LOLA Retreat 2018

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of speaking at the LOLA Retreat – a personal finance conference for women.

The great minds behind this amazing event are Melanie Locket (founder of DearDebt) and Emma Pattee

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Melanie and I at the end of a wonderful two days.

The event took place at a beautiful venue – The Financial Gym. Not only did I get to interact with some pretty amazing attendees and presenters but I also soaked in tons of knowledge on various money topics. Below are some of the highlights.

Star struck by Dianne.

I started reading Money Magazine when I was about 21 years old and just fresh out of college. I clearly remember reading that thing from beginning to end including the letters from the Editor In Chief at the time – Dianne Harris!

Needless to say I was very excited to meet her at this event and had to let her know the role the magazine has played on boosting my investing and personal finance knowledge over the years. 

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She’s awesome. That is all.

Amazing presenters.

The workshops included topics from how to be healthier financially, how to make more money, how to feel more powerful around money, and how to make our money work for us. We also enjoyed a couple of powerful panels on relevant and very important topics. 

Erin Lowry spoke about getting our financial lives in order.

Kristin Wong, from The Wild Wong, spoke about Powering-Up our money. Here is one of my favorite slides:

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Kristin Sutton from Debt Free Black Girl shared her wisdom on demolishing debt like a boss!

Paulette Perhach empowered us all talking about making sure we all have a “F*ck Off Fund”.

Ashtin Berry did such an INCREDIBLE job hosting the #MeToo era panel with Dianne Harris, Paulette, and Kristin Sutton. The girl is TALENTED!

On Sunday we kicked off the day with a delicious brunch and Sandy Smith’s enlightening presentation on how we can hustle our way to financial freedom.

Last but not least I took the stage to talk about one of my favorite topics – INVESTING – with the incredible audience (more on that below).

After Sunday’s presentation we all enjoyed even more wisdom with yet another incredible panel hosted by Melanie on how to survive financial disasters. Featured panelists included Natalie Jean-Baptiste and Liz Gendreau

On that note – when you are done reading this post, make sure to also check out Liz’s amazing recap of the conference here.

Presented on one of my favorite things to talk about – INVESTING!

I had the privilege of sharing tons of nuggets of Wisdom with the LOLA audience about a topic I find so fascinating. I’d like to give a shout out to my best friend Christina for attending the retreat and assisting as my personal photographer and videographer specially during the presentation :).

Some investing facts I shared include:

Women control OVER 20 trillion in consumer spending and 83% of consumer purchases.

This means we have IMMENSE power when it comes to knowledge we can use to make educated investing decisions.

Facts

Whenever you purchase a product or service take a second or two to consider the fact that you not only have to be a consumer. You can also be an investor.

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One of my favorite things to say:

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Few things to consider before you begin your investing journey:

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Knowledge is not power. APPLIED knowledge is POWER. Education is KEY.

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A bag with cool Swag.

The bonus swag bag included books on one of my favorite topics to read about – personal finance – in addition to worksheets supplementing the workshops plus additional goodies.

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The Lola Retreat was such a PHENOMENAL event which I would highly recommend. Conferences, specially for women, held in an intimate setting, where we can not only expand our knowledge on important topics but also interact with like-minded individuals are quite the novelty. Hence, if LOLA comes to a town near you – GO! You won’t regret it.

Have an amazing day and CHEERS to health, wealth, and profits!

Love,

Mabel $

***

New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

  • Interested in the next edition of our Investing Boot-camp for beginners? Make sure your name is here to be notified once enrollment opens again.
  • Did you know … We have a masterclass on Stocks for Kids?! Inquire here. 
  • There’s also an AWESOME course on Dividends, find out more here.
  • Follow me on Instagram and join the Facebook Group!
  • Looking for an awesome book to get started? Check out our Amazon Bestseller: “Stock Market Investing Mini Lessons for Beginners”. 
  • Not sure where to start with investing? Enroll in our FREE “Preparing Yourself To Start Investing” series here.

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

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NOTE: This post is updated as of July 2019.

It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of the stock market. I absolutely love the idea of creating wealth over time by making educated decisions and putting my hard earned money in companies, funds, and investments I trust and have researched thoroughly.

With that said, something to keep in mind is that we shouldn’t have all of our money invested. There is a “little” something called emergencies that does not give us a warning. They just show up. And so, for that reason, before putting any money in the markets, we need to first make sure we have money in an emergency fund or any fund that is LIQUID and easily accessible when needed.

The issue with having money parked in a bank account, however, is that many times we are collecting pennies. The interest paid by many popular banks is disrespectful to many of us and doesn’t even come close to the rate of inflation – the rate at which the dollar loses value with every passing day.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, something that used to cost $100 in 2008 costs about $118.23 today. If your money is not growing at a rate somewhat close to the average 2.5% interest rate per year, it is losing value. 

SUZE

Some banks even have the nerve to charge a fee for holding your money while they’re turning around and lending it to others at ludicrous interest rates. The nerve. And let’s not even get into poor customer service. 

