Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I got an email today from Propser.com and they have finally started offering promissary notes again. They also report that they have new features, like the ability to purchase parts of loans from other lenders like car loans, etc. They have also improved their ratings system. I'm definitely going to do some more investing with them, as the first $50 I invested to a person expanding his patisserie (shortly before Prosper paused offering their services to investors) has been consistently earning me just over a 20% return.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I read today in the news that the market dropped today because of fears of Swine Flu entering the US and causing Armageddon. I have two thoughts on this. First off, the DOW dropped a whopping 0.64%, which is hardly newsworthy, but I guess it sounds cool so it will create a catchy headline in the Financials pages. Second, are times when everybody panics because of a disease scare a good time to buy stocks? They are obviously deflated because people are just freaking out.
In my mind one of two things would happen in a situation such as this. The first scenario would be that this, like other disease scares in the past, will pass and the market will go back up to where it would have been without the scare in the first place. In this case it would be a good time to get stocks. The second scenario would be that there really is an epidemic, and everybody dies. In this case you'd be dead, so if you had bought stocks you won't mind that they are worthless, or if you're one of the few survivors you'll be just happy to be alive.
Some nice macabre thoughts for a Monday :)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Tax season is over for most of us, and I have learned a big lesson for the newbie investor like myself: don't trade more stocks than you need to.
My wife and I went to a tax professional at Jackson Hewitt this year since she started a business, and we found that our tax preparation was way more expensive than it needed to be because I had traded so many different stocks and each one required a separate fee from the preparer. I had thought that they were all traded in one broker that it would be simple, but apparently each asset is treated as a separate form to fill out. During Zecco's month of unlimited free trades, I did all sorts of micro-transactions, buying a bunch of different penny stocks in amounts under one dollar. These types of transactions were worth less than what they cost to be looked at by the tax preparer. Another reason not to invest in small amounts, even if there is no broker commission!
With that lesson learned, my next return should be simpler, as my new investing strategy for now only includes VT and PZD (more on my refined strategy later).
Thanks to mdid on Flikr's Creative Commons for the IRS stencil pic
Sunday, April 5, 2009
My experiment is finally beginning to show some results after three months! The portfolio rebalanced every month is actually in the positive (wow) about 59 cents, while my annual and semi-annual ones are down by about 4 dollars. That's significant, after only 3 months. Let's see if we can keep the momentum going.
The sheet below contains all three portfolios. Use the tabs on the bottom to switch between them. Alternately, the spreadsheet can be accessed here.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I'm ready to put in another installment into my ING Sharebuilder portfolio, but I haven't been able to access the site all morning. It doesn't really matter to me that much since I do automatic investments and all I have to do is get the money transferred from my ING savings account at some point today to get the transaction to happen tomorrow, but I feel pretty bad for all those who think that the stock market is recovering and want to purchase their stocks at the beginning before prices go up.
--From the Sharebuilder error page:
This jogs a distant memory in a time long ago. Ah yes, it was September 2008, when I'd just started investing with Zecco, and Zecco's site went down the day everyone started panicking, marking to many the beginning of the stock market collapse. Could this buying frenzy, enough to shut down Sharebuilder, be the mark of the beginning of the upturn?
Predicting the market on the reliability of stock brokers' websites is probably not the best way to time one's investments. It does, however pose another question: is there a broker out there who'se online access can be depended on not to blow up when there are large events in the market?