20-Year-Old Robinhood Customer Dies By Suicide After Seeing A $730,000 Negative Balance

BBSA

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Jul 11, 2005
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14,533
The note found on his computer by his parents on June 12, 2020, asked a simple question. “How was a 20 year old with no income able to get assigned almost a million dollars worth of leverage?” The tragic message was written by Alexander E. Kearns, a 20-year-old student at the University of Nebraska, home from college and living with his parents in Naperville, Illinois. Earlier that day, Kearns took his own life.

Like so many others, Kearns took up stock investing during the pandemic, signing up with Millennial-focused brokerage firm Robinhood, which offers commission-free trading, a fun and easy-to-use mobile app and even awards new customers free shares of stock. During the first quarter of 2020, Robinhood added a record 3 million new accounts to its platform. As the Covid-19 stock market swung wildly, Kearns had begun experimenting, trading options. His final note, filled with anger toward Robinhood, says that he had “no clue” what he was doing.

 

Hellhound105

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Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
4,464
No, just NO.

"Kearns may not have realized that his negative cash balance displaying on his Robinhood home screen was only temporary and would be corrected once the underlying stock was credited to his account. Indeed it’s not uncommon for cash and buying power to display negative after the first half of options are processed but before the second options are exercised—even if the portfolio remains positive. "

“How was a 20 year old with no income able to get assigned almost a million dollars worth of leverage?”

Why did they force him to sign up?
Why did they not teach him about stock markets and made him an economist before providing the service?

**** it, I`m signing up
 

Ancalagon

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Feb 23, 2010
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16,832
Sounds like a really, really, really bad user interface, coupled with almost criminal lack of care with regards to what users can do and how they do it.
 

abzo

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Nov 18, 2008
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29,429
Even if he actually owed that, just don’t pay. Just like we do with e-tolls, taxes and tv licenses.
 

SoldierMan

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Aug 3, 2019
Messages
2,685
Very sad.
These Robinhood traders are trading in stock like Hertz though, a bankrupt company, it's crazy.....
 

Kosmik

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Sep 21, 2007
Messages
20,937
I feel sorry for the chap but who's fault is it really? Are people not considered responsible enough to know or get advice on what they are getting into? I see it said he was 20, I know in this country you have to be 21 for financial agreements but also heard horror stories of folks in the states opening credit cards in their children's names, etc so not sure what the banking protection laws are like.
 
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