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My personal interest in investing started back in the 90s. I was 14 or 15 years old and earned some money delivering papers. Saving money was a hobby of mine, but I was always greedy to make more money (the easy way of course!).
Stock markets were bullish back then and I remember my father got a tip from an uncle (or someone else related). He told me about Antonov, a Russian company that builds airplanes. They had developed some kind of unique gearshifting mechanism. Of course the stock price of Antonov would explode if this product hit the markets. Without thinking about underlying business fundamentals I invested $200. I didn't think about the costs, probably costing me 10% of the transaction value back then. Needless to say the stock lost a lot of ground for different reasons. I refrained from investing for a few years.
A few years ago I read different books about investing. 'The Little Book That Beats The Market' by Joel Greenblatt was one of them. I remember I was in awe: could it really be so simple?! I constructed a portfolio of 5 MagicFormula stocks and left them for 1 year. The results were disastrous.... again. I picked two ForProfit-education stocks in this portfolio, but this sector got hit hard during 2011-2012. I sold all my shares.
After this little venture I started reading about index investing a few months later. This investing approach sounded relatively easy to me. Just buy a well diversified index fund with low costs and you'll be fine. Especially with dollar cost averaging and monthly deposits it's a useful strategy for starters because you receive instant diversification. I followed this strategy for over a year and I still think it's great strategy to accumulate some money.
However, I was still not very thrilled by the thought that bearish markets could wipe out 20-30-40% or more of my networth. Until I realized that with sturdy, dividend paying companies this volatility didn't matter! As long as the dividends are robust (and growing!) it is of no relevance what the underlying stock price is. The cash-flow still continues!
Another advantage of dividend growth investing is you invest in individual companies which are fairly valued if you do your job. With index investing you buy a lot of companies with varying price/earning valuations, some of which may not be really good investments at that price.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, CNN, Newsmax, and Fox. He is the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 (based on page views).
Thomas has co-authored a book, The Intelligent REIT Investor, and is the author of The Trump Factor: Unlocking The Secrets Behind The Trump Empire (available on Amazon).
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College and he is married with 5 wonderful kids.
A regular guy (still alive from New York!) who shows how he would manage a model (not actual) portfolio for educational purposes only, my personal finances are my own business and the disclosure statement is only for the portfolio we are discussing (if an asset is held personally, I will note that in the disclosure). I give absolutely no advice, and only offer suggestions on how I could manage a portfolio. My personal portfolio and finances can change at any time, which has nothing to do with the educational value of any article.
The main reason for a subscriber to "Follow" me, especially for the model portfolios (TARP or otherwise), is to glean some knowledge to become a better investor and not simply place bets. Money management is every bit as important as any other aspect of investing, and by following a portfolio and the actions taken, you can gain some insight into a somewhat higher level of investing acumen. There are no requirements, and this is not "rocket science" - it is simply a powerful way for you to put the money you have worked hard for to work even harder for you. My message will be consistent, and my hope by doing this is to share my own experiences, illustrated in the model mock portfolios I build exclusively for Seeking Alpha. Knowledge is power, and many folks shy away from the investing world because that very world makes it more confusing each and every day in an effort to sell you something: stock picks, technical strategies, books, videos, subscriptions with "secret ideas," gadgets, and even snake oil. My promise to you is that my work here will remain free to all of my followers, with the hope of giving to you some of the things that took years for me to learn myself.