For that reason, I would encourage you to strongly consider opening a high yield savings account or CD at a financial institution that you can trust.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I have been guilty of leaving my hard earned savings collecting dust in bank accounts that showed me zero respect. Getting notifications about a deposit of $0.25 cents or $0.39 cents in interest every month on my savings left me with my mouth open.

I noticed such disgrace for the first time in my early 20’s and then again early last year. I couldn’t be mad at the bank. I was mad at myself for leaving my money there. 

The shock intensifies because I have seen with my own eyes the way in which money that is invested in quality companies can grow exponentially over a fairly short time period. And, so, I can’t believe the lack of concern some banks have when it comes to offering better rates to their customers. 

With that said – I am happy to announce I’ve finally taken action into opening a high yielding savings account. One day I realized that I have been focusing so much on investing that I kind of forgot about my savings. Well, those days are over!

I wanted to share information on my favorite savings accounts at this time. They include:

CIT Bank –

The highest interest rate I have seen to date is CIT bank Savings Builder Program which pays 2.30% interest as long as you are enrolled in ongoing monthly deposits of $100. Check out this post for full details on that.


Savings Builder

Goldman Sachs Marcus –

Some of you might recognize Goldman as creme of the crop investment bank and Wall Street symbol. However, the business has branched out into consumer services and has done incredibly well. In the fall of 2006, Goldman opened the doors of “Marcus” – its savings account exclusively for the average person with some pretty awesome interest rates right from the beginning.

As of the time of this post, the bank is offering 2.15% on savings!

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Ally Bank 

I first started to learn more about Ally when they acquired TradeKing a few years ago and created Ally Invest which is one of my favorite accounts for investing. What’s cool about Ally is that they are pretty much a full-service online bank.

In addition to investment accounts, they offer credit cards, retirement accounts, loan services, checking, savings, and multiple other services.

As of the present time, they are paying 2.10% interest on ALL balance tiers.

As you noticed – the interest rates shown are significantly higher than the current national average of 0.09% which can mean a significant difference when it comes to the money you accumulate in your savings account/emergency fund over time.

The rate might not be keeping up with inflation “per se” (this is where quality investing comes in). However, you’ll at least be getting dollars from the bank as opposed to pennies.

Keep in mind that the savings accounts shown above are mostly online (there are no brick and mortar locations). Also, if your checking account is not conveniently connected to savings – you won’t be able to automatically transfer money from one account to the other whenever you want. You might actually have to through a withdrawal process – which is actually a GOOD thing.

Although I highly recommend the banks noted above, I also encourage you to do your own due diligence!

In summary, some of the most important things to considering when opening a savings account include the following:

  • Minimum deposit requirements (if any) – make sure you aren’t being charged a fee for having less than a certain amount of money in your savings. 

… Speaking of fees

  • Look closely at the fees – make sure the fees are minimal (if any at all) for things like transferring funds from one account to another in the event you need the money.
  • Look for the highest yield you can possibly get with no hidden fees or hidden anything. ALWAYS look at the fine print. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • FDIC insurance – This is standard pretty much for ALL bank accounts in the U.S but is always good to double check. This means your money is insured at any single financial institution for up to $250,000.

After you narrow down your choices, I would HIGHLY encourage you to search for Google reviews of the savings accounts you are considering. You want to make sure you are fully informed of any “catch” or anything you might have overlooked that could be important. As mentioned, I also like to take a look at any customer complaints and see whether or not they would be a deal breaker for me.

One of my favorite go-to sites for reviews of anything money related is Nerd Wallet. However, go with whatever site you trust as long as it provides credible information.

Hope this post encourages to move your money out of “disrespectful” banks and into an institution that actually values your hard earned money.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below! Also, remember you can always email me at girlsonthemoney@gmail.com.

Cheers to profits!

Love,

Mabel $

***

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.

What You Should Know About IPOs

Hello everyone! 

In this post, we cover a question I get emails on from time to time “should I invest in IPO for company X?”. Before we elaborate more on this, I’d like to remind everyone of what exactly an IPO is.

IPO, short for “Initial Public Offering”, is the name given to stocks that join the market for the very first time. In other words, when a company becomes public and makes its “debut” in the stock market by issuing stock – those stocks are called IPOs.

Some people invest in IPOs because they feel is a good idea to “get in early” and get stocks in a brand new company before the stock price goes up significantly – perhaps not realizing (or not caring) that stocks come with zero guarantee of going up in value.

Those same people buy with the goal of making tons of money quickly and usually are driven by greed and emotion, which is never a good idea in the stock market. 

With that said, although there are some exceptions of companies that do in fact continue ascending in price after the IPO for many months or even years going forward; those circumstances are often the exception and not the norm. It will always depend on the business and not all publicly traded companies are created equal!! 

Personally – If I do like a company and see strong potential – I wait at least a year or longer after a company has gone public to even consider investing in it. If a company is going to be good for the long term, there is absolutely zero rush in trying to get in “early”.

