Stockpile Wealth With These Shrewd Investment Strategies


Let's face it -- if the stock market were a person, we'd probably give it a wide berth. It's volatile. It swings on a dime. Idle chatter or gossip can send it racing up -- or bring it to its knees.

And every so often, markets go crazy. Not because of some inherent defect. It's because markets are tied to people.

And people do some very irrational things.

Let's talk about the least rational economic bubble in history. It involved a once-ordinary item that suddenly became virtually priceless. Men traded on that new value and amassed huge fortunes almost overnight.

Then it all came tumbling down.

This bubble had nothing to do with computers, housing or oil. The source of the trouble was as common as the grass on the ground.

I’m talking about a simple plant. Tulips, to be precise.

How tulips created market hysteria

People love beautiful things. They also love new things. In 1554, tulips were both to Europeans. The Sultan of Turkey sent the first batch to Vienna as a gift.

Tulips looked like no other plant in Europe. They had a striking petal color that stood apart from other plants. People were mesmerized.

Soon tulips became a status symbol. Botanists cultivated and grew them across Europe, but no people were more enamored than the Dutch.

At the time, the Dutch were at the height of their glory -- a worldwide trading superpower. So there was plenty of money to be invested. A new, wealthy merchant class sought tulips for their gardens, so demand was high.

All the elements were in place for a classic bubble. Yet this was no ordinary disconnect between price and value. This was market mania in its purest, undiluted form.

The demand for tulips kept growing. Prices kept rising. Speculators entered the market. Men who never touched or saw a bulb were making piles of money.

The tulip trade wasn't just restricted to elites. All segments of society joined in. The wealth-building power of tulips coaxed people into ...

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