The very economics savvy Fox Business anchor, Liz Claman, will be the featured speaker October 1 at the Tunxis Community College Foundation breakfast, “How the Smart Money Succeeds.” Claman, who has interviewed political and business powerhouses including business magnate Warren Buffett, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, will share her insights as part of the program that begins at 7:30 a.m. at Farmington Gardens. A California native who lives in New Jersey, Claman, who anchors “Countdown to the Closing Bell,” and co-anchors “After the Bell,” hinted at how to succeed with money even in these economic times when she Spilled the Beans with Java.
Q: Let’s get to the bottom line. How does the smart money succeed in this economy?
A: It is very difficult. The smart money is succeeding by zigging when everyone else is zagging. The most successful people, where Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, run toward an investment when everyone else is running away from it. During the height of the financial crisis, Starbucks was at $8 a share as they were closing 600 stores, there was a change in management and there was great concern. It looked like a company in a total utter state of confusion. It brought Howard Schultz back and that $8 a share is up to $51. The point is, just when it feels uncomfortable, the best of investors are saying ‘has anything changed within company?’ And while yes the exterior forces, the financial crisis and the store closures are disconcerting, this was a case of a great company going through rough time. Good investors saw that.
Q: Is this something the average American can buy into?
A: It is time when there is no average American. We all have to take financial bulls by the horns and take control over our own investments. Any American can assess whether this is a company that has the ability to grow. You can be completely enamored with company and its product. You want to avoid high price to earnings ratio. You want high cash flow, low debt. Put in the time, education yourself. It is a simple as walking into Lululemon, currently a hot stock and see how they are doing, how you are treated. And do your research on Wall Street.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you have interviewed and would like to interview again?
A: Buffet is the winner clearly but his vice president, Charlie Munger, is one of the most brilliant people I have spoken with. You can see his mind working. In this day and age when everyone spits out answers, you ask Charlie a question and he stops and thinks and then blows out the most unbelievable concepts and ideas. We were talking about the United States and becoming energy independent and Charlie stops and thinks and says “This is the stupidist idea. Why wouldn’t we want to conserve our reserves and use up the other guy’s first?” Charlie is one of a kind.
Q: Connecticut has the less than stellar reputation as being one of the most unaffordable states in the nation. What do you think?
A: If you had a choice to live in Indonesia or Connecticut, and you were told you would have to pay more taxes in Connecticut, 99 percent of the people would choose Connecticut.
Q: What makes you so good at what you do on Fox?
A: I am very good at extracting information although not so good at putting it to work for me. I am very engaged in getting the guests and producing the pieces. I am going to Cleveland next week. It’s part of a series FBN is doing called “Open for Business,” where it looks at the economies of various cities throughout the U.S. Ohio’s Cleveland, in my opinion, is one of the greatest American cities. It is alive and kicking while other guys are chasing Facebook shares. It’s an American city open for business
Q: And Connecticut?
A: Connecticut is the heart of the hedge fund world. Different states each have a personality that will contribute to a vibrant economy.
Q: How would you characterize people’s mindset today compared to 15 years ago?
A: People are much more serious and much more focused. Pre-2000, the dot.com world was an inflated balloon that was stretching and stretching then in 2000 it popped. That was a wake-up call for a lot of folks. It affected everyone. I pointed it out and received hate mail, that it was unpatriotic and that I was trying to step on something good. I can spot a fraud when I see one. Examine the local news. It tells a lot.
Q: Are you an expert on the economy?
A: I am still enrolled in the Liz Claman School of Business and to this day, every night, I still study. It is very arrogant of people to think they are going to grasp something like the market without studying.
Q: Your advice to people who are struggling to make smart financial choices in these tough times?
A: They are sorely mistaken if they think they should not be planning for future. I wish I had started investing right off a college. To young people, take 30 cents a week and start funneling it into broad base or mutual funds. Over time, the stock market has always had better returns than anything else. But that’s not all you do. Finance is intimidating, a mystery language, but guess what? You better start learning how to translate because it will make the difference between a comfortable retirement and a nightmare.
Q: Something no one knows about you?
A: I am obsessed with chocolate. I eat it every single day, cheap or expensive, I don’t discern. I will steal it from colleagues’ desks and step on peoples’ backs to get to it.