Rule Breaker Mailbag: Everybody Wants to Invest a Little Smarter

When David Gardner records his Rule Breaker Investing podcast, he may often be alone in the studio, but whether he's flying solo or has brought in a special guest, really, he's talking directly to you -- and one of his favorite things is when you all talk back.

So in this episode, he closes out the month the way he usually does: with a mailbag episode. And while he opens with a reader letter that has less to do with investing goals than with "Gooooooaaaaals!", he rapidly segues into topics that have more to do with your money and your career. David and a few special guests chat about asset allocation, paying down debt versus building a portfolio, how the Fool keeps score against benchmarks, and more.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on July 25, 2018.

David Gardner: Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing ! It is near the end -- the endish -- of July 2018. It is the final Wednesday of July 2018 and so it is time for Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag. Your Mailbag! And it really is your Mailbag. You drop me notes. Rick Engdahl collects them all. RBI@Fool.com . You send us tweets.

Rick was away on vacation but he did spend a little extra time over the weekend in order to grab 27 pages of emails that I got at RBI@Fool.com . Yes, I've read them all and no, I couldn't include everybody. And if you wrote me a heartfelt note or a very thoughtful question and you're not on, I'm sorry about that. It comes down to supply and demand, like most things.

In this case, the demand is for approximately, let's say, a 45-minute show each week, and the supply of wonderful thoughts, questions, and ideas far exceeds the demand; so we have to be very choiceful, and I'm often thinking -- and I've mentioned this in the past -- about what would be best for this show.

And sometimes it's not the most intellectually challenging question. Sometimes that gets too deep in the weeds. Sometimes it's not the best story. Sometimes they go too long. But I love long stories, I love challenging questions, and I definitely try to bring lots of thoughtful stuff to you each week here on this show.

So there is no magic filter that gets questions onto Mailbag vs. those that don't, but from our standpoint I'd just like to share out what we see, which is this remarkable stream, once a month, of your thoughts and thank you for sharing them.

Looking back over the month that was, July 4th was our first podcast. We had a five-stock sampler celebrating the World Cup. I hope you enjoyed those and I hope that they beat the market over the next four years before the next Men's World Cup.

I also reviewed five stocks from the Brexit-inspired stock list. Now this was five stocks picked a couple of years ago as Brexit was announced, and it was interesting for me to see those stocks right about dead on the market. They're up, but we're not beating the market as we did at the start of this month. No doubt they've changed since then, so I hope that they're now beating the market. That was interesting to see a five-stock sampler dead on the market.

In week two it was A Rule Breaker Looks at FANG Stocks. I gave you my thoughts about the so-called FANG stocks and the ever-changing acronym that people use to refer to "FANG" stocks and that was fun for me to talk to and to do.

And then last week -- talk about fun! -- it was A Blast from the Radio Past, Vol. 2 with Mac Greer and my brother, Tom Gardner, and we'll look forward to bringing that back to you a few times every year because I think that's just too much fun for me not to want to do a few times a year.

So with all that said, let's go ahead and look forward to this Mailbag.

Now, right down the roster, here, I see nine different things we're going to cover. Nine thoughts, questions, replies. Without further ado, then, let's get started with No. 1.

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 1: This is all about soccer, because one of the things that July 2018 was distinctive for was, of course, the World Cup. The Men's World Cup played every four years. This time won by France . Congratulations France . And it was a lot of fun. I watched a lot of the games. You may or may not have watched a lot of the games.

I'm not even much of a soccer fan and I watched a lot of the games because as I said over the last month or so, I think it's such a great global phenomenon and just a lot of fun. It also shows us a lot about humanity -- some of our strengths and our weaknesses as humans. I wanted to just share back a couple of thoughts and read one fun mailbag note. In fact, I think I'll start with that note.

This note comes from Dave Geck, who's written a wonderful mailbag note or two in the past and Dave, thank you for this one. One of the things that I've had fun with over the last month or so is imagining tweaking various aspects of the rules of how soccer works, and I will share one or two more thoughts about that and then probably I won't talk about soccer for the next few years on this show. But Dave Geck had his own take on how to do soccer in an interesting way. It comes from his own personal history. I'm just going to read his note.

He starts by saying, "My recommendation is to shorten the overtime periods to 10 minutes each." If still tied play a sudden-death match, but rather than eliminate players, which is what I was suggesting; take off one player from 11 on 11 down to 10 on 10. Every few minutes nine on nine, eight on eight, until somebody scores and the game's over. He goes on to say, "Rather than eliminate players, how about add a second ball to the fray? Players now have to decide which ball to play and whether to go back and defend or press for offense. One rule to be ignored during this time is, of course, offside."

Now, this already sounds super fun to me. Love it, Dave, but I want to go on and share your story.

You said in the mid-1970s you were a part of the 25th Infantry Division stationed in Hawaii. He goes on to say, "We played a game called combat football with 20 players each side, two soccer balls, no pads, and the only rule at first was if the ball went through the goal kicked, tossed, or thrown; then you got a point. You could be tackled, you could be blocked or held whether you had the ball or not. Though we wore no rank, certainly some disgruntled soldier would scream sometime, 'Kick it to me, sir !'

"Hence, officers usually maneuvered in twos to have someone watching your back. During the halftime of either, and this is one of those college football bowl games, the Hula Bowl, the Aloha Bowl, or perhaps the Pro Bowl, a demonstration of the game was given as halftime entertainment. When the 'real game' came back for the second half, it was not long before the crowd was chanting, 'We want combat football! We want combat football!' Eventually the combat readiness of our division became impacted as a few broken bones were a part of every game. Clipping, blocking in the back, and hitting someone away from either ball subsequently became a foul. When all that happened the scoring was fairly frequent with the fact two balls were in play. Signed, Dave Geck."

Well thank you, Dave, for sharing combat football with the world. And while I'm a fan of soccer and of football, I have a feeling I would love combat football. How many sports can we think of that have two balls in play at once? I mean, it's kind of like pinball machines when you unlock that extra ball and you're playing multiple balls with your paddles. But wow, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Well, two closing thoughts about ways to tweak soccer for me in order from most serious to most silly. So thought No. 1 just surrounds the clock. Now, I was having a conversation with my friend, Rick Engdahl, offline. Rick knows a lot more about soccer than I do. I was saying, "Rick, why does the clock just keep going? And then at the end there's this mysterious extra-time number that's held up. And then even during extra time, it's not even clear when the game's going to end."

