Filed Under:

From Coffee Futures To Bulk Buying: A Year Of Adventurous Investing

Play associated audio

A year ago, NPR's Uri Berliner decided to take his money out of a savings account that was losing value to inflation and turn it loose in an investing adventure. A series of stories in 2013 described his newly acquired assets and sought to shed light on how the markets for them worked.

I had up to $5,000 of savings I was willing to risk. I ended up investing around $3,600. (For a breakdown of the investments, click here.) I separated the investments into two distinct categories:

  1. Plain vanilla, which were the kind of low-cost, diversified funds we ought to have in our retirement accounts.
  2. More flavorful assets that I chose primarily (OK, exclusively) for their storytelling potential, like buying a painting online, making a bulk haul at Costco as a hedge against inflation, and betting on coffee futures.

A number of my colleagues have said, "Hey, whatever happened to your investments, Mr. Business Editor?"

So here's the scorecard.

Fair warning 1: My idiosyncratic portfolio was assembled for a reporting adventure. It's not meant to be investment advice. Far from it. This in no way, shape or form resembles how I've invested for retirement. Do not copy my investments. It could be an epic mistake. You've been forewarned.

Fair warning 2: All strong returns were entirely the result of luck and/or fortuitous timing. As they say on Wall Street, past performance is no guarantee of future results. All disappointing results were well worth it in pursuit of a good story.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With "Broad City" Co-Star Abbi Jacobson

What do Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour and Michael Jordan carry in their bags? Abbi Jacobson imagines the things you might find in her new illustrated book, "Carry This Book." We talk to the "Broad City" co-star about what you can learn from the contents of bags—and her success creating and starring in the hit Comedy Central show.

WAMU 88.5

New Approaches To Tackling Local Youth Hunger

The First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and other regional leaders are exploring new, innovative ways to combat local food insecurity.

WAMU 88.5

What Washington Really Thinks of the Rest of America

Kojo explores the surprising findings of a Johns Hopkins survey on what D.C.'s federal workers and unelected policy makers really think of the American public.


Social Media Company Twitter Struggles Financially

Steve Inskeep talks to Emily Bell, director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School, about the challenges Twitter faces.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.