Introduction To Dividend Investing (Part I)

Hello, everyone!

I am back to blogging with a super informative series that I am certain most of you will love.

One of the most frequently asked questions from our community and a topic I love talking about (and participating in!) is dividend investing. I’ve realized I haven’t really covered this topic enough.

In this post, I’ll explain the basics of what dividends are all about. As always, I’ll also share a real life example!

If you participated in my most recent Stock Market Investing Course for Beginners, some of this information might look familiar. You can read this post as a nice refresher (the example is different 🙂 ). For those completely new at this, and looking to understand dividends, you came to the right place!

Let’s get started.

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What Exactly Are Dividends?

Dividends are payments made by (some) publicly traded companies to their shareholders simply for owning the stock. The easiest way to think about dividends is as interest payments that you would receive from a company if you owned shares of their stock.

Companies that pay dividends do so quarterly (every 3 months). However, there are also companies that make these payments twice per year or other intervals.

The money companies use to pay a dividend come from the profits – funds available after they’ve covered all business-related expenses. When a company has money leftover they can also reinvest it back into the business, get involved in share buybacks (buy back their own stock), and/or a combination of all of these options.

It is important to note that companies are in no obligation to pay a dividend and is actually something they choose to do in order to reward shareholders for being “part-owners”. A company with a history of paying dividends can decide at any time to stop payments.

With that said, it is extremely rare for a dividend-paying company to cut off dividends. This usually happens if the company is struggling financially and decides the money would be better spent by investing it back into the restoration of the business.

How Do Payments Work – Real Life Example

Using a real life example, let’s go with a company like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) which currently has an annual dividend yield* of 2.59% which translates to $3.36 per share.

JNJ

Source: Yahoo! Finance – Chart Date: 9/29/2017

If you owned 10 shares of  Johnson & Johnson that means you would receive $33.60 per year in dividend payments (10 shares x $3.36 per share = $33.60). Since Johnson & Johnson pays dividends every 3 months (quarterly), this mean you would receive $8.40 in your account each time a dividend is paid ($33.60/4= $8.40).

This may not sound like much, however, the money does add up as it compounds over time. Also, the more shares you own from a particular company, the bigger your dividend payment. Your dividend payments will be a result of how many shares of a company you own and the company’s dividend yield.

Your dividend payments will be a result of how many shares of a company you own and the company’s dividend yield.

Remember that dividend payments are extra money you get regardless of whether the stock price goes up or down and are separate from capital gains (the money you make when you stock goes up in price and you sell at a profit).

If you own dividend-paying stocks, the return on your investment is composed of both – capital gains (if the company does well) and dividends.

*Think of yield as the “interest” rate a company would pay you. 

What You Can Do With Dividend Payments

When a company pays you a dividend you can do one of two things:

  1. You can ask your online broker to enroll your stock in DRIPs (Dividend Reinvestment Plans) this simply means that every time the company pays you a dividend the broker will automatically buy you more shares of the company. If the dividend payment is not enough to buy you a full share (which is often the case), the online broker will buy you fractions of shares. Through this process, your investment in that particular company will grow and compound over time without you having to do anything. You usually have to call your online broker directly to request the DRIPs option and this is done at no charge.

OR

  1. You can just keep the money in cash within your account and wait until you accumulate enough to buy shares in something else.

I should probably add that you also have the option to transfer the money back into your regular bank account but I have never done this. I personally like to keep the money I make from investments right in my online brokerage account to help grow my holdings and investing funds.

Reasons Some Companies Don’t Pay Dividends

As mentioned above, companies are in no obligation to pay a dividend and there are actually many companies out there that choose not to pay one.

Here are a a few of the main reasons:

  • The company may be fairly new and in no financial position to pay a dividend.
  • The company is still in an aggressive growth phase and management believes any extra money available should be reinvested back into the business to fund growth and development strategies as oppose to paying it to shareholders.
  • The company may already be well-established. However, management believes that they can make better use of the money internally by investing it back into the business as oppose to paying it out to shareholders.

Examples of extremely profitable companies that don’t pay any dividends at the present time (and never have) include Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Berkshire Hathaway, among many others. And so, the level of financial health of a business is not necessarily related to whether or not they decide to pay a dividend. It is always up to management and the board to decide how profits are spent.

And this is it for PART I of this mini series on dividends! If you’re a beginner, hope you’ve learn something new so far. If you have questions about anything that was explained above, be sure to let me know in the comments and/or head over to the Facebook Group and join the discussion.

Hope you have an AMAZING weekend and CHEERS to health, love, success, and PROFITS! ❤

Mabel  $

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Understanding Capital Gains (& Losses): General Overview

Good day everyone! I recently received a question about Capital Gains from one of our members and decided it would be a good post to share with you all. As always, I am here to present you with a clear and straight to the point explanation of this popular investing terminology.

Capital Gains

Capital gains is simply the profit made from your investments. For example, if you buy stock in a company for $20 per share, it goes up to $40, and you sell those shares, your “Capital Gain” is $20 per share that you sell.

