While some 'Teslanaires' are experienced investors, others are just average people making way more money than expected.
Investing in Tesla has always been a rollercoaster ride. This year, however, Tesla's stock has surged higher and higher all while settling into the prestigious S&P 500. It's been quite rewarding for retail investors — minting some surprised (and happy) millionaires in the process.
"Bruce Burnworth used to clip coupons and look for deals before his investment in Tesla made him a millionaire," reports the Wall Street Journal.
"Mr. Burnworth, a civil engineer in Incline Village, Nev., who is nearing retirement age, is using all of those strategies after turning a roughly $23,000 options gamble on Tesla last year into a nearly $2 million windfall. His growing Tesla stake had enabled him to borrow against his position to convert Tesla options into shares that have soared sevenfold this year. He says he also helped his daughter buy a home and purchased a Tesla sport-utility vehicle for another family member."
“Before, I wasn’t doing particularly well financially. Now, I’m well beyond where I wanted to be for retirement,” said Mr. Burnworth.
"Mary Roberts made her first big investment last year, using some spare cash and a leftover retirement account from a previous job to buy up shares of Tesla. Like Mr. Burnworth, her investment portfolio swelled in value this year as the electric-car maker’s stock ran up," reports WSJ.
Between her investments and her spouse’s, their combined portfolio is now worth seven figures, with two-thirds of that consisting of Tesla stock. “Having [shares of] Tesla enabled me to do all of this stuff. This was life-changing,” said Ms. Roberts, who is 53 years old and lives in Vancouver, Washington.
Bloomberg also spoke with a few Tesla investors who've become recent millionaires. "In late June 2017, [Brandon] Smith poured $10,000 of savings into Tesla’s stock. He said it was the first time he’d ever invested in a company. That was just the start. Each paycheck, Smith, a video producer, would pay his bills and then buy additional shares with the rest, ultimately putting about $90,000 into [TSLA]."
“I don’t make six figures, and I don’t know anything about puts and options,” Smith, 32, told Bloomberg. “I’ve just bought and held the entire time. I’ve never sold a single share.”
"Now Smith has joined the ranks of the 'Teslanaires,' as some of the company’s investors call themselves, with a holding that he says has ballooned to over $1 million, fueled by a rally of nearly 731% this year," as of December 18th. "Those who held on have been handsomely rewarded: Tesla’s shares have soared this year after five consecutive quarters of profits and growing sentiment on Wall Street that the shift toward electric vehicles is accelerating."
Another investor, Basel Termanini, 60, took delivery of his first Tesla in 2012. He currently drives a Model Y in Pittsburgh, where he is a doctor. “Driving a Tesla is like the difference between a black-and-white TV and color,” Termanini told Bloomberg. “Once you drive a Tesla, you can’t go back.”
It turns out, "Termanini [had] invested in the company a few months after the June 2010 IPO and says his investment has grown to over $2.5 million, between options and stock. He has traded over the years but he’s not selling now."
According to Bloomberg, "Tesla has fully embraced retail investors like no other publicly traded company." On a quarterly earning call, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk said he thinks retail investors have “deeper and more accurate insights” than many of Wall Street's institutional investors and analysts.
"Laura Goldman, 62, says New York-based analysts missed how much appeal the company holds for a younger generation that’s deeply worried about the climate crisis. Goldman, a former stockbroker, bought 300 of the company’s shares in the fall of 2010, a few months after its IPO, and picked up more stock over time," reports Bloomberg.
This month, Goldman is getting close to joining the ranks of Teslanaires, saying her Tesla shares were worth nearly $984,000. “I have rich Republican friends,” she said. “When they started buying Tesla cars, that convinced me to hold onto the stock.”
The BBC also spoke with Los Angeles-based engineer Jason DeBolt. His first investment in Tesla was 2,500 shares which cost him $19,000. "I first started investing in Tesla in 2013 after purchasing a Tesla Model S and going on a factory tour," he said.
DeBolt admits, "it was very difficult seeing the media attack Elon and Tesla. That was worse for me than the share price decline, which I knew would eventually bounce back." Since he began investing in Tesla, he's been buying more shares, and the 15,000 he now owns are worth around $10m.
Scott Tisdal, from New York, began investing in Tesla back in 2013. He's built up a position of around 4,000 shares currently worth around $2.8m. "As amazing as it is to be included in this growing group of 'Teslanaires', it is almost as satisfying to be able to tell all the naysayers 'I told you so.'," says Tisdal.
"I am not finished investing in them yet because I think their real story is just about to begin and people have been saying the stock is 'overvalued' since before the time I began to buy it," he says.