Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wall Street - Hello 2020

My Twitter posts about investing don't get much attention. Maybe it's because I'm not a hot shot Wall Streeter or hedge fund manager.

That's fair. I worked for over 5 years on Wall Street as an assistant and then executive assistant. I pay attention though. I read. I dig, research, create Excel spreadsheets, and dive into financial statements.

Before I give you a reiteration of my prognostication for water, clean energy, marijuana, and AI/robotics, I'll tell you a true story.

My dad talked about the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 for as far back as I can remember. He became a seasoned investor (by Wall Street standards), although he may not have been as savvy as he let on.

In 1999, I was living in NYC and every day the news mentioned some ordinary person who'd just made a killing investing in dot-com stocks. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, shoeshine boys retiring with millions, ok? MILLIONS.

I was happy for them, but filled with angsty wonder at how they made millions and my father lost so much. What did they know that he didn't?

I marched my fat ass down to Strand Books (8 miles of books) by South Street Seaport and parked myself in the Business & Investing section. I browsed through 3 stacks of books up to my knees for hours until I found an investing "bible": The Art & Science of Successful Investing by Todd Leigh Mayo. It's two inches thick. I picked it up, thinking I'd never read it, thumbed to a random page and was WOWED at how clear the writing was. Every word was solid gold advice that was at once useful and practical and compelling.

I bought that book and another that I've since forgotten, and I recommend Mayo's book to anyone interested in putting their hard-earned money to work for them in the safest way they can manage.

AT&T was about to spin off a tracking stock for AT&T Wireless (ticker AWE). My coworker and I wanted to make some fucking money and we talked about AWE. I didn't know jack about telecom, so I didn't want to put the money at risk.

Three investing seminars all said the same thing: If you'd invested $10,000 in the Dow Jones in 1967 and held it until 1997, you'd have $300,000 (gazillion dollars).

My only question: Where the hell do I get $10,000 to invest in the first place?

Enter the online discount brokers. One ad said investors could get started with $250.

WOO-HOO! I can do that! I opened an account and sent $10 or $20 every paycheck until my account balance had $250. I read Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks about how he came upon Starbucks as a marketing consultant, visited the baristas in Italy, and fell in love with coffee culture. He had a vision of Starbucks growing from a 2-guy shop in Seattle to a global powerhouse.

Dude. That's power and vision. The rest is legendary.

Image result for royalty free images howard schultz pour your heart into it

My coworker and I were at work after hours, and I placed my first trade. I let out a cheer. My coworker said, "What are you doing over there?"

I said, "I just placed my first trade!"

She asked, "What did you buy?"

"Starbucks!"

"How much did you buy?"

"Seventy-five!"

"Shares?" She peered around the corner at me.

"Nope. Dollars worth. I got three shares!" I can't overstate how excited I was.

She belted out a laugh. I mean, a long, loud laugh.

"I'm not rich," I said, still incredibly proud of my start.

She got quiet and came closer. "I'm not rich either. Show me what you're doing."


Image result for royalty free images little guy investing with big guys Image result for royalty free images little guy investing with big guys

I  no longer hold SBUX (sadly), but I kept at it at my own pace with money I felt comfortable putting at risk, because the education I was gaining was shrinking my risk. Knowledge is power. The less you know, the more empowered Wall Street is to take advantage. The more you know (I mean REALLY know), the more empowered YOU are to avoid getting taken for a ride.

My prognostication:

Water. Global water scarcity is a definite real problem looming in the near future, and already a real problem in many places. There is an ETF for global water, but I'm liking ticker WTR as the second largest water supplier/utility in the States. That holding is up double digits from the time I purchased. Still long the position.

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Clean Energy. Solar, wind, etc. There is an ETF for clean energy. If you don't want to learn how to read financial statements and all that dry stuff, go for the easiest route to diversification and low expense ratios with an ETF (exchange traded fund).

Marijuana. People are going to continue demanding medical and recreational weed. The government will cave in and regulate it. Example Canopy Growth. (I made over $1000 on a single trade. Sadly I sold it before Constellation Brands bought them out). One opportunity made, another lost. That's life.
Aphria (APHA) is way down. I'm not sure what their individual chances of success are, but at under $6.00 per share lately, there's some room for upside movement.