The part of me that likes preciseness. That knows that the game can't be fixed because I'm seeing the actual time on the clock. I see that in basketball. I see that in football. Probably combat football, too. Rick was saying that it interrupts the flow of the game. One thing that people love about soccer is the game just keeps flowing. The time keeps going. The ball goes out-of-bounds. You pick it up. You do the throw and etc.

But I really feel like there's still a lot of flow in a game of basketball, and I think in some ways other sports have solved this where you just have an actual clock and when there's a stoppage in play, you just stop the clock and then it's very clear to everybody how much time is left on the clock. There's no extra time and there's no mystery about when the game ends. So that's thought No. 1. It's a consideration. I realize that may violate centuries of practice and I really am not putting this one forward with too much confidence, but I'm just nudging it forward that maybe there would be a more modern way to handle the clock.

Now, I said these two ideas come at you from serious to silly but in some ways I'm more serious about this second one than the first, but it is a little silly so here it is. One of my biggest gripes with soccer and I think this is true of many people worldwide, perhaps especially here in America, is when people fall down and fake injuries.

The great Brazilian star Neymar got called out a little bit for doing this during the World Cup. Those of us who have watched enough World Cups see this -- it just happens in soccer -- and it's because the scoring chances in soccer are so few that if you just fall down somewhere near your opponent's goal, and you get called for a penalty shot, you have a 72% chance of scoring a goal in a sport where many games end one-nil. So there's a huge incentive to fall over and fake injuries to get really sweet chances at scoring at a game where the scoring is so infrequent.

So I think that we need a new color card. We've got the yellow card which is for minor but meaningful infractions and the red card, which basically kicks people out of games for serious infractions.

Here comes the pink card. For me, the pink card is going to be held up by referees when they are quite confident, just as confident as they would be calling a yellow card or a red card that someone is faking an injury, rolling around lollygagging on the turf. And the referee runs up and holds up a pink card. That basically means, "I am shaming you. I am giving you this because I'm pretty sure you're faking an injury and the video-assisted replay ref will probably back me up on this so I'm holding up a pink card."

Now the actual game play ramifications are none. There are no effects on game play. This is merely an honorific. So you can already imagine who would be leading a team on pink cards. Who would lead the league on pink cards. And again my talented producer, Rick Engdahl, suggested off the air, "Hey, maybe if you've gotten three or so during the season you have to wear a pink patch on your arm and play football the rest of the season with a pink patch on your arm." So I think that there would be pink card league leaders and world leaders.

And one of my favorite things is sometimes you'll notice when a guy gets carded, he gets up really angrily and starts shouting at the ref. And I would love to see somebody who's faking an injury on the turf get pink-carded and lose control of his emotions and jump right up, leave the so-called injury that he was affecting, and get really angry and start arguing against the ref. That would be a great scene.

And I think what I love most about this is that it adds an element of honor to the game. I love games, too, and I love winners, but some few things do count more than just winning. And I think while score is important and winning is important, I think honor should be held up above all, and so I would love to have the pink card.

In fact, anybody who wants to take this for their kids' league, or their local adult league, or maybe even some semi-professional league, and start innovating with the pink card, you'll remember you heard it here first on Rule Breaker Investing . By the way, this could be brought to other sports, as well. The pink card could leave merely the confines of the soccer stadium and it could go to all sports. The pink card.

That's probably enough for soccer. I should move on to Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 2 but, Rick, you had something to say?

Rick Engdahl: Just that every four years with the World Cup, it's really fun to hear the analysis of American sports fans trying to fix the world's most popular sport. I'm looking forward to the next four years of enjoying soccer as it is and as it should be.

Gardner: Right! OK!

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 2: This one comes from an internal note that I received from one of my favorite employees, longtime employee and leader, here, at The Motley Fool, Jeremy Phillips, who's done a lot of hiring, himself, over the course of his Motley Fool tenure. And Jeremy wanted to weigh in on the whole A's hire A's, while B's hire C's, and C's hire D's. We got a great question last month on Mailbag saying if A's hire A's, and then B's hire C's, and C's hire D's, how do B's ever get hired?

And I love this answer from Jeremy. He came through and he said, "Hey, Dave. I enjoyed this, as usual. Thank you. I don't know who told me this, but the answer to how the original B gets hired is that he or she doesn't get hired at all. Today's B is yesterday's A, and either the company evolved away from him or her, or they lost interest or became disenchanted with the company; but not enough to leave. Or, it's too comfortable to depart to what appears to be browner pastures, so A turns into B and then hires a C." Jeremy closes with, "Gross oversimplifications are fun☺." Thank you, Jeremy Phillips. Food for thought.

Engdahl: Hey, don't C's ever become B's? A little optimism, here?

Gardner: You know, that's probably a good point, too. And then we hope that they get to A's before they start hiring.

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 3: And for this one I have a guest star. It is my good friend, Matt Argersinger. Matt, how are you doing?

Matt Argersinger: Pretty good, David.

Gardner: Excellent. Well Matt, I got a good Mailbag item from Anthony. His screen name, I think, on The Motley Fool is Ballroom Blitz, but Anthony dropped me this note and I thought of you, because you cover this stock more closely than I do, even though it's one of my more-favored stocks and was one of my five stocks celebrating the World Cup, so I'm really glad you wrote in. Here's what Anthony wrote.

He said, "Hi, David. First of all, will you ever have a 'that's why they call it money' hoodie?" A pullover hoodie would rock. And he's reacting to our shop.fool.com special. All of July 25% off all items at shop.fool.com . And I was inviting -- in fact, I continue to invite -- our listenership to weigh in with any products that you think we should have at shop.fool.com . So thank you, Anthony, with that "that's why they call it money" hoodie. Of course, we've made that already famous line slightly more famous by making it one of our watchwords for Motley Fool Money and, Matt, I frequently hear you on Motley Fool Money .

Argersinger: That's right. Every other week or so.

Gardner: He goes on. "Also, I just finished your five stocks celebrating the 2018 World Cup. I really enjoyed it. I have a question regarding Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX) [YNDX]. I went on my brokerage site TD Ameritrade and started taking notes on Yandex. I looked at their financials, specifically. Their balance sheet and income statements. And I noted that their cash has increased consistently since 2013." Well, that's a five-year run. That sounds pretty good to us so far, Matt.

Argersinger: It does.

Gardner: Anthony goes on. "Their current assets rose roughly 2.5x. Revenue also went up about 2.5x since 2013." Again, for those new to Yandex, this is the Russian language search engine of choice. The Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) , if you will, of Russia. He goes on to say, "Their liabilities also climbed approximately 2x in this period; however, their net income went down." Wait.

