Friday, February 29, 2008

Use my Newsreels

I always used to go on the Internet and search for articles or stories on investors that I liked or wanted to learn what their moves were...well I found out about these newsreels and I set it up so that articles on all the guys I used to search for are now generated on the side of my site...go check them out...those are only a few of the people that I like to read about, but I figure it will give you a good start to learn more about my strategies and mindsets.

If you have any more people that you like to read about, or companies that you like to read about let me know and I will set up newsreels for them, but it saves you a bit of time then having to go to a search engine and type them in yourself.

Click on the persons name that you like, and it will give you four articles from them.

Happy reading.

The Best Investors

Warren Buffett, Eddie Lampert, Jim Cramer, Bruce Berkowitz...these are just a few of the best investors...articles on these guys coming soon...

Scary But True

Its scary to see how people struggle to get by, but this is an eye opening article to see how people get into trouble, and through hard work and support through your significant other you can fight through to financial prosperity.

http://kiplinger.com/columns/starting/archive/2008/st0227.htm

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Easy Money

Here is an easy way to save a few bucks a month...go to your bank and see if they offer any accounts with free online bill pay..if they do, get that account and go online and sign up bills for online bill pay. Its not a lot of money, but with the cost of postage going up all the time, and the amount of time you spend writing the checks and addressing the envelopes, you can probably do something much more productive with your time. Hey, pennies to nickels, nickels to dimes, dimes to quarters, and quarters to dollars, every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Budgets

As talked about in a prior post, budgeting is the first step and most important step in saving money. Setting up a budget isn't too difficult to do at all, its sticking to it that is difficult. No joke, it is extremely tough to keep everything straight. It ll be fun at first, then slowly you see how horrible your spending habits really are, then it becomes a difficult task to keep track of this spending, it will pain you to put each cash payment, or credit card purchase into excel. As much as it hurts to do, and you get down on yourself because you spend money like an idiot, all these hours you work at jobs you hate...that money you make just gets blown on stupid stuff. That's good though, because now you are starting to realize where your money is going..then you can adjust accordingly...cut a little back here, cut down how much your talking or texting on your cell phone, etc...

Steps:
1. Build a budget (excel works well)
2. Set up a system (in excel as well, use another sheet) of tracking all of your spending...to the penny
3. At the end of the month, or the week, compare your totals of money spent in each category with what you put in excel as the budgeted number
4. Analyze what you see, how much over or under you went in each category and adjust your budget and spending accordingly.

When I would set up a budget, I would sit down, think of everything you spend money on, and think of a reasonable number (based on your past spending habits) of what you would want to spend monthly in that category...you may have guessed wrong, so after the first few weeks/months you can go back and adjust.

You need to be honest with yourself though, you cant forget to add certain expenses in there, or put them in a different category because at the end of the month you don't want to see that you spend $600 at bars!

Remember set up a savings account, and make sure that you have savings in your budget as a fixed expense.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Random Fact of Compound Interest

This is quite an extreme example but its something to think about...If Christopher Columbus had placed a single penny in a 6 percent interest bearing account and told someone to remove the interest every year, the value of the interest earned by 2005 would be about 31 cents. But if he had placed the same penny into the same interest-bearing account but left the earned interest to compound - earning interest upon the interest - the balance for 513 years would be $95,919,936,112.

Intro to Investing Part One

Mutual Funds - This is pooled money that professional money managers invest for you. You purchase shares of the mutual fund and these professional money mangers invest it for you as well as everyone else who is invested in the fund. Every fund has a different theory, growth, income, blend...you have to choose which is right for you at a particular stage in your life. (we'll get back to that) Not a bad way to get started investing, you can go to a T. Rowe Price or TIAA CREF and start buying mutual funds for as little as $50 a month...that's $12.50 a week...just stop eating out one day and put that into a mutual fund. Charles Schwab has it so that you can do it with as little as $100 a month, $25 a week.

DRIPS (Dividend Reinvestment Plan) - Again, its not a bad idea, not quite as diversified as a mutual fund, but if you get a good company that pays out a decent dividend and has growth potential, you could be sitting back, watching your money grow over time. You don't hear too much about these anymore because of all of the alternative possibilities and the fear of not being properly diversified. If you have a company you would be interested in doing this with go to the company home page and look for the investor relations section and there should be some information on how to start investing directly with them. If not, go to computershare.com and they have lists of companies DRIP programs they oversee.

Savings Account - Maybe you are not ready for the market, you want to research a bit more before you jump in, that's more than fair and can be a good idea. Open up a savings account (e-mail me about ING) and set up automatic withdrawal's from your checking account. This way you automatically are saving and you get a guaranteed return, not matter what the market does. Setting up automatic transfers is the best way to approach this, get serious, there is a better opportunity for your cash to make it to the savings account if you set it up automatic as opposed to you having to manually transferring it...doesn't seem like much, but you'd be surprised how much it helps setting it on auto pilot.

more to come.....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Start Now

It is so important to stat investing early and at a young age. Take a few minutes and check out this slide show and it will show you how much easier life will be if you start early.

Vanguard shows the difference between two investors.

Free Money

One of the first rules of economics is that there is no such thing as a free lunch...that's true, but these are a few free lunches for you and I, the only ones paying the bill are a few larger corporations.

ING Direct: Been using this savings account for years, and I have never had a problem with it. Pays out a very competitive interest rate (currently about 3.4%). I like it because it gets the cash out of my checking account and it makes it a bit more difficult to get at. It takes 2 or 3 days to transfer cash between your ING Direct account and your checking account, that way, it gives you time to think about a big ticket item purchase.
ING offers $25 referral bonus to new accounts (online savings, and another $25 for their electric online checking account) as long as you deposit $250 in each to start. Yeah, $250 might be tough to get together, but its a 10% risk free gain in one day, then you have $275 compounding at 3.4% instead of yur $250 you deposited. The electric orange works the same way, but it pays a bit lower interest rate, and their are alot of perks to it as well...free checks, free postage because they send the checks out for you, and debit card with a ton of locations in your area to withdrawl cash from.

Revolution Money Exchange: The guy who started this company seems to be trying to compete with paypal...there was an article a few weeks ago in USA Today about it. Anyways, if I refer you to open up an account with this bank, as soon as you open it up...you get $25 and I get $10 for a referral. It is that easy. The ING Direct needs you to deposit the money to get the bonus, for this, you do not need to deposit any money, it is credited to your account right away. Then, link it up with your checking account that you already have and you can pull the money out. I have played around with it a bit, and it does seem like it could be a pretty cool thing to use...if you owe your buddy some money from the bar tab the night before you can send the money to him through this bank just by knowing his e-mail address.

Virtual Bank: Again, just like ING Direct, it is an online savings account, pays out a decent rate, and you get a free bonus and so do I for you opening an account. Ill send you a referral e-mail, and you open the account, fund it with $100 and they will give you a $20 bonus for opening the account...I as well will get a bonus for referring people. Again, thats a 20% gain, RISK FREE right off the bat.

None of these are scams at all, I know it seems odd that banks are giving money away like that, but it is their way of advertising. If you see a bank on TV that has a good rate you might open it up, but if your buddy tells you about it, and the good experience they have had with it, PLUS a free bonus, I bet you are more likely yo open the account, and it may be cheaper for the banks then paying millions of dollars to run a commercial prime time.

Send me a message, or post, and Ill send you a referral link and we can both benefit.