In an effort to give myself something to get my creative juices flowing this year, I have decided to try something that I’ve been thinking about doing for quite some time.
As you may know from reading this blog, or simply know about me in general, I used to be a financial writer for The Motley Fool. My last article was published there over 4 1/2 years ago, but it has always been a mostly pleasant part of my past – I just wish that I had been a little better at it. My experience with the Fool drove my decision to get my master’s degree in finance, where I focused on classes that would eventually lead me to becoming a financial planner. While those plans are most likely suspended indefinitely, I have still maintained a passive interest in investing and the stock market, and I plan on investing beyond my current government TSP once there’s a little bit extra at the end of the month.
All that said, and what perhaps might be the beginning of something else entirely down the road (a bridge we will cross if/when we get to that point), I have wanted to go back and look at the articles I wrote while working at the fool, both in an effort to see how my writing has grown, but also to see if the thoughts that I had about particular companies were valid. For example, though we on the “free side” of the site back in the day (and I’m sure it’s still this way now) weren’t really supposed to give definite “buy, sell, or hold” ratings, the articles we wrote tended to have a positive or negative spin on each company.
Furthermore, when I wrote about a company, I tried to give the appropriate rating to the stock on Motley Fool CAPS, a system where anyone can sign up for an account and rate how they think stocks might do over a set period of time. The Fool has always been about accountability and transparency, which is something that a lot other financial sites don’t really focus on, allowing their writers to make wild and bold claims with minimal accountability.
All that said, this is what I plan on doing with this series, though it could change as I actually get around to doing it. First, I’ll try and remember why I wrote the article, whether it was something newsworthy happening with the company or was just part of an assignment while starting with the Fool (a lot of the articles written in my first six months were written as “sector assignments” while participating in the Writer Development Program at Fool HQ in Alexandria, VA).
Second, in articles written about a single company, I’ll look at the performance of the stock since article publication and what kind of gains an investor that “took my advice” would have seen had they held onto the stock from that date. In longer pieces about a sector or bigger picture investment idea, I’ll try to do the same, while highlighting the companies in the article that were probably mentioned more in depth than others (there are some articles where I mention/tag 7 companies but do not talk about the company beyond placing a couple metrics in a chart).
Finally, I’ll talk about where the company is now and whether or not I feel strongly about the stock as an investment. Also, while I do not currently have my personal money invested in individual stocks, I do manage my mother’s IRA, so I’ll make sure to disclose that if I write about a company that I chose for her portfolio.
Some of these articles are pretty long (600-800 words), though the bulk of them will be shorter (400-500 words), so I don’t plan on taking a lot of the writing from the actual article. I plan on simply linking to the article on the Fool site (or wherever it might be), so feel free to head over there and read old investment takes when I share the link. Eventually, I’ll probably move a lot of the articles here or to another similar site so they aren’t lost to the world should the Fool purge them for some reason, but I have been mostly able to pull up the articles over there for now, the first of which was published in August 2011 (FYI, this article will be the first in the series).
I’ll be starting at the bottom of this list, though I might go out of order based on actual publication date or if I wrote about the same company multiple times within a short period. I’ll be tagging all the posts in this series as “Fool Revisited,” so if you only want to read these posts, you can click on that link and find them all there. I may also start writing some new stuff about investing, so pay attention for those posts if that is something that interests you. I plan on posting something from this series on Tuesday and Thursday each week, and may do multiple posts on certain days, if only because I have over 200 total articles to get through in this little project.
I hope you enjoy this little journey through my personal past, and I hope that you learn something along with me.
Until next time…