"What?" Anthony writes. "I was starting to feel really good. What categories do you look at? What do you consider fluff? I asked fellow Fools Alison and Robert from Motley Fool Answers if they know of a quick reference guide to break down a financial statement. Do you? Maybe The Fools could crank one out. Thanks from a fellow Rule Breaker and Fool. Anthony."

Well, we're going to talk about Yandex, here. Matt, start us off with maybe a look into the financials. What is Anthony seeing there?

Argersinger: Well, I like how he's looking at it, first of all, because he's tracking the growth in the balance sheet, the growth in things like cash, assets, and liabilities, and he's comparing that to revenue. And over time you want to see those grow in tandem. Maybe you want revenue to grow even faster, but normally you expect them to grow at least consistently with the growth in the size of the balance sheet.

But the quirk with Yandex, and the reason why I think net earnings are down, why I know net earnings are down is if you look at some of the other expense lines over the last five years since 2013, SG&A -- selling, general, and administrative expenses -- is up 4.5x and R&D, another big expense for Yandex -- it's an innovative company...

Gardner: Yup.

Argersinger: ...is up 3.5x. So those expenses are up much more than the growth in the overall balance sheet and, therefore, net earnings are down or flattish over the last five years.

Gardner: Right. And so at what point, Matt... Selling, general and administrative. Now, a lot of things are packed in there. That's things like salaries. That's things like advertising...

Argersinger: Right.

Gardner: ...and there are a lot of other things going on. Every business is unique. They have their own unique costs. So as Yandex fans, we're cheering them on to spend more and grow more, but maybe not quite at that clip. What are your thoughts about SG&A at Yandex?

Argersinger: The last five years they've been in this constant battle with Google. Yandex has roughly 60% of the search share in Russia. Google has roughly 20-25%, but Google's been gaining a little bit. What I've seen from Yandex is they're hiring a lot of new software engineers. A lot of sales force people. They're really trying to expand their lead with advertisers in Russia.

One other thing they just did recently was with Uber, they merged their Yandex.Taxi business with Uber trying to gain a leadership position in ride sharing in Russia. These are all innovative things that cost a lot of money. That ultimately long term you expect would pay off in not only higher revenue but also higher profits but right now Yandex is kind of in a spending mode.

Gardner: And it's interesting because one of the things that you and I like about Yandex and about MercadoLibre is that these are companies that can follow a playbook that's already been established. Baidu is kind of the same thing.

Argersinger: That's right.

Gardner: Alphabet out first with Google, of course. Its crown jewel. And just figuring out how to take a business that starts with search and then grow it in a lot of different ways and become a dominant portal, really, for many different services in countries. So it's interesting to see, starting with Google and what it did, Google took a part interest in Uber, among other things.

But thinking about what Baidu has done in China, what MercadoLibre has done in Latin America, and what Yandex, partnering with Uber, as you just mentioned has done in Russia is interesting to see, because five years ago the stock was at about $37 and today it's at about $37...

Argersinger: That's right.

Gardner: ...so this is a company that crested at $45 at the start of 2014 and then it dropped from $45 -- this is during a bull market -- to $10 in two years. From the start of 2014 to the start of 2016 it lost about three-quarters of its value and since then it's gone back from $10 to $37 so it's up a few hundred percent in just the last few years. So it's interesting how volatile this stock is when the business hasn't changed that much in the five years.

Argersinger: That's right and I'm glad you brought that up. One additional wrinkle with Yandex is it operates in Russia. We know Russia can be a fairly risky, volatile place to do business. But the other part of it is that if you look at a lot of their company's assets expenses, those are actually in dollars and euros in a lot of cases but, of course, we know they generate revenue and earnings mostly in Russian rubles. And the Russian ruble was pretty weak for two years during that five-year stretch. Very weak against the dollar and the euro; therefore, the value of Yandex's business in terms of other currencies went down quite a bit.

Gardner: Excellent, Matt. I'm tempted to ask you what the market cap of Yandex is...

Argersinger: Oh, no!

Gardner: ...20% either way. Now, I'm not going to do that because I might just be previewing our next Market Cap Game Show, so I won't put you on the spot because that's for another podcast.

Argersinger: All right, but I'm writing it down in my head right now.

Gardner: Excellent, Matt. Thank you for your insights on Yandex!

Argersinger: You bet. Thanks, David!

Gardner: Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 4: This one comes from Vlady Entin, which almost sounds a little Russian to me although, as you'll shortly find out, whether or not Vlady is from Eastern Europe or Russia, he's a Washington, D.C. resident. Let me go ahead and read this.

"Dear David. First and foremost, big thanks to you and the team for helping me go from knowing nothing about investing two years ago to almost a 50% gain in my portfolio as a Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers member 24 months later." Well, let me just pause and say Vlady, congratulations. That is awesome to hear.

I mean, you and I both know it's been a good market. Certainly the market's not up 50%, so you've definitely outperformed, but what I love most of all is that you just got started, and a lot of us might still be sitting on the sidelines or trying to get to be a net saver. I get notes from people who say, "I haven't started investing yet, but I've been listening to the podcast for three years. I'm not in a financial place yet where I can actually buy stock, but when I get there I'm going to be ready."

Well, Vlady is somebody who might have been thinking that two years ago saying he knew nothing about investing, but look how life can change two years later. Congratulations, Vlady. I'm really psyched to hear that.

You go on. "As a suite sales employee of the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals..." So pause there. You know those luxury suites? Those awesome suites in many stadiums? It sounds like you are selling. You're selling corporate partners, maybe, or parties buying these suites. So that's what Vlady's job is.

He goes on to say, "Since the Capitals basically won it all in hockey, the last few months have certainly been kind and have resulted in a few extra dollars that I soon plan to deploy on stocks. Like many of your members, I do take the level of conviction assigned to each Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers pick into consideration before making my buys from the respective universes for these services. For example, I'm far more likely to buy a company you and your team rate with high conviction than one that's been assigned a 'positive' or 'neutral' conviction."

Vlady closes, "As someone who's naturally curious about intricacies and methodology, I'd love to know about your approach to determining these conviction ratings. For example, I'm surprised at two companies that you're seemingly quite high on, Baozun and 2U (NASDAQ: TWOU) -- currently only having a positive and neutral rating, respectively. I was curious if you could speak more to this. Thanks for your attention. Vlady Entin."