There is also such thing as a Capital Loss – if you purchase shares of a stock for $40, it goes down to $20, and you proceed to sell your shares, your Capital Loss is those $20 per share that you sell.

I emphasize  “sell” because a capital gain or loss is not realized (doesn’t become “real”) until you actually sell your shares of the stock.

A capital gain or loss doesn’t become “real” until you actually sell your shares of the stock.

How Much Of Your Gains You Get To Keep will depend on how much you get charged in “Capital Gains Taxes”. Taxes are tied to two main things: 1. Your tax bracket and 2. How long you held your investment before you decided to sell.

Under current IRS regulations, most individuals that invest for the long term pay only 15% taxes (or less) on their capital gains while individuals in the lowest two tax brackets don’t pay any taxes at all! <– How awesome is that?!

Meanwhile, short term investors end up paying at least 20% in capital gains taxes.

Side Note: If you are wondering what tax bracket you fall into based on your own personal situation, check out this super informative article from Nerd Wallet (one of my favorite personal finance sites).

Some of you may be wondering what is the IRS definition of a long term or short term investment. Well, the IRS makes it quite simple:

If you buy a stock and hold it for longer than 1 year (could be a year and a day) you’ve invested for the long term. If you buy a stock and sell it within that same year, you have invested for the short term.

1 Year + 1 Day (or longer)= Long Term

1 Year or Less = Short Term

If you buy a stock and hold it for longer than 1 year you’ve invested for the long term. If you buy a stock and sell it within that same year, you have invested for the short term.

I should emphasize these tax rules only apply to the United States. I have a lot of international followers (which I love) but I know some countries don’t really “penalize” for short term investments like the U.S does. Make sure you check the tax rules applicable to your specific country.

You’d be surprised to know that long term tax “perks” not only apply to capital gains. The U.S IRS also offers certain loopholes when it comes to capital losses.  For example, if you are invested in a company for the long term and the investment turns out to be a poor one where you actually end up loosing money – some investors qualify to write off tax looses against any capital gains. And so, if you ever have a negative experience with a long term investment, there is some comfort in knowing losses can be offset. 

“Some investors may actually qualify to write off tax losses on their taxes against any capital gains.”

Here is he official language from the IRS website:

Limit on Losses.  If your capital losses are more than your capital gains, you can deduct the difference as a loss on your tax return. This loss is limited to $3,000 per year, or $1,500 if you are married and file a separate return.

In an upcoming post I’ll elaborate more on a different kind of capital gains – Dividends! This is actually a post that is ready to go and I am very excited to share so stay tuned for that. 

And finally, remember that I am not a tax accountant so always make sure you check with your tax professionals for any specific questions you may have applicable to your personal situation. This post has been written for educational purposes only. 

Questions? Comments? Anything you’d like to add? Share below and/or head over to the Facebook Group to join the discussion.

Cheers to profits!

Mabel $

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New to investing? Check out the following resources:

What Are The “Costs” Associated With Investing?

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A few weeks ago I received a question from a beginner investor in our community that wanted to know what kind of costs or fees to expect when investing.

The truth of the matter is that it will mostly depend on the type of platform or service you decide to go with. 

In this quick and straight to the point post, I will elaborate on the main costs you should expect when you start your investing journey. I break it all down by type of investing tool or service.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything available out there so if I missed something, feel free to share in the comments! 

And here we go …

 

Online Brokerages Accounts

These types of accounts allow you to invest on your own and allow you to have FULL control over what stocks or investments you buy or sell.

When you open an online brokerage account and fund it with your own money the only main fees you will be responsible for are:

  • Transaction Fees: How much the online broker will charge you to buy and sell stocks/funds.
  • Capital Gains Taxes: When you invest and make a profit from your investment, the IRS will take its cut from those profits. You also pay taxes when you get dividend payments from companies. 

The average transaction fees for most online brokerage accounts range from $4.95 to $9.99 per trade – this is regardless of how many shares you buy or sell at once.

Using the $4.95 example, that means that whenever you want to buy stock in a company (again, regardless of how many shares) you pay $4.95. When you sell, you pay the same single fee again. And that’s about it.

When it comes to taxes, the short story is that Uncle Sam will tax you at 15% or less if you hold your stocks for longer than one year (considered ‘long term’). If you hold your stocks for a year or less (‘short term’) it will tax you 20% or more. Capital gains taxes depend on two things: 1. How long your held your shares 2. Your tax bracket. 

NOTE – If you’d like more information about capital gains taxes let me know in the comments and I’ll write a full post about this!

Examples of online brokers include: TDAmeritrade, Ally Invest (formerly Tradeking), E*Trade, Scottrade, Fidelity, Sharebuilder, and the list goes on.

Applications (“Investing Apps”)

Most investing apps trending today are completely free when it comes to investing fees. Also, some apps will allow you to invest on your own (just like online brokers) while others will invest for you.

