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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The Girl$ on The Money Approach To Investing

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We live in a world where investing in stocks is often viewed as a “fast and furious” path to riches. Almost daily there’s a new way to invest, a random market, or a  “hot new stock” that no one really understands or knows anything about but everyone wants to be a part of.

Because of this, I felt it would be appropriate to share the Girl$ on The Money approach to investing (which is my own personal approach). Next month is my 9th year anniversary as a stock investor and I strongly believe that focusing on a set strategy and core approach towards investing has made me a successful investor so far.

In building my portfolio, I’ve been able to benefit from becoming a part-owner of incredible businesses. I’ve also learned to quickly identify and eliminate the stocks that did not perform as I had originally expected them to. The learning experience has been incredible and I continue to learn more and more as time goes by which is what makes this journey even more exciting.

In this post, I’d like to elaborate more on how we approach investing here in Girl$ on The Money headquarters. If you’ve followed me for a while some of the information below may seem familiar to you. If so, hope you still check it out as a refresher :).

While I can probably go on and on in this post, I have decided to narrow down the approach to four of the core strategies I believe to be the most important and that have personally worked for me.

And here we go…

#1. I stay away from investments I do not understand.

To be completely transparent and clear I stay away from penny stocks, the FOREX market, Marijuana stocks (at least for the time being), and pretty much anything that I don’t fully understand and/or that appears too risky.

If I can’t find the motivation, the time, or the brainpower to sit down and try to figure out how to make money from a type of investment that is not familiar to me and I know nothing about, I stay away. I work hard for my money and I want my money to work hard for me while also allowing me to sleep well at night. If I invest in something that starts making me anxious, worried, or concerned about what will happen to my money, that is not the type of investment that is worth my peace of mind.

Side note: If you missed it, I wrote an entire post on penny stocks.

#2. I stick to companies that have been public for a while, have a solid track record, and have a clear plan for continuous growth that is clear and makes sense.

If you are a member of our Facebook group or follow me on social media you probably know by now that I do not invest in IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). An IPO is the name given to stocks of a company when it first becomes public.

If I am remotely interested in a company that is becoming public, I wait at least a year (often longer) and observe the business from a distance in order to see how it performs as a public business and how exactly it plans to make money for shareholders. I also want to see if the company is profitable at all or not (it is quite common for a company to become public without being profitable).

I rather “lose out” on any “initial gains” than see my investment down 50% six months later simply because I rushed to buy. Patience is seriously a huge virtue when it comes to IPOs. If a company is going to be successful and thrive for years to come, you can still make a whole lot of money even if you wait things out.

#3. I like strong leaders and prefer businesses with very minimal (if any) competition. 

Most of my portfolio is composed of strong leaders in various industries across the board. If I am invested in a particular company and see a lot of “copy-cats”  emerging out of nowhere and also growing market share in a said industry at a fast pace, that is usually one red flag for me to get out. This is especially relevant when it comes to consumer services.

To give you a general example – I wouldn’t invest in music streaming business if that’s the business’s sole source of income and is competing with other companies doing the exact same thing and with more advantages such as more cash or other sources of income.

In a nutshell – I try to stay away from any kind of business where the customer’s main concern is to find the cheapest option and there is no brand loyalty, moat, or competitive advantage. There’s a whole lot more I can say about this but I’d like to keep this brief.

#4. Healthy Financials are Important to Me.

Before investing in anything I like to take a very close look at financial statements. I look at a lot of ratios and valuation metrics but I also put a major focus on things like sales, net income (profits), and cash. I also like to check out debt and see what’s going on in there.

To put this into perspective, you can think of a public business (or stock) just like a person. Let’ss 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 year’s 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. The same goes with stocks!

As I’ve always said – I respect each individual’s approach to the stock market and investing and believe that everyone should find the approach that works the best for them and that makes them money. At the end of the day, the reason we put money in the stock market is to be able to increase our wealth at a quicker and more efficient pace than just having money sitting under the mattress or in a bank doing absolutely nothing for us.

As investors, it is important we find the balance between profitability and being able to allocate our money in a way that allows us to sleep soundly at night.

