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David Gardner: If you’re of a certain vintage, let’s say, born circa 1980 or before, this phrase may well have imprinted itself on your memory, especially if you’re a sports fan, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Well, ABC’s Wide World of Sports television show lead off its opening credits with this phrase, every week, I find that the phrase isn’t just evocative for sports fans, it applies to a lot of things. I think we can all agree that life, the one you’re living, the one I’m living features both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat and a life lived as an investor, someone who by definition is playing the long game by buying pieces of companies and holding them through thick and thin, there’s some thrill of victory and agony of defeat there certainly too. Indeed, as I reflect on this week’s podcast, our July 2022 Mailbag, I can easily see and we’ll let you know now in this week’s opening credits that we have some thrill of victory and some agony of defeat here too. It’s July, it’s 2022, it’s the Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag: The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat only on this week’s Rule Breaker Investing.
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing. ABC’s Wide World of Sports, which I grew up with, I was just checking Wikipedia 1961-1998. I certainly remember the voice of Jim McKay for those who remember the dearly departed sports broadcaster, but right through to Robin Roberts in its latter years, so 27, 28 years really of broadcasting, and every week at least for the years I watched it, we saw the thrill of victory and then that guy wiping out, falling off the top of a building in his skis, skis and pulls flying everywhere, the agony of defeat. Well, as I mentioned at the top, we’re going to see some of both throughout this week’s mailbag. We have eight items featured, I’m also going to do some hot takes from Twitter. But before we get started, let’s just take a look at the month that was. We started with 10 Things to Love About America: Reflections of a Recent Immigrant. Some great reminders for me, I hope for you too, of what is beautiful about the United States of America, what has been true of its history, what I trust will be true of its future if we don’t forget, if we don’t take our eye off the ball.
There are many ways to improve America, we can all agree, and in fact, I think this is the most improvable country in the world. I think we work together really well to try to fix things that are broken. Second week, it was Rule Breakers 2022 edition with Tim Beyers. Tim will be joining me a little bit this week to talk through at least one of your mailbag items about the Rule Breakers service from The Motley Fool. Five Times I Changed my Mind Volume 1, I love doing that podcast for you last week and here we are, the fourth and final Wednesday of July 2022, the July mailbag. Let’s get started with some hot takes from Twitter. Jason Moore, @JiminyJillikers, Jason, you said, “I think it was a critically timed podcast for the service,” you’re referring to my podcast with Tim Beyers on Rule Breakers 2022. So much has changed Jason, but the mindset has stayed consistent. Tim is always fun to listen to, his passion for the Mindset really shines through. Thank you, Jason. We will be welcoming Tim back again very shortly. Ryan Shredder love this. “My kids have been exposed to a few too many @RBIPodcast episodes on the way to gymnastics.
My five-year-old daughter told me when she’s older, she’s going to subscribe to Rule Breakers and listen to @DavidGFool so her stocks go up.” Boy, I wish there was cause and effect there. [laughs] Certainly, has seemed at different points in the 30 years of The Motley Fool, as if there were, but I think we’ve discovered that I in this podcast are not always positively correlated with a rising market. Mike Steele on the June @RBIPodcast Market Cap Game Show reflecting at the end of last month. Mike writes, “David says, let’s get started, and then I even use the phrase without further ado around the sixth-minute mark of that podcast. But then I didn’t name the first stock in the game until 6.5 minutes later. Too much pre-game explanation and introduction. Jump into the game and play.” @OtherMikeSteele, with an e on the end, writes. Mike, I certainly agree with you. In fact, you and I have already exchanged a note or two on Twitter. We were both thinking of how Jeopardy does that so well, just gets the game started, and then welcomes the contestants. I think you might notice a change for our next Market Cap Game Show, of course, coming this September. It was gratitude month for many fellow Fools on Twitter, I think Jason Moore may have started this, but a whole bunch of us, we’re posting a daily gratitude one day after another. It was a pleasure to read them.
It’s such a wonderful practice to start each day by thinking about something that you’re grateful for or just with the lens of gratitude perched on the end of your nose like a pince-nez, like increasingly the reading glasses that I find myself wearing doing these podcasts, that pince-nez, where you’re looking throughout your day for something to be grateful for really changes your mindset and I think puts you as Shirzad Chamine would say, in your sage, in a good place to experience productive days. Kelly Burgess, @kscottburgess wrote, “Today, I’m grateful for The Motley Fool and @RBIPodcast.” Thank you, Kelly. “The advice to one, diversify, and two, give each company a fair start has been invaluable during the last two years.” We’re going to have a mailbag item that speaks to that very shortly as well. Kelly, thank you for your thoughts as always. Then just a couple more to close. Mahan Tavakoli, @Mahany, that’s M-A-H-A-N-Y, I really enjoy following Mahan, he’s a friend of mine here in Washington DC. Mahan does a wonderful podcast called Partnering Leadership.
He has some crossover guests that we’ve had before on this show, but he does his twice a week, so the frequency of outstanding interviews, Mahan is so energetic, with such a high degree of intellectual curiosity and passion around the subject of what wins, especially in business. He’s an executive coach among other things, but Partnering Leadership, a recommended listen if you’re casting around for what else you could listen to, that will help you from one week to the next. Well, Mahan, you wrote, “Looking forward to listening to this episode.” You wrote this on July 20th, that means you’re talking about Five Times I Changed my Mind Volume 1. Mahan goes on, “Changing our minds is critical, most especially in fast-changing times. However,” he adds, “Really hard to do.
It requires an open mind and humility. Thanks for setting a great example.” Well, thank you, Mahan. Chowzam, @Chowzam on Twitter. “Hi, David. Looking forward to my weekly RBI listen,” he’s talking, again, about last week’s podcast and he comes up with a great Jeff Bezos quote, I hadn’t seen this one before. Certainly, a Bezos fan. @Chowzam, this is outstanding, thank you for it. Jeff has said, “Anybody who doesn’t change their mind a lot is dramatically underestimating the complexity of the world that we live in.” That’s from @JeffBezos on Twitter. Great quote. Before we get started, I should point out something relevant to the calendar. This is the last week of July, which means next week is the first week of August, which means for this podcast every year, Authors in August.
Once again, I’m excited to bring you some new authors that you may never read before and maybe one or two you have with my Authors in August, author interviews, which is how Rule Breaker Investing rolls the final month of the summer each year. Now next week, I’m actually going to do something I haven’t done before. I hope this will be fun and won’t be too long. But like I do my games, podcast each year, highlighting tabletop games that I think are worthy of your notice. I’m going to do something along those lines around books, a few books that have changed my mind. A few books that have helped shaped me, I’ll intentionally try to pick a few books I haven’t talked about in the past and that’s the way I want to set the stage for Authors in August. Let’s do a book, books next week and then the week after I already know our first author is Jesse Schell, author of the wonderful book, The Art of Game Design. Now some people hearing me right now, don’t really like games or care about game design.