In both cases, if there are no investing fees involved and you are investing with your own money, the only costs you’d have to consider are capital gains taxes if you sell stocks at a profit. You would get a statement at the end of the year that you would take to your tax accountant.

One thing to keep in mind in the case of apps that invest on your behalf, is that you don’t have any direct control in terms of where your money is being invested in. The app would allocate your money towards funds that match your risk tolerance – whether you are conservative or have a high tolerance for risk.  They would decide how to allocate your money by asking you a series of questions when you first sign up. You have to leave it up to the app to decide where your money goes.

Examples of apps include: Robinhood, Acorns, Stash.

Robo-Advisors 

Robo-Advisors are online platforms that use technology, algorithms, and automation to allocate your money in investments best suited for your personal financial goals. Whether that money will be used for retirement, a college fund, buying a house in 10 years (or anything in between) – a Robo advisor will determine where your money should be sitting (and growing) for a designated time period.  The system will make adjustments to your portfolio sporadically to make sure you are on track to meet your originally designated goals.

The two major costs involved include management fees and account minimums. Just like online brokerage accounts, the fees and minimums will depend on the company you choose and can go from free/no minimum up to minimums of $50,000 and management fees of 0.89% per year (sometimes more). It will all depend on the company you decide to go with. 

Examples of Robo-Advisors include Betterment, Wealthfront, Ellevest. 

Full-Service Brokers

Full-Service brokers “do it all”, as the name indicates, and are frequently used by high net worth individuals. These brokers are “real” people, often Certified Financial Advisors or Chartered Financial Analysts that work at a money management firm and often require that you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in order to offer their services.

Fees can be upwards of $140 or more per transaction not to mention that many take a percentage of your assets every year regardless of whether or not you make money.  All fees involved will ultimately depend on your service agreement with that particular broker or financial institution.

Don’t have any specific example of full-service brokers but you can find most of these people at wealth management banks or institutions that offer these kinds of services. 

Remember that all fees are in addition to taxes, of course, because no one is going to pay your taxes for you :). 

 

My Personal Approach

If you have followed me for a while, you know I am a strong believer (and VERY passionate) about do-it-yourself investing and for that reason, I personally use an online brokerage account to invest and have been doing so for almost a decade.

With that said, I also understand that many people may not have the passion, the interest, or the time to invest on their own, and so, there are options for those individuals who want to be more “hands off”.

At the end of the day, I would tell you to explore your options and go with what you feel works best for you and your personal situation.

By the way – if you come across an app, website, and/or type of investing service I didn’t get to include in this post (there are so many options!), feel free to let me know in the comments and I can help answer any questions you may have about that particular service.

TELL ME – If you currently invest, what kind of platform do you use? If you don’t invest as of yet, which one do you think you’d be more comfortable with? 

Cheers to an amazing week!

Kind regards,

Mabel $

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What It Means to Invest “On Margin”

INVESTING ON MARGIN PIC

Good day everyone! Happy Saturday. I have been wanting to share some knowledge on a topic I believe is important to clarify and expand on specially for my beginner investors. 

From time to time someone within the Girl$ on The Money community would tell me they have been “invited” to open a margin account or to invest on margin and are wondering what to do.

A lot of the time, the question comes from someone who is very new to investing and has very limited knowledge. For that reason, I think is is VERY important to explain the facts of what margin investing really means. 

After reading this post I hope you walk away educated enough to make your own personal decision on the matter or are inspired to continue learning more. 

Let’s get to it.

When you open an Online Brokerage Account* and depending of how much money you fund your account with; you will notice the online broker will give you the option to open a ‘Margin Account’.

For the majority of online brokers you are only given this option if you deposit $2,000 or more of your own money (this is known as your cash account). However, the minimal requirement for margin accounts can vary depending on the broker. 

In simple terms, buying on margin means that you are using borrowed money that the online broker lends you to invest. As with any loan, the option to accept a margin account and subsequently use it means there are interest rates involved (some as high as 9% per year) as well as repayment guidelines. 

One of most important things to keep in mind is that you will be responsible to pay back the loan regardless of whether or not you make money on your investments. Obviously, this can get messy and is extremely risky.

In the margin world, your stocks or investments are collateral for that “loan”. If things go south and you end up losing money on your investments to the point that the online broker wants their loan back (usually when your loses are close to exceeding what you borrowed) the online broker will want to recover their loan immediately.

Some brokers will give you limited time to deposit additional cash into your cash account to cover your margin loan. However if this is not done, one of the things they can do is go ahead and sell your shares without any warning in order to cover their own personal assets.

The way most online brokers make money is by charging you a transaction fee when you buy and sell stocks. However, another way they make money is through the interest gained by offering a margin account. And so, it makes sense that they would want to protect their funds and will be watching your account like a hawk to make sure you are not in danger of defaulting on your loan. 

On a personal level, I have never invested on margin and is something I consciously avoid at all costs. I remember once I added some stocks to my portfolio and didn’t realize I slightly went over the funds in my cash account. When this happened, the online broker automatically dipped into the margin account to make up for the balance. 

