In this week's episode of Rule Breaker Investing, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner reads through nine listener emails and offers up a plethora of stories, advice, corrections, grammatical nitpicks, and stock advice. Also, one listener explains the hidden truth behind the Yankees v. Twins scores, while a couple of Magic: The Gathering pros share their card valuation wisdom and unearth hidden treasures at Fool HQ.
Get a sneak peek at some exciting updates to the Fool's company info pages and some advice on getting into a career as a Certified Financial Planner. David explains the difference between a penny stock and a micro-cap company, and opens up about some of his own roller-coaster penny stock experiences. Tune in to hear much more.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Nov. 22 , 2019.
David Gardner: Mailbag! Happy Thanksgiving!
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing! I'm David Gardner. Thanks for joining me! If you're in the United States of America, it is Thanksgiving week. If you're hearing this on Wednesday, when we publish every, Wednesday at 4PM Eastern or so, that means tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I know some of you wait to listen to maybe the weekend. In that case, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. It's a special week every year in the U.S.A. around Thanksgiving, and there are a lot of things to give thanks for. The stock market has been, once again, pretty good this year. It came out of a really ugly ending to 2018. That's my recollection, anyway. So, it's been nice. And I give thanks for another winning market year.
And if you're looking for my market prediction for next year, I predict the market is going up. Now, if you're a longtime listener, I believe you know why I say that and that I say that with a little bit of a smile on my face. Turns out I'm right two years out of three with my market predictions, which puts me well in the upper decile of all stock market predictors, simply by saying I think it'll go up. Anyway, it has gone up so far in 2019 anyway, and I give thanks for that.
I also give thanks for you, my listener. It is a delight to be able to have your attention, for you to suffer Fools gladly once a week, once a month, whenever you do check in with this or any of our Motley Fool podcasts. Thank you! It means a lot.
This is the final Wednesday of the month and therefore, as I said pretty briefly, pretty concisely from my cold open this week, it's the mailbag. That's right. Your questions, your thoughts, our best shot at answers. As usual, I have a cavalcade of guest stars that will be coming through over the course of our time together this week. And I've got nine mailbag items queued up. So, given that full slate, we should get started pronto.
So, mailbag item No. 1. Just one of those notes I love to lead off a good mailbag with. Just inspirational. I always love hearing things from other people's viewpoints, especially when they're on the other side of the world, Marcus Rose. "Hi, David. My name is Marcus Rose, and I'm a 22-year-old currently serving in the Royal Australian Air Force. I've been investing for almost two years now, ever since I found The Motley Fool. I've gone all-in on saving as much money as I can and investing in my favorite businesses, both here in Australia and in the U.S. For over the last year and a half. I've admired many aspects of The Motley Fool -- its culture, services, podcasts, people, and yourself -- from a distance. I am an avid listener of Motley Fool Money, MarketFoolery, Industry Focus and, of course, Rule Breaker Investing. The most impressive thing that comes across in these podcasts, despite the unbelievable amount of knowledge bombs," that's in quotes, "that are dropped," and I guess, coming from an Air Force man, that has extra meaning, "in addition to the unbelievable amount of knowledge bombs dropped is how every single person that features seems to be so comfortable and genuine. I don't think that this would be possible without the progressive, inclusive culture and equal stakeholder orientation that you bring to life. So for that, kudos."
Well, thank you, Marcus. That's really kind. Speaking on behalf of all of us here at Fool HQ, that's the only way we would want to do business. And now, in our 27th year, it continues to work pretty well.
Alright, a little further ahead, I'll be skipping. This is a long letter. I really appreciate when people take that much time to write it up. Marcus is talking in the letter about how he tries to value stocks, and how he's evolved his process, and he has a mathematical equation that wouldn't fit great in an audio medium. But with that said, I want to skip just to the end, where he says, "From watching The Motley Fool, I've learned that you can beat the stock market; and the earlier you start, the better. I've also learned that a business can do fantastic things both for the people it employs and for the customers it serves when it's built with humility and purpose-driven. I personally aim to use my time in the RAAF to save and invest as much as I can while building a track record that I can then use to start my own fund's management and stock-picking service." Excellent, Marcus. We welcome the competition!
"To close my email essay, thank you for bringing The Motley Fool to life. I've grown up in a family of very low financial literacy, so the work of The Fool has honestly been life-changing in teaching me what it means to take control of my finances, my future, and how I can help others around me do the same. Yours Foolishly, Marcus Rose."
Well, Marcus, that was a delight to share. It's the sort of thing I'd want to be part of any Motley Fool podcast, to hear directly from a real person -- who's much younger than I am, which always makes me happy, because it means you have so many decades ahead of you to invest and invest well. And, to think that you came from a place of low financial literacy, and by hook or by crook, found this Foolishness here in the ether, makes me really happy, and to see what a great head you have on your shoulders. I'm sure you're serving your Air Force really well. I can see you're going to serve humanity well upon transitioning out. Looks like you're headed into the financial arena. We welcome that. The more good people, the better this world will be. It'll be smarter, happier, and richer thanks to you, Marcus Rose. Thanks for the note!
This next one, mailbag item No. 2. Let's go to the world of baseball. Thanks, Vince Granary for this note. His screen name at fool.com is Fool4ZTribe. That means he's a Cleveland Indians fan. Let's see what you have for us, Vince.
"David, as my FoolID, Fool4ZTribe suggests, I'm a baseball fan. Specifically a Cleveland Indians fan. Although I listen intently to each and every Rule Breaker podcast, my ears pricked up when you closed your recent Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue podcast with lessons from this year's baseball postseason, as my team has also suffered many an ignominious defeat at the hands of the hated and vaunted Yankees. I felt your pain as you watched the Twins' glorious season go up in flames after only three postseason games. Your point was, how could your Twins, who matched the Yankees, who were their equal in the regular season, fare so poorly against them in the postseason?