Here are a couple of the risks that come from investing in IPOs:

1. For the most part, the ONLY people that actually make money the day of an IPO launch are the private banks, private firms, private investors who purchased shares before the IPO launch. Businesses usually have agreements with private investors to ensure that those people make money right off the gate. Individual investors (people like you and I, for instance) don’t have that kind of advantage. 

 2. A lot of IPOs are pre-priced at a lower rate on purpose so that the private investors can make their money right away. As a matter of fact, the reason why many companies go public is to “pay off” the private investors that put money in the business when it was first starting out.

For example, company X makes an agreement with private investors to sell them shares at $8. Meanwhile, the stocks may debut at $20 in the market, allowing the private investor to make their profit and walk away if they choose to do so. Whether or not the price goes above the $20 for the average investor, is irrelevant to the private investor.

Bottom line – be careful with WHY you are investing in something, is it the hype around it or do you really see long term potential? 

When a company first enters the market it is probably a good idea to wait things out for a bit of time (say 6 months to a year or longer) to see how the company performs as a public entity. Ideally, you want to follow the company for a few quarters or at least one full fiscal year to see if they are in fact making money for shareholders. 

Always use your own judgment as an investor and be sure to weigh your options before making decisions for your stock portfolio. You may feel like you are ‘missing out’ on some initial profits but odds are you’ll actually be missing out on the stress and frustration that may come from buying something too high when it first comes out and then seeing it decline in value shortly thereafter.

Be patient with the market. Never invest out of hype and emotion. Always take your brain with you! 

Tell me – have you ever invested in an IPO? What has been your experience? Would love to hear from you? Or, if you have questions in general about this – Let me know! Share in the comments or head over to the Facebook Group!

 Cheers to Profits,

Mabelle $

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Courses & Resources: 

Understanding Your Investing Options: Step by Step Guide for Beginner Investors – new to investing and not sure where to begin and/or feeling overwhelmed with all the options available in this day and age?! This guide is for you. Check out details here.

Companies That Get Love On Valentines Day

Hi Everyone! Happy LOVE day! In honor of Valentines Day  I have decided to share content from a newsletter I sent out last year about publicly traded companies that get a whole lot of attention (and probably consumer dollars) on days like these.

Please note I don’t currently own shares in any of the companies listed below. Also, these are not recommendations.  This is simply a fun post that I thought you guys might enjoy. I try to take advantage of every opportunity to provide some investing education.

Without further ‘ado, lets get right to it!

Victoria Secret: I figured we start with the obvious. This company is owned by L Brands (NYSE: LB) a corporation that also owns Bath & Body works, Henri Bendel, and La Senza. L Brands became a public company in 1982.

Hershey: Who doesn’t think of chocolate when Valentines day comes around?! (or any day for that matter!). Hershey also trades in the NYSE under the ticker symbol HSY. Besides the popular Hershey kisses that we all know in love, this company also owns Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, Kit Kat Bars, Lancaster, Reese’s Pieces and the list goes on. For a full list, click here. It became a public company in 1978. By the way – I am currently reading a book about the Hershey company and its rivalry of many years with Mars.

Match Group, Inc: Single on valentines day? You can either spend the day pampering and loving yourself (and enjoying every second of it!) or you can find a new boyfriend through Match(dot)com. Believe it or not Match became a public company in 2015 and it trades in the NASDAQ under ticker symbol MTCH. Popular dating sites under the Match name include OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and the controversial Tinder!

Tiffany & Co.: How can we forget about diamonds on this special day? I actually used to work right across the street from their Wall Street location. The company trades under ticker symbol TIF and became public  in 1987. Their flagship store is located in 5th avenue very close to the trump towers. They’ve actually blamed sporadic weakness in sales and traffic to that location during the past couple of years on that situation.

Church & Dwight, Co: You’re probably thinking who are these people?! Well, they trade in the NYSE under ticker symbol CHD. They are also the parent company of Arm & Hammer Baking soda and OXI Clean – which are very popular well-known brands that have nothing to do with valentine’s day (I know). But, wait on it! CHD is also the parent company of Trojan Condoms and First Response pregnancy test. I actually just found that out last year! The company has been around since the 1800s!

And that is all for today ladies & gents! Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I loved writing it.

Cheers to an amazing week and tons of love and light for everyone.

Love,

Mabel $

CIO & Founder, Girl$ on The Money

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New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

How To Stay Prepared For Unexpected Market Downturns

If you follow the markets and even if you don’t – you most likely heard about the rollercoaster ride the stock market took us on this past week. We started the week off in red territory on Monday and then all of a sudden things went back to normal on Wednesday as if nothing happened.

Then Thursday and Friday came along bringing us close to correction territory – which is when major market indexes drop by 10% or more in value. The last time I recall experiencing such a drop was in the summer of 2016 when the Brexit announcement was made. 

updown

 

The topic of my Instagram Live on Tuesday was about preparing yourself for the tough time in the markets – which WILL come. Downturns do not make any announcements and we never really know when they will arrive or when they will end. If we did, we’d all be very wealthy people.

