How I Built a $300,000 Stock Portfolio Before 30 (And How You Can Too). My 8-Step Wealth Building Journey

Investing

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Welcome! If this is your first time on my blog, check out these top blog posts, too:

  1. My Interview with Francis Chou
  2. 22 Investing Lessons From Jason Donville
  3. How to Find Tenbaggers
  4. Beating the TSX (BTSX)
  5. How I Pick Winning Stocks
  6. Canadian Capital Compounders
  7. Next Capital Compounders
  8. Small Companies; Big Dreams – Future 60 MicroCaps

***PLUS Email Me Now for a FREE copy of my new book – Capital Compounders***

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How I Built a $300,000 Stock Portfolio Before 30 (And How You Can Too). My 8-Step Wealth Building Journey

youtube_32 >>>You can also listen to my 8-Step Wealth Building Journey on My YouTube Channel

When I was 12 years old I made a decision. I was going to be rich. I looked up to successful people and wanted what they had: financial freedom. They seemed to be happier than everyone else. But who was I kidding? Becoming rich would be an uphill battle. I was from a middle-class family of humble means. There was no trust fund. And my parents didn’t have work connections to land me my first job. The odds were stacked against me. But I still made the decision to be rich and started on my wealth-building journey. And the path I chose to get me there: do-it-yourself investing “DIY Investing”.

Today, I manage a $300,000 stock portfolio. I’m 29 (almost 30). And my stock portfolio grows by the day. My goal is $1,000,000 in stocks by the time I’m 35 years old. I’ll show you my 8-step wealth building journey and share how you can build wealth by investing in stocks too. Read on…

When I was 12 years old I made a decision. I was going to be rich

How I Became a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Investor:

1) Study Successful Investors

I realized that if I wanted to make money by investing in stocks I had to study successful stock investors. Common sense, right? Isaac Newton said it best:

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

So, from age 12 to 18, I read around 50 books on the topic.

These were the six most important investing books for me:

  • The Intelligent Investor – It was through Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor that I was introduced to value investing, and the important concepts of Margin of Safety, Mr. Market, and Intrinsic Value. Warren Buffett called it “the best book on investing ever written”.
  • Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits – Philip Fisher opened up my world to growth stocks. It was after I read Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits that I started paying more for stakes in higher quality, and faster growing businesses.
  • One Up On Wall Street – There are so many easy-to-implement lessons shared in One Up On Wall Street. But what really stuck with me was Peter Lynch’s focus on ‘buying what you know’. That has saved me from many dog stocks in the market.
  • Market Wizards – Jack D. Schwager introduced me to some of America’s top traders in Market Wizards. But instead of telling us their favourite stock picks (what they buy) he explained their investment frameworks (why/how they buy).
  • Buffettology – There are many books that endeavor to explain how Warren Buffett invests in stocks but most come up short. Buffettology is the book that gets it right.
  • The Money Masters – A classic that is fun to read. The Money Masters shares winning strategies from some of the world’s best investors who ever lived. It’s a book that I’ll read every couple of years to brush up on investing essentials.

I would also study Forbes’ list of the 500 Richest People in the World and Canadian Business’ Richest Canadians. It then all became very clear to me. I could become rich by earning money, saving the proceeds, and investing in stocks as other rich people, such as Warren Buffett, had done before me.

It then all became very clear to me. I could become rich by earning money, saving the proceeds, and investing in stocks

2) Earn and Save Money When You Are Young

I had opened my first bank account when I was about 8 years old. As you can imagine there wasn’t much there; cash from birthdays, Christmas, and some chores. Maybe $500 in total from what I can remember. I had to earn/save more money fast! So I did what Warren Buffett had done at my age – delivered newspapers. At 12, I joined PennySaver and became a paperboy for three neighborhoods in my hometown of Mississauga. I deposited each paycheque, along with any other money, straight into my savings account.

