I started my investing around 1995. I literally would go back and forth from the library to check on stocks that I bought, trying to keep track of how much they were. The internet connect at home was so slow that I couldn’t do anything without waiting through a long screeching delay that most people with dial-up connections from that time can hear as you read this.

The platforms at that time were online brokerages that started offering discounted trades. That definitely wasn’t good for a friend of mine that went from making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to making nothing – because he lost his job.

I have tried to avoid investing over the past decade or so, in part because most of the investments I make are not great. I joke that if I am thinking about buying a stock, you should sell it.

About a year ago, I put my feet back in the water and bought about $120 of a company called MoviePass. After missing out on the meteoric rise of Netflix, I figured it was worth the bet. It became abundantly clear soon after the investment that the management of the company was not making good decisions and the company was headed in the wrong direction. The stock ended up losing all of its value – going to $0 and I lost the entire $120.

I wasn’t upset though because I didn’t buy a lot. I’ve signed up for a couple of other platforms including:

Robinhood – an app that offered me a sign-up bonus of $5. Whoohoo.

WeBull – also an app that offered me a sign-up bonus. This time 6 stocks valued at $8 or more. I have yet to receive the last 2 stocks but after depositing $100, I now have a portfolio valued about about $140.

CashApp – I signed up for this because someone wanted to pay me some money and it was the best option for that. In the app, I noticed I can also buy and sell bitcoin though I don’t see a way to track transactions so that could be a difficult app to use if I make more than a couple of buys and sells.

Coinbase – I signed up for coinbase mainly as a place to keep my crypto. I have been able to log in and monitor the transactions and while I haven’t purchased any more crypto, I do have a portfolio of couple hundred dollars. If crypto goes through the roof in price, I’ll have a small chunk.

eToro – I downloaded this app but haven’t used it yet. The idea behind it is that I can follow other traders who have a good record on the platform. When they buy, I can replicate those transactions, and cross my fingers hoping they continue to be successful. I might try $100 on there also.


I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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