When I realized what had happened, I immediately called my broker to let them know this was done in error and proceeded to deposit my own cash to cover the small ‘loan’. Even with almost a decade of experience in investing under my belt, I do not feel comfortable borrowing money from anyone to invest. 

The market is extremely risky and volatile in the short term and we just never really know what will happen from one day to the next. You never want to be in a position where not only do your investment do poorly and you end up losing tons of money but also realize you owe money plus interest to your broker. 

I personally believe there is nothing better than the peace of mind that comes from buying and selling stocks using your own money and not have to worry about anything other than waiting for your money to grow over time. However, even if some of your investments do poorly, at least you know there’s no one else’s money involved other than your own and you can be at peace with that.

What are YOUR personal thoughts on margin investing? Share below or join the discussion over at the Facebook Group or Instagram. Cheers to profits!

Mabelle $

*An online brokerage account is an account that allows you to invest on your own. Examples of online brokers include companies like TDAmeritrade, Ally Invest (previously Tradeking), E*Trade, ScottTrade, Fidelity, Capital One Investing, Interactive Brokers, etc.

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Let’s Talk About Portfolio Asset Allocation – And How To Figure Out Your Own!

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Good day everyone! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic week and are ready to relax a bit this weekend. Today I decided to talk about a topic I’ve gotten some questions about over the years – what my portfolio Asset Allocation looks like and why. I wanted to take this post a step further and provide you with some tips to keep in mind as you are building your own personal allocation strategy.

Before we get into that, I wanted to explain what I mean by “Asset Allocation”. Here is the simplified/straight to the point definition:

Asset Allocation is simply the strategy of allocating your money towards stocks, funds, bonds, and/or cash in your portfolio in a way that it reflects your risk tolerance as well as your investing horizon and investing goals.

So, for example, someone who is approaching retirement age may have most of their portfolio in conservative funds, bonds, and cash because they don’t want to risk a market downturn and suffer great market loses right before they are set to retire.

Another example can be someone in their early 20s or 30s that may be far away from retirement age and may have most of their investing money in individual stocks. This person may feel they have the time horizon to be able to “ride out” any significant downturns in the stock market. Having their money in stocks is something they are comfortable with. There could be different extremes of this kind of investor – from someone with high tolerance for risk to someone who is a bit more conservative.

My final example would be someone (of any age) who simply likes to be well-diversified and wants to have some of their money in index funds, some in ETFs, some in individual stocks, and finally, some in cash and maybe bonds in order to cover all bases. This person has a low to moderate risk tolerance and wants to make sure they are participating in the stock market by incorporating different types of investments in their portfolio.

In order to identify your own personal Asset Allocation strategy, here are [some] questions you can start asking yourself:

  1. What is your PERSONAL risk tolerance? Do you completely freak out every time the market is down to the point that you want to cash out immediately OR are you fairly comfortable with overall market downturns?
  2. What is your investing horizon? How long do you want to have your money invested?
  3. What are your investing goals or general financial goals? How much money do you need to comfortably reach that specific goal(s)?

On a [very] personal level, my portfolio allocation is composed of individual stocks and cash. I consider myself someone with “medium” or “moderate” risk tolerance so while I do have mostly stocks in my portfolio, I don’t see my allocation as one of ‘significant risk’ because I focus on companies that have a track record of success and solid plans for ongoing future growth.

While individual stocks may sound “risky” by nature, I am more on the conservative side of things and do make sure that I do my due diligence and choose solid corporations that have the foundation to continue to growing, expanding, and profiting for years to come.

I also make sure my stocks are from a variety of different sectors although most are concentrated in a few such as consumer staples, technology, consumer discretionary, and some health care.

You will never see me adding anything super risky to my portfolio – most of you already know I am against penny stocks, currencies, cryptocurrencies or anything related to that. I am also not a fan of putting my money in the “latest fad”. I am just not that type of investor and my portfolio asset allocation reflects that. 

And there you have it! I shared a bit of how Asset Allocation works and provided a glance of what my personal allocation looks like.

In case you are interested (or are not aware) in my upcoming investing boot-camp I share with my students a list of all the stocks that are currently in my portfolio, when I purchased them, and how they are doing so far. I also share the thought process behind each of my investments! This is one of my favorite parts of the course.

If you are not yet enrolled but are interested in taking part, make sure to add your name to the list asap. Enrollment closes on 8/11/17 and class begins on Monday 8/14.

TELL ME – What does your portfolio asset allocation look like? OR, if you don’t yet invest – what kind of allocation do you feel you would be personally comfortable with? Let me know in the comments of join the discussion over at our Facebook Group.

Cheers to profits!

Mabelle

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Important disclaimer:

Girl$ on The Money is a stock market education company and does not provide any specific stock or investment recommendations. All information provided is solely for educational purposes and not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy, hold, or sell any securities. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Diversification cannot ensure a profit or that an investor’s goals will be met and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses.

 

 

 

Index Funds Vs. Individual Stocks: The Difference Explained (plus – examples!)