3) Understand How to Compound Money

Once I turned 14, and just started high school, my savings account had grown to about $5,000. At that point, I wanted to invest in stocks. But because of my age I wasn’t eligible to open a brokerage account. So I started with bonds. After returning home from the bank, I placed those newly purchased Canadian Savings Bonds into a small but sturdy wooden box, hiding it safely under my bed. I was so proud. I knew that my bonds would generate interest for me on the principal amount ($5,000). “Compound interest is like magic”, I thought. “And the earlier I started investing money the longer my money would compound (‘work’) for me”. Throughout high school, I would work several odd-jobs (mechanic shop janitor, meat department clerk, and Best Buy associate), all the while saving money from each paycheque, and then buying more bonds to further compound my money.

“Compound interest is like magic”, I thought. “And the earlier I started investing money the longer my money would compound (‘work’) for me”

4) Invest in Stocks for the Long Run

I turned 18, and was ready to enter University (party time! — NOT). In September, 2005, I moved into my “cozy” on-campus dorm room at the University of Waterloo. But even more exciting was that I finally opened my first brokerage account. By investing in stocks I could compound returns through both capital appreciation (i.e., stock price goes up) and dividend income (i.e., quarterly dividends from companies). I had already cashed out of my bonds; $10,000. So I invested that money evenly into 5 stocks, owning a $2,000 stake in each company. I felt like a true capitalist. This is how my idols, Benjamin Graham, Philip Fisher, Peter Lynch, and Warren Buffett, got rich; by investing in stocks. As I earned money though UW co-op job placements (which I recommend to every young person!), and bought more stocks, my portfolio grew, and grew, and grew. I was on top of the world. And then the financial crisis (’08) happened…

By investing in stocks I could compound returns through both capital appreciation (i.e., stock price goes up) and dividend income (i.e., quarterly dividends from companies)

5) Capitalize on Crises in the Market (i.e., Buy Low When You Can)

I was 21 years old when the entire world ended in 2008 (or so most people thought at the time). The financial crisis thrust economies around the world into recession. Stock markets collapsed. And my stock portfolio imploded. I suffered around a 50% decline from peak to trough. The financial press was all doom and gloom. “Sell! Sell! Sell!” Most people were scared and converted their stocks to cash. So I invested all of my savings into my existing stock holdings (crazy, right?). When I pulled the trigger I was scared stiff. But I’m glad I made that move as my stocks would soon rebound, pushing above pre-financial crisis highs into the years to come. I bought quality stocks on sale. 50% off! Was I a young genius; able to time the market? Nope. I simply learned from Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, that economies and markets operate in cycles. Therefore, an investor could capitalize on manic markets, rather than become fearful and flee.

When I pulled the trigger I was scared stiff. But I’m glad I made that move as my stocks would soon rebound, pushing above pre-financial crisis highs

Indeed, 2009 was a great year to be a value investor. I would make a similar move in February, 2016 to capitalize on a bear market in Canadian stocks where the TSX declined close to -25% from its high in September, 2014. Why so confident? I know that the average bear market (on the TSX) has declined -28%, lasting 9 months, while the average bull market has advanced +124%, lasting 50 months. Based on this historical evidence then since 1956, I should eventually be rewarded in the long run when I take on “risk” (i.e., investing in cheaper stocks) during bear markets. As Warren Buffett said:

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

6) Manage and Refine Your Stock Portfolio

In 2010, upon graduating from the University of Waterloo, I had about $50,000 in my stock portfolio. More money than any of my friends. This was certainly an inflection point for me as the magic of compounding started to take real effect and I was just about to enter a full time career and earn a much bigger paycheque (plus bonus), which meant more money for stocks. By 2013, three years into my first full time job, my portfolio had grown to about $125,000. However, I realized that I could build wealth faster if I compounded returns at a greater rate. So, at 25, I made it my mission to build a portfolio that actually beat the market. I started watching BNN Market Call, re-reading the best investing books, and magazines (Money Sense, Canadian MoneySaver, and Canadian Business) and following the top investors from around the world. From that I re-structured my portfolio into one that I’ve comfortably maintained since.

