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The money panel

E. Robert Kiehl: retired building products executive, 82, of Clearwater

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

Q. How did you get started in investing?

My grandfather and my father were investors. My grandfather goes back to the 1800s. He bought all those stocks in mining companies and so forth. Then my father was a regular investor. He got "murdered" in the crash of 1929. But he stayed in it. I've invested for the past 50-55 years.

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Q. What is the best investment you have ever made?

It was with Unum, an insurance company. I still have it. I got free shares when the company changed from a regular insurance company to a stock brokerage in 1988. I still have about 1,500 shares, worth about $35,000. The second best investment is with a bank in Gettysburg, Pa. I bought about $3,000 20 years ago. Now it's worth about $30,000.

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Q. What is your approach to investing?

Most of my investments are in real estate and land. In this recent market downturn, everything I had in land went up. I have some land in Gettysburg, Pa., that I bought at an auction -- 1,000 acres. I paid $1,000 an acre. Now it's selling for $30,000 an acre. Most of my assets are in land. I've paid all my mortgages. I own the house I live in. I own three apartment buildings in Clearwater.

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Q. Have you changed the way you invest?

The same pattern -- buy at the bottom.

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Q. Is this a good time to invest?

Yes. One of the things I made my most money in is utility stocks. If you're looking for income, that's what you do -- invest in utilities.

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Q. What is your goal for your investing?

Not lose money.

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Q. Any investment tips?

I started by buying U.S. Savings Bonds. I bought the $50 ones, then the $75 and $100 ones. They're maturing now. Every four months, I'm cashing them in and the money goes directly to the bank.

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