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The world of investing doesn’t solely revolve around individual stocks. There are several other investing vehicles out there. Some of the most popular include Mutual Funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and today’s topic – Index Funds.

Some people may not have the time, patience, or passion to research individual companies and, subsequently, invest in individual stocks – and that’s okay! Index Funds provide a great way to still participate in the stock market and create wealth slowly but surely over the years without the added ‘pressure’ of having to choose individual companies to build a portfolio.

Let’s start with the basics …

What is an Index Fund?

You can think of an Index Fund as a “basket of stocks”. Basically, an Index Fund tracks the performance of various companies all at once. The return on investment someone can get from purchasing an Index Fund will depend on the performance (on average) of all the companies in that basket. The most commonly followed (and purchased) Index Funds track the S&P 500.

Wait – what is the S&P 500?

Glad you asked 🙂 … The S&P 500 is an index composed of the 500 largest companies in the U.S. representing leading industries including Industrials, Technology, Energy, Materials, Consumer Goods, Financials, Consumer Staples, and Utilities. Because the S&P 500 is such a broad index that includes so many businesses, it is the primary benchmark used by most analysts and investors. For that reason, the S&P is often referred to as “The Market” or “The Market Index”. If you are wondering which businesses are included in the S&P, you can check out a full list here.

So, for example, let’s say that you choose to invest in an Index Fund that follows the S&P 500, that particular investment you made will increase or decrease in value in accordance to the market average performance. In other words, you cannot outperform or underperform the market.

If the market is doing well, with healthy average gains over time and the occasional down-turn, your investment will perform the same way.

The key word here is average. By owning an Index Fund, you are okay with average market returns. This is actually perfectly okay considering that Index Fund returns are usually (a lot) higher than having your Investing-Fund money under your mattress or sitting in a bank account collecting pennies on the dollar. Or worse – decreasing in value due to inflation.

How exactly does an Index Fund differ from buying an individual stock?

While Index Funds are synonym to average market returns or average return of multiple businesses; when you invest in an Individual Stock you are investing in one single company. The returns on your investment has the potential to do a lot better than the market as a whole or a lot worse depending on the performance of that stock.

While an index fund can provide a return of 7% over the course of one year or ten; an individual stock has the potential of returning 20% in one single day. It also has the potential to decrease by 20% in the same amount of time. Stocks are risky. There is no way to sugar coat this. However, they also have the potential for great returns.

Side bar – One of the ways investors of individual stocks protect themselves from the risk that comes with investing in one single company is by investing in various individual stocks. This help lessen the blow when a particular company is doing poorly.

Real Life Examples

As always, the examples below are for educational purposes only and are by no means recommendations of any kind. I simply want to give you a clear view of the differences in returns from Index Funds vs. Stocks.

These are generalized and simplified examples.

Exhibit I: A very popular standard Index Fund is the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund (VFINX). Over the course of 3 years, this fund has generated an average return of 9.46% for their investors. Source: Vanguard.

Exhibit II: Meanwhile, companies like Nike, Facebook and Amazon have generated returns of 15.59%, 31.36%, and 47.79% respectively over the same 3 years. Source: Morningstar.com

Exhibit III: On the other hand, companies like Pandora, Twitter, or Sears have declined by -27.9%-23.87% and -36.59% respectively over the same time 3-year period. Source: Morningstar.com

In the first example, individual stocks are obviously the winners by a long shot. Meanwhile, in the second example, we would have been better off putting our money in the Index Funds.

There are hundreds of similar examples like the ones shown above (many are found in my book). Things can go either way depending on where you choose to put your money and what ends up happening with those companies.

Remember nobody can tell what will happen when it comes to market performance or individual stock performance. If we did, we’d all be billionaires. Also, past performance is never a guarantee of future results, so you can’t assume that because a stock went up by 20% one year, the same thing will happen the following year.

Question: How do you feel about Index Funds now that you know more about them? Is this the type of investment you would consider? Why or why not? Share below or head over to the Facebook Group and join the discussion! =)

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Nine Things I’ve learned about Investing in the Last Nine Years.

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If you follow me on Social Media you probably heard that this past Monday 07/17 was my 9-year anniversary as a stock investor.

In the summer of 2008, just a few months shy of the financial crisis that shook the word, I purchased 4 shares of my favorite company at the time.

I clearly remember my investment grew by $50 over the course of one single week and I was blown away.

It wasn’t so much the dollar amount. What I was impressed by was the idea that I could put some of my savings to work by becoming a part owner of amazing companies and I could see that money grow exponentially over time without doing anything.

Needless to say I was hooked. I couldn’t believe this was available to the average person. I started to wonder why I didn’t know more people who invested.

The idea and actual practice of investing is something that continues to impress me to this day and it is something I am extremely passionate about.

In honor of my “anniversary” I decided to brainstorm on some of the lessons I’ve learned so far.

If you are a seasoned investor the lessons below may seem simple or obvious to you. However, I can only speak for myself, my own experience, and the lessons I consider valuable for me personally.