Alas, fellow Fool, just as in the investment world we love and depend upon, things aren't always as they seem. 'Look at their records,' you cried. 101 victories vs 103." That's true. The Twins won 101 games, and the Yankees 103. Looked like almost a rounding error in terms of their similarity. "Clearly, the two are nearly identical," Vince goes on, somewhat sarcastically as we'll shortly find out, "On the surface, yes. But, while the Twins' road record and power surge were impressive, they did not define excellence in a season where more home runs were hit than any other season in history. One need only compare the Yankees and Twins in games against worthy opponents -- those who won more than they lost. To see that the Yankees in those games were an impressive 43 wins, 32 losses while the Twins were a paltry 32 wins, 37 losses. With the unbalanced schedule, the Twins, whose division boasted?" sarcastic question mark, "two teams with over 100 losses, including one with the worst record in all of baseball, and another with nearly 90 losses, the Twins played a much easier schedule than the Yankees. So, respectfully, I suggest, the investing takeaway from your Twins this season is that it's not enough to look on the surface if you want investing success. You need to take a deeper dive and, like the fools of old, see what others do not or will not see. Thanks for all you and Tom have done to help us all achieve capital Foolishness, Vince Granary."
Vince, guilty as charged. You're right. I did not double-click down. I like that you're referencing the teams win-loss records against teams of note, worthy teams, that is, teams that were winning teams. And you're right, the Yankees did distinguish themselves in those games, and the Twins did not. So, that makes sense to me. I'll still point out in closing that the postseason is always going to be a limited sample size. Just a few games. Almost anything could happen. I still object to the idea that we only typically remember the postseasons and we forget the 162-game regular seasons. But I think I already talked about that in another podcast. Thank you, Vince Granary! Fool on!
Alright, Rule Breaker Investing mailbag item No. 3. And oh my gosh, is this my friend Tracy Dahl in the studio?
Tracy Dahl: I'm back! Thank you so much for the invitation.
Gardner: It's a delight, Tracy. And I do remember last month, we were speaking to the disappointment of removing the scorecard tool as part of The Motley Fool member experience. I thought you did a wonderful job with that. I did reflect with you at that time that I'd had you on the show a couple of times, often speaking to member questions/grievances. And I thought, "Tracy is such a wonderful, intelligent, well-spoken, positive person. The only times I've ever had her on Rule Breaker Investing is to speak to the pain." So, I said, I think, Tracy, either on-air or off, I said, "Come back next month, and let's actually just talk about fun stuff."
Dahl: That is so great. I don't always want to play the heavy, so, thank you.
Gardner: Absolutely. But you do it so authentically, which is a compliment from me, and you did so well. But we're going to go a different direction this month. So, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 3.
Well, it started with me saying, Tracy, bring something fun to talk about next month. And you've done that. But just before we get to that, I do have a mailbag entry that feels relevant. So, let me just share that with you, and then we'll go forward.
This one comes from Kyle Avector. I hope I pronounced that right, Kyle.
"Dave, thanks for all you do. Love listening to the show, have learned so much in just a few months of listening." Well, thank you, Kyle. "Just wanted to give everyone a heads up on what a great tool the Google spreadsheet is that you recommended on one of your podcasts. Brian Withers deserves a raise, promotion, or at least a proverbial feather in his cap for the work he did on that. It's not a perfect substitute for the old scorecard, but in many ways, I like it better since I can copy and paste large blocks of info, like transactions, at a time, which made initial setup," and I love this, Kyle, you know I love this, "super easy! Sorry, you're right," he says, "that word does weaken that statement." Thank you, Kyle. "So, keep up the good work over there. You have surrounded yourself with some competent and helpful people."
Tracy, I'm looking you in the eye right now and thinking, you're one of those competent, helpful people that we surround ourselves with here at The Fool.
Dahl: Oh, thank you so much! But I do want to point out that we have competent and helpful members, because Brian is actually a member who cares so much about investors helping other investors that he created that, for his use and everybody else. I would love to give him a raise, but first we'd have to hire him.
Gardner: [laughs] Brian has come to a number of our member events. Sometimes, once you get to know someone over years, you start thinking, "Is that guy working here?" But it turns out, he's not. But, thank you, Brian, because that's a wonderful creation. A great example of The Motley Fool community stepping forward, even sometimes when The Motley Fool doesn't have the best answer.
So, Tracy, I just wanted to start it with that because you were the one who referenced Brian's spreadsheet. Because we said, "Hey, while we're taking something back, the old scorecard tool, let's put something forward, a solution people can use." Apparently, Kyle says, in some ways this may be better than what we had.
So, thank you for sharing that a month ago, Tracy, but now it's November. It's a whole new month. Tracy, what's something that members might get excited about?
Dahl: The tech team has spent the past several months working on a revamped version of our company pages, and I am really jazzed about them. We had seen in the past, when people visit the company pages, they would scroll down and look at the price chart immediately. I don't know if you do the same, David, but when I go to make an investment, I'm reading about an interesting company on Stock Advisor, and then I go to Yahoo Finance and I look at the stock chart. I don't really care about the price is that day, but I'd rather see a general up-and-to-the-right trend over the course of that company's lifetime.
We knew that that chart was a really popular feature on our company pages. We wanted to pull that up and feature it more prominently on our company pages. I'll take a step back and say, company pages are those pages you can access when you click on the ticker.
Gardner: If I'm a Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers member, maybe I'm on the scorecard, the performance screen, and I just see MELI, and that's MercadoLibre's ticker symbol. I press that link, tap it on my phone, click it on my mouse, and I'm on the MercadoLibre company page.
Dahl: That's right. And this is the page that we spent a while revising. I think it's tremendous. Right up top now, you're going to see the price chart, which you can manipulate based on the timeframe you want to look at. You can overlay the S&P 500, which is super cool.
Gardner: "Super cool," Tracy? Or just cool?
Dahl: You know, I think that that might be an inside joke I'm not privy to. So I'm going to sidestep that.
Gardner: You missed that podcast!
Dahl: I'm sorry.
Gardner: Keep going, you're amazing.
Dahl: It's "cool."
Gardner: Doesn't "cool" stand enough on its own?
Dahl: It should.
Gardner: Just to say something is "cool," that seems more special than "super cool."
Dahl: This seems to be a beef with you. I'll share mine. Mine is "laser-focused." I don't really like "laser-focused." You're just focused, OK? It doesn't have to be like a laser.
However, the thing that makes the price chart on The Motley Fool's company page stand out as a Foolish company chart is that we have overlaid the date we made recommendations about that company.
Gardner: I really do like that. It's fun to see those colored dots of when one of us picked that stock right there on the stock chart.
Dahl: Absolutely. Our hope was that people would come to this page if they're trying to do further research on a company. They're undecided whether they want to buy it. They come here, and they see, here's the price chart. Oh, look, The Fool has a history with calling this out. And look how well that history has gone. Or, in some cases, yikes!
Gardner: Look how poorly David picked that stock.
