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I've been here a long time!

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February 03, 2012 – Comments (9) | RELATED TICKERS: EBAY , T

I just checked my profile and it says I joined the Fool in November 2001 (at the tender age of 19).  I don't think I had declared my major yet in college.  But to think that I've been a member of The Fool for over 10 years just blows my mind. Where did the time go?  Heck if I had known I would have thrown myself a 10 year anniversary party. 

But I think that date has significance as it marks the beginning of my journey into unraveling the vast mysteries within the world of investments. Back then I barely knew what a stock was.  I had just read my first financial book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  Say what you want about the man, that book opened the eyes of a lot of people when it came to how money works. When I first signed up I had gotten some free trial of one of TMF's newletters for a month.  I tried to get into it but lets be honest. I was in college, its not like I had any money to invest.  So at the time I couldn't really do much with the knowledge I had access to.  But The Fool had already established itself as a credible financial new and info website so I stuck with it. 

Fast forward to 2003.  I was well into my Accounting Major and Finance Minor.  I elected to take what turned out to be my most favorite class in college, Investments.  In this class I learned about all the different security types (stocks, bonds, funds, derivatives), and how they work (risk vs. return).  A requirement for the course was that I had to maintain a virtual portfolio of fake money on Stocktrak.com.  The portfolio started you with $100,000 and you could buy stocks, options, mutual funds, and you could borrow on margin.  Your performance was compared to the performance of the rest of the classmates.  My philosophy was conservative.  I used no margin and I only invested in the stocks of popular companies at the time such as Ebay and SBC. 

At the end of the semester I had an ok return on the portfolio.  I wasnt top of the class.  But I wasn't bottom of the class either.  After I passed that class, my thirst for investment knowledge did not go away, it got stronger.   From then on I continued to play online virtual portfolio games on websites such as Marketwatch and Investopedia. 

Fast forward to 2008.  I joined CAPS.  I received an email about this CAPS game.  I had no idea what CAPS really was or what the rules were.  For the first 8 months in CAPS my portfolio fell below the 7 stock limit.  I was only tracking 2 stocks that were invested in my portfolio.   Once I discovered the 7 stock limit, I started adding more stocks.  That was September 2008.  You all know what happened then.  

When the stocks started falling and my score started turning red I panicked.  I knew nothing of the accuracy rules.  I didnt even know how the scoring worked.  So I closed a bunch of bad picks, not knowing that even though they were in the red, had I just held onto them for another year my rating would have been in the 99s.   At the same time I was watching my own investments go down the drain.  But the beauty of the CAPS portfolio is it allowed me to see the error of panicking.  So while I closed out positions in CAPS, I didnt sell out of my stocks in my real portfolio.  As a result I was able to recover all of my losses.  

Through CAPS I was introduced to monetary history that I was not taught in college.  I knew nothing of Austrian vs. Keynesian economic theories.  I had heard of precious medal investments, but only after joining CAPS did I learn HOW to invest in precious metals. If it weren't for CAPS I wouldn't know of Mondern Monetary Theory (MMT) or Elliot Wave technical analysis.  My due diligence procedures got stronger (and easier) thanks to CAPS. 

And Today.  I am a CPA and Independent Financial Advisor.  Now I get to share all the vast knowledge I've been accumulating over the years with others.

I've met some great people here on CAPS. The diversity of knowledge here is awe-inspiring.  But CAPS is not justa community of investment knowledge, we are a community of people that care about each other.  On numerous occasions CAPS members have shown me that I'm more than just another blogger.  One member I met in person at his graduation.  Another wished me happy birthday. One member even gave me a wedding gift. So I feel a closer tie to the Fool than any other financial website.

Thank You Motley Fool for providing the platform for such a great community. 

9 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 03, 2012 at 6:37 PM, truthisntstupid (93.75) wrote:

Congrats on your success! Rich Dad, Poor Dad was far from the first investing book I've ever read (I've had The Intelligent Investor in hardback since around 1980) but I did see it at the library and borrowed it and read it.

A lot of people don't give Robert Kyosaki much credit, but he was the first author that ever verbalized something I'd felt for years. A house is a liability, not an investment. An investment should produce a cash flow. 

After 2008 I bet a lot of people wished they'd looked at it that way, too.

It's been a long time, and I'm fuzzy on what I remember of the book. But just because it wasn't one of the best doesn't mean it was useless. It probably struck the first spark of interest in many people. 

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#2) On February 03, 2012 at 9:42 PM, rd80 (98.60) wrote:

Congrats on ten years.   

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#3) On February 03, 2012 at 9:50 PM, awallejr (82.88) wrote:

LOL from teenager to someone who can no longer be trusted (over 30) heheh.  Well at least you had two bursting bubbles to slog through.  Patience does seem to win in the end though, we are back to prices prior to the big crash.  I see dow 13,500 before a correction.  We shall see.

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#4) On February 03, 2012 at 10:21 PM, outoffocus (23.68) wrote:

truthisntstupid

Yes and all some people need is that initial spark to get them going

rd80

Thanks

awallejr

Dont age me too fast.  I still have 8 1/2 months left of my 20s.  Let me live those out. lol

As far as your projection, you're probably right. 

 

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#5) On February 03, 2012 at 11:46 PM, awallejr (82.88) wrote:

Make sure you do something fun on the 30th.  Go to Vegas and enjoy all they have to offer.  Or if you are really wild and reckless, Macao.

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#6) On February 04, 2012 at 12:32 AM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Holy Cow!

OOF that is a long time.

I joined Caps in Spring of 2008. Also when I first started investing. (bit early to the party...)

I'll never forget that I was quite computer illiterate (and still am in many cases) and had typed in verbatum an article about BUD.

Fingers still throbbing you introduced me to the copy N' paste feature.

Much thanks.

Cheers (warning I'm 38 after 30 you start falling apart :)

It's almost like the warrantys up....

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#7) On February 04, 2012 at 6:50 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Hey outoffocus,

Congrats! That is a long time. I was reading fool articles for over a year before I joined Caps. but nothing like your track record. And I agree, the people here on Caps are great. A lot of knowledge and experience is shared!

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#8) On February 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM, Option1307 (29.88) wrote:

Good stuff, cheers to 10 more years!

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#9) On February 07, 2012 at 10:54 AM, lemoneater (79.25) wrote:

Wow! Congratulations on 10 years and counting, outoffocus! 

I just checked. I've been here since July 2006, but I actually started our real life portifolio in December of 2005 from a small bequest. I didn't know what I was doing so I bought stocks at a multi-year high and was excited at a high P/E ratio (I thought that was a good way to predict future gains. Somehow that worked okay with ISRG--beginner's luck!)

I came here with no financial training other than a few life lessons. When I was a child, my folks had lost a home to foreclosure because they co-signed for the buyer's debt on the home they were selling while they were trying to buy another home. Not a good idea!

When we were given a little money to invest, my husband pointed me to Motley Fool and said you figure it out. I'm still figuring it out. Not having a math background is not a show stopper for me, because I have friends who do like outoffocus, rd80, Teacherman, etc. I fully admit to benefiting from the skills of others here on CAPS who are better able to analyze the fundamentals of a stock than me. At least I am much more familiar with the terminology, and have a better sense of my abilities and limits as an investor than when I started. (Right now my Unrealized Gains in my real life portifolio are at 20% so I teased my husband that I'm doing as well as Madoff promised!) 

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