People have different ways of enjoying retirement. Some play golf or tennis. Others go sailing or take up painting.
Bill Bruner likes to hide in his basement for hours wearing a headset and talking to himself. Oh sure, he comes up to do some gardening or take a trip now and then, but it's down in the basement that the real action happens.
Mr. Bruner, 77, is the founder of Stockchase.com, a website geared to amateur investors. The Internet has more investing websites than a cow has flies, so why should anyone care about Stockchase?
Because, as far as we can tell, it's the only website on Earth that has documented, in meticulous detail, the stock picks and pans of every single guest who's appeared on the Business News Network's Market Call and Market Call Tonight programs since the year 2000. That's when Mr. Bruner started watching Report on Business Television, as the channel was called then, and he's been glued to the tube ever since.
"I don't think we've missed a day," he says proudly. "It's a hobby. I love it."
Stockchase may not be the prettiest website on the Internet: The only art is a stickman drawing provided by Mr. Bruner's grandson. But if you're an investor looking for quick opinions on stocks, it's a terrific tool.
Wondering what the pros are saying about a company? Go to Stockchase, click on "Find a Company," then scroll down through the alphabetical list of names. There are thousands of Canadian and U.S. stocks here, from obscure mining outfits to big banks, each with comments - both positive and negative - from the experts. Or you can use the "Find an Expert" feature to search for opinions sorted by specific money manager.
The site also lists "Favourite Experts," whose opinions Mr. Bruner considers especially valuable, having watched them more closely than anyone over the years.
Updating the website eats up several hours a day, but technology has streamlined the process. Mr. Bruner's computer is set up to automatically record the programs onto its hard drive. When he's ready to watch, he puts on his headset - which is equipped with a microphone - and paraphrases the experts' comments aloud. His voice is then routed to speech-recognition software, which automatically enters the words onto his computer - no typing required.
When he needs a break from dictating, he and his wife like to travel. But Stockchase never takes a vacation: When he's away, Mr. Bruner pays a university student across the street $30 a day to update the site.
For Mr. Bruner, a retired insurance company administrator, running Stockchase is a labour of love, not money. He makes about $400 a month from ads on the site and splits the cash with his son, a computer programmer who handles the technical side of the operation.
If there's so little money in it, why bother? Partly it's because he enjoys gleaning investing insights from the pros, but also because thousands of people now depend on him to get their daily fix of stock market wisdom.
At last count, the site was generating 4,000 hits a day. Many visitors send complimentary e-mails, including a couple of investment analysts who said they use Stockchase as part of their research.
"I was quite proud of that," he says.
Mr. Bruner - who manages a small portion of his own portfolio and turns the rest over to a professional - is the first to tell people not to use his website as the definitive word on stocks. It's a great starting point, but investors need to do more homework before making a purchase.
"Use my site as a guide. Don't believe everything you read. Because these guys, they can be wrong," he says.
If you don't believe it, you can use the "table view" feature on Stockchase to look up all those glowing comments about Nortel back in 2000 - right before it fell off a cliff. If that doesn't convince you to do your research before buying a stock, nothing will.