Founded in 1983, the group achieved fame for their stock market acumen, claiming investment returns of more than 23.4% per year from their inception through 1994. They received considerable attention in national media outlets, and authored a best-selling book, The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, following it up with four more books.
In 1995, personal finance counselor and best-selling author (Personal Finance for Dummies, Investing for Dummies) Eric Tyson wrote an article in the San Francisco Chronicle exposing the fact that this club did not have any documentation or audit to back up their claimed investment returns.
In 1998, an article in Chicago magazine asserted that the group's stated returns had included the new investments made by its members, and that when computed in conventional fashion, their annual rate of return for 1984–1993 was actually 9.1%, considerably less than the 14.9% return on the S&P 500 during the same period. Outside auditor Price Waterhouse, hired by the club, confirmed the sub-par 9.1% annual rate for 1984–1993. The auditor also discovered the Beardstown Ladies' annualized return was 15.3% when all of 1983–1997 was included; this was better than the average stock fund at the time, but still worse than the S&P 500 return of 17.2% for the same period.
This revelation led to a class action lawsuit against their publisher (Hyperion, a division of Disney), which settled the case by offering to swap the books for other Hyperion books.
As of 2006, the club still existed and was still investing.
Other articles related to "beardstown ladies, beardstown":
... Frank discusses how the Beardstown Ladies, an informal investment group comprising elderly women from Beardstown, Illinois, and was used by the media to promote the ...
... The Beardstown Ladies, with an average age of 70 (1994), were asked to appear on The Donahue Show, CBS's Morning Show, NBC's The Today Show, and ABC's Good Morning America ... their first home video for investors called, The Beardstown Ladies Cooking Up Profits on Wall Street ... By 1994, they wrote their first book, The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, which sold over 800,000 copies by 1998 and was a New York Times Best Seller ...
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