Investing Platforms I am Loving (Part I)

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get about investing is what platform to use. We live in a day and age where there are a whole lot of options – apps that invest for you, apps that allow you to invest on your own, online brokerage accounts, Robo Advisors, and the list goes on!

ON THE PHONE

It can get quite confusing and overwhelming, especially for beginners, to decide which platform might work best in order to kick off an investing journey.

Back when I first started investing (summer of 2008) there were only two options – one was visiting a bank or an investment advisor in person and having them manage my money. The other was opening an online brokerage account, learning to invest, and managing my investment myself.

Considering my passion and enthusiasm towards investing, it might not be a surprise that I choose the latter and have been investing and managing my own money for over a decade using an online brokerage account (review coming soon).

Considering we live in a day and age where there are apps for everything – investing included – I get asked about the best apps all the time. I have to say that I haven’t been too impressed with investing apps until I came across M1 Finance. Just wow! 

M1 PHOTO

Image: M1 Finance website

Considering I would never tell you about anything I haven’t personally used myself or would recommend to people I care about – I decided to open an account to check out the platform for myself and here is what I am loving so far:

#1 Besides being able to open an individual investing account – the app also gives you the option of opening a Joint account, Retirement account, and even a Trust account. This is very interesting considering that most apps I’ve come across only allow people to open a self-directed individual account. It is nice to know this platform gives the same options as a full-fledged online brokerage account.

#2 There are no transaction fees and the minimum deposit requirement for individual accounts is only $100. This means you can open the account with $100 and start investing and just add more money as you go (if you want). Plus – there are no fees for buying and selling stocks. After the initial $100 deposit there is no other requirement to keep the account open. If you decide to open a retirement account with M1, the minimum requirement is $500.

#3 The interface is user-friendly once everything is set up! I have to admit that as I was setting up the account I was a bit confused when having to select specific stocks to build my “Pie” (more on that below). However, once that was done and I funded the account, the app took care of the rest. Besides being available for Android and iOS devices, M1 is also very user-friendly on a desktop computer.

#4 My ABSOLUTE favorite part about the app so far?! It allows people to purchase partial shares of stock! This is a unique feature that not a lot of investing apps provide. I personally haven’t come across any other than M1 FInance. What does that mean?  It means that if you have been wanting to buy shares of stock from companies that might seem too expensive, the app will allow you to buy a percentage of the stock which will be a whole lot cheaper than buying the entire thing. This is especially awesome if you only have a limited amount of money to start investing at the present time and want to make sure you spread out your money across a few different stocks as oppose to just one.

Remember I mentioned the “Pie” concept above? Well, that refers to how the app is set up in terms of allowing you to buy partial shares of various stocks using the money you transfer into your M1 FInance investing account from your selected checking account.

So, for example, let’s say you have 4 different stocks in mind that you would love to buy but only have about $500 available to start investing at the present time. All you’d need to do is allocate your selected percentage to each stock you want.

To keep it simple – let’s say you set up the Pie to allocate 25% of those $500 for each of the stocks, that means that app will buy you $125 worth of each stock. And so, even if some of those stocks cost more than that amount – it won’t matter because the app will buy you partial shares!

Makes sense? If anything sounds confusing, email me your questions: Girlsonthemoney@gmail.com. I am still new to the app but have to say I am quite impressed thus far.

If all of this sounds good to you, think about giving M1 a try! 

If you use this link to open your account, you’ll get a $10 bonus which you can use towards your first stock! You’ll then get your own link which you can share with family and friends for additional bonuses.

Here are the FULL requirements to qualify:

  1. Open the account and make an initial deposit of $100 for an Individual account or $500 for IRA accounts.
  2. Deposit must be made within 90 days of opening the account.
  3. The initial deposit cannot be withdrawn for 90 days.

If you end up trying this out, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers to Health, Love, Success, and Profits!

With gratitude,

Mabel

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Investing Bootcamp for Beginners – Having an investing platform is one thing but you still want to understand how to choose stocks of high quality that can make you money over time! I teach all of that and more in our exclusive investing course.  If interested in enrolling in the Spring 2019 edition of this step by step course, make sure your name is here.

New Resource Alert! Looking for a master guide that explains in simple and practical terms ALL of the investing platforms available this day and age including but not limited to types of investment accounts, investment options you have available, and beyond?! Your wish has been granted! Click here to receive information!

 

 

 

What To Do With The Money You Don’t Have Invested (Part II)

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The post is updated as of July 2019.

Several months ago, I shared a post informing you about different banks that are currently offering outstanding yields on savings accounts.

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In today’s post – I want to share information about another bank which is offering even higher interest rates and that is CIT bank! I am excited to share this because I’ve never seen anything like this when it comes to savings.

By the time I graduated college and had a full-time job, interest on savings was a whopping 0.01%. Hence, why I made it my business to learn to invest ASAP and to find better (yet, still safe) alternatives for where to park the money I was not investing. 

Through their new “Savings Builder” program, CIT bank is offering 2.30% interest on your money as long as you follow the following guidelines:

  1. Open a CIT Savings Builder account.
  2.  Deposit $100 into the account (this is the minimum requirement).
  3. Continue to consistently deposit $100 per month going forward in order to keep up the benefit of 2.30% interest!

For those worried about monthly fees (…and who wouldn’t! Pay the bank to hold my money? I think NOT!) – CIT has no opening, monthly servicing, online transfer or incoming wire fees. However, there is a $10 outgoing wire fee which is why I would recommend only using this account for saving purposes and not for wire deductions of any bills.

