It is never too late to learn new things

I am not surprised by what Saul posted on his board this morning. I am sure that many of his followers are feeling the same.

Several signs of confusion and despair on the board - recent discussion about how DDOG is not as respected as the mega caps, lack of active post-Q1 ER discussion about ENPH, significant drop off in monthly portfolio reports etc.

Saul is even reading analyst reports and looking at price targets now…interesting…after scolding multiple people who did the same in the past.

Perhaps it is time for some changes on Saul’s board:
(@SaulR80683 Saul - I know you are reading this):

  1. Open up the board to new ideas and end the echo chamber effect that is hurting the community. Yes - your board is a community and not just a bulletin space.
  2. Consider how macro impacts stocks because that is inescapable. Encourage macro discussion on the board.
  3. Stop quoting past annual portfolio performances…it creates unhealthy competition, creates FOMO and leads readers to emulate others…often too late. Irrespective of how many disclaimers you put up, this happens.
  4. Be kind to others, especially online.
  5. Consider becoming a long term investor in the companies that you love. Long term does not mean forever. It means avoiding the knee-jerk QoQ entering and exiting stocks that is more detrimental if one has not truly understood the 2 year or 3 year or 5 year thesis in the company.

It is never too late to change. It is never too late to learn something new. It is never too late to be kind to others.



The hardest thing about investing is to not get emotional about investments, follow your strategies and mark up the losses to education. Education is not free. Analyze what happened and try not to make the same mistake again. His forum is set up so that they are like minded and so there is no forum for divergent ideas. I don’t invest in his group of stocks so I wouldn’t be in there except to post an article every once in a while for their perusal. The strength of the group is that they are super in tune with the financials of their companies and in the long term that usually pays off. IMHO of course…doc


some things, apparently, will still take a lot longer to learn.

Saul just now:
“Their growth was actually even faster in 2021 than in 2022. Roughly 79% in 2021 and 69% in 2022. Then two unexpected things happened: the Fed started pushing interest rates up at rates never seen before,”

My issue is with the last sentence.
Again, he has thousands of followers.
So they all go “yeah…darn Fed! Our stocks would be just fine and waaaay up if Fed didn’t do this unprecedented rate increase path!”

This implies ignoring valuation wasn’t the issue. It implies they are right, and that the darn Fed just got in the way…like a tornado or hurricane…an unpredictable event that is no one’s fault.

But is it?

What about rates at zero. Zero.
Combined with massive money printing/QE…massive liquidity flooding the markets.

How else do you explain everyone being able to yolo/momo/fomo on a market, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC!

This drives me nuts. The pandemic was a kidney or liver punch from a professional boxes. We were still standing, but frozen in time…but eventually the body has to pay for that damage. That time is fast approaching, imo.

So all the recent rate increases do is correct the excesses that were ALREADY DONE in the opposite direction.

I don’t blame Saul. Entire country and certainly our politicians seem to have lost their way on responsible economics. Debt limit? What debt limit. Just keep raising it.

Normal citizens can’t do that…we go bankrupt and/or lose everything when we continually spend more than we make.

  • Gross domestic product rose at a 1.1% annualized pace in the first quarter, below the 2% estimate.

  • Inflation was higher than expected in the quarter, with the PCE price index rising 4.2% against the 3.7% estimate.

GDP slowing, while inflation (still) rising.

" Though inflation has pulled back some from its peak around 9% in June 2022, it remains well above the Fed’s 2% goal. Policymakers all say inflation is still too high and will require elevated interest rates.

At the same time, growth has taken a hit from troubles in the banking sector that are likely to infect the economy ahead. Those two issues – the Fed’s rate hiking cycle and an expected credit crunch ahead – are expected to tilt the economy into recession later this year."


No worries! The consumer is resilient!

" U.S. households have been whittling down their savings and taking on increasing amounts of debt, putting many in a weaker position to weather an economic downturn that has grown all the more likely following recent turmoil in the banking industry."

Cause and effect.
Bubbles deflate.
Bubbles pop.
Bubbles don’t last forever.