If that’s you, feel free to put a line through the word game in his title because what Jesse is really writing about is design. The four basic elements, for example, mechanics, story, aesthetics, and technology. All aspects of course of game design, both video games, tabletop games, games of all kind, but really aesthetics, mechanics, etc., applied to so many different forms of design so I’m really excited to have Jesse Schell. This is a book I read years ago. I think it is the best book of its kind and if you are a gamer or even more so game designer, I think you’re going to love that conversation the second week of August. Others, I’ll preview as we get closer to them, but that’s how August is going to kick off with books, and then Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design. Well, let’s get started. Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 1 this month, this one is addressed to what really, my friend Tim Beyers. Tim, you just got some praise from Jason Moore who said you’re always fun to listen to and your passion for the mindset really shines through. Are you ready to be both fun to listen to and show some passion for mindset. Are you ready?
Tim Beyers: Oh boy, no pressure. Yes, I’m ready.
David Gardner: Excellent. This notice from Derq Voss. Derq writes, “I’ve been on Rule Breaker members since 2006.” Let me just stop that right there. Wow. That’s 16 years, we started the service in 2004. Tim, this is someone who’s followed you and me and the team for a long time. Derq Voss writing, “I’ve been a member since 2006, I’m happy that you took the time to explain how you’ve changed the service. You asked for feedback, this is mine. I believe I heard you that you’ll keep member-facing the rerecommendations on the second Thursday each month and the new recommendations on the fourth Thursday of each month. I also heard that you are dropping the member-facing risk ratings, Best Buys Now, and penalty box stocks rankings will replace Best Buys Now, you also said that the processes for the three dropped, would continue to be used internally by the Rule Breakers team. Now members will see,” Derq summarizes, “rankings, new recommendations and rerecommendations. The definition of rankings,” he writes, “remains unclear to me, particularly how it differs from Best Buys Now, I would appreciate confirmation or clarification on the above observations.” Thanks for asking Derq Voss. Tim, so really appreciate this note and I think why don’t we just go through it one item at a time and just have you confirmed, deny or provide any additional color, are you ready?
Tim Beyers: Ready.
David Gardner: He said he believes he heard that you’re keeping member-facing rerecommendations second Thursdays, new recommendations fourth Thursdays. Confirm, deny, color.
Tim Beyers: Confirm. The color on this will be that we’ve always done this. We like to do the rerecommendations to start the month and then end the month with a new recommendation if we think it’s warranted and we always try to come up with a new recommendation. Also, one of the slight enhancements that I’m thinking about introducing, David, which I like because we get this question a lot is what else did you consider thinking about not only what else did you consider, but what did you pass on and why? I can’t say that we’ll do that every month. But I think tune in for the next reveal because I think we’ll be able to do some of that and I think there is value to the member in showing our work, so some people might be like just give me the rec. But I do think that there are people that like us to show our work, so we’re going to show a little bit of our work, David.
David Gardner: I think that is a great idea. I bet Derq, who’s clearly an avid follower of the service, is probably nodding his head in agreement. Don’t want to put words in his mouth, a nod on his neck, that’s really awkward. Derq I’m not trying to say you agree, but I agree. I hope you agree. I think that’s sounds great, Tim. Let’s keep going. He then said, “I also heard that you are dropping the member-facing risk ratings, Best Buys Now, and penalty box stocks, rankings will replace Best Buys Now. Confirm, deny, color.
Tim Beyers: This one is so here’s the color. Risk ratings are gone. I asked for feedback as to whether or not we should bring them back. It sounds like most members want them back so I can’t promise that they’re coming back, but I am listening and seeing what it would take to bring them back so that’s a thing. Best Buys Now has been replaced by rankings and I know we’re going to get to that. The penalty box stays, Derq, we’re not getting rid of that. The penalty box so if we decide to put a stock on hold, you’ll see an article from the team that says blank stock enters the penalty box. Or blank stock stays in the penalty box or blank stock exits the penalty box that persists. We still have that mechanism that we use internally and then when a decision is made just like when you were running things, David, then we would express that decision with an article that appears at the site so that has not changed.
David Gardner: Excellent. He goes on to say the processes for the three while dropped would continue to be used internally by the Rule Breakers team.
Tim Beyers: That’s right.
David Gardner: Confirmed?
Tim Beyers: That is right. We do use the risk rating internally, like we do too, that it’s not expressed. I think this in particular applies for the risk rating. We do that exercise to give a sense of things internally, it doesn’t appear at the site and so this is why we asked about it.
David Gardner: Well, I appreciate that, Tim, and you know this, but I want to make sure that Derq and anybody listening knows this. Just because we did it back in my time, it does not ever mean that I’m the guy saying, hey, we need to keep going with that thing that I did or started. I always vote for a service that’s being responsive to member needs and so, if not enough, people who are clicking on the risk ratings that it was a lot of extra effort to publish. Well darn it, we don’t need to feature those necessarily member-facing every time. I will say as you well know Tim, that the risk rating system i-device is basically usable by anybody. Certainly I’ve seen some of our avid members on Twitter saying they still use it or can use it and they do the work themselves. It’s not a lot of work sometimes to answer these 25 questions, yes or no, we’re not going to go back into the system and how it works. But it can be very instructive. It could be part to your listener of your research process if you really value that. Tim, I’m glad to know that you all are still doing it, but no requirement to keep doing anything that I was doing. Now let’s get to rankings. This is obviously where the new juice is. This is a new feature in some ways it subsumes the others because if we start ranking stocks, well that implies Best Buys Now are implies what might be in the penalty box, if you will. Tim, confirm or deny that members will now see rankings, new recs and rerecs and some color please, on rankings.
Tim Beyers: Sure. Yes, all of those things you will see, and the color on rankings is that they take all the process that we used for Best Buys Now and put the list of votes into a 1-10 ranking. The way Best Buys Now always work and continues to work is everybody on the team internally and then a list of contractors. I think it’s eight or nine of them, and it’s a bunch of people you know who you’ve seen on Motley Fool Live.
David Gardner: People whose opinions we obviously greatly respect in this team.
Tim Beyers: We trust. Yeah, we love these members. It’s like Brian Withers, Toby Bordelon, people who’ve been around for a really long time who we really trust and respect. Former Fool and contributor to the team, Aaron Bush, voting on Best Buys Now. Those votes, they go to the same place they always did. The beauty of the tool that we use internally to collect all those votes is that it creates a stack rank. When we did the last release of the rankings, you saw that The Trade Desk was Number 1. Little inside baseball here. The Trade Desk got, in terms of the weighting of all of the votes, it got 11 points. People who voted voted 11 points in favor of The Trade Desk. That put it very clearly Number 1, David. In the list of rankings among in the conviction, conviction list 1-10 for the team, The Trade Desk was very clearly Number 1. That rankings list is a list of conviction. From Number 1, highest conviction, Number 10, lowest conviction, of the 10 highest conviction stocks at that moment, that month, for Motley Fool Rule Breakers of the entire scorecard voting on every active stock in the Rule Breakers universe.