What is YOUR personal approach? Does it look similar to ours or would you do anything differently? Share below or head over to the Facebook group to share with our community! 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend and cheers to profits!

Love,

Mabelle ❤

 

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Facts About Penny Stocks You Should Know and Understand.

Hello everyone!

Last weekend, I shared a post on cannabis stocks and how I feel about them. I briefly mentioned the topic of “penny stocks” and this is something I want to elaborate more on because it is also a common question I get.

Many people that start investing fall into the trap of buying penny stocks (without really understanding what they are) and sometimes get burned so badly, that they give up on investing altogether.

In this post, my mission is to educate you so that you can reach your own conclusions and make your own decisions about these kinds of investments.

PS

Ever since I started my investing journey (over a decade ago!) I have stayed away from penny stocks. I consider them very dangerous, risky, and speculative. There is a lesson about this in my book but I’d like to share the information with you all here as well because I feel is very important that you are informed.

Before I get into this, I want to emphasize that I fully respect everyone’s approach towards the stock market. If someone is an advocate of penny stocks and has no problem putting their hard-earned money in those kinds of investments, I respect that. However, it is something I personally stay away from.

If you are new to the investing world and are considering investing in penny stocks or it is something that has crossed your mind at all; please take a few minutes to read some of the facts below. After you read it, decide for yourself if this is something you’d personally feel comfortable with.

So, here we go.

1. The Securities and Exchange Commission* (SEC) formal definition for a penny stock is one that trades for about $5 per share or less. However, most of the penny stocks people talk about trade for just cents on the dollar and are generally companies no one has ever heard about. Also, most people cannot explain how exactly that company generates revenue, whether it has any profits or any other important financial factors.

*The SEC is the government entity that regulates publicly traded companies. 

2. Penny stocks trade very infrequently meaning that it may be difficult to find someone to purchase the stocks from you once you attain them, which means you may very well be stuck with worthless shares that no one in “the market” will want to buy from you.

3. Penny stocks are considered speculative investments. Most penny stocks have no law requirement to disburse all (or any) of their financial information to the public and they are not regulated to the extent that legit, established securities are.

For instance,  public companies are required by law to provide information to the SEC year after year about every single thing that happens with the business. The information is shared with the public in the form of annual reports, quarterly reports, proxy statements, press releases, and the list goes on.

The extensive disclosure of information allows investors to obtain most of the information they may need to make an educated decision on whether or not the investment would be profitable. Penny stocks do not have these types of requirements. For the most part, you’ll be investing blindly with no clear understanding of the business or where it is going. 

4. Based on the above, it is highly possible that you may lose all your money and because there is no such regulation, there’s nothing much you can do about it. As clearly noted in the SEC website:

“Investors in penny stocks should be prepared for the possibility that they may lose their whole investment (or an amount greater than their investment if they purchase penny stocks on margin)”.

5. While it may be true that some people get lucky and actually make money in penny stocks, these stories are rare. Remember that there are a lot of scam artists out there- if you have ever heard of the phrase “pump and dump” that’s where the term comes from. Experienced people in the business of scamming others with penny stocks can easily ‘hype up’ a random ticker symbol and when everyone is in, they will go ahead and sell, and leave you penniless.

My thoughts …

You work hard for your money. You want your money to work hard for you. Whether you are a fairly new investor just learning and just getting started, or an experienced well-seasoned investor, I always recommend focusing on companies that are well-established within their respective industries and that have a clear and specific competitive advantage.

If you want your portfolio to have a bit more ‘edge’ or more ‘risk’ with a possible high potential; go for companies that actually follow the SEC guidelines and that are regulated. Even if they have not yet ‘proven’ themselves, at least you’ll have the peace of mind that every move they make will be completely public and transparent for you because they are regulated.

You won’t have to worry about waking up tomorrow and finding out the ‘penny stock’ that was supposed to make you wealthy, ran away with your money and your dreams. You also don’t want your money just sitting there in the ‘red’ while you blindly sit and wonder what will happen next. Who wants to be in that kind of situation?! I like to sleep well at night.

And that is all my friends. Wishing everyone a fantastic week!

TELL ME, What are YOUR thoughts on this topic? Would love to hear your opinion.

