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Sat Dec 15, 2018, 04:28 AM

I've requested and been granted the position of Host of this group.

Last edited Sat Dec 15, 2018, 09:26 AM - Edit history (1)

Shortly after this version of DU was launched (way back in 2011!), I put up this post, in which I provided a little background and my experience in the Securities Industry;


So I might as well start this by making a full confession and/or disclaimer.

For most of my adult life I have been an over-the-road tractor trailer driver. In 2006 I had an opportunity to change careers and joined AG Edwards & Sons, Which at the time was the 5th largest retail brokerage firm in the country and the largest based outside of NYC (St. Louis).

I studied for and passed the Series 7 general securities license exam and the Series 66 General State Law license exam (which allowed me to legally call myself a "Financial Advisor" ) and the Florida State Insurance exam for Life, Health and Variable Annuities. Those licenses allowed me to trade every security except Commodities and Futures. I "hit the street" in September of 2006. The Dow peaked exactly 12 months later!

AG Edwards was bought by Wachovia and Wachovia was bought by Wells Fargo. Things went from bad to worse and I lost my position with the firm in July, 2009, primarily due to the fact that my book of business wasn't deep enough to weather the downturn and by the end of 2008, no one wanted to talk to a broker about anything other than CD's. A retail broker with a small book can't make a living selling CD's.

The rules stipulate that if a registered representative leaves a firm and is not hired by another, any securities licenses held expire 24 months after the last day. So my licenses are expired. I am back in the trucking industry, hauling new cars primarily in the South Eastern US. (Edit, 2/19/2015 - I currently haul US Mail for a contracting firm. Got out of the car haul biz in September of 2013)

I say all this so that anyone I might respond to in this group can know that I do have some professional background in the securities industry. I am fairly well versed in how Mutual Funds work and are structured as well as how to analyze them, Bonds, Stocks, Exchange Traded Funds, Closed End Funds and have a working knowledge of Options, though Options are much like speaking French. If you don't use it, you get rusty and I am pretty rusty on a lot of that material. I am familiar with and know the differences between 401(k)'s, IRA's, Roth IRA's, 403(b)'s, 457 plans, and some estate planning strategies.


So....the reason I petitioned the Admins for this privilege is because I noticed an uptick in participation in this group over the course of the last 18 months or so. Higher rates of participation to me, means a higher probability of a need for oversight. Those of you reading this and regularly check on/post in this group know that it is by no means the most heavily trafficked group on DU! Not by a long shot.

BUT.....

It is, in my humble opinion, a VERY important group to those that seek sincere, serious conversation and advice regarding investing, retirement planning, Real Estate and any and all matters that fall under the blanket of "Personal Finance and Investing" .

I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF BEING HEAVY HANDED IN ANY WAY!

I want to make that absolutely clear. While I have my own personal opinion regarding what kind of "advice" is appropriate on a message board where the participants do not know each other in real life, I am, for lack of a better way of putting it, "Pro-Choice" all the way down the line. In other words, post away. I'm not going to get involved in, as I said, heavy handed moderating of this group.

The reasons I might see fit to lock or otherwise interfere with a thread or post is if it deliberately attempts to promote a specific security or investment. In other words, posts that say "You need to buy stock in XYZ company RIGHT NOW!!" are over the top, as I think most of you would agree.

On the other hand, a post that said "You should check out XYZ company! They seem to be ready for a huge upswing (or whatever) and here's why", THAT would be perfectly fine, in my view.

Telling someone to make a specific purchase or execute a particular trade are things to avoid. Pointing out a trend or offering research to back up an opinion is a different story, and that is the point I'm trying to make.

Now why is that? Because if someone were to actually TAKE that advice and the trade goes south, it could mean the loss of large sums of money and as a result, could cause serious and irreparable harm. It's a matter of ethics. This is the very reason the securities industry places severe restrictions on licensed and otherwise "Registered Representatives" from commenting or offering advice on forums such as this one. Now I realize that most, if not all of you aren't licensed brokers. If you were, you would know all this and would comply without me saying a word. But since you AREN'T licensed, there isn't a damned thing the Securities and Exchange Commission can do about it anyway!

And for the most part, neither shall I.