You’re just picking from five stocks, each voter and saying, I want to apply really 1-3 points for each vote and so it becomes not an automated process. There’s still a lot of thought that goes into it, but then there’s a list of 10. That Best Buys Now process makes that list of 10. Then what I do playing your role, David, I come in and say, do I like this 1-10? If I don’t, how would I rearrange it? Like this last time, Lululemon had the third most points and I said, I can’t put it Number 3. There are still some risks here that I see, so I’m going to put it Number 6 for reasons that have to do with like, I think right now, Lululemon has some things to figure out in a high-inflation environment. They’ve never really faced this. Great company, love it. Definitely a high-conviction stock. But for me, not Number 3, I’m moving it to Number 6 so it has some numerical pace to it and it has some qualitative influence. In other words, I’m vetoing where I think I should.
David Gardner: Great, Tim. Well, the quantitative, the qualitative, the right brain, the left brain, integrating our thinking and then sharing it out with members, that’s what we’ve always done. That’s what we do to the best of our ability. Thank you. Derq did close that note as I read earlier, I would appreciate confirmation or clarification on the above observations. Tim Beyers, I’m going to say you gave him all of the above. Before I let you go, let me ask you something. We did do that podcast a couple of weeks ago and I’m curious, is there anything that now that you’re back on for this mailbag to close out the month, anything that you briefly would like to underline or restate or restress from Rule Breakers 2022 that you and I did together two weeks ago?
Tim Beyers: Yeah. The main thing I want to restress is that I love the Rule Breakers product and the process. Like you, David, this way, I loved working on Rule Breakers so much. Both of us are process-driven people, process-driven investors. My process is different than yours. Yours is different than everybody else’s. Yours is unique, mine is unique, but we’re both very process-driven and I fit very nicely into that. The processes that we take for uncovering and researching highly disruptive growth stocks remains. That’s so important. I love that process very much. I said last time, I think I’m paraphrasing. I don’t remember if I said it exactly this way. You’ll remind me if maybe I said it differently, but I said to expect the unexpected from us. Is that mostly what I said?
David Gardner: That’s a good summary.
Tim Beyers: I still believe that we are relentlessly searching for and curious about disruptive innovation that has not changed, that’s never going to change. It’s a bit of our bread and butter. Sometimes the disruptive innovations, and this is the best part about Rule Breakers. One of my favorites is when you find a Rule Breaker in an industry where you don’t expect it.
David Gardner: Well said.
Tim Beyers: Rick is really the best at this, Rick Munarriz. Steiner Leisure is on cruise lines. Just this idea of having a portable business and providing, I think, its spa treatments on cruise lines.
David Gardner: There you are.
Tim Beyers: They built this amazing business out of it was like and that can be a Rule Breaker. You know what? That’s the beautiful thing. Rule-breaking happens everywhere.
David Gardner: Well said.
Tim Beyers: We’re going to lean into that forever.
David Gardner: Yeah. I mean, you obviously just mentioned Lululemon. While it didn’t grade out as Number 3, it’s still high up there. There’s a great example of a Rule Breaker in an industry where you don’t necessarily expect to see a lot of rules being broken. Well, thank you, Tim, very much for coming back, sharing that out. Thank you Derq Voss for your good question. Tim, I do see in closing here you are broadcasting from our beautiful new Motley Fool offices in Colorado. People are going back to offices some of the time, at least. For example, you today.
Tim Beyers: Yeah.
David Gardner: Love it.
Tim Beyers: I’m generally going Mondays through Wednesdays. I hope we’re going to open it up to most of the people who are out here so we can see more great Fools in Foolorado. But yeah. Honestly, David, it’s long overdue. It’s really nice.
David Gardner: Well, I was back myself in our offices at Fool HQ in Alexandria, Virginia for one day last week. There are about 75 of us. I think it’s because there was an ice cream social so a lot of people showed up that particular day. We’re certainly phasing slowly going back into work. But boy, if I didn’t have a wonderful day of connection in my own takeaway was, I think people might be overrating the whole work from home thing. I realize everybody is in a different situation than we’ve all habituated to this the last couple of years. But habits die. Sometimes they change and I think it’s hard to find a real substitute for human connection. Anyway, Tim, thank you so much for joining us for this Rule Breaker Mailbag item and Fool on, my friend.
Tim Beyers: Thank you very much, David. Fool on.
David Gardner: Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 2. This is from Shereese Sandberg. Shereese, thank you for writing in. Dear David Gardner, before I forget, there’s something that I really wish you could change. Shereese is actually going a couple of different directions in this note. But what I want to speak to first is this before I forget, and I have a special guest star to join me in a second. Let me read what Shereese wrote. Before I forget, there’s something that I really wish you could change if possible and not too expensive because it’s really, Shereese is right, wasting a lot of my time. She reads a lot of Motley Fool articles. I’m assuming this is probably just on the free side. She may not be a member of our services as she read a lot of Fool articles. She says, I’m constantly accidentally hitting the accessibility menu in the articles. Could you just, she says, put a little blue tool by the menu lines at the top instead of having it halfway up on the side where I tend to scroll down? My blood pressure starts to go up. I just have to stop and watch TV, Shereese write, which I sometimes love because I can’t handle the noises very well. The funnier things on my watch and I always end up in this grizzly Nordic murder mysteries because they’re the quietest thing to do, except read Motley Fool articles which I love and need. Shereese closes this part partly for a big boost to my mood because I really do like all of you a lot. I’m going to pause that right there. One of my favorite people I haven’t yet had on my podcast, who’s a Motley Fool employee, is my pal, Holly Fake. Holly, welcome to Rule Breaker Investing.
Holly Fake: It’s an honor to be here.
David Gardner: Thank you, Holly. You have been at The Motley Fool, I mean, definitely pre-pandemic. How many years have you been at the Fool?
Holly Fake: I’ve been here for six years.
David Gardner: Awesome. You came to us because you have among, I’m sure many expertises, but at least one of those that we’re paying you for is an understanding of how to design for the Internet, how to present, how to arrange things, color up things or not, when we present stuff to members and readers of our articles. Am I right about that, Holly? Is that one of your superhero powers?
Holly Fake: [laughs] Yes, I do user experience research here at The Motley Fool, and we’d never want to drive anyone to gnarly Nordic murder mysteries.
David Gardner: [laughs] I think you’re right. I thought, well, Shereese is also asking an investment question, which I’ll answers separately. I thought, let me first of all, I have Holly on because Holly thanks a lot for joining. It’s so important as a web focused company for us to design things in a way that people can appreciate and feel like they’re using it and they know what’s going on. Man, if our interfaces haven’t improved over the course of your six years here at the Fool, and I know that work is probably never done. I’m not exactly recognizing what’s Shereese was referring to. Maybe many of our listeners right now are. What is your take on what Shereese shared?