Here’s how my stock portfolio breaks-down:

  • Mispriced Large Caps
  • Speculative Takeovers
  • Small/Mid-Cap Capital Compounders

Mispriced Large Caps

For example, I started loading up on Starbucks stock in 2008 at around $15/share, at a time when Starbucks was oversaturating themselves in the market, with most “experts” doubting their strategy of selling high-priced coffee, especially with the financial crisis looming, and new entrants in the coffee business, such as McDonalds. However, when I bought Starbucks stock, after their huge decline on the market, I never witnessed a drop in traffic among the stores nearby me. Starbucks had huge competitive advantage then and now. I thought, “If Starbucks goes out of business, that’s probably when the world will end”. And, seriously, do you think business people would ever switch their coffee meetings from Starbucks to McDonalds?

Speculative Takeovers

I also dabble in speculative takeovers. When Lowe’s first bid for Rona fell through, I bought a stake in Rona, and just sat on the position. I speculated that Lowe’s, or another company (maybe Home Depot), would eventually scoop up Rona, with the Quebec Government’s approval of course. When Lowe’s came back years later, bid on Rona a second time, and won approval to buy them out, my Rona shares shot up ~100% in one day. Well worth the wait.

Small/Mid-Cap Capital Compounders

But the most successful ‘bucket’ in my portfolio is the Small/Mid-Cap Capital Compounders. Why? I find that as long as the intrinsic value of these businesses grow every year, so does the price of the stock. I’m actually upset when one of my ‘capital compounder’ stocks get bought out, because most of the time there’s so much more potential for growth. It forces me to go out hunting for an equally remarkable capital compounder to replace the buy-outs. You can learn more about the criteria I look for in capital compounder stocks by reading How I Pick Winning Stocks.

7) Stick to Your Investment Strategy

From my ‘quarter life crisis’ (age 25) and onwards, I continue to earn, save, and invest in stocks using the same strategy. Now, at age 29, I have built a $300,000 stock portfolio. With a bigger capital base, it’s amazing how much more rapidly my portfolio can compound. For example, a 10% return will thrust my portfolio to $330,000 next year, without adding additional capital. I say “10%” because over the long run (since 1934), the TSX has delivered a 9.8% annual compound return, despite recessions, bear markets, and world crises. But there’s no guarantee. Nevertheless, $1,000 invested in the Canadian index in 1934 would have grown to $1,595,965 by 2014 with 9.8% compound returns. That’s “magic”, in my world.

$1,000 invested in the Canadian index in 1934 would have grown to $1,595,965 by 2014 with 9.8% compound returns. That’s “magic”, in my world.

8) Always Learn and Grow as An Investor

My DIY investing journey has been fulfilling so far. But I also know that I can further improve my odds of success by continuously learning, and improving my investing craft. This is why I recently met with some of Canada’s Top Investors. 28 in total. Those Top Investors told me how they invest in stocks, bonds, and options; sharing their proven investing strategies. It was enlightening. So I decided to put all of their investment advice into a book – Market Masters. You can now purchase Market Masters in Chapters, Indigo, and Coles stores across Canada as well as online on Amazon.ca and Indigo.ca.

I recently met with some of Canada’s Top Investors. 28 in total. Those Top Investors told me how they invest in stocks, bonds, and options; sharing their proven investing strategies.

My 8-Step Wealth Building Journey (Re-cap):

1) Study Successful Investors

2) Earn and Save Money When You Are Young

3) Understand How to Compound Money

4) Invest in Stocks for the Long Run

5) Capitalize on Crises in the Market (i.e., Buy Low When You Can)

6) Manage and Refine Your Stock Portfolio

7) Stick to Your Investment Strategy

8) Always Learn and Grow as An Investor

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If this is your first time on my blog, check out these top blog posts, too:

  1. My Interview with Francis Chou
  2. 22 Investing Lessons From Jason Donville
  3. How to Find Tenbaggers
  4. Beating the TSX (BTSX)
  5. How I Pick Winning Stocks
  6. Canadian Capital Compounders
  7. Next Capital Compounders
  8. Small Companies; Big Dreams – Future 60 MicroCaps

***PLUS Email Me Now for a FREE copy of my new book – Capital Compounders***

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MarketMasters

Robin Speziale is the national bestselling author of Market Masters, which is available at Chapters, Indigo, and Coles as well as Costco and Amazon.ca. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. Learn more about Market Masters.

