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MarketInsight | The right tool for the job


I give a popular presentation about a 1942 submarine attack off Jacksonville Beach in 1942. At 9:30 p.m. local time on a Friday night, a German U-Boat, the U-123 under the command of Rheinhard Hardegen sank an oil tanker, the SS Gulfamerica, three to four miles off the coast while hundreds, if not thousands, watched in horror from the beach. The presentation has been remarkably successful. I will present it for the 100th time on Veteran’s Day at the Castillo de San Marcos, this Nov. 11.

Two nights before the attack off Jax Beach, Hardegen and the U-123 were involved in another horrific attack off of Brunswick, Ga. In the course of 51 minutes, the German submarine sank two oil tankers, the SS Oklahoma and the SS Baton Rouge. The tankers were headed North when attacked. Both vessels went to the bottom, both were re-floated and repaired, and both would be sunk again later by different German submarines.

The night of the double sinking, a member of the Carnegie clan dropped a wrench from his private plane onto the lawn of the St. Simons harbormaster, Olaf Olsen. Around the wrench was a note. The note alerted Olsen, nicknamed Oley, that men, survivors of the sinking, were in danger of dying at sea. Oley was familiar with the yachts berthed there under his care. Oley knew he had to do something. Brave Americans were in danger. Time was of the essence.

Oley looked down the line of yachts and decided, “I am going to take that one!” The boat his finger pointed to was a 42 ft. Fairform Flyer built in Jacksonville by the Huckins Yacht Company. She was fast, and she was sea-worthy.

The yacht Olsen took out that night was owned by Coca-Cola heir, Charles Howard Candler. He took a doctor with him. Huckins boats were fast. The patented Quadraconic hull design was used on all PT boats during World War II. Huckins, in the spirit of patriotism, leased the technology to the Navy for the sum of one dollar. That night, Olaf “Oley” Olsen rescued 42 panicked survivors from the ocean. Most of those men would go back to sea.

In all endeavors, it is important to use the right tool. Oley Olsen selected the right tool that night! He was a professional. He knew what he was doing. For many of us, retirement is a scary proposition. Maybe not as scary as being sunk by a Nazi submarine, but scary enough. We are all living longer. The number of Americans over the age of 100 has increased 50 percent since the year 2000. Living longer means we will all need to save more money. Depending on your age, you may need millions of dollars just to maintain your standard of living.

If that number sounds daunting, it should. To save enough, you will need help. You will need to earn a higher rate of return on your retirement savings. The right tool for the job is the stock market. It is the only vehicle that will get you where you need to go. Retiring comfortably in America requires that you compound over time at a high rate of return. If you do not know what that means, ask someone. Call me if you like.

Scott A. Grant is President of Standfast Asset Management in Ponte Vedra Beach. He welcomes your comments or questions at

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