Dahl: Yeah, they're not all winners, but most of them are. So, that's a feature I'm really excited about. And there are other things on the company page that are new additions as well. If you scroll all the way to the very bottom, now you can get access to conference call transcripts, which is wonderful. It's a great resource if you want to do some primary-level research on your own. We also have information about the number of Fool services that recommend that company. We don't give away all -- the cat's not totally out of the bag. We don't tell you which services they are.
Gardner: Unless you have those services.
Dahl: Yes. So, there is a list of the services that you have access to, because the page is personalized based on your login information. So, you can see which of your services has recommended it. But we also just tell you overall which services have recommended that particular company, and also how many Fools have favorited that company, which is kind of a cool social proof way to see if you're in the herd or if you have an undiscovered hidden gem on your own.
David, we also brought in a new metric. We are now expressing the number of people who think that the company will outperform the market, which comes directly from your beloved CAPS game. We're expressing that as a percentage now, whereas before it had just been out of five stars.
We think this is all really fun, proprietary Foolish information that you're not going to find on a Yahoo Finance, so I don't have to go there anymore.
Gardner: That's great, Tracy. And, am I right, am I intuiting correctly, that we're probably not done with the status quo? Maybe we're always thinking about what more to add or subtract, whatever improves the page?
Dahl: Absolutely. One thing that I would love to do is give people the capability right on this page to vote whether they think this company will outperform the market. I know you have ideas about what else could go on this page. This is just the beginning. But it was long overdue for an overhaul, and I'm so glad that the tech team got around to doing this.
Gardner: Thank you, Tracy, and I believe that you're the one who's leading this charge. Am I right?
Dahl: I am the business owner for the tech team. I have zero coding skills, but I applaud them. And I actually wanted to take a moment to shout out to Greg, Swetha, Aileen, Neil, Ruben, Burke, Emeka, Chris, and Dave. They've just been incredible. I've been working with this team for nine months and they're getting a lot of stuff done.
Gardner: Right. So, occasionally, we'll pull something off the site if it's not functioning up to standard. But mainly, we've got an entire team dedicated to improving, I hope constantly, the user experience with each of our services. Of course, I spend most of my time at Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, but this is true of all of our company pages across all of our services.
Tracy, on this special week of thanks, thank you for your leadership!
Dahl: Thanks for letting me be here! It's a great company.
Gardner: Alright, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 4. It's time to do a little bit of financial planning and wealth management. A little bit of career planning. In fact, I've got two mailbag items queued up for my next guest, return Fool guest on this show, Megan Brinsfield. Megan, so good to have you with us.
Megan Brinsfield: Thanks, David!
Gardner: Megan, you're the Director of Financial Planning at Motley Fool Wealth Management.
Brinsfield: That's right, a sister company of The Motley Fool.
Gardner: Excellent. I'm really glad that you're taking the time today to share some of your insights and wisdom with some Fools. And I've got two for you, as I mentioned, Megan.
The first one comes from Derek Mane, writing from Clemson University. I will mention, again, that I went to the University of North Carolina. We're not quite as good as Clemson in football. We're better than Clemson in basketball. We're about to get to basketball season very shortly. But, no, Derek, thank you so much for writing in. I love this note.
"Mr. Gardner," by the way, I'm not Mr. Gardner. I'm just Dave. You can call me a Fool. But, thank you, Derek. "I am 20 years old and currently attending Clemson University. I began playing around and learning with an investment account when I turned 18 with money I could afford to lose." Well, that sounds awesome to me. I don't know how that happened, Derek, whether you got that from parents or whether you earned it yourself, but good on you. He continues, "I am a financial management major and I've gotten started in my investment analysis class. As a requirement for this class, we are reading The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio book. Reading the book and attending this class has gotten me 'all-in' on The Motley Fool."
Well, I am delighted. That must have been Tom's chapter you encountered. I don't think I really distinguished myself very much in Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio. It was a fun book to write, but I bet you found some of Tom's great stuff and it inspired you, Derek. This makes me really happy.
You go on, "My question is," I'm going to start turning to Megan here, "I've officially decided to emphasize in financial planning with my major. I'm looking for advice on next steps in a financial advisor/financial planning/wealth management career.
"P.S. I love the show. I listen to RBI, along with all the other podcasts, every day. Thank you for being an inspiration, Derek Mane."
Brinsfield: Well, I'm excited to hear that Derek has an interest in this career path because it's one that is so flexible. I think there are a lot of on-ramps to becoming a financial advisor, financial coach, financial planner. There's just a world of opportunity. Even more than that, he's in one of the programs that is teeing people up for this career path.
Gardner: Sounds like it.
Brinsfield: Even in recent history, 10 years ago, you didn't see as many financial planning type emphasis or concentrations in college. This is a really growing and broadening field.
I think that the first thing that he's done is get some real-world experience, even for himself, through investing his own account, seeing that he still likes it, it's interesting, and then going a step further and getting that formal education. So, in preparation for this mailbag, one of the things I did was look up, if someone wants to become a Certified Financial Planner, what are the requirements? There's an education requirement, a test, and then there's an experience requirement as well. That experience requirement is so important. It is either two years of what they call the apprenticeship model, or three years of supporting the financial planning process. That three years is a little bit easier to meet in terms of the exact content of the work that you're doing, but takes a little bit longer to achieve.
The great thing is, there are so many opportunities to get that experience. You could go try your hand at working in insurance. You could work at an investment advisor like Fool Wealth. You could work at a place that focuses on financial planning. You could work at a place that does retirement plans for people. Even working at a bank. You start seeing how financial products interact with people's lives. That type of experience is really valuable.
Gardner: That's great, Megan. Obviously, because I'm speaking to somebody who has a degree in that area, and I'm just an English major, what was your own route?
Brinsfield: I'm one of those people that took kind of a side ramp. I majored in accounting. I got a master's degree in accounting. And then I worked in accounting for five, some might say eight years, depending on how you quantify those three years, before fully transitioning into financial planning. Looking back, it was a great path because I was able to get some formal training in accounting. One of the things that we talk about now in the financial planning community is that the career path is so hard. It's easy to get in and once you reach a critical mass of experience, to really excel, maybe start your own firm, things like that. But the levels in between are a little bit harder because there's not an ingrained model of moving, unless other people are moving out of their roles. And right now, you have something like more financial planners over the age of 70 than under the age of 30. So, people aren't getting out of those senior roles enough for people to grow and fill them in. So, that's a key challenge in financial planning. So, if you can take one of those alternative routes, you might be able to reach a senior level at a faster rate.