Amen Brother … (20 character requirement fulfilled)


There are a couple things that really shocked me about Saul’s board (FWIW, I can no longer post there). Even after how poorly they all did in 2022 (myself included), there was no post discussing “lesson’s learned” and a necessary pivot to a new methodology. I know many have now finally started to pivot in small ways (not only software stocks, holding more cash, etc), but there was never a real discussion of what went wrong in 2022 and what needed to be done to make a course correction.

The biggest “mistakes” I see now (unfortunately in hindsight) are things like:

  • Too concentrated in high growth SaaS/IT/Cloud sector.
  • Not taking some profits along the way.
  • Not considering valuation at all.
  • Not considering macro at all.

I was fully invested in the Saul method for years and didn’t start pivoting out of it until late in 2022, too late to save some massive losses, but at least I finally got the message. I still own many of the companies discussed there, but in lower percentages that allowed me to diversify into a variety of other companies that will reduce my potential returns if/when risk on investing comes back in favor, but also reduces the volatility and downside if/when things get even worse. Basically, I’m back to investing more the way I did before I found Saul’s board.

I also still can’t believe they have the “This time it really is different” (or something like that) link on the right side of the board, as obviously the last 18 months have proven that not to be the case. Valuations were a bubble just like in 2000, no matter what anyone says (still may be, only time will tell).


NET down 20%+ while AMZN up 10% continuing the false MMAAAN narrative that everything is fine.

What we will soon find is that companies are raising prices to offset demand losses.

I delivered for a sandwich shop in college, and the owner kept raising prices as traffic slowed.

That experiment failed.
So i think an earlier timeline of mine that july/aug ERs will usher in the earnings recession will hold true.

NET results will further demoralize the Saul folks.

NET was sub-40, and had done a 50% run…did anyone take profits?

My buy target is in 30s or lower, btw.
Because $60s are where i sell it in todays environment.

That is the difference in investing strategies in a nutshell.



This was in a recent post on Saul’s board, who posted it is not important, it ends up at the end of many posts that are “off-topic” for that board, but are allowed by those chosen to be able to post there.

Please don’t reply to this because discussion about this is not allowed…

As long as discussions about portfolio management, or valuations, or ideas from new posters are not allowed there, they will continue to struggle because it is an echo chamber that is hamstrung by not being able to have free discussions. I agree with Beachman’s above changes necessary for that board to become relevant/useful again. Which is too bad because there are many very smart folks there.


AMZN now flat, because maybe even the FOMO bs foreverbulls have given up the ghost on pretending these MMAAAN results are awesome beats worthy of giant post-ER moves.

Might be a good day for me tomorrow.
Let’s see how the month of April ends up!


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I wonder, since there’s a lot of talk about “valuation matters”, what’s your basis for your price targets?


When it comes to valuations, I look at three things:

  1. Morningstar’s fair market value
  2. Enterprise value / gross profits
  3. (Enterprise value/gross profits)/Forward growth rate

#1 I do not trust DCFs or price targets because they are based on assumptions that are made on top of other assumptions. If one of more of these assumptions prove incorrect, then the whole estimate falters. However, I like to use Mstar as a base case for comparison.

#2 takes into consideration stock price, cash on hand, debt and gross margins. I want it to be less than or equal to 10.

#3 takes #2 further by factoring in the forward 12 months growth rate. I want this number to be less than 30.

I have often been swayed by FOMO and bought a stock even though all these three criteria have not been met. e.g. NVDA


there is definitely a “gut” feel to it.
There is the intelligent fundamentals “what it should be” and then a whole lot of variables like:

  1. what is macro environment…are we pushing for low PE these days or in YOLO-land?
  2. what kind of multiples do we see with the closest thing to peers out there?
  3. same as #2 but with market cap.
  4. tied to #3, would they make an acquisition target…if so, does that create a floor? Or are they too big to acquire at any reasonable premium at this point? (think DDOG here…they were $60b mkt cap or so at peak…who the heck buying them at an 80 P/S or whatever it was at the time??)
  5. what has recent price action been like
  6. what is ATH and ATL, and what is 52 wk high/low, and where is stock now in relation to that.
  7. The fundamental stuff - reasonable expectations of growth, do they have a moat or easily displaced by new tech, competition, partnerships, etc…

Add all that up in a blender, throw a $5 bill in there for good measure, and it still probably isn’t worth squat, as it comes from a guy on the internet. But you asked.