Image result for royalty free images marijuana

AI/Robotics. I seriously can't foresee my profession being replaced by AI or robots, but I've been wrong before. In the event it happens and I lose my livelihood, I expect to profit anyway.

Image result for royalty free images leaning back with a cigar


The extra: Waste management and recyclers. The plastic crisis is for real. We can't give up plastic until we give up petroleum, which isn't going to happen overnight. The best we can do in transition to clean energy and natural packaging products is to find better ways to dispose of plastics or recycle them.

I'm not qualified to sell investment advice, so you'll have to do some research on your own. Get your eyeballs on The Art & Science of Successful Investing as a primer. It's got all the basics down in plain English.

That's all.

Make 2020 a magical year!

Mackenzie

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

End of the Year Thoughts

As 2019 winds down to a close, it's the right time to reflect on the past and consider the direction I want to go for 2020. With that sort of reflection, it's apt to take inventory and think of what needs to change and how to go about that.

Reworking This Darkness is Mine has led me to open a can of worms. It feels like I crawled into the can, to be perfectly honest. I had to consider Michelle's family's motivations for the way they treat her. While this will deepen the story and the characters, their fictional motivations make me wonder what the real life motivations are.

Given that the story is based on real life, that means I have to set some hard boundaries with people who claim to love me. Even if they're sincere, they do not take my mental health seriously, which has me raging. It's not good for me to tap into my rage because there's no faster path to the psychiatric ER.

I've received a couple vicious emails from one brother. The reply I have in mind will tear him new assholes and make his testicles retract (perhaps permanently). Mind you, I've sent him a tactful email and they set him off into wild, insecure pinball action that nobody wanted to deal with (detailed in This Darkness is Mine).

The other brother who called 9-1-1 and let the ambulance cart me off without so much as a good luck wave good-bye deserves the most hateful tirade I can think of. His motivations are more sinister, sneaky and snakelike. He's such a condescending mooch who knows everything about nothing, I really am rankled. Can't hold a job, but offers career advice for me.

ME: current job held for over a year. Last job held for four years. Job before that for five years. Self-employed on the side since 2012
HIM: barely self-employed for a very long time

The mother -- whose doctors' names and specialties I'm very familiar with and have their numbers in my phone -- who probably can't name ONE doctor I've seen in the last 12 years deserves to float off into the ether.

And yet, I'm not ready to tear into them. My reason has to remain private for now, but I do have reason.

The year ahead will proceed without them in my life. They are not capable of stepping up for any need beyond the basic food, shelter and water.

I can fucking provide those on my own.

It's kind of tragic that my two primary reasons for fiercely sticking to my medication schedule are:

1) I don't like being psychotic or the nuclear fallout from manic psychosis
2) I can't count on my family for shit

The latent RAGE needs a safe way out or it'll sabotage the future I've been working so diligently to attain. I'm not close to relying on writing as a full time profession, but I'm working on it. To let these negligent blood relations, who have the WORST judgment of anyone I know, derail me yet again is unthinkable.

Image result for royalty free train wreck

In the final analysis, they simply don't deserve me. I'm feeling my dad, the LION, rise up in me.

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As for the future, I must revisit the past - a resource called https://newconversations.net and their Seven Challenges Workbook. I tweeted an invitation for anyone interested in bolstering their interpersonal communication skills.

The plan is to start in May. Every month for seven months, work on a challenge in four different situations. We can either meet weekly in a twitter DM group, create a Facebook group, or meet weekly in Google hangouts. It doesn't matter to me which.

I can't think of anything else besides February's agent showcase.

Just keeping it real, and perhaps a little raw.

To end on a hopeful note, if your loved ones don't accept that your illness is a fucking ILLNESS and takes more than idle exhortations to get through, find a new tribe.

Ecclesiastes won't get you through it
Prayer will help, but it's not the same as medical science
There is a path to stability
You're not a drama queen
You can crawl out from under the weight of shame and hold your head up

Twitter: @mackenzielitt13
Facebook: @mackenzielittledalewriter
email: mackenzielittledalewrites at gmail dotcom

For God's sake, no spam please.

Image result for royalty free no spam

Make someone else's day magical!


Mackenzie