Cheers to profits,

Mabel

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Should You Consider Buying Amazon Stock? Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

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So this past week Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) stock reached an all-time high of $1,000 per share. It went the extra step by propelling to $1,008 for a short period of time and then slightly retrieved back closing at $1,006 per share this past Friday, June 2nd.

Many are wondering whether they “missed the boat” with Amazon and whether they should even consider the company as an investment at this so-called “astronomical” stock price.

In this post, I’d like to explore both sides of this investing puzzle and also provide you with some alternatives to consider.

Before we dive into this topic I’d like to remind you of the following: If you are considering putting money on Amazon or any publicly-traded company keep in mind that it should be money you have available to invest and that you can fully accept to lose if the market suddenly plunges by 50%+ on Monday (yes this can happen!!).

The thing with stock investing is that while it can bring high rewards it also comes with a price tag called risk. I recently wrote a post about what it really means to invest in stocks. If you missed it, check it out here.

I’ve said this a million times in my book, my social media content, and to anyone that is listening to me and I’ll repeat it again:

Money you need in the short term – within the next 3-5 years – should not be in the stock market. It should be in a bank account, preferable in a high yielding savings account – safe, protected, and readily available for when you need it.

Now that I’ve specified that (again) we shall now continue …

Ok. So … Yes. Amazon stock is considered ‘expensive’ even far beyond the price you see at face value.

There’s a finance metric called the Price to Earnings ratio (the P/E) which tells investors how ‘ overvalued’ a company may be in comparison to other companies within its same industry and the market as a whole. I go further into this in my investing course but here is a general snapshot:

  • Current P/E of the market: 21.2
  • Current P/E of companies in Amazon’s industry: 43.2
  • Current P/E of Amazon: 187.3

Source: Morningstar.com

Without me having to explain any math or go into any formulas you can already see there is a huge difference in those numbers.

All you need to know about the numbers above is that “valuation” tells us Amazon is “overpriced” or “overvalued” in comparison to companies in the same industry and the market as a whole.

Now that we’ve slightly covered the price and valuation situation, let’s jump into the two sides of the coin when it comes to investing in Amazon.

Cons:

1. If your desire is to buy Amazon as an individual stock, you’ll have to buy several shares in order to make any significant money in this company. Remember that when it comes to stocks and investments the money that you make is directly proportionate to the cost of that investment and the number of shares that you own.

So, for example, if you own 1 share of a stock that is trading at $995 per share and the stock goes up to $1020 – your profit on one single share is $25. And so, it often makes more sense to be able to buy a lot more than one single share otherwise you’re not making much.

2. Amazon doesn’t pay dividends so the money that you make will depend solely on capital gains (how much the stock rises from the price at which you bought it).

3. The stock can go back down for no reason at all and you’ll be losing money (on paper*) until the price goes up again.

As a matter of fact, this stock is actually quite ‘moody’ meaning the stock price tends to swing up and down significantly. Check out the swings over the past 3 years. Important to note that regardless of the swings the gains have been quite significant nonetheless. 

Amazon Charts

*Remember as long as you don’t actually sell your shares you don’t realize a loss (this applies to all stocks and investments).

Pros:

1. Amazon is probably not going anywhere anytime soon. The thing with Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO of Amazon) is that he seems to have this ultimate goal of wanting to take over every popular industry known to man. From bookstores to groceries, to smart homes, to virtual reality, and everything in between. Amazon seems to have a presence everywhere!

The future seems bright. It is my own personal opinion that there is a higher probability that Amazon will continue to grow, expand, and thrive vs. Amazon going out of business tomorrow. That’s just my perspective but I would love to know what you all think.

2. You can always start a position and then add to it as time goes by and as you can comfortably afford more shares.

Alternatives:

1. You can purchase a low-cost ETF or Index fund that includes Amazon and other similar companies. You’ll still be a part owner at a much lower price.

2. There are TONS of publicly traded companies out there that are a lot more “affordable” than Amazon and ALSO have the potential to make you a whole lot of money. You can definitely let this one go and get on with your life. 🙂

And that’s all folks! I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons case for Amazon and where you feel this company is headed (or not) within the next 5-10 years.

Cheers to profits!