I take this subject very seriously because dammit, it IS A SERIOUS SUBJECT and someone very close to me, who had a direct impact on my family, over the course of a few decades, took bad investing advice, ignored good advice and basically squandered a multi-million dollar asset pool before anyone could put a stop to it. All this to the detriment of people I love.

So...my intentions are simply to act like a Border Collie! Keep things moving along (Which they pretty much do by themselves, anyway!), don't let anything stray too far afield and keep the wolves at bay.

I am more than happy to answer specific questions in private via PM if anyone cares to contact me. I am by no means any kind of stock market expert, I am not an Attorney, an Analyst or a Certified Financial Planner and I am not, as I indicated above, currently licensed to trade any securities. But I do have experience which some may find relevant to their situation or concerns, and as such, am more than happy to provide any guidance or help I can.

I like to end my posts with the following, and it is my sincere wish for all;

May all your trades be net gains.

Paul

11 replies, 703 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply I've requested and been granted the position of Host of this group. (Original post)
A HERETIC I AM Dec 2018 OP
SWBTATTReg Dec 2018 #1
A HERETIC I AM Dec 2018 #2
question everything Dec 2018 #3
A HERETIC I AM Dec 2018 #4
progree Dec 2018 #5
A HERETIC I AM Dec 2018 #6
Kajun Gal Dec 2018 #9
A HERETIC I AM Jan 2019 #11
PoindexterOglethorpe Dec 2018 #7
A HERETIC I AM Dec 2018 #8
badhair77 Jan 2019 #10

Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2018, 08:17 AM

1. Sounds like a gain for everybody! Well spoken (or written). nt

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 15, 2018, 09:05 AM

2. Thanks!

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2018, 03:51 PM

3. Thank you. It is during times like this that people need to be careful about their

finances and about any suggestions.

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Response to question everything (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 16, 2018, 02:54 PM

4. ...

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2018, 04:26 PM

5. I kind of think things have been going OK, so I'm rather concerned

The reasons I might see fit to lock or otherwise interfere with a thread or post is if it deliberately attempts to promote a specific security or investment. In other words, posts that say "You need to buy stock in XYZ company RIGHT NOW!!" are over the top, as I think most of you would agree.

On the other hand, a post that said "You should check out XYZ company! They seem to be ready for a huge upswing (or whatever) and here's why", THAT would be perfectly fine, in my view.

Telling someone to make a specific purchase or execute a particular trade are things to avoid. Pointing out a trend or offering research to back up an opinion is a different story, and that is the point I'm trying to make.


I don't have a problem with this. But I can't think of any time this has happened here -- unless something was blatant spam in which case it was alerted and a jury voted to Post Removed before I saw it.

If I wrote a post like this to someone who was suggesting that people look at longer periods than a year, like 3 years, 5 years, and so on, would this be considered promoting Vanguard or a specific investment (VFIAX)?

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=11554850
Here's how the Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund did thru Friday's close, YTD, 3y, 5y, 10y per Morningstar

1st number is average annualized return (except YTD which is actual percent change from 12/31/17 close)

2nd number is what a dollar invested at beginning of period would be worth today.

Includes reinvested dividends and other distributions

-0.95% , $0.9905 # YTD
10.96% , $1.366 # 3 years
10.14% , $1.620 # 5 years
13.82% , $3.650 # 10 years

https://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/vfiax/quote.html

The 10 year is very much enhanced because it is comparing Friday to 12/14/08, just 4 months from the Great Recession's market bottom.

In case anyone has YTD, 3y, 5y, 10y info on their accounts to compare to a common benchmark, the S&P 500 (which is 75-80% of the U.S. stock market by capitalization). I use VFIAX (the Vanguard 500 index fund) because it includes reinvested distributions and expenses, so is not some theoretical thing.


The S&P 500 is the most common U.S. stock market benchmark that U.S. equity funds are compared to, and is a capitalization weighted index of 75-80% of the entire U.S. stock universe. (The Dow 30 is not particularly representative of anything, but is an old legacy thing that people just can't let go of).

But I prefer using a mutual index fund instead of an index as a benchmark to compare one's returns to because the funds' returns are total returns (includes reinvested dividends, very important) and include expenses (likewise important), and is something one can actually invest in and get those after-expense returns (some people think expenses are 2%/year and eat up 2/3 of your return and that kind of B.S. because of some dreadful Frontline program). Whereas one can't invest in an index, and I haven't found e.g. total returns on S&P 500 index that is up to date to the last close.

