Retirees philosophical about stocks, if not too busy to look in on the market No gloom and doom at Charlestown or Edenwald


September 02, 1998|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Joanne Romatowski exemplified the courage of her husband, a retired Navy captain and submariner, yesterday morning when she reacted to Wall Street's pelting of the day before by fattening her portfolio.

"I'm not a Warren Buffett," said the 72-year-old retired housewife who has settled into an apartment at Charlestown Retirement Community, "but I saw the market's drop as a great opportunity to make money."

Romatowski said she invested in Intel Corp., then flashed proud grin: "It was up 2 1/2 points" by the time her broker could confirm the trade.

Intel closed at $76, up $4.8125 on the day.

It was not gloom and doom among the retirees at Charlestown as the market bounced along to a healthy gain.

There was no gathering of nervous investors around the giant-screen Sony in the television room, awaiting the next reading on the Dow.

The TV was not even turned on. Many of the residents were sitting outside in the shade of tall maples and white oaks reading newspapers and magazines and petting their dogs.

"I know I took a hit," said Edwin Inglis, 76, as he sat at a library table in the TV room and talked about his retirement fund. "I haven't had time to sit down and count up the score, but I feel some pain."

It didn't show. The retired Exxon Corp. marketing executive expressed confidence that the market will make up any loss. "It's going to bounce back," he said, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms. "Maybe not this afternoon or next week, but it will bounce back. Our economy is too strong."

"I learned a long time ago to invest in quality stocks and be patient. You don't invest money you need to pay the rent," Inglis added.

Romatowski and Inglis were surprised that there was not much discussion about the stock market among the 2,500 residents at Charlestown. "Nobody was talking about it," he said.

"It's not polite to discuss money," Romatowski pointed out.

It was pretty much the same situation at the Edenwald retirement community in Towson.

George A. Price, 72, who sold his Phoenix farm and Angus cattle in February to move into a 15th-floor apartment, took a casual approach to the Dow's ups and downs. "My stockbroker told me, 'What goes down will come back.' So far he has been right," he said.

Price said he hadn't known that the market was down for a brief while yesterday morning.

"I heard on the news at lunchtime that it was up a couple of hundred points, but I haven't been paying much attention to it," he said.

He said his investments are spread over stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

"Only part of it is in the market. I diversified my investments over the years. I always heard that that is what you should do. When the market was going up, up and up, I often wondered if I did the right thing."

Had he?

Price laughed when asked the question and responded: "Call me back in three years and I'll tell you."

Clara Burton, a 74 year old retired Towson housewife, summed up the thinking of many of the retirees who still remember the Great Depression. "I don't own any stock. Are the banks going to close?"

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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