Holly Fake: As you can imagine, we take accessibility extremely seriously and because of that, we default this feature in the right side of the interface, but you can hide it. I’d encourage you to click on that usability feature. It looks like a stick figure. What you’ll notice is a manual pop up and as you scroll down, you have the ability to hide that widget so you can say goodbye to any surprise noises.
David Gardner: That is incredibly valuable and I’m delighted. I can imagine right now, Shereese. I presume Shereese, you’re listening to us. We may have saved countless minutes and maybe a portion of your blood pressure as well. You might have saved a life right there. Beyond that Holly, a lot of people probably reading Motley Fool articles, how many people actually click on that menu?
Holly Fake: That’s such a good question and one that I would need to dig into. I’m not sure the number off of it.
David Gardner: I appreciate that. I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but one of the things I know about our UX people is so much of our work is data-driven and it’s not necessarily what you or I think things should look like it’s how people use it. Am I right? I’m way out of my weight class here if we’re talking UX, but Holly, for the UX designers out there or maybe for the kids who are hearing user experience, architect and philosopher speaking maybe for the first time, and this might be a job that they one day want to get into. What are a couple of your rules of thumb or hot tips for us?
Holly Fake: Absolutely. I think of it as almost as visual editing. So many times we wouldn’t put an article out into the world with somebody taking a look at it, why would we do that any other way with a design? It’s our opportunity to make sure that things that we’re developing inside The Motley Fool can be interpreted and used effectively for people outside. We make sure that it’s aligned so they can become smarter, happier, and richer.
David Gardner: Thank you. Well said. Was this your college major? What did you study going through school?
Holly Fake: I studied actually international relations and I went on this really crazy path. I ended up being an EMT for awhile, which drove me to learning technologies because it was a high reliability organization and they were constantly reskilling and retooling their workforce. But I thought that the training that they did could be more engaging, more interactive. That took me into instructional design. I ended up getting a PHD in learning technologies design research, which we started developing really cool learning programs. But then one of the challenges with that was that people couldn’t find the learning programs, so then I got into user experience and have been happy here ever since.
David Gardner: Well, I’m delighted to know that. Before I let you go, Holly, what was your first day of work like at the Fool six years ago?
Holly Fake: I was working out and I was so excited to have access to a gym that I forgot my clothes. I realized in the back of my car I had two prom dresses. They were actually bridesmaids dresses. One was very, very elegant and the other was a backless purple dress.
David Gardner: What did you go with?
Holly Fake: What would you go with?
David Gardner: I’ve never been in that situation, but if I were, I’m such a slacker, I wouldn’t have anything in my car, so I would show up in my birthday suit, no. What did you go with?
Holly Fake: I went with the purple one because I had a giant jacket I could put over top of it. From the front, it looked almost possible for not formal wear.
David Gardner: [laughs] That is awesome. In conclusion, Holly, how long have we had accessibility menus? That’s something that it’s been important for us to provide in recent years. I certainly remember back in our AOL days we didn’t have anything like that. At some point we started adding those features to the web. Give a brief history.
Holly Fake: I think it was 2017 when we really started getting serious and making sure that everything was is accessible as needed to meet the needs of all Foolish people.
David Gardner: Wonderful. Well Holly, speaking of Foolish people. I was just Slacking you with this UX question and then I thought, why not have you on the podcast and speak to it directly. I know everybody has enjoyed hearing from you. This cannot be your only appearance on Rule Breaker Investing so keep making either amazing interface, which will cause people to write in, or horrible interface which will cause people to write in, and we’ll have you back.
Holly Fake: Thank you so much. This has been just such an honor.
David Gardner: Thank you, Holly Fool on.
Holly Fake: Fool on.
David Gardner: Well, the other portion of Shereese’s note said this, “I really like the way you’re brave enough to admit that some of your picks haven’t always lately been the best.” Let us go with you to take a look to explain what happened. “My problem,” write Shereese, “is that I Google the phrase Motley Fool and Bandwidth.” Now Bandwidth is a public company, Stock Advisor pick of mine from some years ago, “hasn’t done so well the last few years.” A number of other of my stock picks, as has been well-documented, Shereese goes on. “I’ve Googled this combination several times or more for months, and I’m just not getting much about how The Motley Fool feels about this stock now, did you say to sell it? I hope not because I own too much of it at this point and the buy price keeps dropping and dropping. Even when I think it’s surely can’t go any lower. Is there something I don’t know why is it doing so badly? I’m going to stop buying more of it at this point unless I see an article that says it’s actually OK. Thank you so much to all, sincerely, Shereese.” Let me say a couple of things before we move on to Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 3.
First of all, thank you for writing in Shereese, really appreciate your spirit. Second, Bandwidth is a pick in Motley Fool Stock Advisor based on how I’m parsing your note. I’m thinking you’re maybe not a member of that service. It looks to me like you might be just reading our free articles out there on the web about lots of different stocks, we write hundreds of them every day, written by contractors across the country and the world and some Motley Fool employees to, and Bandwidth sounds like It’s a stock that caught your fancy and maybe you started buying it. Reacting to our free articles, now you should know there is a difference between Motley Fool free articles which are written by people with lots of different viewpoints. Very specifically, we hire people who think for themselves. They’re independent, self-sufficient thinkers. They may not agree with me or my brother Tom Gardner or whoever has picked a certain stock, they’re presenting their own viewpoint.
We’ve encouraged them to do that. We call that spirit, Motley, and it’s in our names. This can confuse some people who might think we’re an investment bank or something where everybody would have the same idea about a stock. That one is a buy, this one’s a strong sell, that kind of thinking. But The Motley Fool has never been like that going into our 30th year, we’ve always been Motley. If you are though a member, using our advice in Rule Breakers as we talked about with Tim earlier, our Stock Advisor, you should know that the advisors of that service, for example, Tim for Rule Breakers, provide their viewpoint and that’s really what our paying members are paying for. You might, based on reading our free articles, not necessarily come away with the ideas that we are backing with our scorecards and our reputation, and certainly the dollars that we put into our services.
Maybe I’m encouraging you to sign up for Motley Fool Stock Advisor or Motley Fool Rule Breakers if you’ve not already done that. The one other thing I wanted to say to you is the importance of adding new money, not to things that are dropping, but to things that are rising. Now this has been an important point that I’ve made for a few decades. I’ve certainly spoken to it on the Rule Breaker Investing podcast. In fact, six habits of the Rule Breaker investor. Please Google that Shereese, and you’ll come to an episode where I talked very specifically about the habits that you should use around some of these higher volatility, more dynamic Rule Breaker like stocks. I don’t like to add to ones that are going down. I’ve never thought this one can’t go any lower, sometimes they do. I really think you should reserve new money for companies that are performing well. Now sometimes their stocks are going down because, I mean it’s 2022, everything’s down.
