Investment Clubs: Earning While Learning

Peter Singer: Feeding the Hungry

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These articles were prepared for the November 29, 2000 edition of

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Get Me to the Church On Line

The must-have list for the modern churches has gone

way beyond hymnals and stained glass. What about a Web presence to

insure effective evangelism and foster community? Or using Power Point

presentations during worship to highlight Biblical text? Could be

a good idea, says Andrew Tatusko, faculty consultant in

instructional

technologies at Seton Hall University.

Tatusko will discuss getting the church on line at a day-long seminar

on Monday, December 4, at 9:30 a.m. at Princeton Theological Seminary’

Erdman Hall. Called "Technology Is Changing Our World (So How

Will It Change Your Church?)" the course is offered by through

the seminary’s Center for Continuing Education to help pastors and

congregation members figure out how tapping information technology

could benefit their church. Cost: $45. Call 609-497-7990.

Tatusko, a computer jock who will be fully ordained as a Presbyterian

minister next spring, plans to discuss both technology and theology.

Establishing a framework for pastors and churchgoers "from which

to explore the relationship between technology and the church on a

much deeper level" is his goal for the day.

The time for churches to wake up and assess the technology is now.

"These shifts that have come as a result of information technology

will eventually affect the church," Tatusko says. "There’s

a different audience out there that the church is going to have to

be responsive to and that’s the audience of Web surfers and Web

users."

Tatusko believes recent technical advances will "pull the church

out of seeing itself as local bodies, localized in buildings in a

geographical space and start pulling it into these collaborative

environments."

Tatusko became interested in studying technology while working in

youth ministry. He was intrigued by the question of why today’s young

people are so different from their parents and began to study

postmodern

culture in an attempt to find the answer. From postmodern culture

to technology was but a short leap. Combining it with religion was

inevitable. "My passion has always been in theology and

theological

studies," he says.

"A church is a conglomerate of so many different ages and so many

different attitudes towards technology, you have to do it in a very

careful way," says Tatusko, stressing the value of an organized

approach to adopting technology. "How are you going to do it?

Why are you going to do it? What is your goal?" are questions

he insists be answered by each church body.

"I characterize technology users — the technophile, they just

feel absolutely reliant on technology — the other side of that

is the technophobe, that’s the person who just shuns technology

completely."

Churches also reflect these styles, he says.

Tatusko’s advice is to stick to the center. "If you’re going to

be a good adopter of technology, you have to be somewhere in the

middle.

You have to split the difference between the technophobe and the

technophile.

You have to use technology but use it critically."

Tatusko believes a little top-down guidance could help individual

churches making choices about technology. "I think the church

would benefit if everyone were on the same page with the

implementation."

He envisions Web servers and software for religious education, sermon

preparation, Bible study, and worship installed at the level of the

presbytery or diocese "that all the churches can plug into and

use."

He also advises systematic assessments to determine if technologies

are delivering the anticipated benefits or just cluttering up

processes.

Implementation at the level of presbyteries and dioceses will make

statistical evaluations of adopted technology easier. "That has

to be an active ongoing process with the adoption of any technology

— assessing the results of the implementation," Tatusko says.

Tatusko, 26, belongs to the generation that grew up with computers.

He recalls working on an Apple computer in the third grade. His

education

includes a B.A. in religion from Westminster College in New

Wilmington,

Pennsylvania, a master of divinity and a master of theology degree,

both from Princeton Theological Seminary.

His thesis explored how to form a theory of education for young people

who have been immersed in technology since their diaper days. He has

a website with information on the December 4 seminar and his other

interests (pirate.shu.edu/~tatuskan).

Tatusko who lives with his wife, Brenna, and cat, Digit, in

Plainsboro,

has been working with Seton Hall professors since last spring. "I

help faculty to integrate information technology into their

curriculums,"

he says.

His focus is on making content accessible through the use of

educational

tools including synchronous and asynchronous discussion groups,

streaming

media presentations, and putting courses on line. "What role does

technology play for today’s learner? That’s the philosophical

engagement

of my practical duties."

