As always, the trick was to got in on the ground floor. Rather than doing business with one of the new financial-services conglomorates, you should have owned a part of it. If you had, here is where you would stand now:

Company Share price Purchase price What it is

(purchaser) 6/30/78 when bought worth now

Dean Witter $10.40 $50 cash or $134.40

(Sears) 3.2 shares

Sears

Bache Halsey $ 6.59 $32 cash

(Prudential)

Shearson $ 3.52 1.3 shares $122.40

(American AmEx**

Express)

Merrill Lynch $17.75 -- $109.25

Source: Lipper Analytical Services Inc. Current stock prices as of 6/24/83.

*Prudential is a mutual company, legally owned by its policyholders.

**Subsequently split 4 for 3, thus equivalent to 1.73 shares today.