🌚wth is moon man Elon Musk doing? 🌚

Better Have My Money: learning 'bout stocks so we all get rich

Hi friends!

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my Monday night newsletter about stocks for people want to stop feeling intimidated by finance bros. Better Have My Money is a gif-filled rundown the stock market (from why we should care about shares when the world is burning, to figuring out which public companies are run by women, and thinking about the market like it's a bad boyfriend).

So this week let's talk about Grimes' boyfriend Elon Musk. Urgh, I know. But he's doing weird stuff and it's causing much ~drama~ in stocks land! Strap yourself in cause this is a RIDE.

OK so Musk, who was a co-founder of PayPal (yes I always forget about this one), and also CEO of electric car company Tesla and founder of space tourism company SpaceX and the tunnel construction business called The Boring Company (ok that is a good pun I'll give him that), tweeted some wild claims this week.

No, it wasn't that he would build a special cave diving machine to save a bunch of trapped children in Thailand and then called the guy who actually saved the kids a pedophile! Or that he'd launch his own media organization rating journalists! Or that his company treats workers very well, despite a bunch of evidence to the contrary!

Musk instead declared that he might actually make Tesla (TSLA), a company that floated on NASDAQ back in 2010, a... private company again. And that'd stocks would be bought back from shareholders at $420 per share (at the time they were selling for about $340 each).

Basically shareholders could either sell at $420 (I do NOT FOR ONE SECOND think this price is not also a weed reference), or they can keep their shares and remain private investors when the company becomes private. Once private (and shareholders would have to vote for it to go private), shareholders could buy and sell their shares once every six months.

The stock immediately jumped 11%, cause people are like hell yeah I want to sell for $420.

Musk released a memo explaining what the hell he was talking about.

As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla, all of whom are shareholders. Being public also subjects us to the quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term. Finally, as the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company.

Confusing term of the week: "short selling" — often just called "shorting" or "shorted stock." Basically it's when you sell stock that you have borrowed from a broker and don't actually own yet yourself, because you think the price is going to drop and then you can buy it back cheaper and pocket the difference. Basically, you're betting against the stock. You make money when the stock goes down, and lose it when it goes up. It is a super dangerous investing game!

Except, not all shareholders were happy. On Friday, Musk and his company were sued by TWO different investors who said Musk had screwed with investors who were short selling Tesla stock last week.

Literally one lawsuit filed in federal court in California on Friday (yes, I am a real journalist and have found the lawsuits) says it is suing on behalf of investors who bought Tesla stock between August 7-10 because "the price of Tesla shares was artificially inflated​."

The other lawsuit says Musk "embarked on a scheme and course of conduct to artificially manipulate the price of Tesla stock to completely decimate the Company’s short-sellers."

Of course Musk responded in the most Muskian of ways:

I genuinely thought he was just posting about short shorts, some sort of new company that we didn't know we needed, but apparently my sense of humor is underdeveloped. Like he didn't stop, he just kept making short shorts jokes. I genuinely kept checking if these were from an El0n Mu3k account or something cause it seemed so bonkers but maybe this is tech stock humor? Hahaha oh god plz stop.

In what world would anyone keep lipliner in their socks?! Musk has been fighting with short sellers for a while, tweeting back in May as if he is a teenage boy: "Oh and uh short burn of the century comin soon."

It's not all lolz tho. Musk owns 20% of Tesla stock. Everyone was like "who is this funder that you've promised to pay $420 a share?!?," and the news came right as a Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund completed a 5% stake in Tesla. Musk confirmed in a blog post today that that's who he was referring to. He also said he reckons 2/3 of Tesla shareholders will want to stay with the company when it goes private. Regardless, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating his tweets.

"When you invest in an entrepreneur, you get the personality," said rich guy Mark Cuban, speaking about Musk, which sounds like a thing people only say about men tbh. "If you don't think it's right, buy another stock."

Oh, and then.... just casually, rapper Azealia Banks posted on Instagram that today about Grimes and Musk and accused him of tweeting while on acid. First a Tesla spokesperson denied it, then Musk himself said he'd never met or communicated with Banks. Who knows?! I know I feel high af trying to work out what the hell has happened this week in Muskland.Musk claimed he would fix the Flint water crisis. He hasn't! But the Flint Water Fund is working hard to provide clean bottled water to residents, so I suggest you give them some of your money this week.

Oh! I was interviewed for an article for Vice's money section FREE, talking about how stocks are fun when you buy companies you think are interesting. I guess Telsa is interesting at least?! The article has got great advice on different investing apps and how to get started buying stocks (and so here's my regular reminder that if you open a Robinhood account, which lets you buy and sell stocks with zero fees, use my referral code and we both get a free share).

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who is also confused about whether Elon Musk is high? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

Finally, I'll leave you all with this