Investing, as with personal finance, is very personal.

And so, without further ‘ado, here they are:

#1 Action > Daydreaming: Before I began my investing journey I hesitated for years on the best way to approach investing or how to actually get started. I read countless books and articles on the subject and still didn’t really “get it”. It wasn’t until I actually went through the process of buying my first stock via an online brokerage account that things started to click for me. With investing as with many things in life, action is paramount in order to get the ball rolling.

Is also important to start slow and gain confidence over time Vs. going crazy and crashing fast.

#2 Competition and Disruption Risk – these are two “simple” things that can tell you a lot about whether or not a company’s stock can turn out to be a profitable investment over time.

#3 Some of the best investments come from disruptive companies that have very minimal (if any) real competitors and are leaders in their industry. Emphasis on disruptive.

#4 I’ve realized that the decision making process that comes with buying shares of stock in a company for the long term is very similar to the decision making process that comes with lending someone money.

I covered this in a previous post and here is how I explained it:

“To put this into perspective, you can think of a public business (or stock) just like a person. Lets say someone you know asks you to borrow $2,000 and tells you they will give you that money back “with significant interest” in a years time. However, you know for a fact that they are in deep debt, have no job or a low paying job (low income or no income), can’t make ends meet (no profits), and have no clear plans on how they will get back to profitability- would you lend that person the $2,000? Probably not. Same goes with stocks!”

#5 Companies that have multiple streams of income often make great investments. Obviously, this is not a “hard and fast” rule that applies to every company. There are always exceptions. However, If you can find a company that not only makes money in different ways but that also has a strong respectable brand and is a leader within the industry in which it operates – you’ve probably found a pretty good investment.

#6 Immersing yourself in finance and investing content will make you a more knowledgeable investor that is able to make educated investing decisions.Even if at first you have no clue what anything means, eventually things will start to “click” and you’ll start to “get it”. I listen to podcasts, read books, articles, financial newspapers, etc. I never get tired of absorbing new investing content and learning more and more each day. I’ve found that absorbing this type of content has made me a better investor over the years.

#7 Stay Alert of Competition. Companies that operate in industries where there is too much competition, where there is no clear leader, and where consumers are often chasing cheaper prices over anything else, are usually not great investments.

#8 There is absolutely no need to buy IPOs right away – if a company is a good one you can wait a year or two before you buy any shares and still make a whole lot of money. If a company has true and sustainable staying power time will be the judge.

#9 Struggling companies with solid fundamentals eventually find their way. Again, it will always depend but I’ve found that when a truly solid company* is struggling, it eventually finds its way – either through an acquisition, a strategy that completely restructures the business, or any other ‘innovative’ way. You just have to have the patience to see things through.

This is why diversification is so important. Just as important as having the tolerance to ride the ups and downs of the market.

*by “solid company” I am speaking about a business that actually has sales, profits, cash in the bank and low debt but may be going through other market-wide/industry specific issues that impact the stock price.

Also, remember that sometimes it is also okay to move on as long as you understand that whatever happens in the future is something no one really knows for sure.

And there you have it! I am curious – if you currently invest, what is the best investing lesson(s) you’ve personally learned since you started participating in the stock market? Share below or head over to the Facebook Group and share with our community :).

 

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Books I Love (Part III): Personal Development

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Good day everyone! Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and get comfortable ;). Today I share Part III (and final) part of this Summer Books Series. As mentioned last week today we dive into some personal development books that I’ve read through the years and consider phenomenal.

The concept of personal development and motivation is very near and dear to me. Although I would read mostly fiction growing up, once I hit my 20s I started to develop a strong desire to be better and to have an abundant and great life in every way possible. One of the ways I fed my interest and desire to learn more about improving my life and living the “best life” (for me) was my immersing myself in these kinds of books.

I tried to think of books I’ve read that I felt were amazing but perhaps a lot of people haven’t read yet. However, it wasn’t that easy and so you may notice some familiar titles :).  The books are in no particular order. If you’ve read any of these let me know in the comments.

Also, if you’re new here, don’t forget to check out Part I and Part II of the series if you’d like to catch up.

And let’s go ….

You, Inc. Discover The CEO Within! by Burke Hedges

“…take inventory of your existing habits. Think about which habits help you move forward, and which ones hold you back. Then think about the habits that can help you accomplish your dreams and goals in life. Finally, look for opportunities to substitute productive habits for unproductive ones”.

– Burke Hedges

I came across this book by chance while browsing a bookstore back around 2007 or so. I remember standing in one of the aisles browsing through the first chapter and after a few pages, I was hooked. It became a staple in my personal library. Since that random ‘encounter’ 10 or so years ago I’ve read this book at least 3 times. The book encourages us to look at ourselves as a ‘corporation’ – one we want to see grow and thrive towards its ultimate potential. Through a series of practical tips and principles as well as examples of real people that have reached their ultimate potential, the book not only encourages us to be our best selves but also goes into HOW to actually do so.