But the companies themselves, looking at their performance, their revenues, their net income, some of the things they’re projecting new products that are coming along or if they’re in a good industry for emergent growth. These are the things we look for, and that’s where we’d like to add money to things performing well. Because I’m not following the stock market as closely as I once did, I don’t have a developed viewpoint myself right now on Bandwidth, but you can certainly take a look at Motley Fool Stock Advisor for that. But most of all I hope I’m double underlining as we move on to Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 3, I’m double underlining the importance of not throwing, as we say, good money after bad. If something is not doing well, if the company isn’t doing well, there’s no guarantee it will ever get back to even or that it can’t go any lower.
I’m certainly not saying that about Bandwidth, but I’m saying that about some companies and therefore, I think it’s much more Foolish to add to your winners, not your losers. Hope that was helpful. Truly shifting gears to a different place, Mailbag item Number 3, this one is from Thane Walton. Thane, one gamer to another. Thank you for this note. “Hi, David. We’re an avid game-playing family, although not quite on par with your fanaticism. My middle son, Scott, soon with a masters in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University, has a brilliant mind that just figures things out. Hacks, if you will. I could share many stories, but let me tell you about a recent game of Summer Camp.” Thane adds, “Great board game. I’m sure you’ve played, but if not, put it on your list.” To speak to that, Thane, I have not played Summer Camp. However, I do know the designer, Phil Walker Harding.
I don’t know him personally, but I know some of this other work which is esteemed indeed. You go on to say, “Summer Camp is a deck building game.” Insert the correct terminology here. “But essentially, each player builds his own factory or machine to use his personal collection of cards to navigate moves on his turn.” Well, we don’t need to further define deck-building, that gets into really geeky places. But I think a lot of my listeners, especially gamers, will know of deck builder games like Dominion, which Thane happens to be our family’s most played game over the decades, the kids grew up on a deck builder. Anyway, you go on to say, “This was only our second or third time playing. Each of us was building up a good machine for an exciting finish. It’s an engine building game,” he points out. “We each had our cards mapped out and it was going to be a close finish, but somehow my son Scott figured out that with the right set of cards, he could make his turn last forever and win the game.
Now, on the one hand,” Thane writes, “I had to admire his skill in figuring out such a riddle. But on the other, it really took the wind at our sails and put a damper on a good game. My wife declared that he had ruined the game for her and made it no fun. I know game designers go through all sorts of play, tweaks, replays, etc., as they fine-tune the game, but somehow they miss this loophole. This caused me to wonder in conclusion, what David Gardner would do in such a situation. Should we email the game designer to let them know of this flaw?” Thanks, Thane Walton. My short answer to that one, Thane is; go to BoardGameGeek, one of my five favorite websites on earth, and on BoardGameGeek, there’s a page for every single game ever invented so you could quickly navigate to the game, Summer Camp, which is what you’re describing.
Then, you would go to the forums, and you should post your experience, including the GameBreak, whatever your son Scott was doing, that caused him to have sounds like an infinite recursive turn where he just won the game without anybody being able to stop him. Again, I don’t know the game. But we’re not here to talk about the game. We’re here to talk about what you do as a gamer when you find yourself in this situation. In my experience, first of all, my guess is you may have missed a rule, these games and this game designer, they’re pretty rigorous in terms of their testing. I’m wondering whether something was missed here. But by sharing your experience in the forums there, just like people share their experiences on The Motley Fool forums as we talk about stocks and investing, you’re going to find lots of other like-minded people on BoardGameGeek, which is boardgamegeek.com, you’re also going to find often the designers themselves are there answering the questions.
I bet you’ll find a solution that way. That’s where I go and while this is just one mailbag item about one particular game that many of us will never heard of, this is more broadly the right way to solve any game question that any of us has around the rules or how to play any of the 1,000s of games that are now available in our society today. Boy, there was a time when only a few games came out every year, I’m thinking of decades ago, but these days, 10,000 new titles, come out with each passing year, whether it’s on Kickstarter or via traditional publishing companies. We’re living in a golden age of efflorescence of game publishing and game design. It’s hard to keep up with it all, but I use BoardGameGeek, hope that’s helpful. Onto Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 4. Really for numbers 4 and 5, one of my favorite all time Fools had to come join me. In fact, Robert Brokamp, you were called out, not in this one, but in Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 5. Of course, I was going to have you for that. But this one too, Bro, how are you doing?
Robert Brokamp: I’m doing great, David. It’s a pleasure to be back on the show.
David Gardner: Thank you very much. Always a delight. Robert, would you just briefly share your Motley Fool history. We just had Holly Fake on talking about her six years at the Fool. Robert Brokamp, how many years have you been at the Fool?
Robert Brokamp: It’ll be 23 years in about three weeks. I started out as an editor and gradually moved into handling more of the financial planning content because before I joined the Fool, I was a financial advisor.
David Gardner: At the time that made you completely overqualified to be hired by our company [laughs] in the 1990s, “Wait, actually, we have a real financial advisor who is coming to work for us Tom, look at this.” Somehow you stuck with us, and thank you. Let’s go to Nikhil Jane’s note. Here we go, Robert. “Hi David. Love the Rule Breaker Investing podcasts. I’m a loyal listener, a few episodes to catch up as I missed some while I was traveling in Spain this summer.” Nikhil adds, “It was wonderful to travel abroad again after two plus years of COVID-19 lock-down anyway.” He writes, “I know you can’t give personalized financial advice to listeners and members, but I have a general question that might benefit all Fools. Member of the Epic Bundle here,” he says mentioning his membership, “It’s quite Epic a collection of services I’ve subscribed to since 2018.” Well, thank you for that, Nikhil. Many services. “Your brother Tom Gardner, your guests like Morgan Housel and investment gurus in general.” Robert, I’m going to say Robert Brokamp is one of those.
I assume you’re going to agree with this. But in general, “suggest having a cash cushion or emergency fund of savings that would last 3-6 months worth of your living expenses.” Nikhil writes, “I’ve been trying to save up this amount. However, have found myself conflicted. Since I began my saving efforts, the market,” have you all noticed this, “went south. Now, I find it harder to save because I feel the urge to invest in the current market conditions where stocks are down. Instead of saving, I find I keep investing, therefore, not reaching my savings’ goals.
I do not have an imminent need per se,” Nikhil adds, “for an emergency fund, but recognize it is important to say. In closing, I’m curious. Would you guide Fools to stick to the plan and save up, and thereby forego investing in stocks that have been cut in half, or would you advise a Fool to invest regardless and worry about saving once the market is on it’s way up? Curious to get your thoughts, insight, and perspectives. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and thanks for all the great content and efforts of the entire Rule Breaker Investing Team. Sincerely, Nikhil from Davis, California.” Well, thank you for that note, Nikhil. Bro, I’m looking at the world at large and I’m seeing the stock market down. I feel it too, and if I have new money to invest, isn’t this the time we’re being greedy and buying when others are fearful? What are your thoughts in terms of what to prioritize with new money?
