but not more than ten of practical importance. The Pitmanic systems are the ones most used, others not having the following of these systems. There are three editions of the shorthand of Isaac Pitman, differing only in minor characteristics. This system is used extensively in England and to some extent in the United States. The Benn Pitman and the Graham system are both extensively used, and are very closely related, Graham using more devices for increasing speed than Pitman. The Munson system is used by a large number of shorthand writers.
The systems not Pitmanic vary from each other as well as from Pitman writing. The letters of the Cross Electic alphabet upon the form of an ellipse and there
are five positions instead of three. The Gregg system is written on the slope of longhand, has no position, and joins vowels and consonants.
The speed at which shorthand can be written is a much discussed subject. The ordinary public speaker uses 130 to 180 words per minute, and 200 words per minute is very fast writing and can be reached by few writers for any length of time. Commercial speed ranges from 80 to 100 words per minute. Few dictate 120 words per minute.
The following cut gives, in the Benn Pitman system as in common use in the United States, a specimen of shorthand writing. The Graham system-most used by court reporters—is very similar to that of Benn Pitman, but uses contractions and other expedients to a greater extent.
Transcript of the above notes:
"For the third time the Congress of the United States are assembled to commemorate the life and the death of a president slain by the hand of an assassin. The attention of the future historian will be attracted to the features which reappear with startling sameness in all three of these awful crimes; the uselessness, the utter lack of consequence of the act; the obscurity, the insignificance of the criminal; the blamelessness-so far as in our sphere of existence the best of men may be held blameless-of the victim.”
MAIL ORDER BUSINESS There are two main divisions in the mail order busi. ness; first, as carried on by a small dealer giving it his whole attention; second, as transacted by an established house, either as side issue to assist the traveling sales department, or as in case of Montgomery Ward & Co. and other catalogue houses, as a sole business.
The underlying principles of the business are the same in all cases, differing only in application. The requisites for a successful start may be briefly outlined and if conscientiously followed out will bring a degree of success depending only upon the extent of the field and the closeness of the application of the promoter.
Qualifications Necessary.--First, brain is of importance. The average beginner should employ the best brain talent procurable, some one else's if not his own. For the building of a permanent business, honesty must be an asset as well as brain power. Houses now in the field to stay are noted for the honesty with which they treat all dealing with them. Sales over the counter may be made on account of the locality of the store, even though the goods are not up to standard and the proprietor considered tricky, but a customer who has been victimized by mail can never be depended on for another order.
The smaller mail order journals and a certain class of jobbers as well as some mail order writers hold forth a glowing future for an inexperienced man starting in the business with small capital-as one writer terms it, “a man or woman of average intelligence, with a capital of fifty dollars in cash, no experience, and no influential friends, can start in business and spell success in capitals at the end of one year's labor." Where one such venture launched at an opportune time by someone peculiarly fitted to the business, comes to success, fifty fail for lack of capital and as many more yield in different results. Says W. B. Powell on this subject: “You cannot get rich on a three-line ad in a mail order paper filled with advertising that makes yours look like thirty cents. The mail order business has gotten down to hard-pan basis. You have to have a