Gardner: I know your own expertise, among many, probably, Megan, taxes.
Gardner: Is that something that you decided later on in your career? Or was that early days as an accountant?
Brinsfield: Early days as an accountant, if you can believe it.
Gardner: Alright, Derek, I hope that's helped. It's come from somebody that I've gotten to know through Motley Fool Wealth Management, something that we at The Motley Fool didn't even imagine 10 or 15 years ago we would even have at the company. This is a sister company of ours today. I'm really delighted to have people like Megan on that company's team.
Now, Megan, I don't want to quite let this one go without maybe one extra bit of advice just for this college maybe junior or senior. What's good, generalized advice for somebody like Derek Mane?
Brinsfield: Whether it's Derek or someone like Derek out there who wants to get into the financial planning world, one of the great things that the CFP board in particular has developed is a mentorship program. You don't have to be a CFP or even far down the CFP path --
Gardner: Certified Financial Planner.
Brinsfield: -- to request a mentor. This is just a group of people that have raised their hands to say, "We want to get more people in this profession."
Gardner: Awesome. That was far more responsible and directed than I was thinking. I was just going to say, "Make sure you skydive at some point before graduating, Derek." Alright, thank you, Megan.
And Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 5. This one comes from Luke Scipioni.
"I'm 28 years old. I've been a Fool for almost three years now." I love all the 20-somethings that are writing into our podcast that have clearly been inspired to take positive steps in their financial lives, all from different places, and all at different stages. This is awesome. So Luke, you go on, "I read The Motley Fool Investment Guide in 2017. I'm much more aware of my own saving and investing habits. Utilizing the lessons I learned in the book, I was able to eliminate nearly all of my debt." That is great! That's the hardest thing to do, by the way. It's much harder to get rid of our debt and actually save your first real dollar than it is to invest, I think. Anyway, you've already done that part, Luke, and began investing. "The book opened my eyes to the power of consistency and compounding interest.
"I had a question regarding saving money for graduate school. I have two years remaining in the U.S. Army. I currently have little problem maxing out my Thrift Savings Plan, TSP, and my Roth IRA each year with my current salary and a military bonus. My wife stays at home with our one-year-old currently. My time in the military is coming to an end, as I'll be seeking a degree in nursing anesthesia in 2022. My wife is a nurse who will resume working while I attend school. We will likely accrue $60,000 in debt during my three years of school." That sounds like about average student debt that people are graduating with these days, anyway. Good news here because Luke goes on, "I have little doubt I will pay the loans off with my salary after school. But, with two years remaining in the military, would continuing to max out those accounts be more beneficial than attempting to save and chip away at the cost of school? Any thoughts you have?" I think he thought he was talking to me, but I'm pretty sure I'd much rather hear Megan's thoughts than mine. "Any thoughts," Megan, "that you have would be greatly appreciated. Fool on, Captain Scipioni, U.S. Army."
Brinsfield: First, I want to say thank you to Luke and his wife for their service in their respective fields. That's a great burden to take on. I for one am appreciative. Further, getting even more education to additionally help beyond those years of service in the Army is a great step.
Related to that debt, to me, that's actually a really reasonable amount of debt, considering the end goal of the profession, and knowing that that's a relatively lucrative field to enter. When I was first considering this question, one of the things that I go back to is a rule of compounding, which is, don't interrupt it unnecessarily. There are two good things going for Luke, which I hear in his story. One is that he's been contributing to his TSP consistently. So, he has a balance there built up that can compound going forward. The second is, he's already assessed his job prospects from this potential career change and assessed that he has the means, or will in the future, to pay off those loans going forward. So then, it comes back to, is this a worthwhile reason to interrupt this compounding adventure that's going on inside both his TSP and Roth?
One thing that I think is important to consider is going through the whole financial aid process. Financial aid applications assume that you are going to put a portion of your income and a portion of your assets toward paying for college. Now, retirement assets are not included in that asset base that you're expected to contribute, but the retirement contributions that you're making from your income are considered as a portion of your overall income. So, there's that formula at play.
And then, the other thing is the availability of subsidized loans. I know when I went through school, you go through the application process, and you might not get grants to outright pay for your college education, but a lot of the loans that you can get can be subsidized while you're in school. So, if that's the case, there's really no benefit to paying out-of-pocket versus waiting until you get out of school and have to pay those loan balances off.
So, one of the things that I would suggest is maybe doing a 50-50 approach. Knowing that the TSP limits right now are about to go up, so, roughly $19,000 a year plus another $6,000 --
Gardner: That's how much you can contribute?
Brinsfield: Yes. You can put in about $25,000 a year. He's already maxing that out. If he stopped contributing for two years, he'd almost be able to pay for the full balance of that anticipated college expense. I would actually just split the difference and say, "I'm going to reduce my contributions by half to the TSP and the Roth, and then put the other half toward paying down those eventual loans," knowing that you might get some subsidized help later on.
Gardner: Wonderful. Now, Megan would be the first to say that everybody's situation is different. Obviously, we hope that that feels right to you, Luke. I'm always a big fan of the "it's not black or white, it's gray." It's not on or off, one or zero. It's right in the middle sometimes. So, I kind of love the 50/50 approach to life when it makes sense here. Sounds like it does here to you. Megan, thank you very much. And Luke, thanks for writing in. I hope that's helpful.
Alright, Megan, thanks for hanging out with me this month.
Brinsfield: Yeah, I appreciate the invite.
Gardner: Alright, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 6. This one says, "Hello David and Rick." Rick, I'm delighted that you've been included.
Rick Engdahl: I hope the question's not for me.
Gardner: I would love for you to weigh in here. In fact, I'm going to insist, because our friend Paul Essen -- Paul's a former Motley Fool employee, and he's the one writing this note, so he probably knows you, Rick. At the end of my answer, you need to give some kind of a shout out or something for Paul.
Engdahl: I will do my best. I remember Paul.
Gardner: Absolutely. Paul's a good friend and an avid follower of the stock market. Here's the question from Paul Essen. "Hello, David and Rick. I was wondering if you could speak a little about the difference between penny stocks and micro-caps. Is there a clear line between the two? Or is it more subjective?" Paul goes on, "I own shares in what I consider to be a legitimate company with a product it sells that earns millions of dollars in revenue, and is increasing revenue year over year. At the same, time it trades over the counter. It has a sub-$2 stock price and has a market cap of under $200 million. In fact, my broker recently wouldn't let me buy more shares in the company because, I believe, they think it's a penny stock. I'm wondering if there are any metrics or red flags that you look for to determine the difference between a penny stock and a micro-cap. Is it solely a matter of perspective? Thanks, Paul Essen."