The “catch” is simple – if you do not continue to deposit the $100 consistently each month, you’ll fall into a lower interest tier (which is still higher than the national average) but can get right back up the next month if you proceed to deposit the $100 consistently once again.

This is why I would also highly recommend enrolling in automatic monthly deductions of $100 bucks a month once you open the account.

Also,  CIT is an online savings bank with no checking account option – which means you cannot walk into a branch at any time and withdraw money for unnecessary expenses. It also won’t be as easy to transfer money in and out whenever you feel like it – which is actually a good thing 🙂 – Yay for built-in accountability! 

Wondering about how safe your money is at CIT? Check out their FDIC insurance information page. You can also check out the bank rating page on Bankrate.

I hope you enjoyed this post and find that this bank can help you accelerate your emergency fund or non-invested funds a WHOLE lot faster than if you had them sitting at one of those traditional big banks paying you 0.01% interest. The nerve.

Ready to accelerate your savings? Click here.

Cheers to Health, Love, Success, and Profits!

Mabel $

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Reminder on Upcoming Courses + Resources:

(1)  New to investing and not sure where to begin with all the options available? Check out our informative guide!

(2) Our ETF and Index Fund Investing course will soon open for enrollment! Make sure you are on the waiting list to receive full details.

(3) To get on the waiting list for the Summer 2019 edition of our Stock Market Investing class, click here.

The Worst Thing That Can Happen To A Stock You Own.

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If you are new to investing or are considering starting your investing journey – you might wonder – what is the worst thing that can happen to a stock I own?

Well, I’d say most of us would agree that the worst thing that can happen to a company is that it goes out of business. And if you own stock in a company that goes out of business, the worst thing that can happen is that you lose your ENTIRE investment.

When public companies file for bankruptcy, depending on the chapter they file, they’re placed on a plan where they have to start selling assets to pay creditors. If you own my book you might recall that in Lesson #42 I cover bankruptcy chapters and what they mean for publicly traded businesses. 

There is a specific order in which people get paid and it goes as follows:

  1. Secured debtors
  2. Unsecured debtors
  3. Shareholders (people that own the stock).

By the time the company reaches shareholders, all the money has been distributed and the company has been completely dissolved.

Stock investing comes with risks and you should be fully aware of what can happen if something doesn’t turn out as expected. 

Should you sell a stock that is going out of business before it completely crashes? You can! However, by the time you sell, you might not be getting much back. With that said, most would agree getting something might be better than nothing. 

Here are some ways in which you can protect your investment portfolio from something like this happening:

  • Make sure you are well diversified –  As the saying goes: “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” You should NEVER have your money in one single stock or one single investment. Even if a stock you own goes to $0, you should be well diversified in high-quality stocks or funds so that one “loser” doesn’t affect you as much.  

Understand this:

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  • Make sure you buy QUALITY! – Never put your money in junk or things you don’t understand. Many people fall into the terrible trap of buying a stock simply because is “cheap.”  Another trap is buying something without doing any research simply because someone “told you” to purchase the investment. Bad idea all around!!

and that brings me to…

  • Do your homework* –even if the company has been around for 100+ years, research is still extremely important. Before you buy anything, look into the competition, whether the company is healthy financially speaking, whether you see the company still around in the next 10-20+ years, among other factors. I go over every single metric I personally look into for research purposes in the Stocks Bootcamp. 

And that’s all folks! What other strategies can you implement to ease the blow if a stock in your portfolio goes to $0? Share below! 

Cheers to Health, Love, Success, and Profits!

-Mabel

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Courses & Resources:

Understanding Your Investing Options: Starter Guide for Beginner Investors: New to investing and not sure where or how to begin?! This guide is for you! Check out details here.

Ready, Set Invest: A Crash Course on Being Ready to Invest – This is our best seller investing workshop which tends to sell out quickly. To be notified of our next one, make sure your name is on the waiting list.

GOTM Investing University: Looking to learn a valuable skill during current times? Check out all the courses we have to offer.

Investing Is Like Savings On Steroids

Investing = savings on steroids.

If you have following my work for a while, you may have noticed how much I emphasize the importance of not only investing for the long term but ALSO making sure we are investing in QUALITY. I strongly believe this to be one of the best ways we can create wealth over time.

I like to remind my community of this every time I get the chance:

 

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Buying and selling stocks within short periods of time and/or investing in random things you’ve never heard of or don’t quite understand simply to make a “quick buck” is very risky and costly. It is something I personally don’t get involved in. But we’ll leave that topic for another day.

One of the traits that motivates me the most about long term value investing is the fact that we can make our money work hard for us. By investing in high quality companies at the right time, we can benefit from their continuous growth over time and continue building our wealth in the process.

We can benefit from both, price appreciation and dividend payments (where applicable). One of the things that makes investing so exciting is that money in an investing account has the potential to grow A LOT FASTER than the money that sits in a savings account getting pennies on the dollar.

According to top financial publications, the current average interest rate on a savings account is around 0.08% – which is insane considering banks make billions from people’s deposits, fees, etc. Banks are businesses after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in savings and HIGHLY recommend everyone has money put away for emergencies that is easily accessible and not tied to investments because we never know what can happen.

As a matter of fact, I wrote a post not too long ago about what to do with the money you do not have invested. In addition, there are a few important steps I believe people should follow before they enter the investing world.

