For my first blog post I wanted to copy and paste an e-mail I submitted several months ago to David Gardner's Rule Breaker Investing podcast. David is the co-founder of The Motley Fool. I owe a lot of my recently acquired knowledge to brothers David and Tom Gardner and their talented team of analysts. This e-mail was not shared in his monthly mailbag episode but I thought it to be a fitting first post for this site:
My investing journey began in 2012 when I received a call from a financial advisor reminding me that I had an open brokerage account. This was an account my father had opened many years prior. I was in my mid-20s and had some money sitting idly I was willing to invest. I was grateful for this call because I had never been formally taught how to “put my money to work”. I visited the financial advisor and decided to open a Roth IRA and buy several recommended mutual funds. But I also had an eagerness to invest in individual companies mostly because I saw opportunity in one specific company. Through my advisor’s guidance I ended up investing in mostly dividend paying “safe” stocks. A couple have ultimately become big winners in Waste Management (WM) and Microsoft (MSFT) that I still hold today. Two companies ultimately were losers in ExxonMobil (XOM) and Kinder Morgan (KMP). Both paid a great dividend but the capital appreciation was going the wrong direction. The one company I specifically wanted to invest in was Netflix (NFLX).
Back in 2012 Netflix had announced their original programming with a series called House of Cards and a re-boot of Arrested Development. In my view there was a high probability this would be successful with A-List actors and directors committing to this new streaming series platform. I had been warned by my advisor that their brokerage did not have a formal “Buy, Sell, or Hold” rating on NFLX and I should know the risks of buying a company with a smaller market capitalization. I purchased shares of NFLX that day at a cost basis of $11.83. Four months later I sold NFLX after it had more than doubled (around $26) because “buy low sell high”, right? I still believed in the company’s future at the time of the sell but my lack of knowledge prevented me from letting this massive winner run. And run high it did! Netflix had a 7 for 1 stock split in 2015 and has continued to climb over the years.
My wife and I met through the dating app Tinder in 2013 and I decided to take a position in Match Group (MTCH) on its IPO date in 2015. This was a fun and endearing way for me to thank the company that ultimately connected me to my then-girlfriend now wife. MTCH hovered around it’s IPO share price for nearly two years and my impatience for greater returns quickly resulted in me selling. Match Group has gone on to dominate the market average since it's IPO. You would have thought I learned a lesson from NFLX but I still did not have that base knowledge.
I discovered the Motley Fool through the Market Foolery and Motley Fool Money podcasts in 2018. The temperament of the analysts made investing feel approachable and doable with the right mindset and time horizon. Investing does not have to be something mysterious and intimidating like the “Great and Powerful Oz”. The Rule Breaker Investing podcast also helped me understand investing principles. (I almost wrote “long-term investing” but by definition “to invest” is for the long term… and anything less would be defined as “trading”). I can definitively say I was a trader in a lot of respects. But no more.
I became a member of Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers and then subscribed to the Partnership Portfolio because I liked the idea of investing alongside founder led business leaders. Through that service I was exposed to some “rule breaker” companies like Shopify (SHOP), Twilio (TWLO), and The Trade Desk (TTD). I have no intention of making a premature sale of these winners. Through the Partnership Portfolio and Stock Advisor I was made aware of another company Zoom Video Communications (ZM) and opened a position once recommended and have continued to add to this winner. Because winner's win so I have learned!
I have enjoyed watching Fool Live through the Zoom platform and felt inspired to start an investment club through Zoom called Bulls and Bourbon. “Bulls” represents the overall long term optimism of the stock market. And “Bourbon” is a way to acknowledge the social aspect of staying connected with friends and family on the call. We meet every other week to discuss market trends, business leaders, and pitch individual stocks we believe in for the next 3-5+ years. Oh, and we drink bourbon! I am happy to share my first stock pitch was "Rule Breaker" company Sea Limited (SE).
Our group ranges in age and all are in different phases of our investment journeys. It is great to hear different perspectives on investing and personal finances in general. Money drives a lot of our decisions and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be discussed more openly. Knowledge of the stock market and personal finances is powerful to be understood and shared. This club is my way of paying forward some of the knowledge I have gained in a short time through the Motley Fool. And I am eager to learn from others.
Thank you again to you and your team at the Motley Fool for the impact on my life and my family and friends’ lives. Fool on!