Well, I will give a few hard and fast figures here, Paul, but I think it's still more a subjective matter, as you hinted toward the end. I'll mention that technically, assuming Investopedia is a legitimate financial source -- I have regarded it as such for years and years -- technically, Investopedia says that micro-cap stocks are between $50 and $300 million of market cap. Now, everybody who listens to Rule Breaker Investing knows what market cap is, even if you're new. Everybody, right? I can't imagine anybody would not know what market cap is. But, in case you don't, we do play a game show -- we're going to do that in December -- every quarter. We play The Market Cap Game Show on this podcast. But, you just take the number of shares of a company and multiply it by the share price, and that's the value of the stock. Taken all together, we say that's the market cap. So, if a company is somewhere between $50 million and $300 million, that's a micro-cap. Above that are small caps. That's going to be -- I'm making this up, because I'm not looking at Investopedia right now -- like $300 million up to, let's go with, $3 billion. And then, mid-caps are going to be like -- I'm making these numbers up -- $3 billion to $20 billion. And large-caps are above $20 billion, and maybe mega-caps are above $100 billion.
This is a taxonomy. There's no exact science here. Usually there is around a real taxonomy. And, even market caps shift over the course of time. When I was the age of some of our correspondents this week, if I were in my 20s, back then, certainly, these numbers were all smaller. So you have to keep, like an accordion, expanding and, sometimes, contracting them with the market overall. But there's kind of a micro-cap standard for you, Paul.
So, what's a penny stock? Well, I'd say, anything under $50 million, but even companies with smaller-than-$100 million market caps, I would have some questions about. I am open to the idea, Paul, that you have found a good stock, even though it's trading below $2 and has a low market cap. Sounds like you've done your homework. In some ways, my answer is, a penny stock is anything that you don't really know much about. Couldn't name the CEO, and have questions about whether they have revenue or not. So, it's kind of a subjective answer. Clearly, Paul, you're looking at a micro-cap because it sounds like you've done your homework here.
I will mention that to be a NASDAQ stock, you're required to have a share price of $4 or higher consistently. If not, then you're going to be put on the over-the-counter, which means you don't merit inclusion on the NASDAQ, let alone the New York Stock Exchange. So, there's another number for you -- $4 per share.
I would just say a penny stock is where pennies count. If your stock went up $0.10 today, let's say from $1.37 to $1.47, that's a 7% move, and that feels exciting. 7% moves don't happen every day ... unless we're talking about $1.37 stocks. That would be a penny stock. So, if pennies count. If you're counting the pennies and saying, "That's a big move," I would call that a penny stock. And, as I think you know, Paul -- I know most of my listeners know -- we spend zero time following penny stocks. We think most people will lose most, if not all, of their money investing in penny stocks. These are companies that are rinky-dink. Often, they have questionable business models. Sometimes really questionable governance. And sometimes, the promoters of penny stocks are even less principled than some of the companies themselves. I don't want to tar and feather the entire sub-micro-cap ecosystem, but with all that said, we spend zero time looking at penny stocks, and I don't spend a lot of my time on micro-caps.
I will be speaking at the MicroCap Summit next year. Ian Cassel, for those who know his work on the internet, on Twitter, I know some are big fans. I'm certainly a fan of Ian. He loves micro caps. And I understand the allure. Find something early stage, really small, and ride it to riches over the course of five or 10 years. But, at least in my experience, that doesn't happen very often with companies that have such small market caps. Usually, our best Rule Breakers, the stocks that are the zeitgeists of their age -- Amazon, Netflix, etc -- they were never micro-caps. They all started as IPOs, probably as mid-caps, and rose to become mega-caps. So, that's been my route to fortune, and what I've talked about for four-plus years on this podcast, and certainly 20-plus years at fool.com. So, we spend zero time on penny stocks, not a lot on micro caps. I always ask, if the capitalization is that small, if the company is worth that little, is this really going to be a stock that you and I think we can buy and hold for five-plus years as it becomes a world-beater? Often not.
All that said, Paul, I'm the first to say, have some fun with it. I wouldn't put a lot in the stock under $2 a share, but I once bought a penny stock when I was 18 years old just to see how it would feel. Back then, stocks were traded in fractions. That stock, Interlab Robotics, which had apparently landed a robot contract with China. And, yes, this is the 1980s. It was at 17 30 seconds, it briefly trended up to 19 30 seconds. You can imagine my 18-year-old excitement. Up 2 30 seconds from 17 to 19. That was a nice 10% move, before it vanished altogether, with my money along with it. Interlab Robotics, a classic penny stock. But, you know what? I scratched that itch. I was a young guy. It wasn't a lot of money.
I'm the first to say, speculating a little bit all the time, whatever that means for you, makes sense to me, but certainly not a lot of it. Just a little bit.
That's my take. But Rick Engdahl, I asked you at the start to provide some value to our friend Paul. What do you want to add, subtract, or multiply?
Engdahl: I have a great investing mentor who taught me that share prices are irrelevant. I don't buy stocks, I buy companies.
Gardner: Yeah, Rick, you're right. Don't pay too much attention to the stock price. Look at the overall market cap. And don't fret too much about where the market cap is today. Think forward three to five years. I appreciate that.
I hope that was helpful, Paul. Thanks for the question!
Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 7. This one goes to my love of games. This comes from Andrew from Buzz City Games in Concord, North Carolina. Andrew writes, "Hi David. I've been catching up on Rule Breaker Investing. In a few episodes, I will have listened to all episodes across all five podcasts." Wow! "I recently heard about you selling or returning a beta Pearl." Now, this is referring to the game Magic: the Gathering. That is a rather obscure reference for many listening right now, but if you're a Magic: the Gathering player, you may remember we had Richard Garfield, who invented Magic: the Gathering, on the podcast a year or so ago. Anyway, that's an especially valuable card from Magic, beta Pearl.
Andrew goes on, "I own and operate a Foolish, friendly local game store in Concord, North Carolina, Buzz City Games. I've played Magic for 26 years, judged for 10, owned or operated a friendly local game store for 10 years as well. I wanted to reach out and offer up my services for your employees. I would be happy to come up to Fool HQ and sit down with anyone that wants to dust off their Magic collections and bring them in. I would offer general information, advice, recommendations, education on current market values, how to find them, or just generally talk Magic or games. Would love to catch a taping of some podcasts while there, and help out in any way that I can."