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My Portfolio Update (Nov 27)

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*** I originally sent this newsletter issue to my 4,000 subscribers on November 27, 2018 ***

/// Grab a copy of my new book – Capital Compounders ///

It’s interesting how quickly market sentiment can turn. We’ve gone from hot to cold seemingly overnight. My stock portfolio has dropped in value and I’m sure yours has too. Currently, there’s lots of pessimism in stock markets around the world – Canada, U.S., Europe, India, China, and pretty much everywhere else. We’re in the midst of a correction with ~10%+ declines from highs among the S&P 500, DJIA, TSX Composite, and other indexes. My Facebook Group, YouTube Channel, and other platforms’ activity has gone down. All I can hear are crickets.

Some say that this is the start of a long bear market, and that declines will continue from here, “so you should sell all of your stocks”. Rising rates, punishing trade wars, and ballooning debt loads are among the worries. Plus we’re around 10 years into what many so-called experts call a “prolonged bull market”. The worries are warranted, and should not be completely discounted. It can be scary. My Mom even texted me last week, asking “what is going on with my investment account…it keeps going down”. Don’t worry, Mom. Times like these excite me; let me explain…

I’ve never regretted pumping more money into stocks when the broad market was in decline, and sentiment was gloomy. During the decline it’s scary and feels downright stupid to invest more into my existing holdings, but in hindsight it’s always been the right decision. I’ve never called the exact bottoms, and if I did I would be on a beach somewhere, but this is how you build wealth in the stock market; it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Over the past couple of days, I pored over the latest quarterly reports of my existing stock holdings, and added money to the companies that posted solid results with unchanged guidance, but still suffered a 10% – 40% drop in their stock prices. In the future, I’ll know whether I made the right decision. And if the market declines further from here, I’ll look to add more capital. It’s impossible to time the market. That’s what I’ve accepted; I don’t know where the market is going in the short term, but I do know that that it’s going up in the long term. I’m an optimist. But I’m also a realist; not all of my stock picks will be winners, and that’s ok.

You might be at that point too where you don’t know where the market is heading from here. You’re contemplating whether or not you should add more money to your existing stocks, and wondering if there’s other discounted opportunities out there. If you have picked up my new book, Capital Compounders, flip to Chapter 20: My Universe of Growth Stocks. In this chapter, you might find some ideas that you’d like to conduct more research on.

I wish you well out there. Investing can be tough, but the more years you’re in the stock market, the more desensitized you become to the declines, and the more aware you are about the ability to compound wealth faster if you stay invested, buying at depressed levels. Most people understand this truth, especially the older readers. But while there’s lots of smart people out there, from doctors to lawyers, not everyone can stomach the market, and most people just want to become a gazillionaire overnight. That’s not going to happen.

Some dip their toe into the stock market, and quickly jump out. Others are perpetually scared and will never try to swim. That’s why when someone new to investing asks me what to do in the beginning, I always tell them: “lose money early; develop thick skin”. They think I’m crazy but that’s the best lesson that I cannot teach them. After one loses money, and then later develops their own investment strategy, including what stocks to buy in their universe, making money in the market becomes easier, but not easy.

Plant seeds, and water the trees. Invest for the long run and you will build wealth.

Regards, and happy investing,

Robin

*** I originally sent this newsletter issue to my 4,000 subscribers on November 27, 2018 ***

Audiobook Giveaway (9 Free Audible Codes) – Capital Compounders

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Capital Compounders is now available as an audiobook, releasing worldwide on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon (November 14, 2018).

In my book, you’ll learn how to beat the market and make money investing in growth stocks.

In celebration, I’m giving away nine (9) Audible codes, for free download of the audiobook. It’s first come, first serve:

TPFSWMGB4P9UJ
C9HF8ZJYU25DS
7CNX2P4AC846T
YNTSC2XQ8N2HM
DEENZ8N6K4T3J
YNSNJTQ34TT3M
MPX3KGE26Z5AZ
LALAWTF6Y9DPS
M5FFD554S89KW

Instructions:

1. Go to my book’s page on Audible.com: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07K6W8H1F

2. Add the audiobook to your cart

3. If you are prompted to sign in, please create a new Audible.com account or log in.

4. Go to https://www.audible.com/at/redeem. Enter the promo code and click “Redeem” to receive a credit for the title in your cart.