Robert Brokamp: But I think it’s hard to understand this whole concept of the emergency fund, and it’s really to protect against two things. Number 1, income disruption, what would happen if something happened to your job, you got laid off, your company went out of business, you got disabled and even if you had insurance, you usually have to pay for 90 days before the policy kicks in. Who’s going to pay those bills if there’s any income disruption? Often that happens when the economy is in a downturn. Do you want to then turn to your stock portfolio to pay those bills, or should you have cash on the side? That’s number 1 reason. The other reason is, if you have a big unexpected expense, some major thing happens to your car or your house, although anecdotally I’ll tell you what often happens is a series of things like you had a higher-than-expected medical bill than a car repair, your AC goes out and then you did your taxes, and you realize it you didn’t have enough withheld.
David Gardner: Wait, are you saying bad things come in threes?
Robert Brokamp: Threes or fours, but often threes, yes, this is true.
David Gardner: Keep going.
Robert Brokamp: [laughs] Again, what are you going to do if that happens? Now, we talk about having it in cash, but awfully, what we really mean is an account that’s liquid and accessible because many Americans, if not most of Americans, are doing most of the investing in IRAs or 401ks. If you need the money as an emergency you either can’t depending on your 401k, or you can but you pay taxes and the 10 percent penalty if you’re not 59.5. It is important to have this other money on the side that will not go down and is easily accessible. Now, how much should you have though? The question is really to ask yourself, what happens if this happens to be? What happens if I lose my job, and I’m the primary breadwinner and I have a mortgage and three kids and a car payment? Then you probably should have some money safely set aside.
On the other hand, if you’re single, you’re younger, you don’t have the mortgage, you don’t have the kids, you could move in with mom and dad if it was OK, maybe you’re fine not having much of an emergency fund. Now, you can if you have a significant taxable brokerage account, and say you know what? I’m going to turn to that if I have an emergency. Even if my stocks are down, my brokerage account is big enough so that even if it’s down 20-30 percent and I needed an emergency, I’m OK doing that. Might be able to do some tax-loss harvesting at that point. Maybe that’s fine for you. The worst scenario is you don’t have any of this liquid money. Something happens because then people turn to credit cards where the average rate is 17 percent. Many of them it’s over 20 percent. Then if you’re in a situation to putting 5, 10, $20,000 in a credit card because maybe you lost your job, you don’t get a new job soon and then that’s really putting you behind the eight ball in terms of your finances.
David Gardner: That’s great. I admit to rather mechanically saying things like emergency fund over the years and three months or six months, I admit to doing that, but what you’re helping us do is to look at the larger context that surrounds that. Not everybody is three months or six months is the same as somebody else’s both in terms of how much we need, how much we’re spending, but also maybe we have a partner or spouse making twice what we make. Maybe it’s not such a big deal. It is contextual. So much of course, of financial planning is contextual. Robert, that’s why people hire financial planners so that they can have a plan that’s their plan. I assume while I’m not one and I’ve never played one on TV, the best financial planners aren’t just giving a cookie cutter solution, selling their firm stuff, certainly they’re out there, but the best ones really do know your context and create a plan around that. Am I right?
Robert Brokamp: You’re absolutely right. We talk about risk tolerance a lot when it comes to investing. How much of the ups and downs of my portfolio can I stand or of an individual stock? But you can also look at risk tolerance in your overall financial picture. If you are someone who’s willing to say, you know what? I’m going to invest as much as I can and if an emergency happens, I have these other steps I can take that maybe the typical financial planner wouldn’t approve of, but I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to turn to my portfolio, my brokerage account, and sell stocks while they’re down if I have to. I might even be willing to borrow from my 401k, I might be willing to borrow from my parents. Whatever it is, you just have to have a plan B and a plan C and determine what’s right for you.
David Gardner: Nikhil, Jane I hope that was helpful for you. We’re delighted that you took the time to reach out and ask that question because you’re right, Nikhil, that is asked by many and the answer is important and talk about important answers. Robert, let’s move on to Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 5. Now, I kicked off the podcast this week with the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. This is an agony of defeat story. It comes from our friend Fergus Colin, longtime Fool member. It’s not his own defeat. You’ve already read this. In fact, it was written to you, Robert, but I really want to share this with all of our listeners because it makes such an important point. There’s a little bit of a carpe diem thing happening with Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 5 from Fergus Colin. “David, I recently attended a memorial service, couldn’t help myself. As the first speaker took the podium, I thought about Priya Parker’s admonition from The Art of Gathering, which you have highlighted that one should never start a funeral with logistics.
I listened for it and I’m glad to report that in this case that advice was followed.” Brief pause. Awesome. Delighted to know that Priya Parker, of course, with her book, The Art of Gathering on Authors in August from a few years back. What a wonderful book, highly recommended to everybody and yes, the title of one of the chapters, Never Start a Funeral With Logistics. She’s pointing out the importance of seizing the moment and making sure that first moment at the start of an important event, for example, a funeral don’t lead off by saying now, “if you’re a license plate is LMB643 Missouri plate. By the way, thank you-all for being here. Phil would have loved to be here, but we already missed Phil. Anyway, your lights are on in the second story of the parking garage.” That is definitely not the way Priya would say to start any funeral. I’m delighted Fergus that it didn’t start that way, but here comes some agony of defeat. “But the reason I write,” Fergus writes, “is because the deceased was just 48-years-old and died without a will or a guide to his accounts, he was twice divorced and left behind three children across the two marriages; two minors, and one who had just turned 18 a few months earlier.” Here’s the kicker. That makes the 18-year-old the next of kin.
He becomes the legal administrator of the estate. He is charged with acting as a fiduciary for his two younger half siblings, one of whom is a first grader. He had to sign the form authorizing the cremation of his father’s body. It’s a lot to dump on an 18-year-old who just graduated from high school last month and who’s own bank account is still a custodial one. It is a scenario that simply hadn’t cross any of our minds because, hey, who expects a 48-year-old to drop dead? Fergus writes, “I’d been totting myself about writing a will and putting together a packet with all the information survivors need in the event I die suddenly, financial accounts, logins, passwords. Fergus writes, don’t forget your Apple ID. What prompted me to do it finally was a Motley Fool podcast in which Robert Brokamp reminded listeners that it is so easy to procrastinate about writing a will. So easy to rationalize about how there’s plenty of time for that later, until in a snap of the fingers it’s too late.” Fergus closes, “Now, in addition to grieving and delivering a eulogy, an 18-year-old is left with a mess to clean up, no breadcrumb trail to follow. His first act was to pay the mortgage on his late father’s duplex a week late.
By the time we figured out who had it, how much it was where there was any money to pay it, oh, yeah the 18-year-old has tenants. Fortunately, one of the ex-wife’s still had the bank account login information which her late ex had not changed. The checking account is down to about $500, so stuff has to get figured out pretty quick. My message is, it is our responsibility as adults not to let this happen to those we leave behind. Memento mori,” Fergus writes, “remember that you must die. If you don’t have a will and a folder with everything someone will need to know, get on it. Thank you,” he concludes, “Robert Brokamp, signed Fergus Colin.” Bro, a lot of us can thank you for years, not just through The Motley Fool Answers podcast, the things that you do for members at member events, the articles you’ve written, the services you’ve overseen, you have invade against us, of course. You’re such a nice guy that you’re never going to be the old cranky guy who says, “Do this.” But I assume it hurts you as much or more than anybody listening, nobody hurts like that 18-year-old to hear that story. Robert, your thoughts?