— Caroline Calogero

Top Of Page
Investment Clubs: Earning While Learning

If your idea of investing is to focus on short term

gains with a series of buy and sell orders, then the Central Jersey

Model Investment Club (CJMIC) is probably not for you. Frank

Jaryzna,

the presiding partner of this club, explains that the educational

component is what compels people to join: "People who join

investment

clubs are usually more interested in learning and sharing expertise

than in quick profits. An investment club is not a place you go to

make a lot of money."

But the CJMIC, which generally meets on the first Monday of each month

at the South Brunswick library, is more than just a run-of-the-mill

investment club; rather, it is a "model club." Although a

model club is much like any other investment club, it differs in two

respects: it follows the National Association of Investors Corporation

(NAIC) principles very closely, and its meetings are open to the

public.

The next meeting of the CJMIC is Monday, December 4, at 7 p.m. at

the South Brunswick Public Library. The member meeting is free and

open to the public. For information, call Jaryzna at 732-274-2089.

The CJMIC attracts three distinct groups of people, says Jaryzna,

each interested in it as an educational medium. One group consists

of people who have never had a chance to observe an investment club

meeting and are curious to find out about what an investment club

does. The next group comprises members of existing clubs who have

run into challenges and come with procedural or substantive questions;

these people usually stay after the meeting to elicit information

from members. The last group is interested in the club’s selections

of stocks. In addition to its standard monthly meetings, the CJMIC

holds quarterly educational meetings where a speaker talks about a

specific aspect of the investment process.

"Most of the people who join investment clubs are new to

investing,"

says Jaryzna. But once they gain experience with the stock selection

process, they also build their own portfolios. Yet in many cases they

also remain with their investment clubs. Jaryzna explains, "You

have other people you are working with and sharing information. It’s

better to have 10 to 15 minds than just one."

But the CJMIC does not accept just anyone as a member. The selection

process is carefully designed to yield actively-involved members who

share the NAIC’s conservative, long-term investment approach.

"One of the challenges of every investment club is to attract

people who are willing to participate; a club can’t operate unless

everyone is doing their piece," says Jaryzna. In many investment

clubs, however, people join with no understanding of their obligations

and responsibilities. "Some people think they’re joining a mutual

fund," he continues. "They don’t do anything." To have

a club operate effectively and successfully, everyone must do what

is required. Members of the CJMIC must participate in a stock

selection

group (SSG) every three or four months and regularly track one or

two stocks. An SSG may require several hours to complete a stock

evaluation.

Another problem that some clubs face is the factionalism that can

develop when individual investment philosophies clash. To avoid this

problem, the NJMIC’s selection process attempts to draw in people

who share the NAIC’s conservative, long-term approach. This

fundamental

approach to stock analysis involves looking at the company and what

makes it run: sales, earnings, expenses, and management. The intent

is to buy stocks and hold them for a minimum of five years, looking

to double the investment in that time period.

To ensure that members are selected appropriately, a prospective

member

must fulfill the following requirements:

Attend three successive meetings of the NJMIC.

Take a class at an area adult school or community college

that explains the NAIC Stock Selection Guide. Typically the NAIC

sponsors

six to eight such classes throughout the state, during both the fall

and spring semesters.

Participate in a stock selection group . Two to four club

members study a group of stocks, screen them using the NAIC’s

50-year-old

analytical process, choose the strongest stocks, and present their

findings at a club meeting. Jaryzna says that a thorough company

analysis

is really asking two questions: Is this a good company? Is this a

good price?

Participate in the SSG’s presentation at the club meeting.

The prospective member must get up in front of the group, talk about

the analysis, and make recommendations.

Prospective members of the CJMIC may also run up against size

limitations imposed by the club. "Too large is too

cumbersome,"

says Jaryzna. "Between 15 and 20 members is a good size."

Once the club does vote in a new member, the person buys a single

unit. The unit price is computed by dividing the club’s total

investment

by the total number of shares. Although the resulting distribution

of shares is uneven, each member still gets a single vote. One caveat

exists for this rule, just as a safeguard: if someone tries to do

something that is not in the best interests of club, the club has

the option to vote by units.

Jaryzna himself got involved with the NAIC almost by happenstance.

