A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

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.

16 thoughts on “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

  1. I am just going to say AMEN, you said it all. .the SWANs are sick w bird flu on IV drips, one after another disappointing massively but ..BUY BUY BUY, strong buy!

    Our stories are similar.. mom had to sign for my custodian Merrill Lynch Sharebuilder a/c in the 70’s when I was in h/s .. the broker assigned to me was the worst, I wasn’t making him any money w my little buys and sells.. used to go into the brokerage after college and before work at night and watch the ticker, grab the free research reports in the lobby, reading the free Value Lines in the school library when I could..

    I learned a lot, made my share of mistakes (Johns Manville, House of Fabrics a few other big dead “pigeons!” ) and am still learning from you and others.. but did well enuf to retire early to care for an elderly parent and enjoy my investing hobby in my down time..

    Hubris is not attractive..sadly there is a lot of it around these days but never from you, Tim! Appreciate all you do.

    1. Tim, similar to you, I started investing in common stocks many years ago – but could never find the right time to sell. Then I found the Income Securities Advisor publication and have been a subscriber for about 20 years. Back then, they focused solely on preferred stocks, baby bonds and a few corporate bonds. My goal was pretty simple, just solid returns of 7.5% on an annual basis without the great downside risk of common stocks. It has worked out well for me an I normally just reinvest the income into more preferreds and baby bonds. The publication has been greatly helpful to me.

      REITs can be good investments but there are certainly no SWANs when it comes to investing in common stocks. I’ll take a 7.25% yield all day long from a preferred, as compared to losing 30% of my investment in a period of rising interest rates.

      1. In regards to Brad as a writer, he does have certain skills. However, would prefer to read a fiction novel that he would write, as compared to taking his investment advice. Unfortunately, his top SWAN pick for 2018 was Tanger (SKT), which was trading at a price of about $26 when he wrote the article in late December. Today, the stock dropped 7% and closed at $21.81. There will be a number of investors that are not SWANNING tonight.

        In regards to Seeking Alpha, I have written two articles there about retirement. Probably the most important part of the article was the helpful advice from the comments section – both positive and negative. There were many good conversations from all parties. I received the most messages from a little know fixed income investment called the U-Haul Investors Club.

        I look forward to continued conversations here about fixed income investments and appreciate the efforts Tim has taken to start this website. Term preferreds are currently not a holding of mine, but I certainly look forward to further discussions on the valuable topic.

        1. For the most part I don’t comment on Brads stuff any longer–his comments such as “you haven’t lost money unless you sell” simply proved to me that while he is a good writer he doesn’t understand the psychology of investing. Alot of the comments in SA are learning tools just as the forums I observe are–learn, learn, learn–it never really stops for me.

          1. Months ago he was on a msnbc show with stephanie ruhle and ali velshi, both years of experience in financial companies, Goldman sachs etc …they ate him alive , it was very entertaining.

            Love your site, knowledge is power……i too dabbled in commom, rode worldcom to zero……. since then any etf or preferred i place trailing % stop loss orders ……

      2. Hi kaptain–thanks for stopping by. I will have to check out the Income Securities Advisor. Your goals are like mine–7% plus or minus each year–I am one happy camper.\

        Good luck

        Tim

        1. Tim – the ISA will allow you to download a free newsletter just to sample the publication. I just looked and you can obtain the January 2017 newsletter in PDF form. It’s a great reference tool and costs me $195 per year, which is well worth the subscription price.

          Looking forward to future articles and learning from everyone here.

    2. Thanks Bea. Yes it sounds very similar to my experiences. By the way you made me think a bunch about the Whitestone buy. I am going to review their investor presentation again–I think I am going to conclude that a new share price offering is coming–I don’t like to trade, but I don’t want to go through a $2/share drop.

  2. Tim,

    Great to have you back. I was distressed when dividendyieldhunter was merged with dividend investor. It is great to have you back here.

    DR

    1. Hi DR–great to be back writing when I want and whatever I want. I suspected all along that Salem Media, owner of dividendinvestor.com and others, pretty much wanted me out of business–no problem from my end–just send cash.

      Actually they are pretty good people and I still write 1 piece a week for them–never had any problem being paid and they leave me alone mostly.

  3. I don’t feel sorry for Thomas. He drw an army of SA followers who didn’t care about his past failures. Those of us that tried to question his self-anointed title of “Wall Street writer” were branded as evil and Disloyal to the Cause.

    What goes around, comes around.

    Keep up the good work, Tim.

    1. Larry, if there was a “scoreboard” to measure the wins and losses, it wouldnt be a very pretty score would it. Its a record that could get a head coach fired, lol.

      1. Yes – I saw her eat him alive some time ago–not sure why he was on trying to defend the POTUS–self appointed I guess.

        Yes there is a lot in the background that isn’t known–I have seen the documentation, but don’t want to go into details–sometimes a person has to fall a couple times before being humbled–some of us get the message after the first fall (like almost 30 years ago when I got divorced and end up on the wrong end of that stick).

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