Vlady, thank you for that note. Just a couple of points that you raised that I want to speak to. The first is that yes, one of the things we've done at The Motley Fool in recent years is we've begun to tap our analyst community. We have a lot of talented analysts. You just heard from one talking about Yandex. We also have them speaking on all of our podcasts and we have a lot more that don't speak on podcasts. We do have a wonderful regiment of analysts, here, at The Motley Fool. And that even extends to people who are not here in Alexandria, Virginia at Motley Fool Headquarters. They're spread out around the nation and around the world.

And one of the things we've started to do is we've started to ask them to pick stocks just internally with their own kind of portfolios and just allocate accordingly. If I gave you a hundred chips, where would you place your hundred chips across X number of companies and how many chips would you put on each company? That kind of a thing.

So we've been doing that for the last few years and, by the way, that's gone on to power our Fool 100 index. If you go to Fool100.com , how do we arrive at those hundred companies? The answer is we use what we call Fool IQ -- what I've just described for you -- that legion of analysts with their many thoughts. And we've used that to power The Fool 100 index, which has been a stellar performer here in 2018.

So if a stock has a lot of fans among our analysts and a lot of them have it in their 100-chip portfolios and they have a fair number of chips down on it then, as you might expect, we would start calling that in Fool IQ a "high-conviction" stock. We have a lot of analysts that think a lot of it.

That is actually a separate process from what I do at Motley FoolRule Breakers and Motley FoolStock Advisor . For both of those services I have made the calls just personally, myself. Two stocks in Rule Breakers . One stock in Stock Advisor . That's three stocks a month for now almost 15 years for those services. So three stocks is a lot of stocks.

But all of those, including the Best Buys Now, where we pick five stocks each month and say we like our existing picks, we like these five, are separate from Fool IQ. I am the lead advisor for Stock Advisor on my side of Stock Advisor . I'm the lead advisor for Motley FoolRule Breakers . I certainly take into account the thought of my analysts, but I want you to know that I think independently, and so you're just getting my view when you come into Rule Breakers or Stock Advisor .

However, we've also started to integrate some of those conviction ratings into the services, and I'm not sure we've done the best job clearly labeling what those are and how those work, so I wanted to spend this time, Vlady, just explaining that a little bit more to you and to other Stock Advisor members and Rule Breakers members.

I'm delighted that we have those conviction ratings, but I want to make sure that you know that yes, I do like 2U quite a bit and if the rating on 2U is merely neutral from our analyst community; well, you can decide who you want to listen to. I hope you'll listen to both. That's kind of what we do at The Motley Fool. We love to listen to the bulls and the bears.

But I'm bottom-line accountable for all of the picks that we've made and no doubt over the years some of my craziest picks our analysts didn't like and they were probably right. And sometimes over the years some of my craziest picks my analysts didn't like and they may have been wrong. And so just understand that we're doing our best, here, at The Motley Fool to give you a motley array of viewpoints. So the lead advisor for each of our services, for example me in Rule Breakers , makes the calls, but we have started to integrate some of those conviction ratings within the service.

But I've talked to our product team. I want to make it clearer so that people know what conviction is and when they might want to think about it, and when they may want to overlook it, in some cases. So there you go, thank you, and let's go Caps.

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 5: For this one I have another guest star cameo. This one comes from my friend Yervand Khoranian. Yervand, welcome.

Yervand Khoranian: Thank you, David! Glad to talk return calculations with you!

Gardner: You bet. That's exactly where we're headed. We're headed toward calculating scorecard returns -- what we do, here, at The Motley Fool -- but also I'm always modeling that and hoping that people will do it at home, as well.

Khoranian: Sure.

Gardner: We got a couple of notes about this. Yervand, I want to share these and then get your perspective. Now the first one comes from Joe Sieger. He's in Herndon, Virginia. Joe says, "When scoring picks..." He's referring to the five-stock samplers that I do on the podcast. He says, "When scoring picks, you seem to ignore the impact of dividends. A quick search tells me that the S&P 500 yield is about 1.75%."

For those who don't know what a yield is, that's basically the dividends that companies pay. In a way it's like the interest rate you get paid for holding onto stock, and if you own the 500 largest companies in the America, that would give you about a 1.75% dividend yield. Compare that to the interest you get, let's say, on your T-bills, and you're seeing how the S&P 500 yield works. And Joe's saying that I'm not adding that in when I do my five-stock samplers. He said, "I know Rule Breakers is not dividend-focused, but their effects add up over time, so why ignore them?"

And a second similar note. This one is from Dave Duncan. Now this one's a little longer. I'm going to read a portion of it, not all of it, but Dave lists himself as a 2.5x Olympian...

Khoranian: Wow!

Gardner: He's clearly a Canadian. He's listing himself as the Wounded Warriors Canada Ambassador. His Twitter handle is @Dunc_Ski, so I'm thinking Dave Duncan is an Olympic skier.

Khoranian: An Olympian.

Gardner: He's also a Rule Breaker. By the way Yervand, before we go on...

Khoranian: Yes, sir.

Gardner: ... you have a seriously great talent that you brought to our conference. And we're talking about sports right now and I think I'm talking to The Motley Fool's reigning champion in what sport?

Khoranian: I don't know. I would say I'm pretty good at table tennis.

Gardner: That's what we're talking about.

Khoranian: OK, that's what you had in mind?

Gardner: Now are there other sports besides ping pong that you're better at?

Khoranian: Well, I'm not a master of anything, but I have passions in many sports. I grew up playing basketball, so I like playing basketball. I'm not very good at it. I like table tennis because as I'm growing a little long in the tooth, David, it's still a sport where you can excel and get better; whereas in basketball, I could practice until my knees get shot and I'll never get better.

Gardner: I understand.

Khoranian: Only marginally.

Gardner: You say that, but I would say, then, you've found your sport because table tennis, which I'm sure is the more formal way of referring to the sport...

Khoranian: Ping pong. Ping pong is alright, too. No one gets offended at that.

Gardner: I like hearing you say, Yervand, table tennis; but, I do want to mention the way that my producer, Rick Engdahl, characterized your approach to the table, because I thought this was really lovely. He said that the amazing thing about Yervand is not only does he beat all several hundred of our employees at ping pong, but in every case, he tends to beat you by just a little. So if you're just like Rick or me, you're an average, you're just a duffer on the ping pong table, you'll beat us 21 to 17. Then you'll also beat the very best player at ping pong, or table tennis, 21-17. So you very graciously will always defeat everybody by just a few shots.

