January 26, 2020

A Very Volatile Opening

2020 has certainly opened with a bang. This has been a very active market with stocks all across the spectrum jumping around like crazy. There have been no clear winners or losers, except Tesla, which is seeing a rush of people buying just on the name fame. I don't own Tesla. Honestly, I find the entire enterprise to be a great joke played on the American taxpayers. A rich man using government money to build fancy sports cars for his rich friends.

My investments are very fringe. (Again, I am not recommending anything to anyone. I am just recording my own experiences.) I own Ford Motor Company because I love the company. At the moment, everything else I own is based on my blind faith in the promise of 5G to change the world. I have spent a year trying to figure out who will profit the most from the 5G rollout and this meager portfolio represents my best guess. 

If you'd like to invest in stocks, I will always recommend Robinhood. It takes a couple days to master the platform, and it lacks the tools necessary for hardcore daytrading, but everything about it is free (unless you sign up for the Gold package to conduct leveraged trades). If you use my link to sign up, we'll both get a free stock:


This weeks volatility hit my meager portfolio very hard. There were a couple of days when values dropped below $900, my total cash investment up to this point. At the moment my cash position is slightly improved because I received the dividend payments from Buckle. I only have two stocks still in a profit position: Buckle and NIU Technologies. Everything else is either breaking even or slightly below my average purchase price. Ford, for example:

I violated my own common practice and purchased Ford when it was above $9. During 2019 I made it a habit to sell when it passed $9 and buy when it dropped below $9. But in preparation for 2020, I grabbed a few shares at an average cost of $9.34, a price I would normally sell at. So I am not surprised it is already in a loss position, but at this time, I don't mind.  I learned today that Rivian will be building the platform for the new electric SUV and truck Ford is releasing in 2020. Unfortunately, Rivian is a privately held joint venture between Amazon and Ford. Private investors can also buy in through the company's website, but the buyin is way above my ability to pay.

I did pick up ten shares of NIU this week. They make rental stands for electric bicycles. I have seen their stands in Waikiki and Medellin. I thought I saw them in Madrid, but those might have been a Spanish company. I'm not sure. I learned this week that NIU Technologies is a publicly traded company, so I dumped Patriot Transportation and used those funds to buy ten shares of NIU. After the 5G rollout is completed, the NIU Technologies infrastructure will be the perfect launch pad for something similar to the self-driving cab company that made such an entertaining comic relief in the movie, "Total Recall". To my pleasant surprise, they ended the week a few cents in the profit position:

Naturally, I cannot close this blog post without a screenshot of my portfolio. I ended the week slightly down, but thanks to Buckle and NIU, overall I am still above my $900 cash investment:

Trending downward is never a good sign, but I am not ready to panic. All of these stocks were purchased on the hope that in about July or August they will be in a strong profit position. Even if they are not, over the next five years all of these companies should do very well. 

January 18, 2020

20200118, Third Saturday of 2020

First of all, I am not advocating for anyone to invest in any particular stock. Do your own research. Make your own choices. I am simply sharing my own thoughts and experiences. The one recommendation I am making is downloading Robinhood, creating an account, and investing some small amount in something. As a bonus, if you use my link to join then both you and I will receive a free stock.


From next week I will try to come up with better titles for my blog posts. I wanted to be able to easily locate these first few weeks of 2020 in my archive. The easiest way to accomplish this was to include the date in the title. Unless the recent political stupidity in Virginia results in revolution and civil war, I am convinced 2020 will be a record-shattering year in the stock market followed by a dramatic correction. This is the moment in history when $20 investments produce millionaires while old wealth vanishes into thin air. The trick is to ride the roller coaster up and jump out just before the peak. Knowing myself, that won't be me. I'll be crashing right along with everyone else. But it's going to be one hell of a ride and I am greatly looking forward to it. 

