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What I learned at my 50th

By Dian Vujovich

My high school year book photo. Really.

My high school year book photo. Really.

If you think that headline refers to my 50th birthday, you’d be mistaken. Nope, the 50 here has to do with my 50th high school reunion. In addition to not being able to believe that I’m old enough to have graduated that many years ago, I did learn a couple of amazing things as a result of attending the event. For openers, time changes everything. Really.

As obviously d’oh-like goofy as that may sound, time really does change things. The problem is, the changes tend to happen in such small increments that we hardly ever notice them until a huge clump of time has passed. Like 50 years.

Under that reality backdrop, here are three things I learned from my 50th high school reunion.

First, I saw many old classmates. The operant word there is “old”. Yes, graduate in 1965 at age 18 and you’re around 68 years old today. That’s old enough to scare your grandchildren, if you have any. Old enough to be retired, if you’re lucky. Old enough to have dealt with a few diseases, personal tragedies, lost some loved ones and yet still be alive. And old enough to not look the same.

After arriving at the Hilton for the event, each of us received a name tag with a picture from our Kaposia yearbook on it. That was awesome on oh so many different levels. Maybe startling is a better word than awesome as, after saying hello to people, I spent the first few minutes looking first at the picture hanging around their necks — at chest level– to looking back up at their faces and then back down again. It was kind of a reality double-check. Is that really you? I wondered with every one I re-met. And yes, it was.

Time had done its inevitable job and aged each and every one us. Funny how that doesn’t necessarily happen in our own minds when it comes to calculating the passage of time. In my mind I still think I’m 35, for instance.

The second thing I leaned was how money can grow over time.

Because 50 years had passed, I got to thinking about all of those mountain charts mutual fund families used to show us how x amount of dollars invested for what always seemed like a zillion years ago would grow to. So to see if there were any truth to any of those kinds of ads, I contacted by friends at TRowePrice and asked them to run the numbers.

My question for them was simple: If someone made a 1-time investment of $1,000 on June 30, 1965 and let it grow reinvesting all dividends, etc., how much would that Grand have grown to by June 30, 2015. Or, 50 years later.

Here are the results from three TRowePrice equity funds with 50-year track records:
•The TRP Horizons Fund grew from $1000 to $393,236.40.
•The TRP Growth Stock Fund grew to $86,685.75.
•The TRP Small-Cap Stock Fund grew to $430,188.42.

Again, that was a 1-time, $1000 investment, everything reinvested. (No sales charges or taxes considered in the calculations.)

And the third thing I learned, (in addition to being dazzled by how money can grow over time) was that after five decades, seeing old friends is a most wonderful thing no matter how anyone looks.

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