If you are trying to figure out a way to time the markets and the “perfect times” to buy or sell – your time should probably be spent on something else. This is nearly impossible.

As we most things in life, all we can really do is learn to prepare in a way that works for us. In this blog post, I will summarize some of the points I talked about in my most recent Instagram Live stream.

Let’s get to it.

Make sure you are actually READY to start investing. During the days in which the market dropped significantly I got messages from people very eager to start investing in fear of “missing out”. If you’ve never invested before, it is probably not a good idea to simply jump into the markets with no idea of what you’re doing. There is a time to educate yourself, to prepare, and to finally take action. I would never tell anyone to skip any of those steps. The “I want to invest now!” messages is what inspired me to write the 8-week series “Preparing Yourself To Start Investing“. I want people to really understand what it means to prepare themselves for what they’re getting themselves into. You cannot run without taking baby steps first. Understand the importance of building a solid foundation from the ground up and then hit the ground running. The earlier you start preparing yourself the better but please do not skip this step. 

If your plan is to invest on your own – make sure you have an online brokerage account. When it comes to investing platforms – we have a whole lot of options: Apps, Robo Advisors, investment management companies, online brokerage accounts, and the list goes on. I talk about each of these in the series linked above. However, if your goal is to invest on your own – you have to at least have an account open and funded which takes me to my next point.

Make sure you have enough money available to invest in that online brokerage account. There were some stocks on my watchlist that I was eager to add to my portfolio on Thursday when I suddenly realized I didn’t have enough funds available because most of my money was fully invested. I realized I would have to go through the process of doing a wire transfer from my bank into my online brokerage account in order have the funds to add the stocks I wanted. For most online brokers the transfer period takes about 3 business days. Lesson learned is to always have at least enough of a cushion available in your accounts to take full advantage of opportunities. 

Have a clear idea of what you want to buy. In preparation of the “downturns” whether they take 2 days or 2 years to come around – make sure you have an updated watchlist easily accessible at all times. The watchlist should be composed of stocks or investments you feel strongly about and have done your homework on. Let’s call these “dream stocks” you’d love to add to your investment portfolio if the perfect opportunity presented itself. Have this list in a place where you can find it quickly – either on your phone’s notepad, an excel spreadsheet saved on your desktop, or any other method you find convenient. You don’t want to be presented with a good opportunity and be in a situation where you don’t even remember what stocks or investments were on your radar. Stay ready at all times!

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of obvious opportunities. One of my investing mentors – Warren Buffett – has a quote that makes a whole lot of sense because is very true. I shared this in my Instagram account the other day but here it is again:

WFQ

The reality is that, as hard as it might be to believe, opportunities to buy great companies at deeply discounted prices do not come often. Learn to understand when those opportunities are presenting themselves and take advantage but only if you feel comfortable and ready to do so. 

Understand that the stocks or investments you buy might continue going down in price until the market stabilizes again. The fact that you bought something doesn’t mean the market will automatically recover and everything will go back up again. It will take time for the stock market to stabilize itself again and no one really knows how long that will take. If you decide to buy something, do so with the understanding that it might take some time before you see returns on that investment. This is why doing your homework ahead of time is so important so that you’re able to make educated decisions with confidence and not worry too much. 

And that is all for now! If you have additional tips or tricks to share when it comes to preparing for a downturn, share below in the comment section or head over to the Facebook Group.

Have an amazing weekend and cheers to profits!

-Mabel $

***

New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

  • Interested in the next edition of our Investing Boot-camp for beginners? Make sure your name is here to be notified once enrollment opens again.
  • Did you know … We have a masterclass on Stocks for Kids?! Inquire here. 
  • Follow me on Instagram and join the Facebook Group!
  • Join our newsletter distribution list, here.
  • Looking for an awesome book to get started? Check out our Amazon Bestseller: “Stock Market Investing Mini Lessons for Beginners”. 
  • Not sure where to start with investing? Enroll in our FREE “Preparing Yourself To Start Investing” series here.

The Power of Time, Choosing The Right Investments, and Patience.

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine (and fellow investor) posted the following on his Instagram feed:

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He has held Apple stock for 12 years and his return on investment has been over 1,000%. Needless to say I was very excited for him and it reminded me of the foundation of building wealth over time.

As shared on instagram this past week – here is the difference between the truth and what they try to tell us:

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As much as the media, business schools, analysts, and Wall Street “professionals” try to over-complicate things, the truth of the matter is that the formula for building wealth is very simple:

  1. Avoid and/or pay off any lingering consumer debt that might be holding you back.
  2. Spend less than you make and save your money.
  3. Use that money you saved to choose the right investments and allocate your money to those investments.
  4. Give those investments time to flourish.
  5. Be Patient.

Patience is a key factor. The market is volatile and unpredictable in the short term. Stocks are volatile and unpredictable. However, when you choose the right companies and understand the reasons of WHY you purchased an investment in the first place, you’ll be better positioned to overcome the tough times.