There is a target prices thread a few weeks/months back.
Take one of those targets and apply the above and you probably start to get a feel for where I got the number.

In this poor macro environment, where I am expecting (and could definitely be wrong here) that we have not seen the final capitulation from Nov 2021 highs to 2022 lows, I feel it is hard to think an entry price is good above the 52 wk low. Then I start adding in the other stuff…multiples/mkt cap…where are peers priced.

Final thought is that things always seem to go higher and lower than we think, due to momentum shenanigans in both directions. So that is also why I don’t just usually pick the 52 wk low, but a bit below that.



This is a side issue, so I don’t want to belabor it. But: the debt limit pertains entirely to legislation already passed and enacted. It’s a fake issue. A “normal citizen” can’t sign a mortgage and then refuse to make the payments. The time for dealing with debt responsibly was when you decided to buy the house in the first place. The US federal debt problem isn’t that the government spends too much on things that citizens don’t want (80% of fed spending is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense, and mandatory interest on past debt). The problem is that citizens (esp. wealthy ones) don’t want to pay for what they get. The US tax rate is among the lowest in the world. (I taught this stuff at Big U. for 40 years.)

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.


Saul is a very, very savvy and smart investor. He picked up the SaaS hot sector trend early, and flogged it before the big institutions went after it. And then Covid hit and remote work / cloud enablement was forced to accelerate.

Covid made the hottest ‘trend’ even hotter and trendier and pulled forward a very large chunk of corporate cloud software sales. Talk about a blast radius! But many companies are now consolidating and “optimizing” their SaaS software configurations as they see the massive operational cost impacts. For instance, SF charges in 500MB data increments. DDOG, if not tightly managed, will generate a busted fire hydrant pattern of data - and charges - the more systems and headless services / APIs / lambdas it monitors.

The S curve was shortened and steepened by Covid and now its turned into an n.

Simple trend following would do that approach a world of good. Simple trailing stop rules - soft, not hard rules set up at the brokerage - and the discipline to follow them, would have protected them from a '22 (or 08 or 02) crash.

Failure to understand the madness of herds and the indicators that it’s a bubble (or a bubble popping) is mortal to a portfolio. So yeah, there’s a very unique macro situation now going on for 3 1/2 years that I think everyone gets a pass on “didn’t think about the macro.” But when a hot sector is universally and consistently just going nearly straight up in price and valuation it’s important to recognize it for what it is - the 100 foot wave. And when the wave starts to crest and starts coming down - universally the whole sector starts coming down - there’s nothing wrong taking profits and preserving capital until a clearer picture emerges. (Jeff Saut). And getting towed into the wave as its cresting? As many newcomers did in 21? That’s a plan to get killed.

Simple trend & breadth following in those situations is valuable.

SaaS has been transformational. But I think the hypergrowth / mindless buying & adoption phase is wrapping up.

Quiz: what’s likely to be the next hot bubble industry/sub-sector?


Hi FC,

You hit it right on the nail!

That’s me, right there!!

Before I knew what was happening, the initial blow landed leaving me stunned…But on retrospect, it is my inability to accept what I started to realize in mid to late 2021 that left me in a bigger hole. I was frantically trying to understand how I blew away a huge amount of my total portfolio in just a couple of months entry into what was touted to be worlds best stocks by Motley fool and folks who had been successful in the past …and the overwhelming view was that that these had to come back, as how in the world did these companies suddenly become 30-50% less valuable in a few months…But I realized that the mere talk that interest rates are likely going to be raised were causing such a disaster…And the damn fed had not even raised the rates from March 2021 to Dec 2021…And then 2022 completed the total destruction…my losses had quadrupled…what an idiot I was to be doing DCA into the very stocks that everyone were selling!!!

Oh btw, I did not write this to echo my woes…I was trying to learn something from you and others.

