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Keown to talk on investing

By Sookhan Ho

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 07 - October 9, 1997

History lessons, says Art Keown, are important to your financial future.
Keown, the R. B. Pamplin professor of finance, will be discussing personal investing strategies in his talk, "Seventy Years of Investing: The Lessons Learned," on Wednesday Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Squires Colonial Hall. The talk is open to the public.
For example, Keown said, "history demonstrates that it is exceedingly risky not to take on enough risk."
A seemingly riskless strategy of investing in treasury bills over the past 70 years, he said, would have produced an average return of minus one percent after taking into account taxes and inflation. "An investment in treasury bills in 1926 would have lost half of its purchasing power by the end of 1996."
Keown, whose talk is part of Virginia Tech's Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series to celebrate the university's 125th anniversary, said his talk is aimed at ordinary investors among faculty and staff members and students, as well as in the local community.
"The first step in developing a personal investment strategy," Keown said, "is a history lesson." Learning about the various investment vehicles and their past performance characteristics--their risks and returns--he says, "can teach us about what may happen in the future."
Keown said no investment decision is more important than the one concerning how aggressively a person invests. "Do you put your retirement money in stocks, bonds, or leave it in the bank?" That question, he said, is related to another key consideration: "What is your investment time horizon?"
An award-winning teacher, Keown has received five Certificates of Teaching Excellence, a Wine Award, and the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. Two of his books are widely used in college finance classes all over the country--Basic Financial Management and Foundations of Finance: The Logic and Practice of Financial Management.
A fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute and former head of the finance department, Keown was recently appointed co-editor of the Financial Management Association's Survey and Synthesis Series. He is also co-executive editor of the Journal of Financial Reset.