Mabelle

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Using Consumer Experiences To Help With Investing Decisions: Retail Edition

This week I went into a store to get a gift for a friend’s baby shower. The second I stepped into that store my investor mind kicked in. I immediately started to identify several inefficiencies that made the entire experience extremely frustrating, stressful, and time consuming.

Inefficiencies included but were not limited to – (1) Very limited staff that was practically non-existent.  (2) 95% of the registry was not available in the store and was also not available for pick up at any surrounding stores (I checked!). (3) Whatever was actually in the store was extremely hard to find.

The investor in me proceeded to look up this particular store to see if it was publicly traded. I immediately found out it was bought by a private equity firm several years ago so is no longer public. Thank the lord! I wonder how that stock was doing before it went private. Or maybe management saw what was coming and decided they were better off closing shop to investors.

It didn’t take long for me to be reminded that brick and mortar retail is dying a slow but sure death and we should all probably keep that in mind when making future investing decisions.

One way you can identify amazing or horrible investments is by taking a closer look at your personal experience as a consumer when interacting with a business in any way.

Do you walk away feeling great – perhaps you got a great deal, didn’t waste a lot of time and even got some bonus rewards in the process? OR did you walk away feeling like you wasted your time and telling yourself you’ll never spend a penny with that business again?!

These perspectives matter a whole lot. Specially if you have choices as a consumer and can go elsewhere to spend your hard earned money.

Maybe the decision is not so easy if the business you are dealing with has some kind of monopoly going on. However, if there is competition and people have choices – the investor in you should have their eyes and ears peeled for opportunities as you explore your options.

At the very least, consumer experiences can help you identify which kinds of businesses you should be avoiding when it comes to allocating your investing money.

Times are changing in our favor as long as we are taking advantage of those disruptive companies that are there to make our consumer lives easier while also making investors richer in the process.

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There is a reason why Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) stock stock price has returned over 1,000% in the past decade alone while traditional brick and mortar retail businesses are decaying at a rapid pace.

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Source

The proof is in the pudding.

Some people may get sticker-shock when they see Amazon’s astronomical stock price. Is good to remember there’s a reason for that.

“It is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

-Warren Buffett

At the end of the day, I take full and complete responsibility for waiting until the last minute to make my purchase. I could have easily saved myself from wasting my time by shopping online well in advance from the comfort of my own home with the added bonus of free delivery and zero headaches. Lesson learned. 

I would also like to point out that Amazon is not our only option. There are brick and mortar businesses out there that do an amazing job with their online sales strategy making it easy, stress-free, and convenient for the consumer to make their purchases. I ended up purchasing the gift from a company that is not Amazon and that experience was actually quite easy and seamless.

There are also those businesses that have stayed behind of the times significantly and have been suffering greatly for it. Those are the kinds of businesses we should be cautious of specially as investors.

What are your thoughts on brick and mortar retail stores? Do you think it depends on the business and some do a better job than others in taking care of the consumer and can also make great investments?

OR

Do you feel days are counted for brick and mortar and we should keep those type businesses out of our portfolios? Share below! 🙂

Cheers to profits!

Mabelle

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Have Your Eye On A Company As A Prospective Investment? Here Are Some Steps To Consider.

steps to consider Picture Credit: Pixabay.com

Let’s say there is a brand, product, or service you absolutely love and find yourself using all the time. Or maybe is a product or service you may not necessarily love but find yourself spending a whole lot of money on consistently because you don’t have many alternatives. You start to consider the business behind the brand as a prospective investment and are wondering where to begin. Below are a few initial steps to consider.

Step #1: Find out if the company is public

If you are very new to investing, something you may or may not know is that not all companies are public or “publicly traded”. In simple terms, a publicly traded company is one that issues shares of stock to the public and allows people like you and me to buy a “piece” of the business. Unless a company is public, the average person is not able to buy shares in the business.

As a side note – the only people who can buy stock in a company that is not publicly traded are the founders, co-founders, private investors, angel investors, and such individuals that are offered pieces of the business before it ever becomes public.

Finding out whether a company is public or private for the purposes of stock investing is fairly easy. A simply Google search can do the trick. You can Google any of the following:

“Is [insert company name] a publicly traded company?”

“Is {insert company name] a public company?”

