For many in the area, Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. is a time they put aside to talk about stocks and investing.
Through the pandemic, Steven Kelman, of Port Jefferson Station, and Bill Greenbaum, of Fort Salonga, have been offering the Bates House Investment Group through Zoom. The workshop provides those interested in learning about investing with a weekly discussion and learning experience. Members discuss different investments such as stocks, bonds and more. They also talk about how current events affect portfolios, and the workshop leaders share insights into investing, investment resources and analyzing the stock market.
“We had some people that started with absolutely no knowledge at all, and they’re presenting reports like they’ve been doing it for 20 years now,” Kelman said.
The workshops initially were offered through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University, better known as OLLI. Before the pandemic, the class was moved from SBU to the Bates House in Setauket. When COVID-19 hit, and the pandemic lockdowns began, Zoom enabled Kelman and Greenbaum to reach more people, even those who don’t live in the Three Village area or on Long Island. Kelman said with non-OLLI members interested in participating, the workshop leaders decided to make it available to anyone interested and no longer offered the class through OLLI.
Greenbaum said Zoom has worked out well for them.
“During the pandemic, it’s really been wonderful that it was a connection point for everyone,” he said.
Greenbaum, who was a global controller in the finance department of Disney before he retired, said when he was younger, he would look over his grandfather’s shoulder when he read stock reports. Kelman, who for 42 years worked for the Federal Aviation Administration after serving in the U.S. Air Force, said he’s been interested in investing on and off for 30 years.
The approximately two dozen workshop members are nonprofessionals, Kelman said, and they range in experience from advanced to beginners. He added that a few have lost a spouse and weren’t sure what to do regarding investments, and the workshop has provided a good starting point.
Greenbaum said it’s impressive to see newcomers who sometimes might sit back at first, but as they begin to learn become more experienced. The two have also learned from the members, Kelman said.
“The diversity of the group is quite amazing, people from all walks of life,” Greenbaum said.
Members attend for free, and no money is actually invested in the market. Each individual picks a stock and researches it. They each then present their choice to the class and the group will discuss and then virtually buy it if they all agree on it. The members keep track of how the stock does and have a mock portfolio. After investing in a particular stock, they will also discuss if they made the right decision.
Kelman said they track about 35 to 40 stocks. He said it constantly changes as they set up a fictitious figure of $250,000. Once they get to that amount, they have to sell something to buy additional stocks, which also teaches when to sell.
Even though the group doesn’t actually invest, many take what they learn and invest on their own.
Greenbaum added that with the market going down recently, the group also provides a form of moral support.
“It’s nice to have a group of people that you could share that with,” he said. “Normally you can’t. This topic is not for everybody.”
For more information, contact Steven Kelman at 631-473-0012.