merci beaucoup

Saul and fellow Saul board contributors I think it is time that I say “merci beaucoup” (thank you very much). I found Saul’s board in August of 2015 and have been a daily reader ever since. That same month I retired from my job (I worked offshore in the Gulf of Mexico on an oil and gas production platform on a 14/14 schedule). Later in the month my mother in law was admitted to the hospital with West Nile virus and my daughter delivered our fourth grandchild, both on the same day. A few days later the market started correcting pretty hard (I retired predominately on our investment portfolio). It was a very intense time for me and the wife.
Please allow me to tell you a little about my investing history. I have been a saver/investor all of my adult life. My first investment was in 1974, I purchased a FDIC insured CD. CD’s were my Dad’s investment of choice. When the CD matured I wanted to try and do a little better. I had started reading and learning about investing. My second investment was a stock mutual fund that I purchased through a local broker. The mutual fund carried a 5% sales load along with yearly fees in excess of 1%. About this time I discovered “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser”. I became a huge fan and watched it faithfully for years, until Louis was no longer able to host the show. I continued to research and learn about investing. I learned that there is no need to pay a sales load on a mutual fund and that fees and costs matter. I soon moved all our investments to Vanguard. I am a huge Vanguard fan.
Before long I learned that it is very hard for the average mutual fund to beat the 500 index. For the last 30 plus years I have been invested in Vanguard index funds along with the Vanguard Health Care fund. We have done ok. If you are a typical investor you are always trying to do better and I wanted better. About 10 years ago I took about 25% of our portfolio and started buying individual stocks with the goal of beating the 500 index. To this day I have never been able to do beat the 500 index on a consistent basis. A few years ago I decided I needed help with my stock selection so I purchased a subscription to The Motley Fools Stock Advisor. The very first SA podcast I watched was about Clean Energy. I promptly purchased a position @ about $11 per share. At this writing it is trading at $2.84 per share. For every winner I bought, I bought a story stock that with time, ended up doing poorly. After getting beat up a little I remembered my old lessons about costs and instinctively knew that earning and growth matter. (But just to keep it interesting I also know that every once in a while you get an Amazon or a Netflix and they really do change the way business is being done. It seams when that happens earnings can wait a while).
That brings me to Saul’s board. I have read the knowledge board, more than once, and am now into my next phase of learning. So far I have learned how to get the earnings and calculate earnings growth rates for myself. I have learned to keep an eye on stock base compensation and expenses. I have learned to read earning transcripts, and more. The old instincts are kicking in once again, I know these things matter when picking individual stocks to purchase.
My 91 year old mother-in-law survived West Nile and is back home now! She needs round the clock care but she’s home. The grandchildren are thriving, the market looks to be recovering and I am adjusting to retirement.
Saul, you and your board contributors ROCK. I have never run across anything quite like it. I love to learn about becoming a better investor and you and your guys have helped me do just that. Who knows maybe one day I will even be able to beat my old nemesis the 500 index. You know for most of us this is no easy task. Anyway MERCI BEAUCOUP!

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Happyhunting,

Welcome to Saul’s Investing Discussions!

You would be wise to read this board frequently and will probably learn more about successful investing than you ever have. There is an inordinately large number of experienced investors who post on this board.

The following is my post of about a year ago you may enjoy which expresses many of the same sentiments you have spoken of:

http://discussion.fool.com/something-has-to-be-said-32014196.asp…

Like you we have all wandered in the investment wilderness. However, this board may prove to be very profitable to you…just as it has been for me.

Best of luck to you!

Jim

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