However, “leveling up” or “graduating” into having an investing account is just as important if we wish to grow our wealth at a faster rate and more efficiently.

Below are some examples and proof of why I say investing is like savings on steroids. We’ll take a closer look at the performance of some companies I consider to be of high quality and their performance over the past 5 years.

Before we begin, I want to remind you that NONE of the companies below are recommendations. The market is volatile and unpredictable and past performance is NEVER a guarantee of a how company will do in the future. ALWAYS do your own due diligence and never invest or cease to invest solely on the information I provide.

If you own my book, some of these examples will seem familiar. Plus, you can see how much each stocks has grown since my book was published in January of 2016 :).

Johnson & Johnson:

Stock Price 08/23/2013: $77.56

Stock Price 08/23/2018: $135.11

Percentage Increase: 74%

Nike:

Stock Price 08/23/2013: $29.10

Stock Price 08/23/2018: $82.91

Percentage Increase: 184%

Mastercard:

Stock Price 08/23/2013: $59.34

Stock Price 08/23/2018: $205.22

Percentage Increase: 245%

Amazon:

Stock Price 08/23/2013: $290.01

Stock Price 08/23/2018: $1902.90

Percentage Increase: 556%

What’s even better is that  all of the above companies (with the exception of Amazon) pay dividends. The percentage gains don’t include dividend payments which means the gains in an online brokerage account are actually more than the percentages shown.

KEEP IN MIND: 

#1 These gains did not happen overnight, the analysis takes in to account percentage increase in stock price over the last five years. Money in the stock market should not be money that you need in the short term. You must be well diversified and allow the money to grow. What I tell my students is to only invest money they can afford to leave alone for 3-5 years or longer.

#2. We’ve been enjoying a very profitable “bull market” since the financial crisis and this has been reflected in many companies across the board. *Side note: I explained Bull Markets and Bear Markets in the 8/25/2018 newsletter. Sign up here.

And that’s all folks 🙂

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Loved this post and would like to learn more about how you can learn to invest in QUALITY? Make sure to enroll in the courses, seminars, & masterclasses coming soon:

Stock Market Investing Boot-Camp for Beginners: Our five-week signature course where we teach you everything you need to know to understand how the stock market works and start building a stock portfolio.

The Wonderful World of Dividends: In this class I explain dividend investing from beginning to end including how to invest in dividends for passive income and how to choose the best dividend paying companies.

From Debtor to Stock Investor Accountability Program: A 6-month accountability program for individuals who want support getting out of debt and getting their financial life in order in order to Level UP into investing.

Stock Analysis Simplified – Masterclass: Coming soon – this class is for my more advanced members and teaches how to analyze a stock from the inside out in order to find out if it has potential to be a great investment.

Cheers to profits!

Mabel$

When Luxury Goes on Sale – Consumer Behavior With Products Vs. Stocks

What would you do if one day you wake up and notice that products from top luxury brands are selling at a DEEP discount? Brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino, [insert your favorite expensive brand here].

Heck! What if suddenly you could buy the latest iPhone or a Mercedes Benz for 50% off?  Would you be fearful about these sales and scared to buy? OR would you be thinking to yourself –

“WHAT?! I’ve hit the jackpot. This must be a random thing that won’t last long! Let me pick up some of my favorite things before someone fixes the glitch.”

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*The 56.8% represents the total market loss (S&P500 Index) during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Some records also show a loss of 56.4%.

Well, this analogy explains exactly how I feel when stocks I consider of high quality – and for the purpose of this post lets say “luxurious stocks” go on sale.

The irony of the stock market is that most people rush into buying everything in sight when things are going well in the market. However, when things are falling apart, people become extremely fearful and want to stay away until things go “back to normal” not realizing that the downturn might be presenting some tremendous opportunities.

One of my mentors, the legendary Warren Buffett said it best:

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While there is nothing wrong with buying things when the market is doing well – the point I am trying to make is that, unlike most things in life, most people get fearful when good stocks sell at a discount yet become very excited when the exact same thing happens with consumer goods such as shoes, purses, cars, clothes, etc.

…the point I am trying to make is that, unlike most things in life, most people get fearful when good stocks sell at a discount yet become very excited when the exact same thing happens with consumer goods such as shoes, purses, cars, clothes, etc.

The reality is that no one can time the market and it is truly impossible to know when the market will suffer a downturn or when it will go up again. If we knew this piece of information, we would all be billionaires. The purpose of this post is to encourage you to be a bit less fearful and more optimistic when the market is suffering.

It might be a good idea to train ourselves into understanding when a great opportunity is presenting itself.

To put things into perspective, here are some REAL life examples of what happened to the stock of some pretty great companies right in the middle of the financial crisis:

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  • Second column: Price per share of the stock before everything fell apart (pre-crisis).
  • Third column: One of the lowest prices per share the stock reached right in the middle of the crisis.
  • Fourth column: what the price looked like when everything started to recover (with the exception of Google – notice stock price was either almost back to normal the pre-crisis price or a little higher).
  • Fifth (last) column: Price today.

And by the way, as always, please note these are not recommendations. I picked these companies as examples for educational purposes and to bring my point across.

In conclusion – next time the stock of market goes “on sale”, learn to be a bit less fearful and think about the possibilities.

And here is a friendly reminder:

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Junk includes but is not limited to penny stocks, the latest fad, pump and dump schemes, IPOs that sound “promising” but is not clear what they are about, and the list goes on.