Khoranian: Well, there's so many things we can unpack from that statement but, at the end of the day, every sport has its own grace and beauty and so I appreciate all my opponents. There's something to learn from everyone and that's a life lesson you can take everywhere. It's a sport where if you know just a little bit, the score differential could be so great. You always have to be cognizant of that and just appreciate your opponent. Try your best and try new things when you're playing new people because everybody brings something to the -- no pun intended -- table.

Gardner: I love it. I'm going to now read Dave Duncan then we're actually going to talk about the real topic here, but I have to have you out a little bit about your philosophy of table tennis.

Khoranian: Thank you very much!

Gardner: Dave Duncan says, "Hi, David. As a member of Stock Advisor , Rule Breakers , and Stock Advisor Canada , I'm a big fan of yours and the entire Fool universe. Congratulations on The Motley Fool's 25th anniversary. As a national team athlete, I couldn't agree more with you about the need to keep score.

"However, looking in the mirror, I've been too lazy or content with scorekeeping by relying on my online broker age and viewing their comparison of my portfolio to the market." By the way, I think that's OK. Most online brokerage s do a pretty good job...

Khoranian: Yes, they do. They get better at it all the time.

Gardner: ... so I don't think you're being lazy there, Dave. You can bring more game if you like.

Khoranian: I would say wisely allocating your time.

Gardner: Yes, and that's a good point. How much time do we all want to put into this? Well, spoiler alert. We're going to talk a little bit about the time that we put in here at The Motley Fool very shortly.

Dave goes on. "Given all the scorekeeping you've been doing lately, I'm motivated to dig into the numbers a bit deeper and analyze my portfolio by two different segments." He says, "BF and AF." That would be Before Fool, since joining The Motley Fool, and after Fool. "I already know which segment the winner is but I'd like to see how much Foolish investing trounces my foolish investing from the past.

"Here's where I need your help. When you're keeping score with your five-stock samplers," this is very similar to the previous note, "you compare stock prices to the market over the period, but what method do you use with dividend stocks for comparing to the market, as these stocks are either increasing your portfolio with cash payments or additional shares. Does the overall market gain consider dividends as many companies in the S&P 500 do pay dividends? Thank you for everything you and your team do. Fool on! Dave." Dave Duncan, 2.5x Olympian from Canada.

Well, thank you Dave for the note! Thank you, Joe, for your note! We hear you. And in fact, Dave closed by saying, "Thank you for everything you and your team do" and so I am back and surrounded by an incredibly talented team of people. And Yervand Khoranian, you are one of them. Yervand, this is your debut on Rule Breaker Investing ...

Khoranian: Yes, it is.

Gardner: How long have you been at The Motley Fool?

Khoranian: I just closed my 10-year anniversary on July 7th.

Gardner: And that is awesome. Congratulations. Thank you for 10 great years, Yervand. Your Fooliversary, as we say around here. Now Yervand, I want you to talk a little about the work that you do here at The Motley Fool. I'm going to interview you very briefly.

Khoranian: Interesting.

Gardner: What do you do here at The Fool?

Khoranian: Most of my time is allocated toward return calculations and building platforms so we can make those more sustainable and more accurate over time. We put in a lot of work, here, when it comes to our return calculations. We want to be as transparent as possible and as rigorous and hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. We want to differentiate ourselves on that point because a lot of Wall Street does a lot of funny magic with their returns and we don't want to be that company. We want to be very Foolish in whatever we do and strive toward just being better.

Gardner: Yervand, what was your background before you came to The Motley Fool?

Khoranian: I worked for a hedge fund. I was just a simple portfolio accountant lowly on the totem pole and then I tried to get my CFA designation. I spent three years while I was working here doing that. And now more so than ever I'm more focused on the programming aspect of things. I always keep return and reinvestments on my mind, but I try to approach the problems that I face day-to-day from a more technical standpoint, so I'm taking classes, now, in Python programming and Python/R statistical programming languages so that I can stay sharp.

Gardner: That is tremendous. You're thinking about Motley Fool scorecards across all of our services pretty much.

Khoranian: Yes, we are.

Gardner: And some of them more simple services where we make recommendations, but there isn't real money attached like my services, Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers .

Khoranian: We call those internally notional scorecards because they're notional.

Gardner: So for the questions that Joe and Dave are asking about dividends, how do we score dividends on our scorecards?

Khoranian: With the amount of content we put out through all our different channels, there's varying levels of formalization when it comes to our return calculations. You, on your side, sometimes do a back of the envelope, which is pretty close to the real number. And as we go up the chain of our channels and our scorecards and what we report on, it just gets more formal as you go up.

On the premium-level side, we calculate a total return number. That includes dividend reinvestment on all our tickers, on all our recommendations. Just to give you some perspective, since the launch of Stock Advisor in 2002, we've made 2,600 recommendations across the board. Across all our scorecards... and that includes international, as well and they have some unique issues and challenges you have to work through, there. We decided a long time ago we were going to be very transparent and hold ourselves, again, to the highest standard so we went with total return calculations and we compare our calculations on an apples-to-apples basis with the benchmark, whatever benchmark that is. For the US side, it's the S&P 500 Total Return...

Gardner: Which includes dividends.

Khoranian: ... which does include dividends. So we're comparing on an apples-to-apples basis, and that's what we try to do on every scorecard we have. We will not include a benchmark formally in any newsletter that is not total return.

Gardner: Yervand, is there any particularly complicated or funny anecdote? For me, one of my gripes are the tracking stocks that some companies are doing. We're now saying there's GOOG and GOOGL. There's different classes of stocks, and that just complicates things for you and for me.

Khoranian: Yes, that is a complication on two levels. It's first a conceptual complication. How do we want to be as true to our mission as possible and represent the return the right way? And then, secondly, it's a technical issue. How do we want to, in a scalable fashion, build our platform so they can support the concept that we're pushing forward?

A couple of years ago you came to me and said, "Yervand, I feel passionately about this. If I make a pick today, I want to know, regardless of whatever corporate actions and however many companies it split into." And I remember. You said, "One hundred dollars today. What would be one hundred dollars if I invested it on the day I rec'd it and what is my hundred dollars worth now?"

Gardner: Right, and we've had companies, because we're so long term in our orientation, like PayPal , which I recommended...

Khoranian: Yes, that's an interesting ride.

Gardner: ... about 15 years ago, and then it got bought by eBay ...

Khoranian: EBay...

Gardner: ... and then eBay spun it back out as PayPal...

Khoranian: Exactly.

Gardner: ... so you have to track that, but the goal is if you and I put a hundred dollars in at the start, how much is that worth today if you'd held all the way through those corporate actions. Or Disney buying Pixar. Or Marvel. And the list goes on. So Yervand, you're constantly looking at all manner of different corporate actions and having to do your best to transparently show...

