• The Promise

    By Charles Corm II • January 31, 2024

    In 1997, I moved to New York City where I started my first and only job, technology hedge fund analyst at Credit Agricole Indosuez. Less than a year into that job, I quit and setup an offshore company that opened an online account with Charles Schwab. I borrowed money from a (rich) friend and my account was funded. It was 1998. Google and Facebook did not even exist. Upon the recommendation of a brilliant technology hedge fund manager who told me “buy and hold these two stocks forever’’, I bought Broadcom and Nvidia at their IPO (Initial Public Offering) price.

     

    I then made a solemn promise to myself. Buy and hold these two investments until I am 50 years old. Through markets crashes and market booms. Through personal success and personal failure. Through good times and bad times. I was so aware of my risk to sell before I turned 50 that I created a complicated password for my account and put it in a little black box that I placed into a locked compartment of my home safe. And indeed, temptation arose to sell. In 2008, during the financial crisis. In 2012, when I got married. In 2013, when I had my daughter. in 2015, when I had my son. And in 2020, after the Beirut Port explosion. But every time, I never got to the password stored in the little black box locked in my safe. Every time, this simple precaution reminded me of the solemn promise I made in 1999.

     

    In January 2024, I finally turned 50 years old. Having not logged into my account for 25 years (but having made sure my online broker, Charles Schwab, would never take action on my account unless I showed up in person to the Charles Schwab NYC office where I had opened my account in 1998), I finally opened my safe, retrieved the password from the little black box, and logged into my account. And here is what happened…

     

    On January 31, 2024 (my 50th birthday), my portfolio was up 203,531% from January 31, 1999.

     

    I never told anyone about this. Not my parents, not my brother, not my wife, and not my friends. I knew that pressure to sell would be hard to resist. What fool decides to never sell? What fool puts the password of his brokerage account in a little black box locked in a safe? What fool sets 50 years old as the time to finally check? I will tell you what fool. The stubborn investor, the patient calculator, the obsessive thinker, and the compulsive optimist.