IMPORTANT NOTE – there is a HUGE difference between the whole market going on sale vs. a particular stock struggling all by itself. More on that in an upcoming post!

And that’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed the post 🙂

Question – What is one thing you fear the most about investing? Why? Let me know in the comments!

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

Investing Lessons: 10 Years and Counting

Investing Lessons & refleCtions

Last week was my 10 year anniversary as a Stock investor. That means I have been managing my own personal portfolio of investments for a decade (and counting).

I’ve been celebrating (mostly in my head) all month. I couldn’t let July 2018 pass by without sharing the top ten investing lessons I have learned over the past 10 years! I shared a similar post last year for my 9th anniversary but a decade is kind of a big deal (in my head) and so, here we are.

A little background story – you can check out my full story here but the short story is that I found out about investing for the first time the fall of 2004 – a semester before I graduated from college. This incredible “discovery” completely shifted my perspective on what is truly possible when it comes to building wealth. I immediately made sure my degree included a finance concentration. I graduated with a bachelor of science in business and Finance.

Regardless of taking multiple finance courses, and regardless of my “book” knowledge on the subject, hands-on investing still seemed overly complex.

It wasn’t until a good friend of mine sat down with me and walked me through the step by step process of buying a Stock and tracking a personal portfolio that things began to click. That was back in the summer of 2008 and 10 years later I can affirm, without a doubt, that learning to invest has been one of the best skills I’ve acquired in my life to date.

learning to invest has been one of the best skills I’ve acquired in my life to date.

The awesome thing is that the learning never ends and I continue acquiring amazing lessons as time goes by.

In this post I get to share 10 what I consider to be the best lessons so far. And here we go:

#1 Patience can be the most difficult skill to learn as an investor but it can also be the most rewarding.

When you put your money in amazing companies being patient with business cycles and random stock fluctuations can pay off tremendously over time.

And by the way – The keyword here is amazing companies. If you are putting your money in junk (ie: Penny stocks, the latest fad, a random obscure business that might be part of a pump and dump scheme) being patient doesn’t make a difference. I cannot speak for that as I don’t invest in those kinds of things.

#2 Some of the riskiest stocks to invest in include retail and companies that have one single source of income and a lot of competition.

The retail industry is a tough one to invest in because customers are fickle and often change their mind about brands, the prices they want to pay, where they want to shop, and the list goes on. For that reason, most (not all) retail companies are struggling today. Specially brick and mortar. Be cautious with companies in that realm. There is just a handful of companies from that industry that I consider “safe”.

Another risky type of stocks to invest in involve companies that rely on one single way to make money yet have other competitors doing the exact same thing – not only better but ALSO by offering other services to consumers.

I strongly believe that diversification is not only important for your portfolio but also for individual businesses.  The type of businesses that comes to mind when I think of ‘single source of income’ is music streaming business or those meal kit services that send you ingredients. Be cautious with those as well. Can you think of other examples?

# 3 The best time to go on a shopping spree in the markets is when most are fearful.

About 3 months after I opened my online brokerage account and bought my very first stock the market crashed. It wasn’t a short-lived crash that lasted a few days. It was the financial bubble of 2008 where several major companies, some that had been around for almost a hundred years, went bankrupt and the world seemed like it was going to fall apart.

Instead of becoming fearful about the markets during such scary times I actually became very excited and learned this lesson very early on:

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”

– Warren Buffett

The timing couldn’s have been more perfect.

Like a normal human being, I can’t deny I do get a little nervous when there is turmoil in the markets but this past decade (and about 100 years of data) have shown me that the market ALWAYS recovers regardless of how dark it gets. This is something I try to keep at the forefront of my mind when I am questioning whether or not to take advantage of “sales” when they come.

“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”

-Warren Buffett

Many people want to jump into the markets and do all kinds of crazy things when everything is going well but then hide when everything is falling apart. How effective do you think that is?

#4 Learn to look at investing as if you are buying an actual company, not just a “stock”.

Some people get into investing with the idea they’ll make thousands of dollars overnight and all they see is the ticker symbol not realizing there is an actual business behind the stock that should be researched and analyzed in order to make an educated investing decision. Failing to do your homework can cause you a lot of stress and money.

Learning to look at investing as if you are buying an actual business will do two things: 1. Protect you from putting your hard earned money in junk, and 2. Keep you interested in the stuff you add to your portfolio. The reasons for buying something will go well beyond “I just want to make a quick buck.”

When it comes to investing either we make money or we learn valuable lessons. Is a win-win.

When it comes to investing either we make money or we learn valuable lessons. Is a win win.

#5 If your CORE reason for why you bought a stock changes or if you realize you had the story all wrong – is okay to let go!

Not sure where I heard this a long time ago but it made perfect sense to me:

“We invest to MAKE MONEY not to be RIGHT.”

In other words, mistakes happen and is better to admit to yourself that you made an erroneous investing decision and move on. Sometimes our ego gets in the way of our profits and this is something we can all get better at. As with everything, this is something that gets better with time.

#6 The core characteristics of my best investments can be summed up into five types:

1. Companies that have a proven track record of profitability.

2. Are unique in the products/services they offer or have very few competitors.

3. The business model/ way in which the company generates revenue makes perfect sense.

4. Strong brand names that are often internationally recognized and/or have a strong “cult-like” following among consumers. 