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

“Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories”

– David Schwartz

I found out about this book while sitting on the NYC subway one day also in my early 20s. I saw some girl reading it and obviously, the title caught my attention so I added it to my list of prospective books. I picked it up that same week.

This book is incredible and another one I’ve read several times. It talks about how to position our minds into having great expectations for ourselves and our future. It explains (in practical and clear examples) how thinking small doesn’t do us any favors and we are better off striving for great things in life even if we feel they may sound unrealistic at first. This is not a book that tells you to sit down, do nothing, and just “think big”. It goes into the power of putting action behind our big life expectations and how to actually go about it. Another staple in my personal library!

The Present by Spencer Johnson

“Even In The Most Difficult Situations, When You Focus On What Is Right In The Present Moment, It Makes You Happier, Today. And It Gives You The Needed Energy And Confidence To Deal With What Is Wrong.”

-Spencer Johnson

I read the audio version of this book and have listened to it probably close to 10 times since I found out about it close to 10 years ago. It is a quick listen so I’m assuming also a quick read. The book helps us put life in general and current life situations into perspective. It teaches us exactly HOW we can improve our present lives by changing the way we look at it and the perspective we have towards it. One of my favorite things about this book (similar to the others) is that it goes beyond ‘general’ advice and provides us with practical steps of how to put the theories mentioned in the book into action.

Internationally Famous // Honorable mentions …

The books listed below are also amazing but I feel most of you have probably heard of them before because they are so popular. With that said, I didn’t want to leave them out of the list. These books are popular for a reason. They are creme of the crop in their genre.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Pale

“Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.”

-Norman V. Pale

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

-Napoleon Hill

…and there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the list :). Next week we’re back to our regular scheduled programming of stock investing education and conversations. Figured a little break from talking stocks 24/7 wouldn’t hurt. Let me know if you read or will read any of the books mentioned in the three-part series. I always love hearing from you!

Have a GREAT day and cheers to profits!
Mabel $

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Books I Love (Part II): Investing

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Hey, everyone! If you missed Part I of this “Summer Books” series you can check it out here. Today I continue to share some of the books I have read, loved, and highly recommend within the realm of Investing, Personal Finance, and Personal Development.

I was going to move into personal development books today but realized there are a few books within the Investing and Finance realm that I still want to add (that means you’ll all be getting a part III 😉 ). So here we go:

You Can be a Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt

“Something out of the ordinary course of business is taking place that creates an investment opportunity. The list of corporate events that can result in big profits for you runs the gamut—spinoffs, mergers, restructuring, rights offerings, bankruptcies, liquidations, asset sales, distributions.”

-Joel Greenblatt

I found out about this book for the first time during the summer of 2014 and was shocked I hadn’t heard about it before. I consider this book to be a fun read with a ton of incredible information about the characteristics that could make a company a successful investment. The author’s theory is that there are recognizable “patterns” when it comes to the types of companies that turn out to be profitable investments and he takes his time to explain each ‘pattern’ or characteristic with some real-life examples. The quote above gives you an idea of what he talks about throughout the book.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle

“Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!”

-John Bogle

John Bogle is another one of my virtual investing mentors (together with Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch). I found this book while browsing the library for investing books a few years ago (yes. I sometimes do this in my spare time. don’t judge me lol). The book is a quick read yet very informative and highly educational. The author focuses mostly on the power of Index Funds and how you don’t have to spend time and energy trying to find successful individual stocks. He spells out what to look for in an index fund to make sure you pick the right one(s).

Most of you know I am a fan of individual stocks and I only have stocks in my portfolio at the present time. HOWEVER, I still considered this book to be a gem and is one I will read again when I finally decide to add some index funds to my portfolio which is something I plan to do in the near future.

The Intelligent Investor By Benjamin Graham

“People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers.”

– Benjamin Graham

This book is a CLASSIC and probably the “founding father” of all investing books out there. In case you didn’t know; my beloved Warren Buffett was a student of Mr. Graham at Columbia business school ‘back in the days’. You can only imagine the quality of this book if Warren Buffett was learning stuff from this guy. The book is phenomenal. However, I must warn you that it is quite lengthy (about ~500 pages, small font) and has some ‘heavy’ language at times but it is worth a read. Even if you make it a mission to just read this one book over the course of 6 months it is well worth it. Make sure you have a pen and highlighters handy! You’re welcome 🙂

Warren Buffett and The Interpretation of Financial Statements by Mary Buffett and David Clark

I couldn’t find any quotes for this book because it is a bit more on the technical side. Note that this book was NOT written by Warren Buffett but by his daughter in law. What I liked the most about this book is that it is short and to the point and breaks down exactly how Warren Buffett analyzes financial statements. For those who fear the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows part of investing research – this book breaks it down and tells you what to focus on (actually, what Buffett focuses on!).

Stock Market Investing Mini-Lessons for Beginners by Mabel A. Nunez

“I aim to dispel any misconceptions around stock investing and show that you don’t need to work in Wall Street, have a PhD in Finance, or wear an expensive suit to participate in the stock market. Pretty much anyone who makes a conscious and committed decision to learn this subject can do so and benefit from it”.

