Investment Club Becomes Family
A group of Delt brothers who were undergraduates at the University of Minnesota between 1967 and 1973, further solidified the friendship they forged in college through an investment club they started in the late 1970s.
In the first few years after graduation, John Bohmbach (University of Minnesota, 1972) kept in touch with many brothers who remained in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, but he didn’t want to let the friendships drift apart. With investment clubs gaining in popularity at the time Bohmbach thought it might be the answer to keeping everyone connected.
“I decided to form an investment club for two reasons. At that age, most of us knew very little about investing in the stock market and I was searching for a way to stay connected with all these guys. I could see that families were starting and that means for 20 years, you're going to be focused on career and family,” Bohmbach said.
At first, each club member would study investments prior to a monthly meeting and a monthly contribution. Monthly meetings became impractical, but they met roughly eight times each year. “We met at various people's houses and in the earlier years people would have assignments or they'd bring studies on stocks that they've found to be interesting or that someone had directed them to,” Bohmbach said.
They started contributing $30 per month, then $50 per month. “We're not talking about $500 a month or a thousand a month or anything like that. No one had money anyway in 1977,” said Bohmbach. “It was never about trying to get rich or make all kinds of money. It was much more about calling friendships together. That was the reason we did this.”
“We really forged some very deep and powerful friendships over the course of the last 45 years including our wives. We go golfing every summer and we've got three or four guys who live on an area lake so in the summertime, we always meet,” Bohmbach said. The group continues to monitor the market, but the social, the social element of our club has really kind of taken over the purpose of it.
The group has supported members through losses and celebrations of birthdays and children’s graduations. In Bohmbach’s words, “all the typical stuff everyone goes through from age 20 to age 70.”
Bob Nelson (University of Minnesota, 1972) wasn’t an original member but joined the group after about eight years and is the club’s second bookkeeper. Since 2000 Nelson says members have withdrawn roughly $100,000 for various family priorities.
While the investment club funds may not have had the best performance Nelson feels they’ve all done better than if they’d kept the cash in their wallets and they had the bonus of strengthening friendships along the way. “We all pledged the same Fraternity with similar values, interests, motivation and geographical location,” Nelson said. “From a financial standpoint, the club fits into the rhythm of our life story and it’s become a family.”