Khoranian: And unfortunately there's not much guidance there, David. I hate to say it, but we're the avant-garde of return calculators. Sometimes you have to make calls. That's what we do, and the best call was to try and standardize everything. We just went through a revamp of our scorecards, as you know well. We're trying our best to make sure what the concept is of that one dollar -- that one dollar that I invested -- and how many months or years back it's worth today.

Gardner: Yes, excellent. Two tips before you go. One of them is going to be about table tennis, but that one comes next. First, if I'm Joe or I'm Dave writing in and I'm doing my best to calculate how I'm doing, and I don't have a world-class former hedge fund accountant who is using and learning Python and constantly improving himself, and that's such a wonderful aspect of you, Yervand, what's a tip that you have for somebody who's just trying to do their best? Can I rely on, let's say, Schwab, if that's my broker for how they're calculating or should I be spending extra time on Excel? Or is there some other tool? What's a tip you have for the mom and pop, individual investor out there like me?

Khoranian: The calculations stay true to the adjusted close price methodology. On Yahoo! you could readily get adjusted close prices. And without getting into too much detail with what those are, you can see them in the historical price window of Yahoo! if you want to go there. You can go on our website, I think, and still get those.

What those adjusted close prices do is essentially reflect all the dividend reinvestment there has been on that particular security. It just becomes as simple as dividing the adjusted close price of whatever date you want to measure to vs. your original cost basis adjusted close price date and then subtracting one from it and you have your adjusted close price return. You could do it that way.

I wouldn't stress too much about your corporate actions that much. Your brokers purposely don't do it that way. They just track cost basis because broker's statements are usually used for tax purposes a lot of the time. That's their mission. Our mission is different a little bit, so that's why we use adjusted dividend reinvestment returns.

As far as the benchmark goes, I just checked on Yahoo! and yes you can get the adjusted close price for the S&P Total Return these days. You couldn't a couple of years back, but now you can. You could do the same calculation there, match up your returns, and then see how you want to do it. It's not too big of a stretch, and if you have a little bit of a programming tilt, you could use some sort of embedded API like Google or whatever.

But for the layperson, you could just go one by one through your statement and grab the close price or you go through Yahoo!

Gardner: Now I'm going to ask you for a table tennis tip, but Yervand, you very graciously offered that if anybody is seriously into this and wants to talk to what I think of as a world-class athlete in this case about tracking performance using the internet around stocks and the stock market, Yervand has graciously said you can email him. I'm going to do my best at spelling your name. I am the Motley Fool spelling champion and I know I'm talking to the table tennis champion, so here I go. It's Y -- because that's the first initial of your first name, Yervand -- and I believe your last name is spelled K-H-O-R-A-N-I-A-N.

Khoranian: That is correct, David.

Gardner: So ykhoranian@Fool.com . And if you are seriously into this and have some questions or want to know how to do it better, Yervand has said he will entertain emails for those interested.

With all that said, Yervand, what is one table tennis tip that we can all take to our next table?

Khoranian: That's a tough one. Breathe. Track the ball. What else? I don't know. That one's a very tough...

Gardner: That's all you're going to give us? Breathe and track ball?

Khoranian: Trust me on that one.

Gardner: You be the ball? Come on!

Khoranian: Yes, just be the ball. Yes, be the ball. I don't know. It's one of those games. It's frustrating. Sometimes you do well. Sometimes you do poorly.

Gardner: How did you get so good? How about that? Reps? Just play constantly?

Khoranian: Just play constantly and be very interested.

Gardner: Play people better than you?

Khoranian: Be very interested. I have a competitive streak in me, so I like to compete. It's convenient to do so. A pickup basketball game is kind of hard for a forty-one-year-old these days. You people hog the ball and it's hard. People call fouls and people get hurt. I'm sorry. I've got to go on this tangent. In Sterling at LA Fitness someone actually called the cops on someone else, a player on the opposite team, for setting a pick too hard.

Gardner: What?

Khoranian: This went viral. I think this was last week in Sterling. LA Fitness. So it gets pretty crazy. Ping pong, table tennis doesn't have anything like that. It's just you and the ball. It's a sport for people.

Gardner: Awesome. Well, Yervand, thank you for keeping your eye on the ball of all Motley Fool scorecards!

Khoranian: Thank you very much!

Gardner: You rock. Thanks for a great debut here on Rule Breaker Investing !

Khoranian: Thank you, David! Take care of yourself. And I'd like to personally thank Joe and Dave for their questions. It's appreciated.

Gardner: Rule Breaker Mailbag Item Nos. 6, 7, and 8. Yup, I've gone back to the well of guest stars and oh, look what was down the well. Robert Brokamp from Motley Fool Answers . What were you doing down this well?

Robert Brokamp: It is a very comfortable well. Very warm. A good view.

Gardner: Yeah, I just dropped the bucket. I couldn't believe you fit in the bucket. As we rolled it back up, it was shocking. I thought you were going to be wearing more clothes, as well, Robert.

Brokamp: I'm just trying not to kick the bucket.

Gardner: Good line. I wanted to have you on the show because I got a number of questions in my 27 pages of mailbag questions this month. Kind of more "Here's my situation. What do I do with my 401(k)?" Those kinds of questions. Now, I do like to entertain those questions because if Rule Breaker members have them then darn it, I want to speak to that.

But I also want to make sure that anybody listening to this show knows that the best Motley Fool podcast and team to answer the kinds of questions we're about to do on Mailbag this month is Motley Fool Answers co-hosted by Robert Brokamp with the wonderful Alison Southwick. Robert and Alison, I enjoy your podcast and you're very frequently speaking to these kinds of questions.

So A. I'm glad to have you on because you're the perfect person to answer on this show those questions and B. out to all my RBI Podcast listeners, definitely listen to Robert and Alison's podcast, Motley Fool Answers. And definitely send those questions, like the ones we're about to cover to them on their mailbag which they do every month.

Brokamp: Answers@Fool.com . We love your questions.

Gardner: Excellent. This is not something we're going to do every month, but because I got several of them and because, Robert, you were down the well. So let's go over them. I'm really pleased to feature these, because these are each questions that are asked not just by Chris from Fargo, North Dakota as I'm about to read, but many people have these kinds of questions, so I do want to speak to it. Let's get started. Are you ready?

Brokamp: Great.