5. Have strategies for the future that are clear and make sense.

#7 Understanding what to buy is just as important as knowing what to avoid.

Staying away from what I consider junk (ie: penny stocks), speculation, the “latest fad” has paid great dividends towards my peace of mind as an investor and has saved me a whole lot of money and headaches.

#8 When it comes to the things you’re passionate about / interested in – learn from the BEST people you can find.

Investing is a topic I consider too serious and too important to learn it from just anyone. For that reason – I have made it my mission to seek individuals that I consider to be creme of the crop in the investing world. I then make it my mission to share what I learn with others.

Here are some of the people I consider my investing mentors whether they know it or not: Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Benjamin Graham, John Bogle, Julie Stav, David Gardner, Tom Gardner, John Templeton, Charlie Munger, and Joel Greenblatt just to name a few.

#9 Pay attention to your watchlist and follow through on your plans.

I have a watchlist where I keep track of “wish list” companies or companies I would love to buy if I ever catch them “on sale”. There have been times where I have witnessed a random downturn in the markets (which I know is temporary) and yet I have failed to take advantage. Those are not very good days.

The best days are those when I actually follow through on what I said I was going to do and I actually add to my holdings when I said I was going to add. One of the worst feelings is witnessing the price of a stock you told yourself you would buy much higher than where you last saw it simply because you forgot to buy it or decided to just wait. Speaking from experience. This is still a work in progress 🙂

#10 Adding to winners is scary but it can be one of the most rewarding strategies.

I have mentioned this before but I would say that one of the best investing lessons I have learned thus far in the year 2018 is adding to winners. It might sound like a “scary” proposition.

For example, let’s say you bought a stock at $150 and then you see it run up to $300 and know you should buy more of it but it just doesn’t feel right. And then the stock goes up to $500. Yikes! This actually happens (with GOOD companies – not junk) and is a great feeling when you buy high and it keeps on going higher. Such an eye-opening lesson that I want to be strategic about but implement more often. Taking baby steps.

And that’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Also, if you are currently investing – whether you started 2 hours ago or 20 years ago – I’d love to know what is the best lesson you’ve learned so far. Share below!

Until next time! Cheers to profits.

-Mabel$

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

The Traveling Investor: Europe Edition

Besides stock investing, one of the things I am most passionate about is traveling.

I made my first trip abroad (without my parents) in the spring of 2005 – right before my college graduation. That trip was to Puerto Rico and after that first experience I was hooked on traveling the world.

I remember making a personal commitment to myself to travel as much as possible. A few years later I made that commitment a bit more specific by telling myself I would travel to at least one NEW country or city per year. I am happy to say I have been faithful to that commitment for over a decade – and counting.

A couple of weeks ago I visited one of my favorite continents – Europe! During that trip I visited Spain for the first time – specifically Madrid and San Sebastian.

My journey began in Madrid where I still managed to complete an entire tour of the city despite being extremely exhausted and jet lagged! Not many photos were taken there but I did enjoy walking around the hot Madrid streets while learning about the history.  

The next morning I took the train and met up with a friend in San Sebastian, Spain and then continued my journey to Bordeaux, Paris, and finally Amsterdam.

This trip as a whole was specially interesting for me considering it was a mix of “solo traveling” yet, for some of the days, I also got to meet up and travel with a good friend who lives abroad (Hi! Katherine :). Best of both words!

Side Note – you can follow Kathy’s awesome Instagram page all about amazing food from all over the world, here.

As someone that is passionate about investing – I tend to keep my “investor hat” on whenever I travel abroad. This means I keep my eyes peeled for publicly traded companies I interact with or see outside of the US. I also make observations on consumer demand and think about whether or not I should consider them for my portfolio.

It is also pretty cool when I get to interact with companies whose stock I already own.

During my most recent trip to Europe I took my investor hat with me, as I always do, and below I share some of my top observations.  I also throw in some photos in the mix. Enjoy :).

American companies are everywhere and they are just as popular as they are here (maybe more). 

Almost every other block or random corner I explored in Spain, France, and the Netherlands, had either a McDonalds or a Starbucks. I also noticed Burger King and KFC but these restaurants were not as prominent. I also noticed ads for Honest Tea – EVERYWHERE. Honest tea is owned by The Coca Cola Company. I wondered if they decided to accelerate their ad campaign in Europe considering how strict that continent tends to be with “all natural” ingredients.

Out of this list I am only a shareholder of Starbucks and Coca Cola but used to have McDonalds in my portfolio years ago. I have been considering adding Mickey D’s to my portfolio again for some time now and this trip just made that urge even stronger. There are a few things I want to look into before making a decision but the business is back on my radar.

There is money in tourism – like a lot.

Before and during my trip I spent a good amount of time booking trains, places to stay, and checking out maps as I planed my self-directed tours. Companies like Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG) , Air B&B (not yet public), and Google Maps (NASDAQ: GOOG) were my go-tos as I completed my research and planning.

If Air B&B were a publicly traded company I would definitely consider buying shares. Also, I got to thinking that at some point in the upcoming years Booking Holdings might acquire AirB&B (or vice versa).

All of my room and board was booked via AirB&B at a price that is just a fraction of hotels. When I returned from my trip I got link to share with my friends and family which offers a $40 credit on a future booking. I’m happy to share it with all of you here. If you have questions about how AirB&B works (if you’ve never used it before) let me know and I’ll be happy to share my feedback.

