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The money panel: Bill Shields

Accountant, 41, Clearwater

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003

Q. How did you get started in investing?

The company I work for has a stock purchase plan. That's how I got started, about eight years ago.

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Q. What is your best investment so far?

Even with the losses, probably it's Jabil Circuit. Over the years, it's still up from where I got into it.

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Q. What is your worst investment so far?

Probably Home Depot. I still have it (but) it's less than half from where I bought about 18 months ago.

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Q. What have you learned about investing that you think others should know?

Go for the lowest cost -- good names that have been beaten down by the market and that pay a decent dividend because that way they've got to conserve their cash.

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Q. How are you invested?

Maybe 40 percent in real estate, 40 percent in stock and 20 percent in cash.

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Q. What changes, if any, have you made in your investments in past year?

I've gotten more conservative. I've pretty much tried to get out of technology and into more conservative, value investing.

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Q. Do you think it's a good time to invest?

Yes. There are a lot of stocks out there that look attractive that have been beaten down. Look at dividend yield and the 52-week range of the stock. I try to pick name companies that I know something about. I'd never buy anything somebody advised me but I didn't know anything about the company. Stick to industries like pharmaceuticals that can't help but do good. Even some of the food companies.

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Q. What is your goal for investing?

I really haven't any. Obviously, I would like to retire by like 55, but I don't know if I'll make that.

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