What I did for a living

What I did for a livingA number of years ago I was trying to explain to my son what I did for a living.

He is 11 years old. I spoke about selling gum. Jason, a boy in my son’s class, sold gum each day at school. He would buy a pack of gum for 25 cents and he would sell sticks of gum for 25 cents each. He sells 4 packs a day, 5 days a week, 36 weeks or about $4,000 a year.

What if Jason offered to sell you half the business today? What would you pay?

My son replied, “Well, he may only sell three packs a day so he would make $3000 a year. Would you pay $1,500 now? Why would I do that if I have to wait several years for the $1,500?

Would you pay a $1? Yes, of course! But not $1,500. I would pay $450 now to collect $1,500 over the next few years, which would be fair.

Now, you understand what I do for a living, I told my son.

I sit around trying to figure out what businesses are worth, and then I try to pay a lot less for them

Joel Greenblatt

Igor Marinkovic

Electronic engineer, futures trader and property investor and total beginner in making good web sites