Gardner: Mailbag Item No. 6: This comes from Chris in Fargo, North Dakota. "I'm a subscriber to your podcast; however, as much as it pains me to admit this, I'm not a subscriber to any of The Motley Fool's services. I wish to be, one day, but for now what money I do have I use sparingly. I'm a single dad who pays child support while making just enough money to eke by. I find I have little opportunity to invest. I require loans to pay for the car in my garage and the furniture in my apartment.

"In 2016, I came into a sum of money that wasn't substantial, but I was extremely grateful for the gift. After doing some Foolish research, I decided to invest all of it into Boeing (NYSE: BA) stock. I have enthusiastically watched the stock grow. Since I wasn't able to buy much Boeing stock , it would certainly not be enough to retire on when I'm 60; however, I could use it to pay off my loans.

"I would be virtually debt-free and have a little more freedom to play the stock market," as Chris says. "This quandary has plagued me for months, now, and each time I ask this question, another question follows. What would David do?" By the way, I'm substituting Robert in place of David. What would Robert do? Would Robert or David pay off his debt ridding himself of accruing interest payments, or would Robert and David keep the stock and allow it to continue earning them money far into the future? Robert Brokamp?

Brokamp: Well, Chris, when deciding between investing or paying down debt, you start by comparing the interest rate on the debt with what you could potentially earn on your portfolio. You just mentioned you have an auto loan. These days auto loans are between 4-5%. Over the long term you would certainly hope to earn more on your portfolio than 4-5%.

Gardner: Sure. The stock market is 10% or so a year. Some years up. Some years down.

Brokamp: Right. Now you also talked about furniture. I'm going to guess you put that on your credit card. The average rate on a credit card these days is 17%.

Gardner: A lot higher than 4-5%.

Brokamp: Yes. That makes me much less comfortable and, in that situation, I might think it would make sense to sell some of your stock to pay that off hoping, of course, that you then avoid putting any more on your credit cards.

The other thing is it is important to know that paying off a credit card is a guaranteed return. You will definitely increase your net worth by paying down your debt. Investing -- there's some risk. Who knows where Boeing stock, or any stock, will be one, two, or five years from now.

There is a psychological aspect to this. Does it make you feel comfortable to have some of that debt paid off vs. having so much in one stock? Boeing certainly has done very well. Over the last couple of years -- you said at the beginning of 2016 -- it was at $120 a share. Now it's at $350, so you've done very well with it.

Gardner: Wow! I wish I had recommended Boeing stock. That's not one of my stocks. Good job!

Brokamp: A great job picking a good stock. So if you do decide to sell some of it at least to pay off that credit card debt, know that you're going to be paying capital gains. You want to set that amount aside, 15% of the profit, so that when tax time comes around, you're not surprised by that. Put that in another savings account, maybe somewhere where you're not tempted to spend it so that you have that money for tax time.

The bottom line for me is I think it does make sense to sell at least some to get rid of that credit card debt. For the other debt if you're only paying 4-5%, from a numbers perspective and given history, chances are you'll probably be better keeping the debt and keeping invested.

Gardner: Awesome, and a great takeaway item, there, from Robert's wisdom for all of us is pay careful attention to the interest rate that you're paying for the different things in your life. And if you're seeing anything that's double-digits or higher, payday loan companies are like triple digits annualized, you should definitely be spending your additional capital or, if necessary, liquidating positions to get rid of that double-digit interest rate debt, because it's very hard to ever beat that reliably with the stock market which, by the way, can go up and down and play with our emotions, too.

Brokamp: Right.

Gardner: I do want to put in a quick plug for a new site that we have offered through The Motley Fool today, and that's TheAscent.com [the ascent like ascend a mountain]. T-H-E-A-S-C-E-N-T. Take a look. It's a new site powered by The Motley Fool that's going to help you find a new credit card, or amp up your savings, or for many of us find a broker. So take a look at TheAscent.com. Thank you, Chris. I hope that was helpful.

Mailbag Item No. 7: Are you ready, Robert?

Brokamp: I'm ready.

Gardner: You look ready.

Brokamp: I am so ready.

Gardner: You actually prepared for this podcast. You brought preparation which rarely ever happens at Rule Breaker Investing , so thank you for upping our game. This one comes from Richard. He's writing and saying he works for Total (NYSE: TOT) . That's a public company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Brokamp: Is it pronounced Total or Toe-tahl?

Gardner: You know, I bet you're right. I have to admit this is not a company that I pay a lot of attention to. I do know it is a large energy company. Richard's going to go on to mention that, so yes thank you, Robert. Total.

"I work for Total." He says the ticker symbol [TOT] on the New York Stock Exchange. "It is the integrated energy company which offers employees access to shares in the company." Many others of us may be in this situation. That's why I like Richard's question. This is sort of an everyman question if you're working at a company that gives you a discount for buying company shares. At Total it's at a 20% discount, so you're buying at 20% less than the actual market price on the New York Stock Exchange, but there's a five-year vesting period, so you have to leave it in place for five years.

He goes on to say, "My question relates to your opinion on the extent to which you would advise participation in this kind of a plan. I recently returned from a spell working overseas," Richard says, "where I managed to save a significant amount of money," congratulations, sir, "that I am able to invest. It amounts to approximately one-third of my other investments, which are in Vanguard equity and bond ETFs and individual stocks.

"To provide some context," Richard goes on, "I'm 50 years of age and I expect to work for another 15 years or so. And on a final note and for your information, I worked for BP in 2010 when the Macondo incident occurred. Although I didn't hold direct investments in BP at the time, I recall the devastation that this event caused to the company's reputation and share price. I look forward to receiving your advice." In this case it's going to be Robert's advice. "With regards, Richard." Robert?

Brokamp: I'll just give you the standard financial planning rule of thumb and that is don't have more than 10% of your portfolio invested in one single company. Some say it should be lower if you work for that company since you're concentrating your investment capital with your human capital, which is your ability to earn a paycheck.

Gardner: Your salary. You're getting paid by them, and so how reliant do you want to be if you're starting to buy lots of stock in them?

Brokamp: Exactly. I mean if something drastic happened to the company, you could be out of a job and the difficulties would be compounded even more if a large portion of your portfolio also disappeared at the same time.

Gardner: I think back to another energy company. One that was named, I can pronounce this one right...

Brokamp: Enron.

Gardner: Enron. Key one, Robert.

Brokamp: Exactly. That said, this can be a difficult rule of thumb to follow, especially if you buy the company stock at a discount. And I know many people here at The Motley Fool are very comfortable with concentrated portfolios. It really is a rule of thumb.

