In my 40 plus year career I have been a securities broker and an investment advisor representative. Whenever someone found I was in the investment business casual in conversation, they would proceed to tell me about their latest and most risky investment. It is as if they want some sort of confirmation that they made a good investment.
Which draws me to blog about the current craze of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. I agree that ultimately, we may have a crypto currency and that the concept is here to stay. Yet, with the crazy volatility in Bitcoin who in their right mind would want to put their hard-earned paycheck into crypto currency?
But crypto currency is not what I am writing about today. Crypto currency reminds of a different investment craze back in the early 1990’s. . . Emus. The sales pitch regarding investing in Emus was that the meat was leaner and healthier than beef. The emu oil would help with several ailments and a guess everyone could have feather boas.
The plan was to build a herd that could compete with the beef market. An adult Emu weighs 69 lbs. for a male and 82 lbs. for a female. The weight of a steer ready for slaughter is 1200 lbs.
So, hold that thought for a moment.
The buying frenzy of Emus drove the price of an adult pair as high as $50,000. These people believed they would eventually compete with a pound of ground beef that averaged below $2.00 at the time. Look at the math $25,000 (one Emu) driven down to $2.00. Not a very sound investment in my book. And certainly, defies all economics.
In addition to the high initial cost, they had to purchase or lease some land and pay for grain to feed the large birds. As time progressed the feeding part became a problem.
Now that I have laid the foundation of my story, I must deviate the second part of my story. Around that time my father was getting close to retirement. He and my mother wanted to move out of the metroplex.
He found a home with a pool on eleven acres. The place was located on Lake Whitney and overlooked the lake from a somewhat hidden cove. Great place to retire do you not think? Accept it also was a working Emu ranch. There were 2,000 adult Emus, countless juveniles held in small barns and a very large incubator inside the house. It was the size of one small room.
My parents had no interest in Emus. They only wanted the property to retire on. The person who owned the property was the President of the Association of Emus in Texas. He was moving to a ranch with 150 acres and a trailer house.
Which I thought was odd. I suggested to my father to low ball the guy, he is probably hurting for money. My father refused and paid full price.
They The seller found out I was a Securities Broker and wanted me to raise funds from investors to build a processing plant for the Emus. I did not want any part of it.
As time moved on, the Emu craze was hit with the cold hard reality that you had to feed these animals and it was getting expensive. I am a hunter, and I began seeing Emus running loose on other people’s properties as I drove across Texas to my hunting lease. Then I heard many of them were dropping the Emus off at President of the Emu Associations ranch.
The breaking point was near, and he had to finally do the deed. He dug a very large trench with a front-end loader, herded the Emus into the trench and killed all of them.
That was the end of the Emu fad in Texas!
A sad and horrible story, but true.
I told this to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce last year. The funny thing was a competing securities broker stood up in the meeting and admitted to about eighty people that he had paid $50,000 for a pair of Emus. I bit my tongue and thought to myself, “I would never have admitted to that.”
The final statement I have on this story. If anyone wants to talk to me about their investment in Crypto Currency, I will shout out
“Remember the Emus!”