This week was extremely volatile for my tiny portfolio. Keep in mind, my total cash investment at this point is $900. Anything below that represents a loss while anything above that represents a profit. I have decided to regard dividends and interest as no different than rising and falling values in price. Naturally, any accountant reading this blog is now convinced I'm an idiot. For the record, they're right, I'm an idiot, but this decision greatly simplifies my internal calculations. The only thing I need to remember is my actual cash investment regardless of how much I later add or withdraw. Thus, the warning in the first paragraph. And here is the chart for my portfolio this week:

Overall, I am down about $20 from last week, but I am still up by $33. I have to admit, there were some very tense moments this week when my portfolio fell far below $900. I was very relieved when it started recovering and finally closed above $900. Fortunately, between now and the end of the month I will be collecting several dividend payments and a couple of them are very helpful. 

Even if my portfolio had not recovered, dividend payments alone would have returned me to profitability. The main reason I bought Patriot Transportation (PATI) was to collect the $3 per share special dividend. For some bizarre reason, there was a huge sell off of PATI the day before the record date for the dividend. Apparently thousands of people felt $3 per share was not sufficient reason to keep their stock. This means thousands of people literally gave their dividend payments to strangers and did so while losing money on their investment. This constitutes a double loss for thousands of people. Perhaps eventually I will sell my PATI stocks at a loss, but not necessarily. As long as I receive more than $17.58 per share, I will at least break even. 

As you can see, I already have a "Limit Sell" order in place. If the price rises to $21.05 before April 16th, I will lock in a profit of $4.70, plus the dividend payments. That will give me a total profit of $36.20. Naturally, if the price doesn't rise, my profit will be considerably lower and I might even suffer a loss, but that's okay. It's been a good lesson and an interesting experiment. 

The only other stocks in my portfolio ending the week in a loss were my ten shares of Ford, but I love Ford automobiles and I have spent my entire life wishing I owned a piece of the company. Now I can honestly say, "I own Ford Motor Company." Granted, it's a tiny little piece, but I own it!

This is why I am encouraging everyone to download Robinhood, deposit a small amount of money, and buy a few shares in your favorite company. There is something deeply satisfying about owning something you love. We live in a free market capitalist society. This is nothing short of miraculous. For thousands of years in human history only a tiny handful of people had the privilege of participating in the economy. The rest of us were peasants and slaves dependent on the elites.

Be a capitalist. Download Robinhood. Buy some stocks. Enjoy the freedom and privilege of being a corporate owner. Don't hate corporations, own one!

January 12, 2020

20200112, Second Sunday of 2020

8:30 Sunday morning. About an hour ago I was woken up by my phone ringing. My brother called to inform me my father was being admitted to a local hospital. My father was born just a few years before the Second World War. He has lived a full, adventurous life. I hope he'll be around for another decade, but there are no guarantees in this world.

Today is Sunday, so the markets are closed. This is the second Sunday of the new year. Tax season starts soon. Millions of Americans are either preparing for church or on their way to church. Millions of their friends and family are sleeping off last night's drunken binge. America remains the most culturally diverse nation in the history of our world. Only the Roman Empire at its peak in about 125 A.D. comes close, and it's a distant second place. 

You and I, here and now, stand at the very threshold of a new era. By year end, our world will be completely different. This is the year everything changes. By this time next year, millions of Americans will be more wealthy than any generation in history. Millions of others will be ruined. Ready or not, like it or not, this is the year everything changes. I know enough of history and I have seen enough of the modern world to be absolutely certain that 2020 will be the year everything changes. 

I don't know which group I will be part of on this day in 2021. I have hedged my bets to the best of my ability, but I am the first to admit my personal record is pretty bad. In 2019 I lost more money than most people will see in their entire life. Sad, but true. However, I am not yet ready to throw in the towel. Like my father, I have lived my life to the fullest extent possible and as long as I breathe I will continue to push the limits of reality to see if I can break it. If you'd like to ride along with me, the first thing you need to do is join Robinhood, deposit some money, and buy a couple shares of stock.

