The Million Dollar Dream

lemonade_stand_signMy dream of becoming a millionaire by age 40 started May 18, 2012, the day Facebook (FB) became a publicly traded company. I poured all my life savings into the FB tickler thinking it would be the next Google, which was trading at an all-time high at about $700 per share that year. My first trading experience was a complete disaster.

May 18, 2012 – I was in Texas with my friend D.W., but spent half of the day on the internet trying to make a purchase. I was unequivocally convinced that FB would be a huge success that I had a purchase order set at market price the morning before. This means that my order could execute at any market price depending on where I was on the queue. I found out about 12 hours later that I had an execution, which is a huge delay for a transaction that should be instantaneous.

FB’s first day of trading was marred by technical glitches that prevented orders from execution. However, I thought it was a positive sign.  I thought, FB is so wildly popular that all that unanticipated orders probably jammed up internet traffic leading to a system crash.  The reality could not have been harsher. The social media giant ended its first week of trading at $31.91 and then dipped lower into the late-teen range; forcing underwriters to buy back shares to support the price. FB  received so much bad press that the verb “faceplant” to describe FB’s performance actually went viral!  And in the midst of a highly publicized and troubling IPO opening, Zuckerberg left with his new bride to some mysterious far-away place for their honeymoon.

I was quite bitter with the situation and felt betrayed. Months leading to the big day there were press events and substantial media coverage and lots of communication directly from the source. There was radio silence by the end of the first week and many weeks after that.  It was not a pleasant feeling watching a quarter of your lifetime savings disappear in less than a week.

What was more disheartening was facing my family members whom I had convinced into buying FB. I feel as if I have let them down. Despite all the bad press, I held on to my millionaire dream, believed in the company and bought a little more of what little money I had left at $32.  Also because I was pot committed.  It was an intense couple of months.

Fast forward to summer of 2014, I sold all of FB at high 70s and used all that gains to purchase a single-family home for rent. I have 8 years left to make $85,000, which is about$ 106,000 a year. This is  a little challenging now living off of a $994 monthly stipend I receive from the federal government in exchange for my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.

The moral of the story is, obstacles and challenges make victory that much sweeter. Set big goals and think about ways to achieve them.


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