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MONEY PANEL

BILL MORRISON

Semiretired investor, 74, St. Petersburg

Q. How did you get started in investing?

While I was working for the federal government in the Washington area, on weekends, as a hobby, I started investing in rental real estate in the northern Virginia area. This little hobby seems to have averaged things out for me well.

Q. What is your best investment so far?

Probably the first one I ever made. In 1982, I invested in a co-op (rental) apartment. It was the first thing I ever bought. It's become a little gold mine.

Q. What is your worst investment so far?

There have been none in rental real estate. Rental real estate has a wonderful way of becoming a winning investment if you're patient. I got burned in the stock market, probably one of the dot-coms. I bought Nextel high, sold it low, that sort of thing.

Q. What do you find the most difficult about investing?

Probably trying to ignore what the so-called experts are telling you to do right now. Follow your own judgment. I learned years ago not to listen to the judgment of other people. My own judgment is pretty darn good. Don't be in a hurry to sell, but sometimes you have to be in a hurry to buy, especially with real estate.

Q. How are you invested now?

Half real estate, half in stocks and bonds.

Q. Have you made any changes in your investment strategy in recent months?

I'm more into stocks, moving out of bonds, but not drastically.

Q. Do you think now is a good time to invest?

Now is always a good time to invest _ if you know what to invest in. I really do think the downtown St. Petersburg area is a wonderful (rental real estate) market. It's like the Washington, D.C., area has been.

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