The Undergraduate Investment Group, a club comprised of students from City College and San Francisco State University, invited financial experts and business partners Ted Janus and Bryan Bradford to share their knowledge with the community.
Janus has over 20 years of experience and is a Business Administration graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Bradford focuses on financial services and is the founder and chairman of Libertad Bank SSB, a community bank in Austin, Texas.
“I think the American dream is right here in front of us,” Janus said. He explained that everyone can benefit from a little knowledge of investment; the old notion of the American dream can be realized through these financially conscious people.
The event topics were presented at a Master’s in Business Administration Finance level.
For an hour and a half, Janus and Bradford gave advice based on personal experience in a world of high stakes and careful choices.
The presentation focused primarily on investment strategies, with advice on various aspects of financial health, but it was clear that it wasn’t meant to apply only to the finance savvy. It was relevant to people of all ages because it focused on the importance of investing money securely, a lifelong attitude of entrepreneurship, high energy, responsibility and optimism.
They presented case studies, showing the many factors related in making good investment choices.
Popchips, a health food staple in most supermarkets, was one case study. Popchips was the brainchild of Keith Belling, a longtime friend of Janus.
“Doughnuts,” Janus said, referring to how much a Popchips advertisement featuring Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Kimmel and Kobe Bryant cost.
Kutcher, an actor with a strong interest in investment, heard about the brand and asked Belling if he could be an investor. Belling replied that he would allow it if Kutcher did free advertising for him.
The lesson in the case study was to really know the companies in which you plan to invest, as well as the markets they occupy. Because of this strategy, Popchips went from being a small company to a multimillion dollar brand.
The lecture ended with an open Q&A. Students asked questions about future patterns of inflation, small business strategies and general financial forecasts. When asked what specific financial advice he would give to students just starting out, Bradford said, “Save your money. Don’t go into debt.”
“You really have to work on this thing,” Janus said, elaborating on Bradford’s answer. “You want this country to be fiscally responsible? You want us to get rid of all of this debt. Do it in your own personal lives. Be on top of this.”