Well, I'll call it right there and give you two additional facts for my listeners. The first is, Andrew is a fellow Tarheel, class of 2006. Love to hear that. The second is, Andrew is sitting to my right on this podcast with his brother Sean right next to him! Andrew and Sean Westin, great to have you here on Rule Breaker Investing.
Andrew Westin: Thank you so much for having us!
Sean Westin: Thanks, David! Great to be here.
Gardner: People write us mailbag notes and then sometimes they come and visit. Especially when they make a wonderful offer. That was so much fun. So, we spent some time this afternoon just dusting off some old Magic cards. I had some. My producer Rick Engdahl, also a fellow player, had some. Rick, you have had one particular card that Andrew told you was worth ... ballpark, what?
Engdahl: I don't know, what was it, $400? Something like that?
Andrew Westin: $400 or $500, yeah.
Gardner: [laughs] Just one of the cards!
Engdahl: Something forgotten in my basement for who knows how long.
Gardner: Amazing. Again, I know most listeners of Rule Breaker Investing probably have never played Magic: the Gathering, but probably have heard of it. In contrast to what many people might think, it's a much bigger game today than when it first made its splash on the front of some magazines back in the 1990s. And I'm not just talking about gaming magazines, it was a phenomenon. But, indeed, Andrew and Sean, this is a pretty big business today, Magic: the Gathering?
Andrew Westin: Absolutely. I'll jump in there and say that there were a couple of cards that I finally found the value for out of your collection, early sealed products. You had three particular items that were worth about $25,000 each.
Gardner: OK, that is astonishing. And I'm going to be driving back home very carefully and taking those out of my home and putting them, I don't know, in a bank vault or something. So, it turns out, just kind of like stocks, guys, buying and holding, sometimes buying and forgetting, really can work.
Andrew Westin: Absolutely.
Gardner: I think a lot of people listening for the first time hearing about -- they might have heard about Magic before, but don't realize, how could a card be worth so much money when it's just a card in a game?
Andrew Westin: Well, of course you have the supply and demand. There are many more being made of that particular variety. And there's a lot of demand for it, as millions and millions of Magic players join up every year. In addition, there are tournaments throughout the U.S. and the world that offer cash prizes, so you can win $40,000 in a weekend by having the best deck. And if you get some of those better cards, the probability of your deck winning -- we're all about numbers here -- could increase your odds of getting that money.
Gardner: That is remarkable. So, it turns out, all these cards and games that we've been collecting, sometimes if you find the right ones and hold them long enough, you can do pretty well. Anyway, obviously, it was exciting for us to have you Andrew. We had a number of Magic fans around the table earlier in a conference room at Fool HQ.
Now, Andrew, you're the one who's been speaking primarily. First, you are the one who wrote me this wonderful note, and then took the initiative to come up from Concord, North Carolina, from your store Buzz City Games, to spend time with us today. But you've got somebody close to you, sitting just to your right. I mentioned him earlier, Sean. Am I right, Sean, that you're the one who kind of brought Andrew into the Foolish fold?
Sean Westin: Yeah, well, in addition to teaching him everything he knows about Magic --
Gardner: [laughs] Older brother speak. I love it, of course.
Sean Westin: [laughs] I started listening to the Foolish podcasts. When you started RBI --
Gardner: July of 2015.
Sean Westin: Yes. I was there for the first episode, and I just knew that that was something that he would really enjoy. We've been listening ever since.
Gardner: Were you raised in a family where there was talk about the stock market? Most people weren't.
Sean Westin: No, not at all.
Andrew Westin: No, I saw it in the paper occasionally. But, no, we didn't start investing until I was probably in my 20s.
Gardner: And Sean, what do you do these days? I know what Andrew does. He runs Buzz City Games in Concord, North Carolina. By the way, if it's not already evident that we're plugging this game store, buzzcitygames.com. This is a fellow Tarheel who took the time to drive up from Concord to assess our Magic: the Gathering cards today. Sean, tell me a little bit about your life.
Sean Westin: I'm an automation engineer. I am a developer. I help to optimize other developers and the development process.
Gardner: In what industry?
Sean Westin: I currently work in the gaming industry. I've worked in the financial industry at a hedge fund, as well. But I do the same type of development work behind the scenes. The end product really doesn't matter.
Gardner: Understood. So, when you talk about optimization, are you talking about writing code yourself? Or, are you directing programmers to be more efficient themselves? Or both?
Sean Westin: Both. I write code that creates tools that helps them be more efficient, but also, we manage the overall process of software delivery to minimize mistakes and minimize the amount of uncreative work that developers spend their time on.
Gardner: That is awesome. At what point in your life did you realize this was your calling?
Sean Westin: I started programming on my TI81 calculator in high school calculus class -- I could optimize my homework and finish homework faster.
Gardner: Wow. You were one of those really bright people that got better grades than I did over calculators. And, Sean, you mentioned, obviously, the video game industry, where you're doing it now. It sounds like the kind of work you're doing, as you mentioned earlier, could be applied to finance just as well as gaming. But, we're all gamers. What game or game property have you been working with over the last year or so?
Sean Westin: I work on the World of Tanks franchise.
Gardner: Awesome. I have to admit, I know Magic better than the World of Tanks franchise, but can you give me the 30-second pitch for World of Tanks?
Sean Westin: It's a massive online multiplayer game. It's free to play. We try to be pretty historically accurate. There are a lot of tank versions that our team goes out throughout the world and actually mics them up and gets the actual sounds from those particular models.
Gardner: Wonderful, I love it. I love your industry. And thanks for that good work. Before I let you guys go, how about your favorite company or stock? Probably public if it were a stock, but maybe you have a company that you like a lot. I'll start with Sean.
Sean Westin: My favorite's MercadoLibre. I lived in South America for a couple years, and it's great to see what they're doing to bring the optimization and delivery infrastructure that we enjoy in the U.S. to South America.
Gardner: Yeah. In fact, earlier, Sean, I think you were saying while we were standing around at Magic cards, you were saying you were wandering around South America that time going, "You know, at some point, somebody should do e-commerce thing here." Maybe you even dreamed it up before Marcos Galperin did with, I think it was his Stanford Research Paper or whatever. It's one of those stocks where you'd already thought intuitively what they should be doing, and then somebody went out and did it.
