To Millennials and Generation Z, mention AOL and they may think it is an acronym like LOL, but for an older generation, it was once the gateway for them and millions of others to connect to the internet. In its prime, AOL or America Online was the premier computer application that allowed users to access the internet. At the height of the internet craze in early 2000, AOL was valued at $125 billion dollars and the poster child of the rise and seeming dominance of the internet. The company shocked the financial world when it acquired the venerable media giant Time-Warner forming a new company called AOL-Time Warner. I will never forget seeing a popular business magazine cover touting AOL as the one stock to own for the next decade. By 2003, the dot-com stock mania had burst and the new company’s worth had declined by nearly $200 billion dollars. By 2009, the two companies quietly parted ways. In 2015, the tables had completely turned and AOL was now the company being acquired, this time by Verizon. I never read a mea culpa issued by that magazine, after their audacious recommendation. Buyer beware, indeed!
There is a real danger when the popular press hypes a stock. If everyone is touting an investment, it may be time to sell. Joe Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy, was a successful businessman who preserved the Kennedy family fortune by selling many of his stocks before the great stock market crash of 1929, that heralded the start of the great depression. He gave this sage advice, still relevant for today. “Taxi drivers told you what to buy. The shoeshine boy could give you a summary of the day’s financial news as he worked with rag and polish. An old beggar who regularly patrolled the street in front of my office now gave me tips and, I suppose, spent the money I and others gave him in the market. My cook had a brokerage account and followed the ticker closely. Her paper profits were quickly blown away in the gale of 1929.”
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
There are very few investments that are guaranteed to succeed. Jesus Christ warned His disciples of the ephemeral nature of seeking financial gain through the material possessions of this life. Instead, He instructed them to seek ways to advance the Kingdom of God on this earth, laying up treasures in Heaven which will never be destroyed or stolen. How does one do this? By confessing and repenting of one’s sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the greatest treasure of salvation and eternal life will be yours.
There is no one stock to own nor is there is any guaranteed investment. Only faith and belief in Jesus Christ will guarantee everlasting peace and happiness.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.