In the long run I may have lost thousands of dollars. But I needed the money now. I had not worked at all for over a month. My wife had just quit her job. There was no hope.
I have sold my entire measly portfolio 3 times in my life. You don’t care about the island adventure when there is a hole in the boat and you are sinking.
Over my four years working at Walmart in high school I had put money aside each paycheck towards Walmart’s share buying program for employees. I don’t have total recall. I have no idea now how much I had put towards it. Eventually I graduated high school and after a few years into college I was fed up with my job at Walmart so I left.
With no plan.
I got a temporary gig at a place called Vacation Tour and Travel. More about that another time. The problem was I was making less than $100 per week. And my rent was $400 a month. I didn’t have to make “A’s” in math to know this wouldn’t work. I needed cash now. Fees and penalties be damned.
I don’t even remember why I sold off my entire portfolio the second time. By now I had diversified into several different ETF funds on Sharebuilder. Times got rough and the need now was greater than the need in the future.
Then we heard “The Price is Right losing horn”.
My earliest recollection of the stock market was watching my dad work on his portfolio on his computer at home. I would ask my dad a thousand questions about what he was doing. My dad was always kind enough to answer.
Then I would read the business section of the Dallas Morning News. Oh newspapers. Some time in middle school we did something they called the “Stock Market Game”. Which as an adult I feel is a very accurate discription. It is nothing but a game. And you can try to game the system. But like the House in Vegas, they always win. Any profits I might have gained were always eaten up by costs and taxes.
In the “Stock Market Game” we picked and tracked a handful of stocks, probably 10 or so, for about a month or two. Then nothing happened. There was an option to compete online with others but our school didn’t do that. Ultimately I learned that no one knows why any stocks go up or down.
This reminds me of movie called “Pi”, as in the math term.
Max, the main character, begins making stock predictions based on the calculations of his computer. Among other things that happen around a number, the idea being that there is a way to know what will happen in the stock market.
As I grew up I had my bouts with trying to put some money away for the future. It worked on the micro-level. It didn’t work on the macro-level.
Being in the Dallas area, I have read much financial advise from Scott Burns. He always has sound financial information that is easy to understand. Plus Scott led me to one of the easiest and more influential books I have read on investing: If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly by William J. Bernstein. This simple guide to investing is honest and clear cut. The short read mostly points you to other books suggested for deeper study of the stock market.
And of course I’ve read James Altucher’s The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Investing All of Your Money and heed the warning that “The most important three words in investing is: ‘I don’t know’. If someone doesn’t say that to you then they are lying.”
Here are 10 Companies I use that are traded publicly on the Stock Exchange and why I use them.
Bonus: Click each company name for a Google search result of their stock quote.
1. I buy things from Walmart.
The main reason is proximity. It is the closest retailer to my house for groceries and dry goods. As a company they have a wide variety of available product. Which comes in handy for things you don’t want but end up needing.
2. I don’t always go out to eat, but when I do… I eat at Chiptole.
I think the food is great. I like their atmosphere and vibe. Oh and did I mention the food?
3. For my footwear needs I drop by the DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse).
This is the best place I have found to get great sale discounts. I have often times bought pairs of shoes for $50 or less by shopping the sale rack. I pick pairs that are 30%+ off and if they shoes are not the price I want, I don’t buy them. If they don’t have a size or style I want at the price I want, I just come back a different day.
4. Whole Foods is my grocery store.
They have the best quality produce. Best organic selection. They are not close by me, but in my opinion worth the drive.
5. Recently I have started selling on eBay.
I use to buy on eBay but now I sell. I like it because ease of use. And Paypal.
I like the taste. I like the energy. For people who are concerned with them, don’t drink them. But me. I do.
7. AutoZone is my stop for car care needs.
I have always had a positive experience when I go there.
8. I use Facebook.
I don’t like it all that much. But other people I know use it. And I want to be connected to them.
For the longest time I thought Twitter was dumb. I didn’t know why anyone would use it and why anyone cared. I thought that until I was encourage by my wife to try it. Since then I have found it to be fun and enjoyable.
10. As for music, I turn on Pandora.
My go to for music, new music, and variety. Without having to pick it myself. But with the capability to tailor to my tastes.
I’ve got some investments now. Let’s see how long before I sell them off, because Honey Badger don’t give a shit.