Folks that publish on line are always just an article or two away from being made to look like a fool.
I made my first common stock investment in 1971–I wasn’t old enough to even sign the legal papers at the brokerage firm-had to have mom do it-she hadn’t owned a stock in her life. It was a big purchase $50 (I thought $50 bucks was big back then).
I have read and studied on a non stop basis since that time–that is 47 years ago.
I learned quite a few years ago that I wasn’t a great investor when it came to common stocks-lots of buying high and selling low–a common issue with most individual investors.
12 years ago we started to dabble in income securities–primarily baby bonds and preferred stocks. We liked them. At that time it was not difficult to garner a solid 8% or so with little risk to capital. Why would I buy common stocks when I could get 8% on a preferred or baby bond? Sure the SP500 had an average 9.8% return over the last 100 years, but we would be absolutely thrilled with a 8% return year end and year out.
With that we quit buying common stocks–sure once in a while we lose our mind and buy something, but it isn’t very often.
In 2008 we wrote our first article on Seeking Alpha. This was 2 years after we started publishing the 1st “Yield Hunter” website in 2006. Talk about a crude site–that was before Google Docs and other tools were available.
Somewhere around 2009 or 2010 via email Brad Thomas and I had some communication and shortly thereafter we had a few phone conversations. To make a long story short he wanted to partner on Seeking Alpha and other places. He had been blown out of the real estate business during the recession and I think that he was looking for a new career. I had a very active real estate appraisal business and I had no intention of trying to start a new career (in particular at my age–56 then). My intention of running my little website was to learn and help other newbies learn. There was no way that I was going to try to pass myself off as an expert–I was learning from lots of folks about income investing–after all these years I know quite a bit-BUT THE LEARNING FROM OTHERS NEVER STOPS!
A Rising tide lifts all boats. For quite a few years REITs went up and up. If you owned a REIT–any REIT, you made money. If you wrote about REITs you were a hero. Readers bowed to you at the alter of Seeking Alpha. You launched lots of subscription websites with costs of up to $200/month. You wrote for Forbes, you announced yourself as a publisher and share holder in themaven and continually attacked those with differing opinions.
Most of all you determined that everyone else was stupid and know nothings. Markets didn’t understand REITs, forget that those you called a SWAN were now down 20, 30 or 50% and you refused to acknowledge that ‘the market’ knew anything.
Arrogance of publishers is deadly–IF WE EVER ACT LIKE WE KNOW IT ALL PLEASE LET US KNOW OTHERWISE. We don’t!! We plan to learn all we can from readers, reader comments and income security forums all around the web. Almost 65 and still learning.
I’m a caring guy and I feel sorry for Brad Thomas, he doesn’t ‘get it’. We hope we never act like him. We hope he realizes that investing isn’t all about being a salesman-we hope he reforms his ways.