Robert Brokamp: Well, unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon. The majority of Americans actually do not have a will, and the will is just the beginning. The will is step 1. Many people should also have trusts so that assets will bypass probate. Probate’s a legal process by which property gets transferred from a deceased person to the heirs. It’s sometimes can take years for that to happen. My father-in-law died of COVID in April, 2020. I’m the executor and I still have not been able to settle the will, frankly, because he didn’t set things up very well, so that money is locked up until I can settle it. Then buddy Fergus also points out something very important, the bread crumbs to all the other stuff. You can do a complete estate plan, but it’s going to be of no use unless someone knows where it is. What I have done is I have my sister as executor, sister-in-law as backup executor. They have received an email, they know where this is and it has a picture of where I have hidden this document, so they know where to find. Now, if the house burns down we’re in trouble.
David Gardner: Not just written instructions, but you’ve literally taken a picture of it?
Robert Brokamp: Yes. They know exactly where to find this.
David Gardner: Brilliant.
Robert Brokamp: It’s all the other stuff. Where are all the accounts? Where are all the professionals that you should consult, if you need help? What are the passcodes? Where are their safe deposit boxes? Where are the insurance policies? All of that stuff should be in one document in an easy file path, especially for this poor 18-year-old. I do want to point out that no, I’m not a lawyer and this does depend on states. But first of all, generally speaking, you can’t be made to be someone’s executor. So this 18-year-old could say, I don’t want to do it and then the state find somebody else. Now, I bet this 18-year-old feels obligated to do it and that’s fine. The 18-year-old could also hire professionals to help him, lawyers, accountants. It won’t be cheap, but it’s paid for by the estate. Now as this estate seems very cash illiquid, they have only $500 left in the account and that happens too, because all the assets get locked up in the estate and there’s no money to spend. There’s all these things you have to think through, which is why while we at The Motley Fool generally believe you can be a do-it-yourself investor, you should not be a do-it-yourself estate planner. You really do need to find a qualified attorney who’s experienced in a state planning in your state to help with all this stuff.
David Gardner: Robert, I’ve often heard that you gave this statistic, the vast majority of Americans die without a will. Often, I think it’s been pointed out that many don’t have that much. Not everybody has savings or things that are worthy of trusts. That of course, is sad to think on its own and in part why I love the mission of The Motley Fool Foundation, which is financial freedom for all. That’s a long-term quest, it won’t happen in my lifetime, but that’s what we’re striving toward. But even when somebody doesn’t have that much as they die, you just pointed out they have lots of other things. Password logins, their information, maybe their last wishes, all of these things, regardless of even financial assets, these are all part of I think living a complete life. My hope is that through Fergus’ note, a beautiful note, a sad agony of defeat reflection.
But I hope that a lot of people are hearing you right now and hearing us and thinking, I really do need to do that. I want to raise my hand first and say, I have done a lot of the financial things that you’re referring to, but I still at the age of 56, I have not really provided good instructions yet I think around my digital life for my wife or my family. If somebody’s trying to look up or find something, I haven’t put my passwords out there to anybody. These are things that I really do need to do. Fergus, thank you for the reminder for many of us. Well, of course, I love Robert that he closed by thanking you, I thank you as well. Always great to have you back on this podcast. Any summer thought or wisdom you want to share or wish for the world at large, as you part here after two wonderful mailbag items?
Robert Brokamp: I have to say it’s not a summer thought, it’s a follow-on to what we just talked about. That is, what a lot of people end up fighting about when someone passes away is not the 401k or the bank account, it’s stuff, family heirlooms, and then directions about what will happen with the body. I’m not sure I’m getting these stories completely right. But I seem to recall that when the radio broadcaster Casey Kasem passed away, there was a big disagreement over what should be done with his body, so it stayed in basically a morgue for a long time. Then when Robin Williams passed away, his children and his I think third wife disagreed over a lot of just items, including things like watches and underwear. You do want to have a system in your estate plan for how that gets resolved. What my mom has done and my mom is now 83, has said, “Okay, what do you want? Is there something particular of mine that you want that I can put in the will?” Then after that, we basically have a round robin system by which we take turns picking things. Now, I hope we don’t need this for another 20 years. But my mom has thought that through because I don’t care about her bank account, but I do care about the bells that used to belong to my grandfather that my mom now owns.
David Gardner: Beautiful. Well, it’s a story that every one of us is connected to so many other lives, so it’s a story that’ll just keep recurring. The earlier that we can get better at telling that story and being the hero of that story for our family and friends, the better off the world. Great to be with you, Bro, thanks.
Robert Brokamp: My pleasure, David.
David Gardner: Onto Rule Breaker Mailbag item Number 6. I gave you the agony of defeat, it’s time for some thrill of victory. Erick Devore, thank you for this note. This is actually written to Bill Mann, John Rotonti, Tim Beyers, and me. But since he sent it to the Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag, I will be happy to share it. Erick, you wrote, “I just wanted to write you four personally and share with you some incredibly good news. I’ve been signed, its official. As of this morning, it’s been announced by my agent and her firm, Defiant Talent Management.” Erick provides URL, I’ll mention that in a sec. Now, let me pause for a sec. Erick is a longtime Fool, listener of this podcast and Motley Fool Live, etc., which is why he knows many different Fool personalities and is calling out some of them in this note. Erick, you are somebody who’s incredibly talented at music, you’ve written lots of scores and bits for movies, video games, trailers, etc.
You’ve also shared a lot of your story on and off with this mailbag over the years, how hard it was at different points during the pandemic for you with all kinds of things shutting down. Mental health a real concern, not just for you or for me, but for so many. In fact, I think that’s been a real important focus for us at The Motley Fool. We have hundreds of employees that means hundreds of different stories, different contexts and situations for people working from home in many cases. Boy, mental health hasn’t come to the fore for us as a company, we’ve often reflected. It’s not just talking about stocks or a market mindset. I try to do this on Rule Breaker Investing. We’re talking about life as well, how you navigate it as successfully as possible, how do you find happiness operating out of your sage, etc. Erick, you’ve been an avid listener and contributor back, so I’m so happy for you that you’ve got signed by that talent firm for your work. I’m going to continue Erick’s note.
I’m writing to give each of you my sincerest thanks for getting me through one of the most difficult periods of my life and professional career. I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders, there are clear skies ahead looking West,” he writes. Of course, thank you for that, Erick, “and the world is as bright as it’s ever been for my professional journey and all this after a complete mental, physical, and professional bottom courtesy of the pandemic. Frankly, it’s shocking I was able to invest as much as I did during that time. It’s still boggles my mind,” Erick continues, “that The Motley Fool as a stock-picking service was able to help me with my mental health confidence and yes, musicality as a composer. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t be the artist I am without the interactions and support I’ve received from some Fools.
