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I began investing more than 12 years ago and quickly found that it was important to do my own research and form my own opinions on any investment before committing capital. In 2009, just after the financial crisis dropped the markets, I put my life savings into the market, buying a basket of distressed preferred stocks at pennies on the dollar. Some of the companies eventually went bankrupt and their preferred stocks were wiped out. Others rose substantially and more than offset all of my losses. I have been contributing to Seeking Alpha since June 2012, primarily covering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I am currently involved in activist campaigns with three companies. I have a degree in Finance from the College of William and Mary and a Masters in Accounting from James Madison University. I have been a Series 7 licensed broker and worked in public accounting as a Certified Public Accountant.