I remember reading in one of the other boards…may be the older version of the BRK board before the TMF fiasco turned the old boards into a ghost town…

That you moved out of your stocks or at least significantly reduced the allocation…

  1. Could you share what made you do that. Was there any specific source that clinched it for you? or was it the overall experience that you gained from the past that made you realize that things could go more dramatically wrong.

  2. Apart from learning, I am trying to see if there are any parallels between what is happening now and in 2000 or 2008…Are we closer to the end of the annihilation or its this just a head fake, with a lot more pain to come…Point being, if I come out now, the loss is HUGE and likely will leave me emotionally scarred forever (Seeing the net worth value down by 70% to where one started out with, is not something I would wish on my worst enemy)…but yes, I can at least survive with what is left…

On the other hand…if this is just a head fake, and there is more than a good chance that the growth stocks which have already lost more than 50-75% since I bought them can still go a lot lot lower, then I would/ should come out now…If seeing -70% is painful, then am not sure how I will manage seeing it -80% or -90%

I know no one knows the answer but as you and many others may have witnessed, or experienced and survived the bad times from the past, I would be grateful to learn and move forward!

It’s decision time and the sooner, the better - It truly is exhausting and painful to see such a dramatic and continued turndown in one one’s net worth - And especially more painful, when I have nothing to show as profit but just a huge loss from where I started this fiasco.

Thanks again,


PS: Strangely, I actually sold my S&P 500 ETF…and crazily still holding those so called Growth stocks that have already lost so much money…Every day I think I should sell them but just not able to do so, hoping against hope that they may suddenly turn direction and I can come out even…It remains a hope so far And hope is never a good strategy!!



Yeah, I’ve been around the sun a few times ;-). I was lucky to get into mechanical investing after 97 when the Fool was actually supporting and advocating for the approach. But it took the 00-02 bubble burst Internet crash to learn that the big boys own the market and they move in FOMO herds; the money flows - buy demand - is what matters most. We who got burned by holding on too long in any of, ATHM, CRA, LU, JNPR, CSCO, DELL, 3COM, you name it LEARNED (if one cared to listen) that the party is awesome when it’s going on - but we plebes. don’t. matter. When that herd says its over, it’s OVER. - evidenced by PRICE, crashing through moving averages and not coming back. “Love the company, not the stock”, “the stock doesn’t know you own it,” whatever. (Many companies in that wave were pure crap that evaporated, unlike now).

I got into relative strength trend following because negative surprise after negative surprise after pre-earnings selloff in some “high-quality” stock I’d picked out of VL based on its fundamentals just soured me on stockpicking. We don’t have enough knowledge in any business or real insider information to know what’s coming - all we have is hope for growth and profits. i.e. Saul’s critical investment factor of Trust.

Using market breadth and trend indicators for the first time got me out of 2008 a little early, and I learned again the importance of protecting capital. Still, I lost 10 years of 401K contributions in that year. Should have done better.

To the point with SaaS. Saul uniquely had insight and communicated it and shared the thesis widely. I happen to be in enterprise IT project management, so that wider thesis perspective made a compelling case for an opportunity - back in '19, and I felt a little late then. So it was all fun as the stocks started rocketing up. It still screamed “wow, he’s hit the vein!” or a gusher to me. Now, revenue growth rates were unheard of at that scale, and the software was REAL, unlike 98-2001 internet. So, with responsible risk management (20-25% of the port at one point) got in and out of ZS, NET, CRWD, DDOG, TSLA and a few others for big profits. And then Covid. '20 was my best year since 03.

Lastly. “Don’t fight the Fed” has no exceptions. No “except for hot growth sectors”. The macro was changing. Originally the herd mania around SaaS was partly driven by zero interest rates - “there is no alternative to stocks”. AND the Fed was still buying MBS! And then Covid drove the biggest financial government intervention in the economy in history. All that money had to go somewhere. So it went into SaaS / big cap tech - as long as the cheap money party lasted. When the Fed started raising interest rates the fastest ever AND kicked over the punch bowl of easy money, the institutions quickly ran from the big room party, cashed in all those profits they’d made - the crowded trade - raising cash, and started buying Treasuries because, wow - a 4 to 5% guaranteed yield is a great foundation in an uncertain environment.

