Category Archives: Technology

Robinhood Trading App: Great For Beginners and Pros. Slow Start, But Now I’m Loving It. Watch Out Stockpile

I had originally planned on writing a blog post on Robinhood very early in 2017. I downloaded the app, attempted to set up my bank account for automatic transfers, and that is pretty much where the idea stopped. I figured that I would get some sort of notification that my account was setup, but that never happened. Right off the bat, I began to think that Robinhood wasn’t going to be very good.

After waiting a few months (strange, I know), I finally just decided to email customer support. I let them know that my account was never able to connect to my bank account. They quickly replied that there was some sort of error, and I resubmitted my bank info. I actually submitted two bank accounts this time, just to be safe. Finally, after a few days, both accounts were this time set up and ready to begin funding my Robinhood account!

Don’t let this first part scare you off from Robinhood, as honestly, this is my only negative experience with them so far. It really was never that much of a big deal anyway. Fast forward to today, and I am absolutely loving using the Robinhood app. I blogged before about how much I love using Stockpile, which is a brokerage that offers stock for only 99 cents per trade, and you can even purchase fractional shares. I still use them, but have mostly just made that account be my “long” portfolio. I purchase companies I believe in long-term, and utilize Stockpile’s Divident Reinvestment Program (DRIP) to compound my gains over the long haul.

As of this writing, Robinhood doesn’t offer a DRIP, or the ability to purchase fractional shares. They do, however, have one absolutely AMAZING feature. ZERO fees. Yes, you read that right. Nothing whatsoever for the basic version. Stockpile also has a drawback where any shares you purchase on any given day post to your account at the end of the day, at the closing price of that particular stock. Robinhood is nothing like that, and is just like any “regular” brokerage where you can buy shares at any time during the day. Because of this, I use Robinhood as a swing trading account. Buy low, sell high, rinse and repeat. I don’t expect to accumulate dividends in my Robinhood account, but on a few positions I have actually already done just that. It all depends on how long I end up holding a position, as not all of my original plans always stay the same due to market ups and downs, etc…

Robinhood does offer a Robinhood Gold upgrade, which has a cost, but I have yet to begin using that. It offers a few extra features such as Pre-Market and After-Hours trading, the ability to trade on margin, and instant access to funds once you sell a position. I may eventually look into this, but for now I am more than happy with the original version.

One thing I really like about Robinhood is how you are able to access your funds instantly after funding your account. You initiate a bank transfer, and just like that, those funds are available for trading. With Stockpile, you have to wait days before you can do any trading with deposited funds. This really helps when you see an opportunity in the market, and are able to instantly capitalize on it. Honestly, this may be the best feature Robinhood has to offer, in my opinion anyway. Factor in that there are zero buying and selling commissions, and it makes Robinhood a must-have app for any stock market beginner or advanced trader or investor, even if just only as a “side account.”

One more thing I really like is signing into the app. With Stockpile, every time you sign in you have to put in your email address and password. If you log out even for a minute, you have to put that info back in. It can be annoying in a hurry. With the Robinhood app, you choose a four-digit pin number and only have to use that every time you go to use the app. How convenient! I also really enjoy the push notifications that Robinhood offers that are customized based on your positions and watchlist. The Robinhood app, in my opinion, absolutely destroys the Stockpile app.

If you are looking into Robinhood and wondering if it’s worth a try, it absolutely is. If you’ve never heard of Robinhood, I hope I was able to convince you that it may be worth trying out. I’m more impressed than I ever thought I would be. A year or so from now, who knows, I may actually end up ONLY using Robinhood when it comes to the choice between them and Stockpile. One thing is for sure though, when it comes to commission alone, both apps give TD Ameritrade (which I also have an account with) and others a real run for their money. As time goes on, I can see Robinhood and Stockpile (and others who we don’t even know about yet) really disrupting these companies unless they really try and adapt to the times. If you’re a full-time day trader, etc.. I get it, you may NEVER stop using your regular brokerage or software for these apps. But never say never. Give it some time and you just don’t know what innovation and disruption may bring.

Have you tried Robinhood? Or have you tried Stockpile? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Update (10/6/2017): After writing this post, I realized that my Stockpile app had been out of date for quite some time. They have added a ton of features including push notifications, better ways to track your profit/loss, a cleaner/smoother overview, a better way to sign in, and a bunch more. I was actually very impressed with the updates, so I wanted to give them my props. The updates have made my chances of fully leaving Stockpile for Robinhood, at least in the very near term, much more slim. Awesome job, guys!

“Tech Wreck?” NOPE! Just Another Step In The Trek ;) … AND Cryptocurrency Craze!