The fact that my friend has owned Apple for 12 years tells me that he purchased the stock around 2006.

It also tells me that despite the fact the stock  “crashed”  around 2012 “with no bottom in sight” as noted in the linked article, he kept holding it.

APPLE PHOTO

It tells me that he is a patient investor and that has paid off significantly!

Full disclosure: I am also a shareholder of the stock. However, keep in mind this is NOT a recommendation to buy or sell Apple. The purpose of this post is simply to show you – using a real life story – the power of being patient with investments in quality companies and what return on investments can look like over time.

Also, keep in mind that not all investments are created equal and not all companies deserve patience because sometimes they can be in a dying industry, for example. One of the many things I teach my students in the investing bootcamp is how to analyze an investment to determine for themselves whether something can be profitable for the long term.

With that said, it is also important to keep in mind that investing always comes with risk and no one can determine returns on investment with 100% certainty. This is why is called investing.

Question for you: What are your thoughts on being patient with investments? What would be a deal breaker for you when it comes to selling something from your portfolio? Share below!

Have an amazing weekend and cheers to profits!

Love,

Mabel $

***

New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

  • Interested in the next edition of our Investing Boot-camp for beginners? Make sure your name is here to be notified once enrollment opens again.
  • Did you know … We have a masterclass on Stocks for Kids?! Inquire here. 
  • Follow me on Instagram and join the Facebook Group!
  • Join our newsletter distribution list, here.
  • Looking for an awesome book to get started? Check out our Amazon Bestseller: “Stock Market Investing Mini Lessons for Beginners”. 
  • Not sure where to start with investing? Enroll in our FREE “Preparing Yourself To Start Investing” series here.

How To Set ACTIONABLE Goals To Start Investing In 2018.

Good day everyone!!! Happy first day of the year. A few months ago I decided to designate my 2018 word to be ACTION and I couldn’t be more excited to hit the ground running with this new year.

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After ‘recovering’ from spending quality time with loved ones last night – I have spent the early afternoon of January 1, 2018 setting actionable – intentional goals for myself for this new year that has started. My intentions for this new year involve health, fitness, wellness, business, personal, personal development, saving and investing!

I am also a strong believer in the power of writing things down.

Erika

I emphasized the word “Actionable” above because many of us set general goals and intentions for ourselves that are amazing. However, sometimes we forget the most important part of those goals – understanding exactly how we will make them happen or at least have an idea.

I say that with the caveat that we all know that God, The Universe, our Higher Power (choose what you call it!) might have plans for us to accomplish our dreams that may in fact be far better than ours :). However, I strongly believe that we should also do our part with ACTIONABLE steps that will take us towards our goals.

Considering this is an investing blog, I will focus on the goal of investing and show you in practical ways how to make this ACTIONABLE AND INTENTIONAL for the year ahead.

Let’s do this.

Set up a separate savings account from your emergency fund and call it your “investing fund” – make this AUTOMATIC.  

We all know that in order to invest, money is needed. You cannot invest pulling from thin air. And thus, I would strongly encourage you start making this a reality little by little by taking the actionable step of setting up an account solely for investing money. Your emergency fund should never be in the stock market. And thus, you HAVE to set up a separate account for your prospective investments.

Actionable-Intentional Step: Call your bank or log in into your bank account right this second or first thing tomorrow morning and set up a separate savings account with an automatic transfer for investing only. Schedule that $10 to $20 of every paycheck you earn be sent to that account. If your bank doesn’t offer the option, there are amazing apps out there that can help you save automatically. If you aren’t sure which ones, email me: girlsonthemoney@gmail.com.

Find out if your employer offers any retirement savings benefits and whether there is a match.

If your employer offers a retirement plan where they are giving you free money in the form of interest or some kind of match, let this be your first step towards setting your investing goals for the new year: SIGN UP ASAP. Not taking full advantage of these employer plans mean you are leaving free money on the table.

Actionable-Intentional Step: Do yourself a favor and this very week or by 1/15/2018 schedule a meeting with HR or the office that manages these accounts at your employer. At the very least, find out more about the pros, cons, and benefits of the plan and pick up an application. If you conclude is something that can benefit you, make it a goal to complete and submit the application before the end of the month.

Open an online brokerage account if you don’t have one yet.

In order to invest you need a platform. It can be an app or an online brokerage account (there is a difference!!).

open

Actionable-Intentional Step: Sign up for this free series where I explain the steps you should take before you begin your investing journey including different types of platforms available. Platforms include but are not limited to apps, online brokers, robo-advisors, and the list goes on. It is important to know the difference so that you know which one works best for you, your risk tolerance, and your personal investing goals.

Education is POWERFUL Read more about stocks and investing, take courses, know your options.

I found out about the stock market in the fall of 2004 yet didn’t purchase my first stock until the summer of 2008. What was I doing in between those years? Saving my money and EDUCATING myself on the best way to invest said money. Investing education has been one of the best investments I have ever made and learning to invest has been one of the BEST skills I have learned in my entire life.

