How did I get here and why am I doing this?
Welcome to TheStockNovice
Like a lot of investors, I’d always just kinda been in the market. I began in the mid-90’s and had very moderate success the next 20+ years. However, being honest with myself most of it was nothing more than buy and hold luck: Starbucks in ’06, Berkshire-B in ’07, Apple in ’08. One day in June 2018 I woke up with 25 scattered positions and roughly 28% cash. I wanted to reallocate but was woefully short on ideas. I realized I needed to better educate myself if I intended to keep managing my own affairs. Otherwise, I should just buy an index fund and call it a day.
Poking around I stumbled upon a community of like-minded investors on two Motley Fool message boards. I’d used the Fool since 1997, but this was the first time I had dug this deep. The commentators were clearly more advanced than I was. They discussed stocks smartly and logically. They swapped ideas, checked each other’s work, and most importantly periodically broke down what went right or wrong. I knew these people were on to something because their conversations were based almost entirely on rational thinking, due diligence and common sense.
One of the perks I found most useful was a series of monthly portfolio summaries from some board regulars. These summaries included lists of holdings, allocation sizes and most importantly (to me anyway) the thought processes behind it all. The transparency was not only refreshing but shockingly educational.
After lurking a few months, I took a stab at my own portfolio recap in December 2018. I fully expected it to be a one-time thing, mostly as a thank you for all the knowledge I had gained in such a short time. I mean c’mon man, how the heck does anyone have the time to keep up with journaling a portfolio?!? Well, the clarity provided by that initial write up was so stunning I’ve kept it up ever since. What began as more of a personal accountability exercise has now evolved into a catch-all for research, strategy, temperament, psychology, allocation management, etc. At this point I don’t know how or why I would ever do without it.
First and foremost, these ramblings keep me solely responsible for my decisions. You can’t fool yourself when you write it down in real time, and that’s exactly the way it should be. We all learn from our mistakes. That’s never more true than when you put those mistakes out there for honest review. The beauty of sharing this process is it has a chance to make everyone better. You come to realize it is ultimately not about what you own or the returns you generate. Nor is it about market conditions, financial reports or business models. It is about sharing ideas, educating yourself and potentially acquiring a skill set that lets you take better control of your future. The benefits are very real. When I decided to write more, I went in search of a platform that gave me more latitude in putting together my thoughts. And here I am. I hope this exercise eventually lets me give back at least as much as I’ve been fortunate enough to receive.
If you follow along, I promise to be honest, open and transparent. The only thing I ask is you occasionally provide feedback so we can all learn along the way. Thanks for reading and welcome aboard.
In the meantime, tell your friends!