As always, I am not recommending anyone purchase any particular stock. However, interest rates at banks are far below the rate of inflation. Keeping large amounts of money in your local bank causes the value to decline dramatically, even though the numbers grow ever so slowly. Therefore, I am recommending downloading Robinhood and investing in your favorite company, or perhaps companies. As a small incentive, if you use my link to download Robinhood, open an account, and deposit some money, you and I will both receive one free share of stock worth about $4. Here's my link:
Unfortunately, I was forced to end the experiment I started on December 19th. I held onto it as long as I could, but COVID-19 and my former employer have forced me to sell off stocks in order to keep my pantry full. It started almost three weeks ago when my former employer reported to Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services that I had been "fired for failure to meet job requirements." That was not the reason they gave me. I was told, "we are letting you go to pursue other opportunities." I am not sure what happened in the background, but OJFS reported to me that my unemployment insurance compensation was being canceled as a result of the report from my former employer. It wasn't much, $184 a week, but it kept the lights on. This meant I needed to get some cash into my bank account to cover automatic deductions for utilities and so on. This is why I sold off most of my 5G holdings a couple weeks ago. I locked in profits and prepared for the inevitable need to withdraw cash. I also experimented with Call Options on the hope I could turn them around quickly for another $20 or $50. That did not work, either. Life is like that sometimes.
Way back in December, when this experiment first started, my account was worth $539.40 and looked like this:
Over the next month I added cash and made additional purchases until I reached a peak of $932.94 on January 17th:
At that moment I was very enthusiastic. I felt I had made solid purchases. I had a reliable income from my job. The market was stronger than ever. The FCC had announced auction dates for 5G bandwidth. Rumors of a weird pneumonia in the Wuhan City, the heart of China's technology zone, were just beginning to percolate but no one was really worried about it.
A month later the market crashed and despite another cash infusion of $200 my portfolio had fallen so far it was worth only $866.29:
On March 1st I woke up with a sore throat and fever. As far as anyone knew, COVID-19 had not reached Ohio except for a handful of cases in Cleveland. My job required someone be present, no exceptions. There was no one to replace me if I called in sick. So I took some cold medicine and went to work. On March 2nd I woke up feeling even worse. Early in the day, about 10 or 11, I called in and started the elaborate process of notifying everyone important that I would not make it into work. At 4:15pm they called me back to inform me, "we are letting you go to pursue other opportunities."
A very strange way to fire someone, I think.
All that week I was terribly sick. Looking back now, I cannot help but wonder if I had COVID-19. There were no tests available, but many of my symptoms were consistent with published symptoms of the disease. I didn't go to a doctor, so it could have just been a seasonal flu. It was mostly in my throat and sinuses, not my lungs.
Once I got better enough to realize what had happened, I was very angry with my former employer. Not only had I cooperated in everything and learned an entirely new set of skills, the Friday before I had finally finished all the coursework to apply for a CDCA certification. The last requirement for the job was completed. All I needed to do was fill out the paperwork and pay the licensing fee. I had never in my life desired to work in recovery, but I had done the preparation work, done the job, and completely reorganized my life. Once I was well enough to think straight, I felt very cheated. Everything I had done and none of it mattered. For a company based on compassion it was a very cruel way to treat a reliable employee.
Ohio had not yet declared a quarantine, but I knew it was coming. I sold my truck and stocked up on food. I got all of my bills caught up. I added another $1000 to my Robinhood account. The bottom had fallen out of the market. On March 17th, after the deposit cleared, my Robinhood account looked like this:
Within days, Ohio was put on quarantine along with everyone else. I had high hopes. My pantry was full. My brokerage account was low, but stable. I applied for unemployment and received my first check. President Trump announced his stimulus package. I was not happy to be trapped at home. I was not happy with people suddenly depending on me to do their shopping and provide them a place to sleep. I was not happy with the string of automated replies from companies where I sent applications. Nonetheless, I rolled with the punches, spent a lot of time watching television, spent a lot of time studying the market, spent a lot of time trading stocks, and even bought a couple of Call Options.
Unfortunately, my former employer somehow managed to get OJFS to cancel my unemployment compensation. I don't know who I angered, but clearly someone at the company has decided I am scum of the Earth and is determined to do everything in their power to attack me. I don't think I'm being paranoid, but I suppose that's always possible.
Lacking any other options, I liquidated much of my portfolio and started the time-consuming process of returning cash to my bank account. In total, I have withdrawn $880. This leaves the current state of my account looking like this (April 25th, 10:08am):
Overall, I think the past four months have been a successful adventure in investing. Altogether, I profited about $220 from a cash infusion of $1535. Even now, after selling off all of my most promising stocks, my account balance is roughly twice what it was when I started on December 19th. Perhaps most important of all, I have cash back in my bank account to keep food in my pantry and the lights on. Clearly, I will never get rich trading stocks and options. Nonetheless, in a time of extreme risk and through one of the worst market collapses in history, I pocketed a small profit and kept my pantry full. I still need to find work after the quarantine ends. I still hope to add more money to my account and profit from 5G. I won't enjoy anything near the kind of success I had hoped for because I had to sell off the stocks I bought at rock bottom prices. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and while I wasn't able to exploit it to the full advantage, I was able to get out with a small profit and positive balance in my account.
I hope everyone reading this did even better.
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