Alphabet (parent company of Google) was my life saver when getting from one place to another – specially during the “solo” part of my trip. GoogleMaps works exactly the same as here. In a very good way. As long as my internet was working – I was good.

I should also point out that my phone company – Verizon (NYSE: VZ)- benefited from me using data while away. I tried very hard to just use free Wi-Fi while abroad but it became difficult and inconvenient to just rely on free internet service. I had to let go of my frugal tendencies from time to time and use my international plan which consisted of $10 per day (on top of my regular monthly bill). Pretty good deal if you ask me. I just pray that when I take a look at my bill they don’t try to sneak in any hidden charges.

I am not a shareholder of Verizon but feels fair to include this here since I am talking about companies that benefit from those who travel. I have to admit it was nice to have that convenience despite the fact I am not exactly looking forward to my next phone bill.

There is money in transportation.

I have personally never been a fan of airlines stocks. However, if we want to travel oversees there is only one way to do it and that is by getting on a plane.

I remember one of my college professors (YEARS ago) telling us that one of the worst investments we could ever make would be airlines. Her argument was that these companies have to keep up with tons of regulations and are tied to unfixed costs and fluctuations of oil prices and the such. This in turn reduces margins and makes it difficult to reach a level of sustainable profitability.

Not to mention that most customers are not loyal to airlines and simply look for the cheapest deals to get from point A to point B.

Although my professor made excellent points that were very much valid around 2004 (when I took that class) – I feel that a lot of things have changed in this industry since then. One of those things is that there has been many consolidations, and thus, there are not as many airline options as we once had. Also, these businesses have learned to become much more efficient over time by implementing rules and regulations that might not favor consumers but do favor shareholders such as charging for bags,  cutting down on the free food (or free anything),  charging for on air services – and the list goes on.

I still don’t own any airline stocks but If I ever were to choose one I would go with the leader in the industry (if there is one) and an airline company that figures out the happy medium between making money and making shareholders happy while also keeping in mind the satisfaction of consumers. Know any that meet those requirements? Share below.

Also – since we are on the topic of transportation – I must add that since I was in Europe I booked most of my trains from country to country using EuroRail. I looked up whether the company is publicly traded and it doesn’t seem like it is. Appears that is owned by EuroRail Group which seems to be privately held but if this is wrong please let me know in the comments :).  

Side note – I tend not to add foreign investments to my portfolio due to my limited knowledge when it comes to international laws in having to deal with capital gains, etc.

Now for a photo break ….

(last investing lesson from this trip is at the end :).

San Sebastián Highlights:

sansebastian5

icecream

sansebastian4

sansebastian2

sansebastian3

Bordeaux Highlights:

Macaroons

mandkat

After a couple of days in “wine country”, I made my way up to Paris and ultimately Amsterdam – two places I have visited before but whose beauty and cultural richness never fades.

Paris Highlights:

Versailles Highlights:

Amsterdam Highlights:

 

And last but not least …

Investing is more than just making money – it allows freedom and flexibility.

Since I began my investing journey (10 years ago this month!) I have been asked this question many times – why are you so frugal? why do you save? why do you invest? what is the reason behind all of it? Considering I started investing when I was around 24 years old – retirement was not necessarily the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the reasons for my financial decisions.

It wasn’t until several years later when the reasons started to click for me – I save and invest for my freedom and to be able to do the things I LOVE such as investing in traveling, experiences, and doing the things that bring me JOY with peace of mind.

Being responsible with your money doesn’t have to be a “boring” shore as long as you keep in mind your WHY. This applies to a lot of things in life including investing. Would you agree?

Thank you for reading! Comment below and let me know where have you traveled lately or whether you have any places you want to go to on your radar. OR, you can simply tell me WHY you invest! 🙂

Until next time! Cheers to health, love, adventures, and profits!

-Mabel$

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

Price Is What You Pay, Value Is What You Get.

If you follow Warren Buffett the title of this post might look familiar. It is actually one of his famous quotes and a valuable investing lesson wrapped up into one quick sentence. 

In my previous post about investors dilemmas, I talked about how it is nearly impossible to time the market and very difficult to catch something at the “right price”. I also briefly shared that there is a HUGE difference between the price and the value of an investment. In this post, I look to elaborate much more on that.

Let’s do it!

price_value

As a beginner investor, you may or may not know that the price (dollar value) you see when you look up the stock price of a company is not necessarily reflective of what the business is really worth or its “intrinsic value”.

Intrinsic Value is simply a fancy word in the finance world that means “real” value. In other words – looking beyond the stock price – what is the REAL value of an investment?The real value is tied to things such as the financial health of the business and the potential that business has to continue growing and being profitable for many years to come.

Think of it as looking beyond what you see at face value and really digging  “under the hood” of a business to see whether or not purchasing its stock can actually pay off for years to come (or not).

Let’s say you are doing some research on ABC Corporation because you are considering it as a prospective investment. You go to Yahoo! Finance for a quick price check and notice that the dollar value of the stock comes up at $20 per share.

You may think the price is ‘reasonably low’ because you can actually buy a good number of shares considering the money you have available.

What you don’t realize is that, regardless of the price you are seeing, it is possible that the company might be cheap for a reason. Perhaps investors have sold off the stock for one reason or another or the market doesn’t have very high expectations for said investment.  It could also be the case that the company is in a dying industry or in an industry where there is too much competition and they might even be losing market share. These are some of the many scenarios to consider.