Actionable-Intentional Step: Check out your public library, Amazon, or Thriftbooks and pick up some high quality investing books to read this year. Some of my favorite investing books of all time include this one,  this one, and of course, this one, (my very own book). If you are READY to start investing and want to take a high-quality course, I’d love to have you join our upcoming investing boot-camp. For details, enroll here. 

Walk around with a little notebook designated solely for investing ideas.

I absolutely love writing things down. Investing-related things included. Getting into the habit of jotting down your investing ideas will also help you when it comes to making your initial investing decisions and will support your investing mindset for this new year.

write it

Actionable-Intentionable Step: Get something that looks like this so you have no excuse to carry it everywhere you go. I may or may not have my own ;).

Take the first small step.

Only when you feel ready and empowered to start your investing journey. Sometimes the only way to get rid of fear is to take ACTION.

step

“The Journey of one-thousand miles begins with one single step”.

Actionable-Intentionable Step: Check-in with yourself every 3-6 months and see how much money you have in your investing account and whether you feel strongly about a particular stock or investment. Are you confident enough to take that first step? Also, save my email. If you ever want to chat about anything investing-related, I’d love to hear from you, don’t be shy: Girlsonthemoney@gmail.com.

And that’s all folks! Hope you found this post informative and valuable! Thank you for being part of the Girl$ on The Money community. Wishing you an incredible 2018 filled with Health, Love, Success, and a whole lot of Money.

Cheers to profits!

Love,

Mabel $

***

New to investing? Check out the following educational resources:

Bitcoin & Crytocurrencies (Volume I)

If you’ve been in tune with the world of investing during 2017 or simply are breathing and have a pulse – you have probably heard about Bitcoin and all the craze around it.

bit

As a Stock Market Investing Educator, I have received a whole lot of questions around this topic and is completely understandable! The value of one single Bitcoin has gone up from around $1,500 in January of 2017 all the way to over $17,000 in mid-December. As of recently, the price has dropped to around $13,000’s.

Many in the social media world are claiming fame and fortune as a result of Bitcoin and whenever money is being made in massive amounts people want to know why and how.

Because of all the hype and information overload around this subject; I feel is important for me to share my two cents on this – mainly in the form of education – which is the core of all the content I share within Girl$ on The Money.

I have been doing a good amount of research on this topic and I am here to share the basics plus some resources for you to learn more. As you may have noticed – I also titled this blog post “Volume I” because I plan to continue writing posts about this in the future as I learn more and as additional information comes out.

I do this in order to help YOU (and myself) navigate the sea of data that is out there and to hopefully keep you from making decisions with your money that you might regret in the future.

With that said, here we go.

First Things First – I Don’t Own Bitcoin (or ANY Coin): Here Is Why

As I’ve shared multiple times in the Facebook Group, Instagram, and my events – I personally do not invest in Bitcoin and don’t own any Bitcoin at the present time.

The MAIN reason(s) are quite simple –

#1. Not very confident about whether or not Bitcoin (and similar coins) is something that will stick around or will fade with the passage of time.

Note: I am talking specifically about specific coins and not necessarily the technology behind it. I feel that the technology is here to stay (more on that below). 

While reading the December 2017 edition of Kiplinger Magazine, I found a very informative article covering cryptocurrencies. Christian Catalini, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and part of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative noted the following:

“There are currently hundreds of different cryptocurrencies. In 10 years, many of them probably won’t be around anymore. It’s hard to predict which have long term, mainstream potential”.

#2. I do not understand it well enough to participate.

I’ve been investing for almost 10 years and one of my personal golden rules of investing is to never put my money in anything that I cannot fully understand or seems confusing. That single strategy has saved me a whole lot of headaches and money.

Never invest in anything you don't understand.

My investing mentor (and virtual bff) Warren Buffett has taught me many valuable things about investing including this one.

Bitcoin and Blockchain – Know The Difference

Bitcoin and Blockchain are two different things. Bitcoin (and its relatives including Litcoin, Ethereum, etc.) are the actual investments. For example, you can buy one bitcoin or a fraction of a bitcoin with the expectation that it will go up in price in the future.

Blockchain, on the other hand, is simply the technology where individuals are able to buy or sell their coins. In other words, the technology that allows an individual to make these transactions.

If we were to compare this to the world of stocks – Blockchain would be the stock exchange  (ie: New York Stock Exchange, or NASDAQ) in which the investment is being traded.

I personally feel there something there when it comes to Blockchain technology and its capabilities so I am watching that closely. I am not so sure about the actual coins.

Bitcoin Has No Tangible Value

Another important thing you should know is that bitcoin has no “real” tangible value. For example, things like gold, silver, individual stocks, index funds, etc. are made up of things and/or companies that exist in real life. In the case of bitcoin, the sole reason that causes the price to go up or down is the demand – the number of people that want to buy and the amount of bitcoin that is available. That’s it.

