HILDY RICHELSON, Ph.D.,
You never know where life will take you. I am now a sought after advisor and author in the field of bond investing. My path to this outcome was very circuitous.
I became a high school social studies teacher, because my parents said that this was a good job for a woman. In rebellion, I studied geography and cultural anthropology, gaining a Ph.D. and became a college professor. I was always open to learning about spirituality and culture.
One day Stan came home and asked me: How would you like to write a book about how individuals could invest in municipal bonds? A book publisher learned that Stan was knowledgeable, and there was no such book at the time. As a full-time tax attorney, his life was jam-packed. I was only a stay-at-home mom so I had plenty of time, he thought.
At first I demurred. As a result, Stan arranged for a visit to a possible trustee, who would oversee my assets in the event that he died and I inherited a large insurance policy. The trustee never looked at me or addressed me. As Stan knew, I realized I would be at the mercy of investment advisors if I were on my own, a situation in which many women find themselves. I determined to write the book as an anthropologist, open to learning the culture, language and rules of bond investing. What I learned in the process is that with high-quality bonds I could create a reliable cash flow that would protect me from worrying about market volatility, knowing that my bonds would eventually be called or come due and I would get my principal back.
Two years later, Income Without Taxes: An Insider’s Guide to Tax-Exempt Bonds was issued to much acclaim and sales. People started calling asking for help in buying bonds. We formed the Scarsdale Investment Group and I proceeded to evaluate and purchase bonds for individual investors. I set up a computer tracking system and learned about back-office issues.
In 2001 I was at a conference and saw a booth for Bloomberg Press. I asked them if they had a bond book. They said no, but they were looking for someone to write one. Thus, was born our third book: The Money Making Guide to Bonds: Straightforward Strategies for Picking the Right Bonds and Bond Funds. In 2006 Bloomberg Press was looking for another angle on bonds and Stan and I wrote the first edition of BONDS: The Unbeaten Path to Secure Investment Growth published in 2007 just before the crash. That was revised in 2011. We update it by writing articles published in our free newsletter (see Our Library tab) and various journals. Today we have a thriving business and happy clients, many of whom are refugees from managed accounts and large firms.