When Emilu Bailes took control of her own portfolio decisions in 1990, the first thing she did was to subscribe to .
"As a new subscriber I was sent the book '' (written by IBD founder and Chairman William O'Neil). That's how I was introduced to .
Today, Bailes is a successful and knowledgeable investor. The stock market is no spare-time playground for Bailes. She takes it seriously.
"Investing is my primary activity," she told IBD. "I'm in the market every day.
The Daily Routine "The first thing I do in the morning is open my portfolio. Second, I open MarketSmith (IBD's sister-company online stock-charting service) and third, I open Investors.com. That stays open all day and well into the evening.
She also subscribes to Leaderboard (IBD's premium product that focuses on the market's very best stocks) and reads the daily MarketSchool chart update to further hone her trading skills.
Bailes recalls her first super-winner, an IPO called eBay (EBAY).
"I bought the stock shortly after it came public. I don't remember when I sold it, but it (the profit) enabled me to make a six-figure contribution to my faith community," she said.
About the same time, sometime in 1998, she bought JDS Uniphase (JDSU). Here, Bailes didn't make any money. But she learned a valuable lesson.
"I was so involved with my job, with lots of traveling, that I couldn't keep up with my investments," Bailes said. So she sort of let it ride.
The stock went way up — and then way down. Bailes saw a huge profit wither away and turn into a loss. Talking about it is still quite painful for her.
"I had never paid attention to Chapters 10 and 11," she said, referring to O'Neil's best-seller. In those chapters he talks about how to sell a stock.
Does Bailes pay attention now? "Boy, do I ever!
Learn With Others Bailes heads an Atlanta-area Meetup group, where other CAN SLIM investors gather to discuss stocks, investing and CAN SLIM.
The Meetups (IBD.meetup.com) attract every level of investor, from the rookie to the seasoned pro to everything in between. As the group's leader and organizer, Bailes welcomes all.
"We like to see anybody at any level of experience," Bailes said.
And do the newbies get anything out of it
"Oh yes, I'm told that they do. Some might be more ready to take it on than others," she said. "I have one young man who has decided after a year that I'm his mentor. He shares with me what he's doing and tells me how well he's done. And he still goes to the meetings.
One senses from Bailes not just a deep respect for CAN SLIM, but for the education process itself. "It's not easy, it takes work and mistakes cost money. There are so many moving parts.
Being a Meetup leader was not a role that Bailes sought. But as she relates her story, one gets the impression of a person who's trying to give back something to the investment community, where she has been thriving for 23 years.
"When I was asked to become the Atlanta Meetup leader several years ago, I was very reluctant. I knew it would require a commitment, a lot of time. And I'm very careful about my use of time.
"But I said 'OK, I'll try it for a month and see how it works.'
Investors Without Borders The results have been fabulous for all concerned. Many Atlanta CAN SLIM investors have enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Bailes, and from each other.
And what does Bailes get out of it? You'd be surprised. She certainly was.
"The huge benefit that I was not expecting was that being the Meetup leader would help me force myself to focus on CAN SLIM topics that I needed to secure in my own process, to know better. I choose the topic to discuss at the meeting that I think will be the most useful to other CAN SLIMmers. But, as it turned out, it's also useful to me.
Bailes gets lots of input on which topics to cover from the other members and, sometimes, from other Meetup leaders from far-flung locations.
A passion for investing doesn't recognize state borders.
Bailes took the Meetup concept one level higher. She's organized live webcasts of her Atlanta-group sessions. The response has been great. She does charge for access, but only enough to cover her expenses.
Bailes is quick to admit her mistakes, including some painful misplays. Whose fault was that? Hers, she freely admits. But her wins far exceed her losses — which, of course, is the point of it all.
Bailes also is a big fan of Market School, an IBD seminar that features a continually updated market chart to help users gauge the proper amount of exposure to the stock market. The Market School chart is accessible through Leaderboard. "It's awesome! When I first attended Market School there were 10 buy signals and 12 sell signals. Since then they've added more sell signals." And was that useful? "Oh my gosh, absolutely!
Bailes' journey the past 20-something years seems to have been richly rewarding, and not just for the money she's made.
She has helped other investors, made generous contributions to her faith community and learned things about herself.
"My husband said that if he told me a few decades ago what I'd be doing now I'd have laughed at him. And he's right, I would have," she said.