Join Robinhood with my link, deposit some money, buy one share of your favorite company, and we'll both get a free stock.


Think about this, join for free, deposit the price of a steak dinner at your favorite restaurant, buy one share of your favorite company, and Robinhood will give both you and I a free share in some company you've probably never heard of before. I don't know what company we will receive, but honestly, it doesn't even matter. Barring something insanely unpredictable such as a presidential assassination or a nuclear conflict or a massive plague and so on, whatever stock you receive for free will probably be worth twice as much by year end. It's going to be that kind of year.

Here is my personal portfolio. These are the companies I own today. It's not much. Less than $950. Probably, I will sell PATI on Friday and buy something else, but I plan to keep everything else through year-end. I am NOT recommending you buy the same stocks. I am recommending you buy something this week or next and hold onto it until at least the end of the year. Why now? Because tax season is coming, the wealthiest generation in American history is dying, and the world-shattering 5G rollout is beginning next month. There will never again be a moment like this one. That much I can promise you. 

January 04, 2020

20200104, First Saturday of 2020

First off let me clear, I am not trying to advise anyone on how to invest their money, except for this one caveat: get Robinhood ( https://join.robinhood.com/brianm3790 ) and buy some stocks. $5 or $10 a week is not going to bankrupt anyone. Over time, it adds up to enough money to pay your medical bills when you get old, buy a small home, or cover college tuition for yourself or someone else. 

Yes, sooner or later the stock market will collapse. When it does, you will lose a lot of money. However, it will also eventually recover and surpass its previous highs. The worst mistake I made in 2018/2019 was not investing in local businesses that failed (even though that was my most expensive mistake). The worst mistake I made was panic selling my portfolio after the 2018 Christmas drop. If I had just held onto my stock portfolio, it would have tripled in value and I could have easily paid off the debt acquired from the failed businesses.

This is how my meager portfolio performed this week:
I made one important change this week: I sold my six shares of VEGN. I made about $6 profit, just over a dollar per share. This gave me enough cash to buy six shares of Inseego (INSG) and two more shares of Washington Prime Group (WPG). This also left me with a $117 cash position (more on that in a moment).

WPG is a real estate investment trust (ReIT). It is one of the few ReITs that has turned a profit during the rise of internet shopping. It has also consistently paid out dividends. I always try to keep a few shares in my portfolio. When it rises high enough, I sell. When it drops back down, I buy. Along the way it pays dividends. Over the past eighteen months trading in WPG has been one of my few consistent successes.

This week ends with some cash sitting in my account. Last year I went through the silly routine of tapping my screen 1000 times every day to get a Robinhood debit card. The Robinhood "spend" option allows me to earn interest on cash sitting in my account. Interest is small, but it is paid monthly. So far I have earned a single penny. Having the debit card also allows me to spend my cash easily. Without activating the "spend" option I would have to transfer money to my bank account. Not only is this inconvenient, it takes three to five days to access my own money. Now that I have the Robinhood debit card, if I need that cash I just swipe the card.

Here is my portfolio as of about 10:15 a.m., Saturday morning, January 4, 2020:
Don't let all that red worry you. Ford is down below my purchase price a little bit. All of these other stocks are still in profit positions. I started the current portfolio on December 19, 2019 with $500 cash plus $25 in dividends from WPG. Last payday I added $120. Additionally, I have earned a $0.40 dividend from VEGN as well as the penny in interest I mentioned earlier. Total cash investment: $645.41. Current portfolio value: $689.63. At the moment, I am $34.22 better off than I was just a few weeks ago.

If I sold everything I could have a nice steak dinner somewhere without losing a single penny of my cash investment. Not a bad way to start the year.

One more time, join Robinhood with my link, deposit at least $5, and we'll both get a free stock:


Skip your morning coffee just one day and you can start building a better future.