I been a loyal user of Robinhood since I got my invite in March 2015 and slowly I have been adding funds to the account. At first I was chasing yields with the mREITS and BDCs and a little bit of swing trading. It was a lot of work and most of these strategies only work in the short term, not in the long term growth that I was looking for.
Dividend Growth Investing
I found out about the power of Financial Independence and Dividend Growth Investing in the beginning of 2016 and have slowly been building my portfolio. I was reading all what the other bloggers were buying, and had in their portfolio. I took all the stocks they owned and weighted and had a starter portfolio.
Now that I had a list of all the stocks, I needed a way to organize all the stocks and saw that everyone was using Spreadsheets to keep track. I needed to find a easier way to organize the data since I was not buying huge lots of stocks and was dollar cost averaging and buying at the most 1-2 shares at a time.
I started doing research on what was available and found out that someone had figured out Robinhood’s API and since I am a developer my self, this is exactly the light I needed and when my internal FI Stocks Tracker was born.
FI STOCKS TOOL
I love charts and to visualize data so I built a couple of scripts to start downloading everything that was on the Robinhood API into MySQL to later on start charting later, keeping track of dividend growth etc.
When you start visualizing all the data, it comes alive and you get a better picture.
Robinhood API does not have all the info that I needed such as a history of dividend payments, if they were qualified or non-qualified, frequency of payments, etc. Luckily, there are tons of sites/places that provide this sort of stock data such as Yahoo! Finance and Nasdaq.
the migration to merrill edge
This is a difficult one, since Merrill Edge does not have a “nice” API to work with. I needed to find a solution to continue downloading the data nightly locally to further analyze and generate beautiful graphs.
Most banks and brokerages have an OFX Server to automate the download of the data into Quicken/Money.
I found resources online that pointed to that server, did some test runs and everything that I needed was inside the export file. Challenge number 2 was to process the individual items and make sure they go to the right place.
Was I happy with Robinhood? Yes, I was as it gave me a starting point to start on this journey, but I was increasing growing concern with the non-existent support and over 2 weeks to get a response.
When the portfolio passed the $50,000, I started the search for another broker that would continue to let me purchase small batches of stocks and Merrill Edge fit the bill, 30 free trades a month if you have over $50,000 in assets with them.
The whole process took a little over a week and half to move. So far it has been a pleasant experience.
Thanks for reading,
Div Tech Guy 🙂