When I first started learning about investing, I realized how powerful it was, but I didn’t know how to apply it to my life. I wanted to achieve financial independence for my family, so that we could have the freedom that so many unfortunately never get to enjoy.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t know where to start. There was a lot of information out there and it was overwhelming. Though initially motivated by the promise of a more comfortable future and the freedom to do what I wanted in life, over time I fell in love with the subject of investing, specifically investing in the stock market.
Curiosity about how money worked led to discovering the principle of exponential growth - this is still one of the most powerful ideas I have ever come across. That led to wanting to understand the stock market, which led to studying individual companies and investing in them.
Over time, I realized that sharing my journey could help others learn how to invest. That’s what led me to start the Stock Stories podcast in 2018, and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m passionate about this because as individual investors, we’re at the bottom of the economic system, yet we need the most help understanding and choosing our investments. We need to be empowered to make better decisions with our investments, because the nature of money is such that it is always intertwined with how we live our lives. Our financial future is on the line, and not just our future - but the legacy we leave the next generation.
With the right education, the right mindset, and applied knowledge, we can level up our abilities as investors. We can build and manage our portfolios, and achieve great returns while minimizing risk.
That is what I am here to help you do. I’m studying every company in the S&P 500 - breaking down the histories,business models, and financials of some of the companies with the greatest impact on the global economy. I’m also studying every mental model I can so that we can learn to become better thinkers and apply what we learn.
As I grew up, I followed the path that so many strive for. I studied hard, went to a great college, and did my best to learn the ways of the world as I prepared for an engineering career in my early twenties.
When I was nearing graduation from MIT, the impending reality of the ‘real world’ woke me up to the fact that I needed some personal finance skills. The professional skills I had gained up to that point had helped earn me my first job, but what was I going to do with the money when I got that first check? And what about the 2nd, 3rd, or 50th checks? Making engineering money was going to be a little different than making $8 per hour sorting the mail at the dorm room front desk, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity of what was being given to me.
An encounter with David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire sent me spiraling down the rabbit hole of personal finance knowledge. I studied more of his books, and then expanded to others. This new world of investing and learning about money was still confusing to me, but I felt like I had just discovered something big.
In the next several years after graduation, my wife and I worked hard to put a lot of personal finance principles into practice. We moved across the country to St. Louis, Missouri, got married and, after some initial struggles, began to live more intentionally with our finances.
Though we didn’t start out with much, little by little our net worth began to rise, our debt decreased, our savings improved, and over a few years we saw real progress.
Around this time I bought our first shares of Coca-Cola, which we still own. When we were still figuring out budgeting and paying off debt, I remember being so thirsty to invest, but not having a lot of excess cash. To deal with this urge to take action and invest without compromising our other financial goals, I started investing just $10 into Berkshire Hathaway stock every time I got paid. Little by little, I began to experience what it was like to become an investor.
A few years later, having mastered personal finance basics, we started wading a little deeper into the investing waters. It was around this time that we began more seriously investing in individual stocks, and not just index funds in our retirement accounts.
I read more books on investing, studied the annual reports of companies that looked interesting, and began to formulate my investing philosophy. It became apparent to me that, in order to build wealth in any capitalist system, you have to come as close to business ownership as possible. Although the most direct path is starting a business yourself, which is the path of the entrepreneur, I realized I could still benefit from business ownership through stocks. I didn’t necessarily need to run a business myself, I could just buy a small fraction of a well-established one that was already making money.
This is effectively what we were doing at the time with our index fund investments, though the more I learned about the markets and how the economic system worked, the more I desired to own stocks directly instead of in a fund structure that was packaged for me bysomeone else.
Why not just build a portfolio from the ground up as I learned about individual businesses? By this time, I knew I had a passion for learning about companies so it made sense to explore this more active investing philosophy further.
I studied other investors to see what they did to grow their investments, and gradually started deploying more money into our brokerage accounts, learning a lot of lessons along the way.
Though books were instrumental (and still are) in my personal finance journey, I began to turn to podcasts to learn as much as I could about investing. I wanted to find more investing and finance-related shows to learn from.
Although the number of shows related to personal finance and economics was abundant, I didn’t have as much luck finding shows related specifically to investing in the stock market. There were great shows about adjacent fields like real estate and entrepreneurship, but not that many shows about stock market investing. For the shows in this niche that did exist, I noticed that nearly all fell into a few categories:
Although a lot of shows that I came across were great, I was frustrated that there were no podcasts that discussed specific stocks in an organized and thorough way. When examples were given, they were often part of a larger news segment, or if there was a thorough analysis presented, it was boring and sometimes disorganized.
I also realized there was almost no discussion of mental models on the podcasts I had discovered. These are powerful ideas, often associated with investors like Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet. Even with this association, I realized many investors don't know about mental models or don't know how to apply them to their investing practice.
That’s when I got my idea. What if I created a show that explored companies in detail - in a way that’s deeper than surface level, but also entertaining? What if I studied mental models and looked at them from an individual investor’s perspective? What if I studied not just a few companies, but dozens? Hey, why stop there - why not study the entire S&P 500?
This is what led me to create Stock Stories.
With an old microphone I had in my closet, which hadn’t seen much use since my days recording rap songs in college, I pieced together a simple studio, thought about what I wanted to say, and then on March 14th, 2018 I pressed the record button.
Now in its fourth year, Stock Stories is quickly becoming a leading community of investors who, like you and I, seek to become better investors in order to build wealth for their families.
The show serves individual investors - beginner and advanced alike - as they explore investing in stocks, and it has been listened to in 106 countries.
I am honored that you are joining me on this journey as we learn to become better investors together. I’d love to hear from you - say hello
Your Stock Storyteller,