The last round of trades I made in the SaaS stocks in late '21 into early '22 all lost money due to price drops. Tops in charts were universal across the sector. That behavior across all stocks was a huge “get out” marker to me.

Do all those great SaaS companies still have great growth, great products that businesses want, incredible metrics? Yup.

Doesn’t matter.

The Fed distorted the hell out of investments and real estate and construction for years by making money free, and then last year distorted it as badly - unwound it too fast and too far.

Fundamentally now, businesses that had a payback period of “immediate” at ZIRP, now have to worry about expenses again - and that’s the new “macro” that NET, CRWD, ZS and DDOG are now dealing with. Once a great layer of security and monitoring is up and running, it’s very hard to justify expensive addons when your iRR has to be >10%, and raising license costs is verboten if you want to keep the customer in this environment. I’d expect there to be very high customer retention due to astronomical switching costs between solutions, but diminished new revenue rates.

In my belief, what you have seen recently is a dead cat bounce. That industry’s stocks are not going back to their 20-21 highs for a long time. Even MSFT lost 80% of its value in the aughts and took something like 13 years to get back to its Inet bubble highs.

If you made it this far, I apologize for being long-winded. Enough said.



This deserves a reply that says great summary.

Great summary.


The main trend for inflation over the last 9 months, since the Jun 2022 peak, is down, not rising.

And the slower economic data you are mentioning will put further downward pressure on inflation.

I posted an inflation chart here: Inflation: data says going down, down, down


Thanks FC. This is really helpful, getting to hear from folks who have been there and seen that happen real time…

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your wisdom.


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Charlie, let me suggest that buying and selling individual stocks profitably over the long haul requires understanding how to value stocks (i.e., based on plausible expectations of future free cash flows) and also understanding the industry-specific and macro-level factors that can affect the companies in which you may invest. Otherwise, one is pretty much the patsy at the poker table playing against professionals who do it full-time for a living.

I don’t know what individual stocks you own currently, and so I have no opinion on whether they’re worth holding. But more generally, many studies have shown that folks are better off investing in a broad-based mix of a handful of stock and bond ETFs and then leaving them alone–at least until you’ve read the books and taken the courses required to sit at the table without being the patsy.

Best wishes to you.


Saul is savvy, yes. Smart at times, yes. The last 18 months I’d have to disagree. He and his cohorts on his board became starstruck with their own fame. They thought they discovered a system that was bullet proof. When their board and stocks became more and more discovered, and prices continued up into the stratosphere, instead of heeding caution, slowing down a bit, they continued to accelerate with reckless abandon. Their once analytical formula for valuing these stocks was upgraded to a new formula that justified their pricing. Anyone that challenged that, I did, certainly Dreamer did, many others did, we were all pushed aside as if we were trouble makers attempting to ruin the party.

This all became a classic bubble. Very good sector of very promising companies, but over discovered, over bought and over hyped, especially near the top. I speak from experience, I did pull way back fall of 2021, but I still kept 30% in these names, as I felt I would keep my foot in just in case I was wrong and Saul and gang had truly discovered an endless pot of gold. Like always though, as stated above, bubbles do eventually burst.

Do I think all these companies are forever doomed? No I don’t. I hold SNOW and CRWD. I’ve given up on most others, at least for now. Like the Bitcoin bubble and current Bitcoin winter, I think this could take longer than most people think to play out to see who the true winners are amongst the cloud names.

Saul and his tight nit group, someone should have questioned the leak in the boat when it first started, but they were just too closely nit together to have the ability to see the bigger picture. Not one person in that group questioned rising interest rates, and an end of a bull run until it was way too late.
Losing over 80% of one’s portfolio in a changing market, it’s almost hard to do, unless you really have incredibly thick blinders on. Who knows where Saul sits in 2023, he is late to post his April report. I’m guessing he might be in the red again now YTD. Smart investing? I don’t know about that.