It can also be the case that you found a bargain but you won’t know what is the real reason for the “low” price unless you do your homework.

If you don’t do your research and just buy because the investment looks “cheap” you might be adding a loser investment to your portfolio without realizing it. Instead of seeing your money grow over time you might actually see the stock drop to $15 or $10 per share shortly thereafter.

The fact that the stock seems “cheap” doesn’t mean it will be profitable. 

Repeat this with me:

The fact that the stock seems “cheap” doesn’t mean it will be profitable.

You then look up another company – let’s say one with a per share price of $200 per share. You decide is too expensive based on the price alone, disregard it, and move on to something else. A few years later you decide to take a peek at that same company and see it has more than tripled (true story).

Had you done your homework and did some research to figure out the intrinsic value of that investment you might have concluded that despite the price, the company had the potential to be incredibly profitable.

However, many people make decisions to buy something solely based on price which is a terrible strategy to use as an investor.

One method you can use to examine the intrinsic value of a company is through examining its valuation. One of the most commonly used metrics used by investors and analysts alike to examine valuation is the P/E ratio – or Price to Earnings ratio.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I will elaborate into this further. This is also one of the several important metrics I teach students in the investing boot-camp.

In the meantime, keep these few tips in mind:

1. Never make a decision to purchase a stock solely because the price seems “cheap”. A cheap price is no guarantee that said the investment will be profitable. You have to look under the hood of the business to examine its true potential.

2. Never disregard purchasing a stock simply because it looks “too expensive”. That investment might have the potential to continue ascending (or not). Again, do your homework. *This is where other methods besides P/E ratio might have to be introduced.

3. Ask yourself if the investment you are considering is currently in an industry that is growing and thriving or an industry that is dying and might soon become obsolete. Can it get disrupted by another company? Do you see that business growing and thriving 5, 10, 15+ years from now?

What other questions can you add? Let me know in the comments.

Cheers to profits! $

-Mabel

 

PRICEVALUEBUFFETT

 

 

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Resources & Upcoming Courses:

New to investing and looking for a guide that’ll explain all your options? Check out this one.

Stock Investing Bootcamp for Beginners: The Spring 2019 edition is now in session. Next class will talk place in the Summer of 2019! Request details here.

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The Investors Dilemmas – Questions Even Experienced Investors Deal With

This post has been on my “topics to write about” list for quite some time and for good reason – I get questions ALL the time from members of the Girl$ on The Money community and students in my investing courses about topics that they THINK a more “experienced” investor might have the answers to.

the investor's dilemma

Well – even with 2 degrees in Finance and nearly 10 years of hands-on investing experience, there are MANY questions I personally still find challenging.

The truth of the matter is that, as with personal finance, investing is also VERY personal. Quite honestly – most of these questions have no “right” answer and it all depends on an individual’s situation.

With that said, in this post I’ll share some of the most common “dilemmas”.

Let’s do it.

When to BUY a stock:

A very famous and I’d say “obvious” quote in the investing world is “buy low, sell high”. Well duh! When we sell a stock or investment for a higher dollar amount than what we paid for it – we make a profit. In a perfect world we would all know when a stock has reached its bottom and we would buy, ride it to the top, sell, and be billionaires.

Well, it doesn’t quite work that way.

It is VERY difficult to time the market or to know with 100% certainty when an investment has reached its lowest point or highest point. With that said, there is no “perfect” time to purchase anything.

As I teach in my stock investing boot-camp for beginners –  a good amount of research needs to take place  BEFORE adding anything to your portfolio. And so, your decision of when to purchase a stock or investment shouldn’t be based on its price alone. 

There is a HUGE difference between price and value and this is actually a topic I look forward to explaining further in a future post.

In the meantime, please know this – the fact that the price of a stock may seem “high” or “low” at face value doesn’t mean anything. What matters is the potential of that company to increase in value over time.

A stock that is worth $25 and considered “cheap and affordable” can linger in the $25 range for a few years before dropping to $15 and then $10. A stock that is worth $250 and considered “too expensive” can increase to $500 and even $1,000+ over time. I am not making up this example. I have seen this happen in REAL life. It all depends on the business behind the stock. 

While no one can predict what a stock will do (if someone says they can- run for the hills) – research and analysis can help tremendously in making educated decisions. 

When to SELL a stock:

This is another very difficult question that I personally find quite challenging. I love the process of finding amazing companies, doing my research, verifying they are in fact amazing (or not!) and then adding them to my portfolio if warranted. I also love seeing the stock appreciate in value as the time (years) go by which makes the decision to sell quite difficult. Some of you might have heard Warren’s famous quote:

LongTermBuffettHowever, we also have to be realistic and know we’re saving and investing for a reason – starting a business, funding college for a loved one, retirement, etc. We’ll eventually need to sell. However, finding the “right” time with stocks that have done well is difficult. 

The decision is ALSO difficult with so called “loser” stocks because you then have to figure out if its simply a temporary downturn and perhaps you should be buying more OR whether the company is done for good and maybe is time to sell and move on.

With that said, these are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to sell something:

  • Think about whether your original thesis for purchasing said investments has drastically changed for the worst. The reason why you purchased is no longer valid and you don’t believe the investment will be as successful as you originally thought – it is okay to change your mind if you later find that perhaps your research was flawed. 

Or, on a more positive note:

  • Your investment has grown to the point where you have too much money and you’d like to re-balance your portfolio and perhaps put some of the money you’ve made with that investment in something else.