Sean Westin: Exactly. And that's one of the things that I really enjoy about the service that The Fool provides. You really get in-depth into the heart of these great businesses.
Gardner: Thank you very much. What about you, Andrew?
Andrew Westin: I would say that was probably my favorite of all, but because he took -- I'm going to go with Tesla. It's not my favorite because of the long-term stock price. It's just the most fun and dramatic to watch. And, what they're doing for the world. They have a very big dream, and I'm cheering for them to help make that dream reality.
Gardner: Wonderful. And last question for you guys. I know you're both gamers. One of you has his own game store, buzzcitygames.com on the internet. The other, World of Tanks. I think I need to learn that game. But, since we've talked some today about Magic, and Magic is owned by Wizards of the Coast, which is itself owned by Hasbro, so this has been a long-term successful Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick for us, buy, sell, or hold, Andrew, Hasbro?
Andrew Westin: For everyone else, I would say it's a big buy. I am already in that world, so I don't want to put all my eggs in the same basket. Wizards of the Coast at this point is legally printing money. Magic is growing so much. And I think they just had a small downturn in their stock price. Great opportunity to buy. I'm definitely a buy on Hasbro.
Gardner: Alright, well, Andrew, one entrepreneur to another, one gamer to another. Have I plugged it enough? buzzcitygames.com in Concord, North Carolina. Great time of year, by the way, to find a good gift. But if I'm not anywhere near Concord, North Carolina, true of many of our listeners, but I were to go to your website, what does the miracle of e-commerce do for me as an online customer of yours? What do you specialize in?
Andrew Westin: At buzzcitygames.com, you can reach out and locate up to one of the 12,000 different Magic cards that exist today and buy them and have them in your house in the next day or two. You can also get educated. That's the biggest thing. I came up here to educate on Magic finance. If you have an old Magic, or any kind of collectible, get a couple different opinions before you do anything with it. Education there is the most important. But also, have fun. Play more games. Reach out if you want any board games or board game advice or anything at all, buzzcitygames.com.
Gardner: Excellent. Andrew Westin, Sean Westin, thanks for joining us on Rule Breaker Investing!
Andrew Westin: Thank you for what you do and thanks for having us!
Sean Westin: Yeah, thank you!
Gardner: All right, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 8. Home stretch here! Out with the old -- well, those are my new friends from North Carolina -- in with the new -- wait, these are my old friends from Alexandria, Virginia. Kara Chambers and Lee Burbage, you're here. Thanks for joining!
Kara Chambers: Thank you!
Lee Burbage: Thanks for having us!
Gardner: Now, we talked about this a little bit earlier. And the mailbag item I'm about to share kind of calls you both out. But mainly, I want everybody to know that you're both going to come back in December, and we're going to do our next episode of our company culture tips. You have some new things to share, as you do every nine months or so. Kara and Lee, I'm excited to preview our next company culture tips for December.
Burbage: Alright, we'll be ready.
Chambers: We'll be ready.
Gardner: Alright. In the meantime, Matt Rantala wrote in with this note, and he says, "Dear David, Kara and Lee," so, thank you both for joining me. You're being asked by Matt, this. He says, "First of all, thank you for the Rule Breaker Investing podcast. I always look forward to my weekly dose of upbeat wisdom that the show brings." Well, thank you, Matt. "I'm making my way through the show archives and have enjoyed the series with Kara and Lee about the Foolish culture. I've listened to all five shows in that series multiple times. I have also, based on David's recommendation, been reading Conscious Capitalism. With these two influences in mind, I've been thinking recently about the organizations I've worked at in recent years, and what sort of team I would ideally like to be part of. While I've drank the TMF's culture Kool Aid," we call that, of course, the Fool-aid, "I'm not looking to relocate from Minnesota, or work remotely at this time. So, while I'm jonesing to work at The Motley Fool, I don't think it's currently a reasonable pursuit.
With that in mind, I wonder if you'd have any recommendations on finding a local organization with a Conscious Capitalism approach, either explicitly or in essence." Matt does mention, I'm sure you both would want to know, what does he do? Matt says he works in "a somewhat niche subspace of information technology, geography information systems, GIS, that adds spatial capabilities to computer systems' ability to store, analyze, and display data." That feels partly relevant to us at The Motley Fool. Maybe we can still get Matt on board with us, I don't know. But, he says, "Think Google Maps on steroids, hooked into an organization's data, " he does admit, "not many organizations explicitly look for. So, when I've been part of a hiring team, I've always leaned toward hiring the candidate with the most long-term potential, even if they didn't necessarily have the best background to step right into a role and fully contribute. Perhaps as a candidate, I should evaluate opportunities more by the overall quality of the organization more than the specifics of a role. I know from experience that often a role transforms to what a person brings to the table. Thanks again for the show. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how individuals that want to work within a Foolish type of culture can locate those opportunities. Matt Rantala."
This is, in some ways, a tall order to fill. I did drop a note to the Conscious Capitalism brass saying, "Hey, is there some database where you can use the Conscious Capitalism website and look up, who are the local companies that are into Conscious Capitalism? I will mention before kicking into Kara that there are chapters of Conscious Capitalism in many cities. Matt, if you're writing from the Twin Cities, there might be Conscious Capitalism Minneapolis. We certainly have our chapter here in Washington D.C. that we've started this fall. Whoever you are, wherever you're listening from, you might have a Conscious Capitalism chapter active in your greater metropolitan area.
But aside from that -- which, as it turns out, doesn't exist yet -- Kara, what are some thoughts you have here for Matt?
Chambers: I like that you're focusing on looking for consciously capital company. I think probably a good move would be to get out in your community and look for maybe smaller, founder-run companies. They may not even be articulating Conscious Capitalism, but you'll be able to know it when you talk with them. And that gets you started, and you're part of helping that company form its values.
The other thing I would say is, I would develop a set of questions you're asking during the interview process, and prioritize that as you're going in. What kind of conversations do you have about your stakeholders here? How do you talk about your customers? What gets rewarded? I think you can suss that out pretty well if you have the right lens on it, and it really sounds like you do.
Gardner: Higher purpose is the first of the four foundations of Conscious Capitalism. Does a company that you're thinking about working for articulate well on its website, perhaps, or in its local branding, what you would think of as serving a higher purpose? And, by the way, if you know anybody at the company, would they say, "Yeah, and it's real here. It's not just talk."? So, another thought there. Lee?