5. Head back to your cart. Make sure the button that says “1 Credit” is selected and that your subtotal reads $0.00 dollars.

6. You may proceed through the checkout by clicking “Proceed to Checkout” and “Complete purchase” on the subsequent page.

Update

Investing
  • Capital Compounders reached #1 Hot New Release in its first week (November 4th – 11th)
  • Audiobook is now available through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, so you can listen to the book anywhere
  • Virtually all Public Libraries across Canada have the book on order
  • Some Universities and Colleges are starting to place orders
  • Signed a distribution deal in India, and so Flipkart will soon carry and sell the book in India
  • Famous investor, Mohnish Pabrai, picked up a copy to read
  • You can order Capital Compounders anywhere worldwide; Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, Book Depository, Books-a-Million, and soon – Flipkart
  • The eBook is still a complimentary download on http://CapitalCompounders.com

Get Together in Toronto – Nov 24, 2018

Investing

/// ​Join me and other DIY Investors in Toronto on November 24th 8:00pm at Fynn’s of Temple Bar (489 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4) ///

Hey — are you available on Saturday, November 24th?

I’m hosting a Get Together in Toronto, along with the guys from the Don’t F*ck With Donville, and Be Smart Rich Blogs. I’m sure it’ll be a fun night, filled with good drinks, discussion, and new connections among local DIY Investors like you who will be joining us there. Meet us at Fynn’s of Temple Bar (489 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4) on November 24th 8:00pm. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

I’ll also be signing, and giving away a couple of copies of my new book –Capital Compounders. If you haven’t picked up your copy, you can grab it on AmazonCapital Compounders made it to #1 Hot New Investing Release within its first week, thanks to everyone who has already picked up the book for themselves, and in some cases their friends, and family too.

One reader recently left this review on Amazon:

“This book [Capital Compounders] is so good I ordered a copy for my son and my nephew, 2 of my favorite people”

I honestly wrote the book that I wish I had read when I first started out in the stock market. I really think that you’ll enjoy Capital Compounders.

More Updates:

  • Audiobook will be available soon through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes
  • Virtually all Public Libraries across Canada have the book on order
  • Some Universities and Colleges are starting to place orders
  • Signed a distribution deal in India, and so Flipkart will soon carry the book
  • Famous investor, Mohnish Pabrai, picked up a copy to read
  • You can order the book anywhere worldwide; Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, Book Depository, Books-a-Million, and soon – Flipkart
  • The eBook is still a complimentary download on CapitalCompounders.com

If you can come out to the Get Together on Nov 24th – mark your calendar!

Regards, and happy investing,

Robin

(If you want to chat, email me atr.speziale@gmail.com)

Announcement: The New Book for DIY Investors – Capital Compounders: How to Beat the Market and Make Money Investing in Growth Stocks

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/// ​Announcement: My New Paperback Book – Capital Compounders – officially releases worldwide in stores and online today, and subscribers (you) get a complimentary copy of the eBook. Go to CapitalCompounders.com and download (PDF, 289 pages). ///

Do you dream about stocks all day, every day? When you’re driving to work. When you’re vacuuming. When you’re out shopping. It’s ok… me too. I’m a DIY Investor just like you, and I think we’re a special breed. You and I pore over quarterly reports, and screen for new stocks, while others track sports stats. It’s what we like to do.

Really good days in the market elate us, while terrible down days can deflate us. Yes – this can sometimes be a very lonely, solitary pursuit. We’ll doubt ourselves. But who else do you know can stomach watching their portfolio seemingly collapse, like in the most recent correction? We do. You and I endure the ups and downs because we know that in the long run we will build wealth. Besides, if the stock market were that easy; hipsters, hobos, and hairdressers would be rich.