Or perhaps life just happens:

  • You need the money for a major life event and cannot get the money from anywhere else. You need to sell the investment.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you can think of any other reason share in the comments!

Adding to winning positions.

Ok so this might be a “good problem” to have but it does happen! As time goes by and you realize you’ve made some pretty awesome investing decisions with certain stocks or funds  – you might be faced with the very real dilemma of whether or not to add to those “winning” positions.

When an investment has appreciated significantly you’ll find yourself very hesitant to buy at the “much higher” price. because you are well aware of how much “cheaper” you got that investment in the first place. Is a tough position to be in.

This is a very real dilemmasI’ve personally dealt with.

While listening to a favorite podcast earlier this year, I heard these words of wisdom which really shifted my perspective on the idea of adding to winners:

DavidG

David is one of the founders of The Motley Fool and someone I like to call one of my selected virtual “investing mentors”. He has always preached adding to winners but the idea finally clicked for me when I heard those words.

decided to try out this strategy by taking baby steps with the companies in my portfolio that have not only done amazing but which I ALSO strongly believe will be around for decades to come.

The verdict so far is that adding to winning positions has been one of my best investing lessons of 2018. I’ll let you guys know how I feel by the end of the year or in a few years but so far so good =).

When making this decision for yourself some questions I’d encourage you to explore are the following:  (1) Is the thesis behind WHY you purchased that investment in the first place the same or even better than what you originally concluded? (2) Is this company (or companies within the fund) making disruptive positive changes in the world? (3) Is the product/service unique? (4) Does the company have a strong competitive advantage? (5) Are the financials still solid? (6) Do you see this company around and thriving for the next 10, 15+ years? If the answer to MOST of these questions is “yes” you might be onto something.

And that’s all folks! Any dilemmas you personally deal with? Share below or head over to the Facebook group to start or continue to the discussion.

Cheers to profits!

Mabel  $

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

Received An Email Urging You To Buy An IPO? Read This First.

Whether or not you’ve been following me for a while you will notice that not only am I passionate about investing and sharing what I know (and what I continue to learn) with the world. I am also very passionate about educating others on how to avoid falling into traps when It comes to their money.

During my investing workshops I often bring up a show I encourage people to watch – American Greed – this show is very good and very scary. It provides real life stories on money scams by unscrupulous individuals that offer innocent and well-intended people impossible returns on investments only to subsequently leave people empty handed.

The good news is that most of these scammers end up in jail. The bad news is that by the time the crime is discovered some people have lost their entire life savings.

If you’ve been following the blog for some time you know I previously wrote a post about IPOs and how I feel about them. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

In that particular post I focused on the type of IPOs that come from legitimate, regulated, companies that MIGHT even have potential to be good investments in the LONG term.

I explain that, regardless of the company, avoiding IPOs is one of my personal investing rules and is something that has saved me a whole lot of money and headaches over the years. 

Whenever I see an email in my inbox about “IPO is launching soon, you can buy it now” – my skin crawls. I get nervous for the people that might buy into these advertisements.

In this particular post I’d like to shed some light on something called “Pump and Dump” fraud. I want to make sure the GOTM community is well aware of the dangers they can face due to lack of information and falling into the traps of unscrupulous individuals.

 

IPO_Warning

I have noticed that social media (and email) are tools that can be used by  pretty much anyone to create hype about so called IPOs that aren’t even from legitimate corporations – just a group of people claiming to have discovered or created the “next best thing” and looking to RUSH people into buying by instilling the fear of missing out.  This is the reason why I felt the need to write a follow up article.

First – I’d like to share the definition of Pump and Dump as outlined in the SEC’s website – the government entity responsible for regulating investments and protecting the average investor, people like you and I, from fraud.

Read this carefully:

Pump-and-dump” schemes involve the touting of a company’s stock (typically small, so-called “microcap” companies) through false and misleading statements to the marketplace.

These false claims could be made on social media, as well as on bulletin boards and chat rooms. Pump-and-dump schemes often occur on the Internet where it is common to see messages posted that urge readers to buy a stock quickly or to sell before the price goes down, or a telemarketer will call using the same sort of pitch.

Often the promoters will claim to have “inside” information about an impending development or to use an “infallible” combination of economic and stock market data to pick stocks. In reality, they may be company insiders or paid promoters who stand to gain by selling their shares after the stock price is “pumped” up by the buying frenzy they create. Once these fraudsters “dump” their shares and stop hyping the stock, the price typically falls, and investors lose their money.

When receiving these “Buy Now” announcements right in your inbox you might see it as a “God-sent” opportunity to make some money when the reality is quite the opposite.

At the end of the day I cannot tell you what to do. You always have the ultimate say in ALL of your money decisions but please be aware of the dangers, especially when it comes to these types of investments.

PLEASE know that by not investing in IPOs you are not missing out on anything other than probably losing your money very quickly in the short term.

If the business launching the IPO is from a company or service you are legitimately interested in, or that seems “promising” there is nothing wrong with waiting things out and seeing what happens as oppose to rushing into things. 

I FIRMLY believe that if the product or service is as amazing as they claim it is – it will be around for a long time.

I rather you focus on real businesses with a real track record than putting your hard earned money into things that have not really proven themselves other than to “insiders” that most likely just want to make money off of you.

Please be cautious.

Cheers to profits!

Mabel $

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources: