My stock market adventure – Chapter Two
Whew! It’s been a while since my last stock market post. Where has the time gone? I’ll tell you where… spent trying to cram tons of concepts and techniques into long-dormant brain cells, that’s where. And, not just any easy learning, but learning how to read stock charts and technical information.
But, hey, “learning is living” so it’s all good, right?
So I started the process of signing up with that free brokerage, and right off the bat there was a snag… go figure. Turns out that while filling in my application information I listed my home phone number. Give me a break! I happen to be one of those dinosaurs who grew up with dial phones. Crap, back then phone coverage meant the length of your phone cord, and texting was done at a desk with a pen and paper. Needless to say, my mastery of all things high-tech lead me down another bumpy road.
Did I pay attention to the notice that there was no desktop app for this brokerage, just a mobile app? Hell, that would be too sensible for the likes of this old fart. Looking back now, it all makes perfect sense… as hind-sight often does. Mobile app… mobile phone number. I would like to defend myself with the small fact that only recently did I buy my first smartphone. Yup, I joined the cool kids. Thing is, I am still stumbling around the phone trying to figure out how to use it. And, don’t get me started about texting.
Well, to complete the application process I needed to fund my account. To do that I had to verify my bank account. To do that, they had to send a code to my phone in a text message. Anyone else seeing a pattern here?
“Shitzels!” My home phone doesn’t do text. So, I go to my account information and change my phone number to my cell phone number. That should do it, right?
Wrong! It tries to send the code to my home phone… again.
“Arrrrggghhh,” (and a few other colorful words that express frustration so well).
I fire off an email asking for help. In what seems like weeks, but was only a day or so, I get a response. My suspicion that the people running this site might be in another galaxy is confirmed. Their reply, a veiled attempt to impersonate English, ignored my stated problem and suggests that I enter my phone number in order to receive a text message containing the code.
“@^%$*&!!!” I really wanted to reply with enough “F-bombs” to level a large city, but I controlled myself. I do what any frustrated fool would do. I resend my request for help being as explicit as possible. Then, I wait.
While I am waiting this time, I look for other options. By now my impression of the free brokerage is a couple of “number smart, English stupid” college kids working out of their Uncle’s garage. As it turns out, I was painfully accurate in my suspicion.
Researching the well-known and reliable brokerages I find out that the information I had about costly buy-in fees was dated and incorrect. Most brokerages no longer charge those high buy-in fees unless you plan to play with the big boys and gamble on things like futures and options where thousands of dollars can be lost in the blink of an eye.
Long story short, little investors like me can open an account with a very small funding amount. Thing is, the brokerage will charge a fee for each transaction, and limit the number of transactions and frequency of trades. Considering my very limited budget and low courage level towards risk-taking, those restrictions seem quite reasonable. So, I sign up with a brokerage known for excellent learning tools, a huge plus for me.
As I write this, I am still trying to complete that application for the free brokerage. Not that I am patient mind you. Aw hell no! Patience and I have a love-hate relationship. Patience loves to piss me off, and I hate waiting for things. But, I am sticking it out only to be able to buy real cheap stocks without having a $6.95 transaction fee when I buy and again when I sell. Fourteen dollars of fees kind of kills the bottom line on small stock purchases that might only be twenty dollars.
The final kick in the “fuzzies?” I am stepping into this stock market world at a time when most stock charts look like one of those Olympic ski jumps… a long downhill slide ending with a huge leap of faith. About the end of January, almost everything on the stock market dropped like a rock. There is a rumor that the market slide was in response to my interest.
In a way, it is all for the best. I will use this downtime in the markets to learn those concepts and strategies. Then, when things begin to improve, and they will, I will make a few trades and let you know what happens. Wish me luck.