===========================================================

Maybe you can share with us what it was you shared with the administrators as examples of things posted here that should have been locked.

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Response to progree (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 16, 2018, 09:01 PM

6. You're "rather concerned"?

Last edited Mon Dec 17, 2018, 11:36 AM - Edit history (1)

About what? That I might interfere in a way you don't approve?

First of all, in case you weren't aware, the "Super Powers" given to a host do not include the ability to delete or hide threads or posts. A host can only lock threads, Pin threads, block individual members from participating in the group and make other members hosts.

If I wrote a post like this to someone who was suggesting that people look at longer periods than a year, like 3 years, 5 years, and so on, would this be considered promoting Vanguard or a specific investment (VFIAX)?


No, because you are providing a source of analysis. Nowhere in that post of yours did you say anything like "You should buy VFIAX" or anything of the sort.

Maybe you can share with us what it was you shared with the administrators as examples of things posted here that should have been locked.


There wasn't anything shared because I didn't feel it was necessary.

I first emailed Skinner over a year ago about being made a host. I got no response. I emailed Elad as well back then, also nothing. I emailed Elad the other day because I saw he had responded to a post in GD so I thought he might be online and take note of a PM. He did, and PM'd me back, apologizing for the delay in responding to my request.

Look....I am pretty sure I know where this is coming from on your part, and I get it, OK? But I don't know you from Adam, and for all I know, you are a self made millionaire through day trading. Or maybe you're a math genius who writes Naked Puts like there is no tomorrow and is in-the-money 90% of the time. Maybe you're a Broker with a White Shoe Firm and have $3 Billion under management.

Or maybe you are simply one of the millions of Americans who have done a lot of reading, invested wisely over the long term and want to share your expertise.

All of that is fine.

Here's what I have ALWAYS hoped for this group;

That it is an area of DU where rational, well thought out and most importantly, ACCURATE AND UNBIASED answers to questions regarding the topic at hand can be found. I would also hope that it can continue to be a counter to the "Economy" Group.

(I deleted a segment here because it wasn't relevant. The segment can still be seen by looking at the edits.)


This group has always had slow traffic. In all of 2017 there were only 18 OP's. EIGHTEEN! And 136 total replies. By comparison, the "Cooking and Baking Group" has had over 25 OP's IN THE LAST WEEK!

I don't lament that fact, it just is what it is. This subject can be like watching paint dry - until it is desperately needed by someone. And then, we can do real, positive good.


And FWIW, this is a perfect example of a post I have a problem with;

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1121854#post5

WOW! Sounds great! Except for one, tiny little thing Mr. "Flagged for Review" left out;

Selling a "Covered Call" means you have to OWN THE SHARES! But "Hoppy" conveniently neglected to mention that rather important bit of information!! Suggesting someone venture into the extremely speculative area of options trading who may have absolutely no idea what the differences between a covered call and a naked put are, and doing so without the appropriate warnings and disclaimers is NOT something that should be done. Full Stop.

Progree, you have been a member of this message board for almost as long as I have and you know you are free to post anything you care to about the markets or investing in GD or the Economy Group or the Lounge or anywhere else on DU.

And you are free to do the same here. Answer questions in the way you feel can offer the most help. Put up OP's you feel are relevant and of interest to the regulars who watch this group. Ask questions you need answers to. I don't participate in every thread because there are plenty of subjects I know nothing about, so I am as interested as anyone to learn new things. Just be as straightforward as possible. I don't think expecting you (or anyone, for that matter) do that is unreasonable. If you can, then you don't have anything to be concerned about.



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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 29, 2018, 09:47 PM

9. Wow. Just, wow!

 

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Response to Kajun Gal (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 09:30 AM

11. Impressive, huh?

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2018, 12:53 PM

7. Thank you for becoming the host here.

I find this is potentially a fascinating place, and hope it starts getting more traffic.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 17, 2018, 12:56 PM

8. Thanks for the support.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 07:18 PM

10. I welcome more traffic to this group

so Iím happy for your imput.

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