I’d like to start off by saying that I apologize for the lack of content on this blog recently. I have so many ideas for posts but with all the individual businesses I run it’s hard to always find the time. I’ll try to do better in setting aside time, as I truly do enjoy sharing my thoughts with you all and I plan on this blog being a huge part of the rest of my life. We’re only getting started!

First off, as you may have heard, a week or two back there was a “Tech Wreck,” as CNBC liked to call it. Shares of technology stocks were plummeting, but if you checked the market now, you wouldn’t know it as they’ve mostly all came back. To me, it seemed like market manipulation at its finest. I was following the charts closely, and the way the trades were happening while the stocks were falling it simply looked like computer generated trading. Tech stocks have been on a tear this year and my best guess is that the algorithms of today’s trading softwares were rebalancing portfolios.

The valuations of many tech companies are high. There is no denying that fact. But many of these stocks have future growth potential that boggles the mind. I won’t get in to every single tech stock in this blog post, but take Amazon for example. Amazon continues to dominate, and expand to areas that nobody ever thought possible. Just a short week after this so-called “Tech Wreck” news broke that Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion dollar all cash deal. This will give Amazon a huge physical retail footprint on the market. Once this news broke, retail stocks began taking a HUGE hit, and still are.

Amazon is killing it with its web services, they continue to work on likely future drone deliveries, and just imagine what we HAVEN’T heard rumors about as of yet? I see this buyout of Whole Foods as just the beginning. I can see them possibly purchasing more grocery store chains, or even a department store chain. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I could see Amazon buying Kohl’s in the next few years. Perhaps instead they may even buy Sears?! Not only can Amazon expand its business in many different ways with the Whole Foods purchase, but they can also expand their warehouse and fulfillment capabilities. It’s truly a win-win for Amazon.

When this “Tech Wreck” hit, while many were talking about how Amazon’s days of grace were over, I immediately went on the offense and started to buy and was able to purchase more shares of Amazon and Facebook at a discount. I bought more Facebook at $149.60 per share (as of this writing back to $155.07) and more Amazon at $978.31 per share (as of this writing back to $1,003.74).

Unlike many, I DO NOT see a recession coming any time soon. Not in 2017, at least. 2018 in its entirety is too far out to predict right now, but I would say the chances are slim. Will there be pullbacks? Yes. A correction? Yes, likely several. But are we in for a huge recession filled with doom and gloom? Not yet. My best prediction is that the Dow will reach closer to 30,000 (up from its current 21,394.76) before we get closer to the next recession. As for the stocks I mentioned, Facebook and Amazon, my target price for Amazon is around $1,250 per share and my target price for Facebook is around $200 per share, all within the next 6 to 12 months. What am I saying here? BUY. BUY. BUY!

I’d also like to mention that when there is a recession, eventually, which there WILL be, I’ll be ready. You should also. You should make sure you are sitting at least a little cash aside every time you invest for when it does happen. A recession is the single greatest opportunity for anyone to grow their money and business, despite the initial loss which will likely occur if you are already in the market. Then again, it’s NOT a loss if you DON’T sell, which I won’t be doing. A recession is a HUGE buying opportunity.

Now, to my other current obsession, cryptocurrency. What is cryptocurrency you may ask? Well, thanks to Google, here goes: “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.” When you read a lot about cryptocurrency you hear a lot about the underlying “blockchain technology.” What is that? Again, thanks to Google: “A blockchain facilitates secure online transactions. A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.”

I believe this technology is a huge part of the future. Right now the market for these cryptocurrencies is very volatile, but I’m slowly growing a small position which I plan to hold for the long-term. There are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies, but only a few main ones, which I consider to be Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. I have bought all three at various prices, and do so using Coinbase. It’s one of the more reliable places to purchase cryptocurrency, although the site does sometimes have issues where it goes down temporarily. Hey, when you’re blazing trails sometimes there are issues. We’re really still just in the beginning stages of this. If you look at the rate of return that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin have had in the last year, to me anyway, it’s well worth a small risk. Am I going to sell all my stocks and cash out my savings to “bet the farm” on cryptocurrency? No. Am I going to continue to grow a small position and take a chance on what I believe to be a huge part of the future? You bet your ass I am, and I think that you should too.

I’ll be writing more on tech and cryptocurrency in the near future, as well as sharing more shopping hauls, and information on other investments I have recently made. Plus you never know what else may give me the spark of motivation to begin blogging about. I’ve got a ton of ideas planned out as well. THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading and if you have any questions, comments, or anything else, PLEASE leave them below!

THANK YOU!

Brent Ott