The SEC Has Your Back

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the government entity that regulates publicly traded companies (stocks) and securities (investments) in general. Earlier this month, the chair of the SEC released his first public statement on cryptocurrencies.

One of the most important things to note from the report is that as of right now – no type of cryptocurrency has registered with the SEC and thus, it is all unregulated at the present moment:

“Investors should understand that to date no initial coin offerings have been registered with the SEC.  The SEC also has not to date approved for listing and trading any exchange-traded products (such as ETFs) holding cryptocurrencies or other assets related to cryptocurrencies.[2]  If any person today tells you otherwise, be especially wary. “

The SEC has also released a series of reports about different coins that are under investigation and/or that have been confirmed a fraud (*to see all the articles scroll down to the end of the SEC’s public statement for the links). If you are suspicious about any kind of coin and/or are considering a specific “crypto-investment” – head over to the SEC website for a “background check”.

Something that was also mentioned in the release is that the technology behind bitcoin appears promising. This is something I, in fact, agree with as well and, as previously mentioned – will definitely be watching:

“The technology on which cryptocurrencies and ICOs are based may prove to be disruptive, transformative and efficiency enhancing.  I am confident that developments in fintech will help facilitate capital formation and provide promising investment opportunities for institutional and Main Street investors alike”.

Listen To These Podcasts

The best educational resources I’ve found around this topic are in the form of Podcasts for which I’ll share links below. Take your time to listen to these ones at the time (I’ve placed them in order) and take some notes:

Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain of Fools

And that’s all folks! I will be back at some point in the future with any interesting findings around this topic. As mentioned at the very beginning – I plan to make this a series as I learn more.

My views might change or not as time goes by. At the end of the day, my #1 recommendation is this: do your homework and never invest in anything blindly!

And if you do decide to invest in this simply because you might feel you are missing out – make sure any money you allocate is “play money” and something that you can afford to lose.

Questions? Comments? Know of anyone that has invested in Bitcoin? Share below!

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New Tax Laws: What It Means For Stock Investors

Hello everyone! I have received many questions about the new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017”. In case you haven’t heard – this past week was a big deal in the world of taxation. Congress approved new tax laws set to take effect as of tax year 2018 (i.e:. when you file your taxes in April 2019).

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While it is probably very possible to write an entire book about this including pros, cons, and everything in between; I’ve decided to share some of the parts I consider the most important and what they mean for investors and businesses.

Friendly reminder I am not a tax accountant and all the information below can be found in the official document released by congress. 

Here we go …

The Corporate Tax Rate Reduced from 35% to 21% – This is HUGE!

Companies that generate millions or billions of dollars per year and have billions in the “bank” – Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) among many others – have their money stashed away overseas in a way to protect themselves from the U.S tax rate on businesses. For many years, under current tax laws, corporations had been assigned a corporate tax rate of 35% or sometimes higher depending on different factors.

The tax rate did not sit well with most corporations to the point that these companies would rather take out loans in the U.S as oppose to bringing in that money and get taxed at a massive rate.

Apple’s CEO’s Tim Cook is one executive that has been VERY vocal about this over the years. He strongly feels that paying 35%-40% taxes in profits is disadvantageous to Apple shareholders (people that own the stock) and the company as a whole.

In a 2016 press conference he stated the following:

“The money that’s in Ireland … is money that is subject to U.S. taxes. The tax law right now says we can keep that in Ireland or we can bring it back. And when we bring it back, we will pay 35 percent federal tax and then a weighted average across the states that we’re in, which is about 5 percent, so think of it as 40 percent. We’ve said at 40 percent, we’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

The fact that the tax rate has been reduced by well over 10% is meant to incentivize more businesses to keep their money right here in the U.S, encourage job creation, boost domestic capital spending, and ultimately boost the economy as a whole.

These benefits should also trickle down to shareholders if the boost increases profits and allows businesses to have more cash at hand to invest in strategies that will make them even more successful over time.

Whether or not corporations will also use all the extra money to “create jobs” only time will tell. Like many, I am not totally convinced job creation will be a bonus of the corporate tax reform but we shall see what happens with that.

Capital Gains Laws To Remain Pretty Much The Same

When it comes to investing – capital gains refers to the income we make when we sell a stock for a profit and/or when we get dividends from our stock or fund investments. if you buy a stock for $50 and it goes to $150; the capital gain is $100.

With that said, to the surprise of many, capital gains taxes are not changing much.

A long-term investor is still defined as someone who owns an investment for longer than one year and thus will pay less taxes. A short-term investor is someone that owns their investments for less than a year and thus will pay more in taxes. Short term investors pay taxes equal to ordinary income – whatever their tax bracket is.

As always, capital gains taxes will boil down to what tax bracket you fall into, whether you held an investment for less or longer than a year, and how much money is made. Here is the break down of taxes for long-term investors:

taxbrackets

FIFO Rule will not apply – Yay!!!!

