COLUMN: Cure for the financially squeamish

I’m guilty of having embraced the artist mentality most of my adult life, money is something I’d just rather not think about it.

Prior to introducing the author at last week’s poetry launch I let folks know about an upcoming program — and everyone burst into laughter. It’s not that the program in question is so ridiculous; it’s just that it was an odd fit for the crowd of mostly writers and artists.

And yet, it shouldn’t be.

The event that tickled funny bones is an introduction to the basics of stock market chart analysis with Online Trading Academy graduate Cal Reeks on Tuesday, May 6 at 7 p.m.

For some, comparing poetry to the stock market is like comparing Esperanto to Swahili. Add to that the ingrained poverty consciousness that many creative folk see as inseparable from that struggly-artist identity, and you have a mirthful moment at the library.

Who knew money was funny?

I’m guilty of having embraced the starving artist mentality most of my adult life, and to this day money is something I’d just rather not think about it — and yet I do. If I put the same time and energy into learning about money as I do worrying about bills…well.

So maybe it’s time for a shift; instead of running from something that makes me squeamish, learn something new and see where it takes me. Demystify it a bit. Dip my toe into new waters.

Cal Reeks will explain how online trading works, so the initiated can learn to trade at home, in their own pace and time — and regardless of whether you go for broker (pardon the pun) or broker-less trading, learning to understand what’s going on just makes sense.

Films such as The Wolf of Wallstreet and recent news stories about high frequency trading can add to our everyman squeamishness about such things. And yet we deal with financial decisions daily, whether it’s mutual munds versus ethical stocks or going out for lunch versus brown-bagging it. At the end of the day, we all hope to retire comfortably.

Here at the Library we’re working to broaden our programing, bring new folks into the library, and highlight the many resources we have. So this upcoming evening gives me a chance to draw attention to our collection of financial books and resources.

Beginning with the basics, we have Money: the Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin, a fascinating exploration of monetary history, culture, and the baffling world of global economics.

Backstage Wall Street by Joshua Brown “reveals the inner workings of the world’s biggest money machine” according to the flyleaf, and Smoke and Mirrors by Canadian David Trahair challenges financial myths.

How-tos for the monetarily challenged include classics such as David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire (also in CD, in case you want to learn how to get rich while driving to Vancouver), and all those great money-savvy tomes by financial self-help guru Suze Orman.

Wanna-be investors can dip a toe in with all sorts of guides. For the confident there’s Contrarian Investment Strategies: the Psychological Edge by David Dremen; for the idle there’s The Lazy Investor by Derek Foster; and for the overwhelmed there’s The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias.

For the globally conscientious we have books on green and sustainable investing. For the undead, Zombie Economics could be your ticket out of here.

Our online resources continue to grow: Business Source Premier through our Ebsco database is constantly updated, and a search for “stock market” results in 137,000 articles written by professionals for leading industry journals and magazines.

Every year, once I’ve completed the Great Reckoning at tax time, I think: I have to get a better handle on this stuff.

It’s time to get over my squeamishness. When I think about it in light of this column, I really do have to laugh. Because it turns out that getting a handle on it is as close as my library.

— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more go to

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