I will say that we, here, as employees of The Motley Fool have company stock. It's not publicly traded, but we do get company stock, so I think it's important if you are going to participate in this type of plan to have a plan how you're going to manage your exposure to the company. And for me what I have done is I have mentally earmarked most of that stock for my kids' college. As the kids have become teenagers I've sold off some of the company stock and just moved that money over to their 529 plans. That's how I've managed my exposure to my own company stock.

I just think, Richard, you're 50. You're about 15 years from retirement. If you want to participate in this plan, have a plan for pulling it back, because you don't want to get in your mid-fifties and sixties, have a lot of money in Total stock thinking you're going to retire and then something happens to the company.

Also, you mentioned the five-year vesting plan. Of course, that means I assume you're planning to be at the company for five years, but factor that in and understand what happens if you're not there for five years.

And then finally there's the valuation of Total as an investment, itself. I don't have an opinion, but a 20% discount doesn't necessarily guarantee success. You know this, Richard, because Total is now down more than 20% from where it was in 2008. So while having that as a nice built-in margin of error, it doesn't help if it's not a great investment. I would really start with your valuation of the company as an investment in general.

Gardner: Outstanding response. Richard, we hope that was hopeful and thank you. Again, you can hear Robert every week on Motley Fool Answers with great thoughts like what you just heard. And let's go with one more great thought.

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 8: This one comes from Dylan. He writes, "David and Rick." Nice, Rick. You're starting to get written to on RBI Mailbag.

Brokamp: We just got a thumbs-up from Rick.

Gardner: Yup, very exciting. In the future, if you want to have a better-than-average chance of getting on Mailbag, maybe throw in Rick's name in the address. David and Rick. David and Rick writes Dylan.

Brokamp: Rick is also a crucial member of the Answers team, as well.

Gardner: Absolutely. In fact between this podcast and your podcast, does Rick do anything else here at the office? I can't imagine he'd have time to.

Brokamp: I'm sure it keeps him very busy trying to edit us.

Gardner: Dylan writes, "I'm 26 years old. I've been investing for about 18 months after working step by step through The Motley Fool Guide to Investing for Beginners. I currently contribute 10% to the Roth option of my company's 401(k), half of which is matched 2% by my organization. Would I be crazy to switch the unmatched contributions to my taxable account so that I can pick individual companies in an attempt to boost returns? I understand that this is riskier than buying a broad market fund like what's offered in my 401(k), but as you have demonstrated so many times over your career, it only takes a handful of huge winners to make that risk well worth it. Fool on! Dylan." Robert?

Brokamp: Dylan, first off congratulations for saving for retirement in your mid-20s. That is awesome. Most people are not doing that, so you're on the road to retirement.

Gardner: What percentage of 26-year-olds, nationwide, is Dylan among?

Brokamp: I don't know.

Gardner: Just make a number up. That's what we do on this podcast.

Brokamp: I'm going to say less than 50%. How about that?

Gardner: OK.

Brokamp: We know that the vast majority of people don't even have access to a retirement plan at work, so that alone cuts out a lot of people. That he's so young in doing this, a lot of people his age are actually focusing more on their student debt, but he's saving more than 10% which is great, because studies show someone starting in their 20s saving between 10-15% are likely able to retire by 65.

Gardner: That is what awesome looks like.

Brokamp: So you're definitely not crazy to invest your non-matched retirement contributions elsewhere, especially if your 401(k) is mediocre or worse. The good news is a taxable brokerage account is not your only option. You can invest in a Roth IRA. Just by participating in the Roth 401(k) does not mean you can't participate in an IRA. You can do that, as well.

Now there is an income phaseout range with Roth IRAs. It's $120,000 to $135,000 if you're single. $189,000 to $199,000 if you're married. But even if you earn more than that, there's a way to get to the Roth IRA known as the Backdoor Roth. It's very complicated and I won't get into it, but if you are beyond those income ranges, just research the Backdoor Roth.

But I would definitely suggest that if you are not getting a match and your 401(k) is not very good; instead of putting more in the 401(k), max out your IRA instead. Go to a discount broker. You can open your Roth there and then you can pick anything from any individual stock. Individual bonds. Probably among thousands of mutual funds and ETFs. Lots of options.

Gardner: Excellent, Robert. And if I'm looking for more -- let's just say I'm not exactly Dylan -- let's just say I'm Dolores and I'm interested in reading and learning more about this kind of thing for my own plan. Are there some online resources at Fool.com that I can use?

Brokamp: There are. Most of what you see when you go to the Motley Fool home page is stuff related to individual stocks. But there is tons of financial planning and retirement-planning related content on the Motley Fool website. Just go to the site. Scroll around a little bit. There actually is a tab for retirement and you can learn a lot more about making the most of your 401(k) there.

And then, of course, there's the Rule Your Retirement newsletter service of which I am the editor, and we just celebrated our 14-year anniversary. Every month that is what we cover -- making the most of your retirement plan options.

Gardner: Awesome. Robert Brokamp, thank you for your time this month at Rule Breaker Investing !

Rule Breaker Mailbag Item No. 9: Let's close it out. This one is just about what we're doing next month on this podcast. I'm excited to unveil Authors for August on the Rule Breaker Investing Podcast. It is summer. We're at the height of summer right now, and throughout August a lot of summer reading gets done at beaches, and airports, and many places. Cruise ships by many Motley Fool members and Rule Breaker Investing listeners. And you might be kicking around for a good book for August.

Well, guess what? Some of my best recent reads -- we're going to bring the authors onto this show. Each of the weeks next month I'm going to sit down with an author and talk about his or her book. Each of them is a pretty awesome book which is why I'm having them on this show.

I've got wonderful authors lined up. Pretty sure we're going to get Amor Towles, the novelist. A Gentleman in Moscow . Many of you, I hope, have enjoyed his novel. Mark Penn who wrote Microtrends Squared. Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering and a few other books in our minds. I'm not exactly sure yet who's going to be on next week at this time, but one thing I can guarantee you, and that is that we're going to have a great author with some great thoughts on this podcast. In the meantime, Fool on!

As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing atRBI.Fool.com.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), BIDU, MELI, DIS, and Yandex. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of Alphabet (C shares), BIDU, MELI, and DIS. Rick Engdahl owns shares of 2U, Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), BIDU, PYPL, and DIS. Robert Brokamp, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Yervand Khoranian owns shares of Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), BIDU, BZUN, MELI, PYPL, and DIS. The Motley Fool recommends 2U, EBAY, and Yandex. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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