This might sound a bit confusing to my beginner investors but I will explain.

Stay with me here.

Let’s say you buy stock in Company ABC in January of 2012 at $50 per share. The company did really well and by May of 2015 the stock had gone up to $150 per share. You decide to add to your position and bought more shares of the company at this higher price because you have concluded based on your research that this stock will continue to be profitable.

Now, lets say that by September of 2016 the stock is at $200 per share and you decide you want to sell some of it.

Under current tax laws, you have the option of selling the stocks you bought more recently at $150 per share as oppose to selling the ones you bought at $50 per share way back when!

Why would you care?

Well, if you sold the ones you bought for $50 your profits would be a lot more and thus, you’d pay a lot more in taxes. However, by having the option to sell the ones you bought more recently, at $150, your capital gains won’t be as much and thus,  you’d pay less taxes.

In accounting terms this is referred to as FIFO (first in first out) or LIFO (last in first out).

One part of the tax laws was threatening to take away the choice to use FIFO or LIFO. So happy this didn’t happen and we still have a choice!

And this is all for the run-down on how this affects (or not) the average stock investor.

TELL ME – What are your thoughts in these new tax laws? I’d also be interested in knowing what your thoughts are when it comes to businesses paying less in taxes? Do you think this move will benefit our economy as a whole?

Share below! Or head over to the Facebook Group to give your two cents.

Remember you can also email me girlsonthemoney@gmail.com. Love hearing from you! 

Cheers to profits!

Mabel $

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New to investing? Check out the following resources:

How To Approach Holiday Sales As an Intelligent Consumer

shopping

Hi, Everyone!

Back on the blog ready to talk about a popular topic these days – holiday sales! I know that 99% of the time my topics revolve around stocks and investing. However, intelligent investing cannot happen without a clean slate from credit card debt and some good amount of savings. There are levels to this!

The mission of this post is to help you remain on track of your financial goals without letting consumerism blind you.

Whether is on Black Friday, CyberMonday, and everything in between; I understand that there are some pretty awesome sales out there and I also understand that you may even feel “foolish” not taking full advantage specially when it comes to things you might actually “need” (as oppose to just “wants”).

Trust me, I am keeping this all in mind.

I hope this post inspires you to approach sales in a way that is smart and keeps you from falling blindly into the oblivion of buying random things  just because there is a sale.

Here are three quick tips:

Make a conscious effort to ONLY buy the thing you actually NEED to buy – Take advantage of the deals, don’t let the deals take advantage of you.

I am from the camp that says that there is nothing wrong with buying, or better yet, investing in something if it’s an item you actually NEED and perhaps have gone without for a while because you couldn’t afford it or it was too expensive. Maybe is something that will improve your quality of life for the better or something related to your health, your finances, your education, your well being  – you know, important things.

Purses, shoes, jewelry, video games, dresses, brand name items, a new wardrobe, a new TV, etc. (you get the point) usually don’t fall into this category. Before putting something in your cart ask yourself – would I consider buying this item if it wasn’t on sale?

Take advantage of the deals, don’t let the deals take advantage of you.

Remember that the people benefiting the most from your purchases are the founders and CEOs of those companies and the shareholders.

This morning I woke up to the news that Jeff Bezos is back to being the #1 richest man on the planet. His wealth increased to $100 billion today thanks to holiday sales. While I admit that Jeff Bezos is hands down my favorite CEO and good for him for creating one of the most popular websites in the world – this just comes to show you that while millions of people are spending fortunes on Amazon (and similar sites) the fortune is being transferred to the owners of those businesses – including people that own the stock!

The good news is that nothing stoping you from also being an investor and benefiting from the wealth that is being created. You can also choose to be on the consumer side of things. You can be both. Remember you have choices. Use them wisely. Be strategic.

Note – I am not saying  to run and invest in these companies without a proper amount of research. Just trying to make a point of how investors benefit from consumerism!

Remember that you have choices – you can be a consumer, you can be an investor, you can be both.

DO NOT buy things you DON’T need with Money you don’t even have.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this because it might sound like common sense to many people but I still feel the need to include this on here. If your plan is or was to grab your maxed out – or almost maxed out – credit cards to go buy things simply because they are on sale; understand that the only thing you are doing is digging yourself into a deeper hole.

shopping 2

I know this might sound like tough love but I would strongly suggest you stay away from malls or websites if you are already in deep debt and are working hard to get out of it. Keep your eyes on your own prize. Your financial well being.

Don’t let the sales take your eyes off your goal of financial independence. Your future self will thank you.

If your plan is or was to grab your already maxed out credit cards to go buy things simply because they are on sale – understand that the only thing you are doing is digging yourself into a deeper hole.

And that’s all for now! Feel free to share the post with someone you think can benefit from it and don’t forget to add your comments below or send me your questions or comments to girlsonthemoney@gmail.com.

Tell me – Are you being smart and strategic with your purchases this holiday season or avoiding it all together? Share below 🙂

Cheers to health & profits,

Mabel $

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