Even if the brief Twitter interactions were small, sometimes trivial, and the Zoom calls or The Motley Fool Live appearances or the mindset sessions were few, it was wonderful to get to know all of you virtually.” In this case, I think he’s writing not just to us four, but to you dear listener, maybe you Twitter user, you who might have brightened Erick’s life with something that you posted, or listening in on mailbags to a little bit of his story. He goes on, “One thing is for sure I’ve found my positive third space in Fool Live and the Rule Breaker Investing podcasts, you all should be incredibly proud of the community you’ve created with us members. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with the Fool,” I hear Star Trek vibes there, “and can’t thank you enough for just being yourselves.
Hopefully, one of these days I’ll be able to meet you all at an event, give you a proper handshake, some thanks in-person. Until then, just keep swimming,” Erick writes, “and Fool on gentlemen, if anyone’s ever in LA, kindly let me know. My best, Erick Devore.” Now, I’m going to give Erick’s website in case anybody is curious to see what his work looks like. It’s Erick spelled E-R-I-C-K, and Devore is D-E-V-O-R-E, .com. Happy to give you a plug, hope it leads to even more business for you in future. Looking over your work, Erick, I feel like good things should have come to you and I’m glad that they have come to you sharing a little bit about your bio. You’re a composer, music producer, multi-instrumentalist based in LA. You started your career at Hans Zimmer, one of my favorite soundtrack composers, at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions. While there, Erick arranged, programmed, and composed projects including Transformers 3, Battleship, Gangster Squad, Pain & Gain, Desperate Housewives, and two Gears of War games, I’m pretty sure I played them both for Epic Games. Erick also programmed and arranged DreamWorks’ feature film Need for Speed and NBC Universal’s Crossbones.
He wrote additional music for the dystopian drama Colony, which I enjoyed at least a half-season of, and Epic Games’ instant classic Fortnite. Just to brag on this fellow Fool a little bit more, Erick’s music has been featured in marketing campaigns for projects such as Thor: Love and Thunder, Ambulance, Star Trek: Prodigy, The Lion King, Invisible Man, Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, Ad Astra, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, and the list goes on. Anyway, Erick Devore, yes, in life there are more than one instance, agony of defeat. We’ve certainly felt it as stock market investors over the last year or so, but that’s what makes the thrill of victory even sweeter. Very happy to share your note in part because of what you’re sharing here, which is that we’re building a community, that’s what The Motley Fool has always been. It’s not just the stock pick or where we think the market’s headed, it’s about your life, it’s about being successful in investing and business and life.
That’s where I’ve tried to focus this podcast and so much of my own effort and it’s just a delight to be in a community with so many wonderful Fools like you. Congratulations, Erick Devore. Let’s finish it out with Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag, Item Number 7, this from Charles Fick. Thank you for this lovely note, Charles. “Dear, David, I began learning more about investing in October 2020. I found The Motley Fool in the summer of 2021. When I discovered Rule Breaker Investing, it felt like coming home. You could say I’ve been a Fool for a long time as I was the homecoming court jester my senior year of high school, I have journeyed the eight years of your podcast in one and now I have this odd experience of having to wait for the next episode to come out. I greatly appreciate your blend of humor, candor, truth-telling, optimism, and wisdom, I have learned so much. Thank you.” Well, wow, thank you, Charles, I’m totally honored by that. He continues, “I started putting real money in the market around November 2020, so timing-wise, I was a fool. I’ve lost about 50 percent of what I’ve put in. But your constant encouragement to play the long game and the bear markets like this are normal has kept me hopeful. The episode on The Day the Market Crashed with Chris Hill may be my all-time favorite just because the timing was so brilliant.
My motivation for investing is a bit unique, I think. I’m a father of three sons, two with autism spectrum disorder and the services and opportunities I want to provide for them are the primary motivation for my investing. Someday I dream of financial freedom for them so we can get whatever they need to flourish. I know it will take a while and it’s hard to wait, but I just wanted to send this note to let you know how much your podcast and The Motley Fool have helped me this last year, and since you love poems, I thought I’d try a Haiku to close.” There are different ways of defining a haiku, it’s no doubt Charles knows, many of my listeners will, but the 5-7-5 is the classic number of syllables. I’ll just point out in advance of sharing this that Charles has it nailed with 5-7-5. This is very kind and very brief, let me share it and then some final thoughts. Charles, you wrote, “David taught me this, invest in excellence. Wait, the future is bright.” He signs it, “Fool-on, a smarter, happier, and in 3-5 years, hopefully, richer, Charles.” Well, in many ways, that’s a perfect capper for this week’s podcast because there’s some agony of defeat in here and some thrill of victory.
The agony of defeat is very clear to all of us, especially for Charles and so many who started investing right near the top of the market. November 2020, things have not been pretty over the last year-and-a-half. I so feel for you Charles and so many other people who, whether it was The Motley Fool they’ve found, or Bloomberg or CNBC or some broker, whoever it was, who got you started investing, unfortunately, we can now look back and see that wasn’t great timing. But then, again, we’ve never tried to time, one of the old sauce that we tried out on this podcast and across Motley Fool properties on a regular basis, it’s time in the market, not timing the market. If I had to time the market, I wouldn’t be very good. I started investing in 1984, just a couple of years, three years actually, before Black Monday, the October 1987 stock market crash, so I can certainly relate.
In our 30 years of running The Motley Fool, we’ve seen horrible markets in 2001, 2008, and 2009, and I would say here 2021, 2022 as well. That is the agony of defeat and it’s very clear, but Charles, your note of hope, your realization that it’s not about the last year, it’s not about any given year, it’s about a commitment over your life to the markets as an investor and specifically for you, it’s about the reason that you’re investing. When I did my Six Principles of a Rule Breaker Portfolio, one of them encourages each of us to ask that question, why am I investing? I’ve even urged you to name your portfolio if you like, dear listener, because that will keep you centered on the purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Charles, in particular, you have a very specific and beautiful purpose for your family. I trust one day that financial freedom will be there for you and I hope for your ilk, you certainly deserve it because of the hard work you’re putting in. Even though I too can say I’ve been about cut in half and this is money that you and I have earned over the years and it doesn’t feel good at all to watch it go down in value, I think you know that math is on our side, kindness and math are two of the most powerful forces on earth and I think we have both of them as tailwinds for our actions. Charles Fick, thank you for a beautiful Haiku, thank you for your note which does provide some agony of defeats, certainly, which I can empathize with as well having felt it myself. But a reminder that that will make the thrill of victory all the sweeter.
David Gardner has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Holly Fake has positions in The Trade Desk. Robert Brokamp, CFP(R) has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Tim Beyers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bandwidth Inc., Lululemon Athletica, The Trade Desk, and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.