Kathy Donnelly is an engineer by profession, but she's also found success by using IBD's techniques for finding and investing in the best high-growth stocks.
Donnelly came to IBD after searching for an investment method that could help her fulfill a goal that has become harder for many Americans to attain, saying simply, "I want to be able to retire.
Among the books she read was Benjamin Graham's value-investing classic, "The Intelligent Investor." But she realized that method wouldn't help much.
"I was trying to do the math where eventually the dividends would pay for the capital I invested," she told IBD. "But it just didn't make sense to me. That's when I started to search for other methods," she said.
She also read Philip Fisher's "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" before finally picking up a copy of "How To Make Money In Stocks," the best-selling book by IBD founder William J. O'Neil, in 2006. As an engineer, she found IBD's rules-based approach to investing appealing.
"I was immediately intrigued," she said, adding that she was also attracted by the MeetUp groups in which IBD investors gather to discuss stocks and the investing techniques that O'Neil teaches. "I didn't have to read any more books," she said.
She soon began participating in MeetUps and doing research at Investors.com. to find stocks with strong growth prospects. That fall, she attended a Level III seminar.
"I was hooked," she said. "I enjoyed the workshop so much that I immediately signed up for Level IV in the spring. I have never looked back.
Using her newfound knowledge, Donnelly bought Apple (AAPL) in early April 2009, not long after the market followed through, launching a new uptrend.
"I hadn't bought anything yet and Apple was making a strong move from the bottom and I made a decision to buy," she said, adding, "I accumulated shares until at one point I had concentrated all my money in the stock.
She finally sold in June 2011, when Apple started consolidating before hitting the 10-week line. By then Apple had roughly tripled.
Donnelly scored another success with Priceline.com (PCLN), which she purchased as it broke out above a 234.45 in a deep cup-with-handle base in the week ended Aug. 6, 2010. She held it until June 2011, as the online travel broker doubled.
"It was another leader that I accumulated into when I saw that it was working," she said.
Most recently, she bought SolarWinds (SWI) on Oct. 27, 2011, when it cleared a double-bottom base. She sold it on Dec. 14, 2012, after the stock had nearly doubled.
Aim Big "I try be a home-run hitter as I want to be one that holds the stocks Bill talks about every week in his Wednesday column 'How To Find & Own America's Greatest Opportunities,'" she said.
Donnelly reads all major columns in IBD, such as The Big Picture, the IBD 50 and the Stock Spotlight. And she checks the Stocks On The Move table, which identifies stocks moving in strong .
She then uses the Stock Checkup function at investors.com or the MarketSmith feature to confirm the stock's fundamentals, run screens and refine the list of candidates.
Donnelly has also joined Leaderboard, a premium service offered by IBD that she says helps her save time as she juggles work and family commitments.
"My current job does keep me fairly busy during the trading day, but with smartphone investor apps and the MarketSmith app, I am able to follow the market periodically throughout the day during my breaks," she said.
The Kids Are All Right Donnelly continues to attend local MeetUp seminars, which she finds "essential to my continued learning and growth as an investor." Donnelly is intent on sharing her success, starting her own MeetUp group in Denver in 2010 and trying to introduce IBD's investing strategy to local schools.
She recently helped a professor to set up an IBD MeetUp group at Metropolitan State University of Denver with the help of IBD's Newspapers in Education program.
"These kids really want to learn, and they know they have to be responsible for their own financial future," she said. "I hope one day we can have several high school or university meetup programs. I know I would have participated if I had that opportunity."