-Mabel A. Nunez

Last but not least – this book by yours truly. I published this book back in 2016 and it has turned out to be one of my biggest accomplishments to date. Back in the days when I wanted to learn how to invest, I would pick up books at Barnes and Noble or the library that claimed to be for “beginners”. I would take these books home and be completely lost and confused with all the finance lingo, and complicated language – what type of beginners were they talking about?!. When I finally learned to invest and became fairly good at it (in my opinion although I continue to learn every day!) I decided to write a book that breaks down investing to its simplest term. It covers pretty much all the basics and allows you to feel more comfortable and confident with the stock market. I continue to get emails and messages from people in the U.S and all over that have read the book and loved it. I am forever grateful.

This wraps up the ‘Investing’ portion of my book list. Next week I’ll go into personal development books. I’ll find a way to tie it to investing. Wish me luck :). Stay TUNED! Have an amazing day <3.

Cheers to profits,

Mabelle ❤

 

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Books I Love (Part I): Personal Finance

Good day everyone!

Over the years, I’ve received tons of requests from the Girl$ on The Money community about books I would recommend.

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I’ve decided to share my favorite books within my favorite categories which include: Personal Finance, Investing, and Personal Development (the order varies depending on my mood :).

We’ll kick off this series with my favorite books within the personal finance realm!

All of the books that I will share are books I’ve personally read and some of my all-time favorites.

….and here we go:

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach (Personal Finance)

“Remember, inspiration unused is merely entertainment. To get new results, you need to take new actions.”

-David Bach

I read this book over 10 years ago shortly after I graduated from college and was working at my first corporate job. I can honestly say this book completely opened my eyes to the attainability of wealth and how it is possible for everyone – not just for people that are already wealthy or come from “well-off” families.

The book taught me how by creating simple daily habits and making my finances automatic – I can set myself up for a healthy financial future.

You may or may not know that this book had a lot of “haters” throughout the years. Some people made fun of the author for suggesting things such as “get rid of your daily $5 coffee habit and you can be rich”. I think that the people that mocked this book completely missed the point. I found the practical tips in the book to be priceless and I was able to ‘modify’ them so they could fit my personal lifestyle.

On a personal level, it created a HUGE mind-shift in terms of how I managed my money from a very young age (early 20s!). I can only speak for myself and can honestly say that applying the concepts of this book, made a huge difference in my financial life.

NOTE: As mentioned, I read this book over a decade ago. I read the first edition but I have noticed there is a new version out. I am assuming it is the same great information with updated content. 

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley (Personal Finance)

“Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth. Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.”

-Thomas Stanley

This is another gem. I believe I also read this book shortly after college graduation and clearly remember that I found out about it while browsing the Facebook page of one of my college classmates.

Using real-life, practical stories, this book emphasizes the power of a frugal lifestyle and shows that anyone can create wealth and comfortable life by simply being mindful and strategic about expenses. It shows (with multiple examples) that, despite popular belief, the riches people in the country (and probably the world) are not out there mindlessly spending money on luxuries. They are actually frugal and smart about how they allocate their money and towards what.

A lot of what I just said may sound like common sense but you have to read the book in order to check out all the stories and see for yourself the real truth about how the rich get richer.

One up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch (Stock Investing)

“Understand the nature of the companies you own and the specific reasons for holding the stock. (“It is really going up!” doesn’t count.)”

-Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch is one of my all-time favorite investors (right next to Warren Buffett). For those who may not know – Mr. Lynch became one of the best and most well-known fund managers of our time. He managed the Fidelity “Magellan Fund” for about 20 years generating returns that constantly outperformed the market including over 29% annualized returns over a 10-year period. The fund eventually became the largest mutual fund in the world.

Now that you know a little bit about Mr. Lynch – the reason why I absolutely loved ‘One Up on Wall Street’ is because he is a strong believer (like myself) that no one needs a Harvard education, a wealthy family, or a Ph.D. in Finance to be a successful investor. In his book, he shows (with examples) how the average person can have a significant advantage over so-called ‘professionals’ when it comes to finding companies that can turn out to be phenomenal investments over time.

His theory is that the average person is the consumer and has a front-row seat when it comes to companies and how they ultimately perform. The average person knows what’s “hot” and what is not and can use that ‘insider’ perspective to make great investment decisions.

What I also love about the book is that it is written in simple and straight to the point terms and avoids any crazy or over-complicated Wall Street lingo. Highly recommended.

Money-Saving Tip – This is something I mention a lot on Instagram whenever I share book recommendations but what I tell everyone to do is to check their local library first for any book you may be interested in. If you absolutely love the book after you read it, buy it for your personal library! (that’s something I personally do). However, the library is an amazing place to find amazing books (I’m sure you know this). Remember that’s one way you can take advantage of your tax dollars ;). 

And this is all for now! Stay tuned for Part II of the series.

Have an amazing weekend. Cheers to profits!

Love <3,

Mabelle

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