Burbage: I think it works on the other side, as well. As a company who is doing a lot of hiring, we can tell the kind of people that are coming in with questions about our purpose and our values and so forth are going to be additive to our culture and our company. So I think he's right in thinking not just about the skills for the job, but more about who is this company and what do they stand for. A company like that, our experience, is looking for candidates who aren't just thinking about the role and so forth. Asking the types of questions that Kara is talking about will help demonstrate that you're the kind of person that would fit well at that type of company.
Chambers: I would also do some research on things like Glassdoor looking for those Best Places to Work awards. They're not perfect, but they're at least ways to get a sense of what's being highlighted by a company and by its employees when they're thinking about Conscious Capitalism.
Gardner: Yeah, a lot of cities have business journals. We have the Washington Business Journal here in Washington, D.C. They tend to give out Best Places to Work lists. And, by the way, they come -- at least here in Washington; I'm assuming it's true of other cities across the U.S. -- they come in smaller company, and then medium-sized companies, and large companies. Our company has about 400 employees. We're actually considered large at this point. Many companies have 100 employees. That's medium-sized. Smaller might have five to 10. Sometimes it's what kind of environment are you looking for? But yeah, that's really good advice, Kara. I agree. Glassdoor, of course, we use that for investment research, in part, knowing that it's always a small minority of most big companies' employees who bother to rate their company on Glassdoor. And yet, we'll take any data we can get. Well, I'll take any great guests that I can get and ask them back on my show just a few weeks from now. Kara and Lee, it's a delight to see you both. Happy Thanksgiving this week, and we look forward to seeing you in December.
Burbage: Thanks for having us!
Chambers: Thank you!
Gardner: Alright, and in this week of Thanksgiving, let's close it out with Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 9.
"David, having just finished listening to the Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue Vol 3 podcast, I thought I'd share a little something that made my day. Even better than that, it made my year. I hope it makes your day as well," writes my new friend Richard Schwartz. Richard says, "First, a little backdrop. I'm 58. I have two sons ages 26 and 22. Until about 10 years ago, I never had the disposable income to be investing in individual stocks. My retirement benefits are invested in various mutual funds, but I didn't have much else to invest outside of the retirement plans. Even when I did, I really had no basis for picking individual stocks. I grew up in a rather middle class home, the youngest of four. My parents never had the income or savings to be able to invest. So, investing in the market and picking individual stocks were really mysteries to me. Nevertheless, as my career and income thankfully advanced, I started investing slowly about 10 years ago by buying stocks of a couple of well-known companies, none of which did particularly well.
"Well, a few years back, I invested in a Stock Advisor membership, followed shortly thereafter by Rule Breakers, and more recently, the Partnership Portfolio and IPO Trailblazers." These are all Motley Fool products. Thank you, Mr. Schwartz. "And my investing took off. I now have a 96.5% score on the Gardner-Kretzmann continuum."
Quick pause. That means that basically, if Richard is 58 years old, he's got about 55 stocks in his portfolio, which is almost a one-to-one ratio for the much-vaunted Gardner-Kretzmann continuum. But, yeah, that feels like a really solid base. It makes me happy to think, whoever you are, whatever your age, if you have about as many stocks as you have years on this Earth, if you're dead even, you're at 1.0 on the Gardner-Kretzmann continuum, that makes Gardner and Kretzmann very happy. If you're 20 and you have 20 stocks, great job. 58, 55 stocks that's really wonderful. That's about where I am as well.
Well, continuing on. "I've accumulated a healthy little stock portfolio of approximately $500,000 since becoming a Fool. Thanks to my following the program and learning to be an investor rather than a trader, my full returns in my portfolio run at over 30% annualized over the course of my Foolish years." Well, that means, Mr. Schwartz is probably picking some of my best picks and avoiding so my losers. Well done, sir. "A great result, no doubt, but that pales in comparison to an experience I just had. Having not been an investor when my sons were younger, I tried to make up for that by discussing the market and various companies with them in recent years. Additionally, to give them skin in the game, I put some money aside for each of them." Great move. "With some gentle guidance, I allowed them to make the choices of what companies their portfolios were invested in. I encouraged them regularly to listen to the Rule Breaker Investing podcast. Felt I was having a little success, though, in that regard. That is, until this past weekend, when my younger son mentioned in passing that as a general rule, we should all hold our stocks for twice as long as we normally do. If we normally hold a stock six months, he suggested we be holding it a year. I thought it a valid statement, and hoped that he got it as a result of our discussions of the difference between being a trader and being an investor. Well, I religiously listen to the Rule Breaker Investing podcasts and, in fact, usually end my week with it on my Friday evening commute. It's become my ritual, I find it a nice way to ease into the weekend. However, I was in Peru for vacation recently," I highly recommend this country to anyone who hasn't visited yet. Great sites, lovely people. They eat Guinea pigs and alpaca. "And I fell behind in my podcasts. So, when my son suggested doubling my holding period, I hadn't yet listened to your Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue Vol 3 podcast from two weeks ago.
"But I listened to it this morning and I was blown away when I heard you borrow an adage from your brother Tom to hold stocks twice as long as we would normally be inclined to. Of course, that's great advice, but more importantly, having first heard it from my 22-year-old son, I now know that he's a regular listener to the Rule Breaker Investing podcast as well, putting him well on his way to becoming a lifelong investor." Am I reading this right? Is this podcast bringing fathers and sons together? "He's just out of college," Richard closes, "just started a job in IT consulting, so I'm thrilled to learn that he's listening and absorbing your weekly wisdom. With one of two sons converted, the Schwartz-Fool continuum is now 66.7%, with hopes of getting it to 100% shortly. Please pass on to your listeners what I've learned: that it's never too late -- me -- or early -- my sons -- to start investing. Thanks for what you do. It's truly made a difference in my life, most importantly will similarly do so in my son's life as well. Fool on."
Mr. Schwartz signs himself is a partner at a New York City law firm. Well done, sir.
And that's the note I want to end on. There's no other way I'd like to close out our Thanksgiving week Rule Breaker Investing podcast mailbag -- even though I love my Magic guys, and we had fun together, and I really appreciate Tracy Dahl finally getting to share something happy with us. There were so many great moments this week. But I love that closing moment. And once again, how many 20-year-olds did we get to share in this particular mailbag? Those of you who've listened to me for a long time recognize that most of my correspondents are not talking about investing in their 20s; and yet, a lot where this week. So, I feel like some combination of the hard work you're doing as parents, combined with the hard work our employees do every day to make the world smarter, happier, and richer, it sounds like it might actually be working. Fool on!