After graduating from Villanova University in 1966 with a degree in

Electrical Engineering, he worked for IBM, primarily in sales of

computers

to financial institutions. When IBM downsized and Jaryzna retired,

he finally had time to pursue his lifelong interest in investing.

He happened to attend an NAIC workshop at the South Brunswick Adult

School and realized the power of the NAIC and its stock selection

process. He remembers thinking, "This is exactly what I need to

put it all together." He got more involved at the state and

national

levels of the NAIC and today belongs to two investment clubs.

Just as Jaryzna continues to learn himself, he has been instrumental

in the learning of others-both novices and experienced investors-in

his role as presiding partner of the NAIC. The New Jersey Model

Investment

Club invites the general public to help it fulfill its purpose, as

expressed in the NAIC website: "to learn while earning, and to

act as an educational model for people who want to learn how

investment

clubs operate."

— Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Peter Singer: Feeding the Hungry

<B>Peter Singer uses Ivan Boesky as a bad

example

of how to choose your priorities. In an essay entitled "The

Ultimate

Choice," first printed in "How Are We to Live?" in 1995

and included in his just published "Writings on an Ethical

Life"

(Ecco Press, $27.50), the Princeton professor and controversial

ethicist

recounts how Boesky got into trouble using inside information for

arbitrage.

"Why did Boesky do it?" writes Singer. "Why would anyone

who has $150 million, has a respected place in society, and values

at least the appearance of an ethical life that benefits the community

as a whole, risk his reputation, his wealth, and his freedom by doing

something that is obviously neither legal nor ethical?"

Singer will sign his new book on Tuesday, December 5, at 7 p.m. at

MarketFair’s Barnes & Noble. This is a Share our Strength Writers

Harvest event organized by novelist Joyce Carol Oates, the national

chairperson for the anti-hunger charity (see Preview story, page 40).

The event is free but donations are requested. Call 609-897-9250.

Singer is the controversial and influential Australian ethicist who

was appointed to the bioethics chair at Princeton University in 1999.

Known for his strong views on animal liberation, he has raised the

hackles of countless groups for his defense of euthanasia for severely

disabled infants, among other issues. Beset with a barrage of protests

based on out-of-context quotations, published early in his life,

Singer

and Daniel Halpern of Ecco Press have compiled this anthology

so that his critics can at least have access to a comprehensive

selection

of his work.

Some of his writings have nothing to do with abortion, animal rights,

or vegetative states; they deal with how much of one’s income should

be used to feed the hungry people of the world. An ethical view might

be to help the hungry, but self interest — such as Boesky’s —

might lead someone to feather his nest. "To make an ultimate

choice,"

Singer writes, "we must put in question the foundations of our

lives." Like everyone, Singer says, Boesky faced "an ultimate

choice," when ethics and self interest were in conflict.

Not all ultimate choices involve unethical ways of making large sums

of money. Some choices, Singer says, center on to what extent we live

for others — or for ourselves. "I can see no escape from the

conclusion that each one of us with wealth surplus to his or her

essential

needs should be giving most of it to help people suffering from

poverty

so dire as to be life threatening," he wrote in an essay for the

New York Times last year.

Citing Conference Board figures that most middle class families can

survive on $30,000 for necessities, he puts forth the idea that a

family with an income of $50,000 should donate $20,000 to the poor,

and one with $100,000 annually should turn over $70,000 to charity.

"The formula is simple: whatever money you’re spending on

luxuries,

not necessities, should be given away," he writes. (But is saving

money for retirement or for protection against catastrophic illness

or for the children’s college fund a necessity or a luxury? That is

presumably the subject of another discussion.)

Singer ticks off such forbidden luxuries as expensive suits and

elaborate

additions to one’s house but looks with particular disdain on dining

out expensively, a view sure to alarm restaurateurs. And though one’s

first impulse is to keep an accusatory watch for Singer at Princeton’s

fine dining establishments, in truth he does try to live out his own

ideals and reportedly donates a substantial portion of his own income

to feed the hungry.

"If 10 percent of the population were to take a consciously

ethical

outlook on life and act accordingly," he writes, "the

resulting

change would be more significant than any change of government."

— Barbara Fox


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