But this is also a fun game for us. It’s like a big treasure hunt. We want to be the ones who find the most valuable treasures among all the others. It’s almost impossible to quit. Plus, the better we get at this game, and the more winners we bag, the faster our portfolios grow. While others are basing their retirement plan on winning the next jackpot, we’re proactively investing our capital into the greatest wealth generator of all time – the stock market.

I’m always dreaming about stocks – day and night. I think it started as soon as I learned about the magic of compound returns when I was a teenager. It’s like a light switch turned on: Why work for money, when money can work for you?

As most of you know, along with dreaming about stocks, I’m constantly writing about stocks too. I released my first Paperback Book in 2016 – Market Masters (a Globe & Mail National Bestseller) – and now three years later I’m releasing my second Paperback: Capital Compounders. I wrote this new book for the DIY Investor – you. It’s packed with shared experiences, stories, lessons learned, rules, interviews, strategies, resources, and some thoughts on the future. I really hope that you enjoy Capital Compounders.

One advance reader had this to say:

Andrew (from Toronto): “I’ve read a number of investment books before, and this by-far is one of the most practical and easily digestible books for all DIY investors at any level. Great work Robin!”

I’m so excited to release Capital Compounders that I’m giving away the eBook. You can go to CapitalCompounders.com and grab your copy (it’s a direct download; PDF, 289 pages).

I think it would be great if you also pick up the Paperback. You can even give it away as a present. If you do pick up Capital Compounders within the first week of release (Nov 4th – 11th), send me a photo of your receipt, or forward me the purchase confirmation email. The first 25 readers will receive coupons to access the audiobook on Audible at no extra charge. It’s my way of saying: Thanks.

Please check out the official launch page on CapitalCompounders.com, where you’ll discover everything you’ll learn about in my new book. There might even be a couple of surprises…

Regards, and happy investing,

Robin Speziale

15+ Great Canadian Technology Stocks

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These are some of my favourite Canadian Technology Stocks, most of which appear in my list of “Capital Compounders” . I don’t think Canada gets enough love for its Technology companies. Most investors focus solely on U. S. Tech stocks (e.g. FANG) . But we have Constellation Software, Shopify, CGI etc. Great, multinational technology companies.

My list of 15+ Canadian tech stocks (below) does not include any small micro-cap companies that have yet to establish their positions in the technology industry. For Canadian microcap tech stocks, you can read my writeup on the “Future 60“.

15+ Great Canadian Technology Stocks (2018):

  • Open Text
  • Constellation Software
  • Shopify
  • Computer Modelling Group
  • CGI
  • Tucows
  • Photon Control
  • CAE
  • Ceridian HCM
  • Descartes Systems
  • People Corporation
  • Sylogist
  • Tecsys
  • Enghouse Systems
  • Kinaxis
  • The Stars Group

Watch my video about Canadian Technology Stocks on YouTube. Click here

Top 10 Most Popular Issues / Posts (Since Jan ’16)

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On January 26, 2016, I started my email newsletter (subscribe here), with only a handful of subscribers (family, and friends). Now, 2.5 years later, membership has grown to 3,700 subscribers!

So, I want to sincerely Thank You for subscribing not only to my newsletter, but also to my YouTube ChannelFacebook Club, and Blog. I’ve been picking stocks since 2005, and there’s nothing more that I love than playing this game, and meeting other DIY investors like you from around the world.

And thanks to everyone who has read my books Market MastersCapital Compounders (email me, r.speziale@gmail.com, for a free copy), and My 72 Rules (download free here).

These are the TOP 10 Most Popular Issues / Posts (Since Jan, ’16):

1. Capital Compounders

2. Small Companies; Big Dreams – Future 60 Canadian MicroCaps

3. How I Built a $300,000 Stock Portfolio Before 30

4. My Interview with Jason Donville

5. How to Find Tenbaggers

6. My Top 15 Stock Ideas for 2018

7. How this Fund Manager Achieves a 24% Compound Annual Return

8. Next Capital Compounders – 15 Market Beating Growth Stocks

9. Small Cap Ideas

10. How I Pick Winning Stocks