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Hits and Misses: My Investing History, Career Wins and Losses + Scams

super cool guy investing stories

I feel good right now. I must have just eaten a giant plate of bacon and made some money off the markets.

Every investor has their victories and their defeats. It’s part of the process of learning. Still it doesn’t make it any easier divulging that kind of information to people, but since I’m a huge, shameless public discloser, I’ll go ahead and clear the air first.

It’s a good practice to consider your past investing decisions and trades, what influnced your decision making process at the time, and whether you can replicate that or somehow use what you learned to make future gains in a different opportunity.

I’m not a technical trader either, so if you’re looking for algorithms, let me save you some time right now. Slowly put down the graphing calculator and put your hands where I can see them.

My Epic Trading History

 

epic bacon and trading, does it get any better?

This picture of bacon was brought to you by my unconscious

Ok it’s not that epic. And it’s not bacon. I just like that picture of bacon and it says epic. And I’m hungry right now too.

My trading history, while not epic, is still really cool though and I learned a lot. You might even be able to relate to it or learn from it.

 

I started in 2004 by opening a Sharebuilder account and buying some stocks that I heard about on the news. I immediately purchased Google stocks when they went public after seeing a CBS report on the company. They seemed legitimate, they had a good use and function to move society forward with cutting edge technology and they seemed to take great care of their employees.

I got ancy 3 months later and sold. STUPID stupid stupid. I kick myself to this day for that decision, it’s how I stretch out before workouts now. For anyone not immediately familiar with Google’s stock price, let’s just say it’s exploded into the stratosphere since becoming a publicly traded company.

I eventually purchased some energy stocks after seeing George W. Bush talk about how awesome coal was. Obviously if George W Bush says something, it must automatically be true. Jokes aside, I read an article in an online investment publication that highlighted the reason for coal’s short term projected increase, so I bought and held Peabody Energy and Transocean. They went up and I made some money. I was up in the game.

In 2005 I got out of the Navy and continued investing. I put part of my savings into T. Rowe Price and let them invest in bonds and emerging markets. I made a small but positive return and would rate the experience as positive. I’d recommend them.

I saw a video on the internet some time later for investing in metals with GBT or Global Bullion Trading Group. I was hungry to diversify and try palladium which if I’m not mistaken was either fairly new at the time as a financial instrument or they were discovering new technologies for its use, but then again that might have all been part of the con, because Global Bullion “lost” about 35% of my account- but only before asking me for more money to somehow help pull the initial investment out of its downward spiral.

None of it made sense, I’d been keeping an eye on the price of palladium and it had actually gone up, so how was I losing money? I decided to pull my funds out and the guys there were extremely rude about it.

doj victim identification system for investment fraud

Thanks for catching the investment scammers FBI! Now if you could just get me my money back, drinks are on me.

Global Bullion Trading Group is now serving time in a US Federal Prison for fraud and running an investment scam. I was contacted 8 years later by the FBI. Three members of the group entered a plea, and the head of the group was found guilty at trial.

It renewed my faith in our federal law enforcement. I was still up in the game overall though, and had actually purchased a certificate of deposit along the way which gave me a small return, as well as lots of American bonds, which I later cashed out towards the end of college because the GI Bill did not cover all college expenses until 2009 after Congress passed the Post-911 GI Bill.

In 2008 I invested in a San Antonio based mutual fund (stock ticker GROW) and sold all my shares one day when my gas pump total mysteriously matched the exact numerical value of my trading account (give or take a few decimal places). I have always had investor intuition or superstition, depending on how you look at it. I sold all my shares for profit and not long after their price dropped completely to the floor as they were one of the hardest hit by the economic downturn.

In the summer of 2008 I made one of the biggest and stupidest mistakes of my investment journey thus far. I started trading Forex. Some guys may make money on Forex, but not many and I was not one of the guys who made money. My story is both hilarious and pathetic.

My first real live trade in Forex resulted in a $500 profit in about 2 minutes.

I was convinced I was a Forex genius. After all, I heard the Farms and Payroll reports come out and so I put all my money on the guess that a certain financial instrument would move a certain way, and I lucked out. That was it. Everything after that was straight down, a slow, long, painful and agonizing death, followed even by a refill in funds, followed by another decrease, and finally- my willpower saying enough was enough. Overall I lost $2000 that summer. Not fun when you’re in college or anytime really.

Lifetime at this point I’m still up in my investment record, even with these losses.

swine flu ballerinas

Every parent in China dreams of saving enough money to send their kid to the finest ninja ballerina school possible.

In 2009 I hit the big time. After reading an internet news article I invested my entire life savings in Chinese swine flu vaccine stock. The next week it went up about 60% in share price.

After a few months of the share price backing off the initial 60% gain a little, I decided the swine flu scare was mostly hype, and actually I guessed it was both highly speculative, fear-based, and an effort to sell more vaccine itself. I sold all shares.

Shortly thereafter, the price of the shares in that Swine flu stock dropped and drastically returned to original levels. I got out with a nice profit. I even profited in my portfolio that year according to my accountant and she said none of her other clients did that year and they made substantially more regular income than I did.

I took a break from investing until 2011, when I took a ride with Silver. From everything I heard, it made sense to invest in Silver. All the conditions were perfect and it was being touted as the next big thing. I got in pretty early, but I suspected it was being overvalued, and got out right before it tumbled back down to original levels as well. I was up with Silver.

My final investing story is the worst of all. I bought an instructional program about trading stocks from a company called Clickbank, which was publishing a product by a person named John Bell. I somehow found John Bell’s product online and decided to buy it. I learned some useful things about trading based on stock value and fundamentals.

Because John Bell had my email address from my initial transaction, he continued to market to me, along with the rest of his email list. Not long after purchasing the trading product, which was quite valuable, I started receiving emails about a company on the ground floor which was quietly making big moves. It was an organic coffee company by the stock ticker of JAMN.OB. It was one of Bob Marley’s decsendents, the coffee was made on a sustainable coffee farm by workers paid decently, or so the video said.

To make a long story short, the information was revealed in a way that was clever sales copy, but because I figured I’d missed the boat on Google with their warm fuzzy political mission and humane employment treatment, I’d buy this stock. It also happened to be only a dollar a share.

What started as what I perceived to be a good investment tip eventually resulted in a pump and dump stock market scam. This is when a lot of people buy stock, the share price rises attracting more investors. Then once stock market share price has gone way up, the initial buyers sell all their shares, profit ridiculously, and the stock share price then plunges.

I was really devastated because this was all orchestrated by someone who provided legitimate, useful trading information, gained my trust and professional respect, and then used my email to market a stock with no real value in a pump and dump scam.

Overall I’m up with my investing and profiting. I’ve learned a lot in the last 10 years. These days I invest money into my business. I believe having a business is a lot like having a baby, or an invisible friend. It gives your life purpose and it’s potentially more profitable than just buying stocks, plus it gives you the chance to get paid to do that which you’re passionate about.

Good luck and make good decisions in investing (both your time and money)! 🙂

-Patrick

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