What I’ve learned after one year of trading on Robinhood

About one year ago, I decided to sign up for Robinhood.  It’s basically a service backed by Google which is used to buy and sell stocks with $0 in commissions/fees.  Robinhood also offers a premium paid service for some folks that buy/sell a lot more often than I do.

Buying individual stocks is generally considered a poor financial strategy due to volatility, so my real investments stay away from single stocks.  Since there are no commissions or fees, I thought it would be fun to try and see if I how well I could do at playing the market based on my limited knowledge and some minimal research.

I put in a tiny initial investment, with a recurring weekly deposit of $15.  This represents the maximum amount of money I’m willing to try on single stocks.  My expectations are to break even overall and gain some learning when it comes to the overall market.  If it all goes to 0, I’m comfortable with that.  This area of investment represents a very small percentage overall for me.

The Robinhood app and service has been great.  To date, I have made probably around 40 trades, both buying and selling.  I have never been charged a commission or fee of any sort.  In addition to regular buying/selling, the app will also allow limit purchases.  I often use this method to purchase stock.  With this method, you can specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per share.

Over the year, I have learned quite a bit about the stock market.  My first trades involved solar energy companies.  I felt like the technology was affordable and made sense for a lot of consumers.  I even went pretty far into the process to acquire Solar City solar panels for my own house.  After purchasing a couple stocks in that area(SCTY and SUNE), I eventually determined that Solar City wouldn’t work for me.  In a short time, I was able to see a 25% return on the initial purchase, and knew it was time to sell.

My personal investment strategy is based off a simple algorithm.  I generally invest in companies that make a product that I use and really like.  If it’s not a product I use, it’s a product that I could see myself using.  I have also put some investments in some medical companies with great dividends.  When it comes time to sell, I only sell if I have made money.  I will never sell a stock for a loss.  This logic is almost certainly flawed, I know.

I have been a customer of Netflix since the beginning.  Overall, it’s a great service.  Coupled with a few other streaming services, it makes sense to cut the cord on cable.  I made a large(for me) buy on Netflix at a price of $85.19 per share.  The stock had just taken a dip due to some bad press.  I was confident that it would recover.  I’m still holding the stock for now at a current market price that you can check for yourself.  Depending on when you read this, it has either been a good or terrible idea.

I bought Fitbit back at a time when the stock was around $16.  At the time the expert consensus was that it would hit somewhere around $28.  I have been a Fitbit user since 2013, and generally like their products.  My first Fitbit product was the flex, I have also worn the Charge HR until it disintegrated last month.  I recently purchased the Charge 2 which has worked pretty well over the last month or so.  When the stock started to dip a bit, I decided that would be a good time to buy even more(at a perceived discount).  At the time, I thought the stock was still stronger than suggested by the price, and if things went bad, I had effectively cut down my average cost price so I could get out at a lower price.  At present time, I hold 55 shares of a stock all experts feel is a terrible buy.

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My tanking stock

I like the company and its products.  Hoping to see a recovery after Christmas.  Either way, I’m staying on the ship.

One drawback to buying and selling small amounts of stock is the tax implication.  There are some rules about paying taxes on gains from stocks.  Since I’m not really making a lot of money, the actual amount taxed is low, however tax preparation is a bit more costly.  I generally use TurboTax, and I now have to buy the more premium package to do my yearly taxes.  Robinhood does a good job of providing tax documents that ease with tax preparation.  However, the added cost of TurboTax effectively negates pretty much all gains over the year in my situation.

Overall, Robinhood is a great app that allows both small and large investors trade for free.  There are no catches other than some tax implications.  It just seems that you might want to know something about the market before putting a large amount of money in.  If you’re like me, and looking to play a few single stocks for the fun of it, Robinhood is the best way to go about it.

Sunrise at Rocky Mountain National Park

I was able to get up in time for sunrise in Estes Park, CO last Friday.  Here is a time lapse of the sunrise.  This is having the same tearing towards the beginning of the video as my other movies.

In other news, I am working on a complete redesign of this site along with new hosting.  Working out some issues with the domain.  Once these issues are resolved, the site will go live.

Our Sonne cover

Some back story on the Sonne video that has been all over the internet lately.

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Our First Album is OUT!
Treasure Underground – Song by SongAll Our Videos and Art Fischmann…
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Filmed 4 years ago (2012), this Rammstein cover is obviously the most popular video we’ve made so far. There is a story behind the whole atmosphere of this play, but the details will be outlined sometimes in the future, when we’ll have more time to write about it.

Now it’s back, all of a sudden it exploded on facebook. In two days there were more than 7 million viewers. It’s a mistery how this viral thing works.

Unfortunately the person who posted a copy of our video, didn’t mention the name of our band or any info about us. So most of visitors wrote comments and went away. This is like straw fire, nothing will remain. But a few thousand viewers did their own research and found us, glory to God! We even…

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Connecticut Trip

I took a recent trip to Connecticut.  The main purpose was to visit with family and friends for the holidays, but I also ended up doing some exploring around New England. Most landscapes in New England are a lot more impressive during the Summer and Fall seasons.  There still are a few interesting locations to see during the winter.  Here are some photos from the trip.

I’m still trying to work out the overall theme of this site.  I think the majority of content will be related to photography.  I may also add a few posts at random that are off topic, but are things that interest me.

With 2015 coming to a close, I have had some interest in starting a 365 project in the new year.  I know I won’t have the discipline to last more than a week or two, so I may aim slightly lower, or to at least have the goal of shooting at least once a week.  I have a large backlog of topics I’d like to post about here, just need to find some time.  In between, I might post links to recent images and provide some back story on the location and the thought process to how the image was created.

Littleton Sunrise 12/22/15

This is another attempt at a sunrise time lapse.  This was done using 999 frames 3 seconds apart.  For some reason, 999 is the maximum amount of frames my camera will do using the internal settings.  There also appears to be a frame loss towards the beginning of this video and the last one I created.  I’m wondering if it is the camera or the software I’m using.