My First Year Trading Stocks with Robinhood

Written by Zac Vineyard in Business

I want to make one thing clear: I never really thought I would be trading stocks on my own. I do get a little advice from a financial adviser, but running my own portfolio was always something I figured would be run for me, not by me. That being said, I've become a huge fan of Robinhood, and my experience keeps getting better.

Year One

I started using Robinhood when I got beta access in December of 2014. I immediately made a few investments in long-term stocks. Because of a new Robinhood integration, you can see my portfolio percentages on Openfolio. You'll see that most of my portfolio is dedicated to large-cap ETFs and technology stocks like MSFT and AAPL. I've made some good trades and some bad trades, but overall have kept on track with my primary goal: 3 to 5 year minimum investments and long-term positions in growing stocks.

Hiccups

There are a few things that really have thrown a wrench in my investments. This first is this: I shouldn't have invested in the oil commodity ETF UWTI until it was certain that oil commodity prices were going to rebound. I think it is clear that any investment in oil commodities is a bad idea until OPEC changes their current policy toward inventory building. As soon as that announcement is made, I think it will be time to buy. I do feel a little trapped with my current UWTI investment, but I think there is a still "buy when the price is low" strategy here as long as I can live with the investment over a long term 3-5 years.

Another hiccup I faced (as did every investor) was the devaluation of the Yuan earlier this year. I'm particularly interested in how a Chinese economic slow-down will affect technology stocks into the future. Do you think we could actually see gains in some companies because of this, or is this primarily bad news for companies dependent on Chinese manufacturing?

Positive Progress

I took a position in MSFT earlier this year because of one major cultural change I see in the company: more openness to open-source technology and integration with other platforms. I really do think MSFT has a bright future under the leadership of Satya Nadella. We've seen game-changing decisions by this company, and game-changing designs that are reminiscent of when Apple down-sized the number of products they offered and started producing high-quality hardware. I think MSFT will continue to grow into 2016.

SBUX is another bright spot. The stock split for the 5th time this year and I think it will again in the next few years. The growth potential of this company is enormous, especially if they can keep moving food items over the counter. Price control will be essential, but their digital app and buying experience will, I believe, keep customers engaged with the brand.

Conclusion

I'm excited about my investments and I'm happy to have been part of the first year of Robinhood! 2016 will be the year where I spend more time learning about technical analysis and optimizing my investments for the best performance. Time for a year-end re-balance?