Immediately after you hit search, you’ll likely notice a flood of results which will either include stock charts and articles indicating that the stock is public – or – a series of headlines telling you the company is private. In the latter case, your research ends there. At least for now.

Now, let’s say you confirm that the company is public. The next step will be …

Step #2: Add the company to both, a virtual and written watch-list.

When starting your investing journey, it is super important (and very useful) to keep a list of businesses you may be interested in as prospective investments so that you can watch them week by week while doing your research on the side.

Keeping a watch list will also become very useful when you start putting together your own personal portfolio of investments. Sites like Google Finance or Yahoo! Finance have a “my portfolio” tab where you can add stocks you are watching.

In addition to adding companies to those virtual portfolios, I would also recommend keeping your own written record of the companies you are considering and writing down the reasons why a business(s) may have caught your attention, why you feel it may be a good investment, and your findings while doing research.

To be honest, some companies may require more research than others before you make any final investment decisions. However, keeping a virtual and/or clear written record of ALL prospective investments can be an incredibly valuable resource that can make it a lot easier to make decisions down the line. You can always go back to your original thought process or thesis for wanting to buy something and think about whether your original considerations were accurate or not.

I have my own excel spreadsheet where I keep track of information I consider important when investigating the companies on my watch-list. I’d be more than happy to share the template, let me know where to send it by clicking here.  

Also, if you come across any issues while trying to put together a virtual portfolio on yahoo! or Google, email me  – girlsonthemoney@gmail.com. 

Step #3: Officially start your research!

Your first official step in researching a stock you may be interested in is to locate the company’s Annual Report (also known as 10K) and start reading!

The 10K is completely free and available to the public. It is also fairly easy to find. All you need to do is go to the company’s official website and find the tab that says “Investors Relations”. Some companies keep Annual Reports under a link that says “SEC filings” while others will explicitly simply say ‘Annual Reports’. It may take a little bit of digging depending on the company.

To make things easier, you can also go back to Google and simply type in the following:

“[company name] annual reports”.

*Just make sure you look at the year of the report so you don’t waste your time reading something from 10 years ago. 

To give you an example of an annual report looks like, here is Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) most recent annual report. All US-based companies use the same exact template when presenting their information so you’ll notice all 10Ks will look the same across the board.

The not so good news about annual reports is that they are quite long (about 100+ pages on average) and contain a lot of legal lingo and information that can confuse most of us.

The good news is that you don’t have to read the entire thing cover to cover. There are sections of the Annual Report that are more useful than others and provide a lot of valuable information you can use for your research. I personally focus my reading on a few main sections including the following: The “business profile” section, business plans and strategies (if available), risk factors, and selected financial data. I also like to look into management and see who is at the helm of the business, how long they’ve been working there, and their background.

Reading the 10K is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investing research. I explain the entire process of analyzing a prospective investment in my Investing Boot-camp for beginners. However, the annual report is one of the most important pieces of your research puzzle and you should start there.

Step #4: Determine if the company can actually make you money!

Gather all your data, what you know about the business, and think hard about this one.

Let’s be honest. The reason we invest is to make money. Something important to understand is that not all companies that offer products or service you know and love will make you money. As I recently shared on my Twitter and Instagram page:

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For that reason, it is incredibly important to make educated decisions on whether or not something we are considering can actually be profitable. There are several important factors to consider.

If you’d like me to share a post regarding some of the steps I take to determine whether an investment can potentially be profitable, let me know! No one has a crystal ball or can guarantee exact returns for any company. However, there are factors that can help you make educated decisions on that and I’d be happy to share if you’d like to hear more.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed the post please share it with friends, family, and loved ones and let me know below if you have any questions or comments. Also, don’t forget to sign up here if you’d like to check out  the template I use to keep track of my watch list stocks.

Have an amazing weekend! Happy mothers day to all the mothers in the Girl$ on The Money community <3.

Cheers to profits,

Mabelle

PS: Did you knowyou can check out ALL the newsletters from 2016 in our exclusive eBook.  If you are looking for our Amazon bestseller for investing beginners, Click here.  

Risks of Individual Stock Investing: Here Is What You Should Know

RISK

I recently read a book (not to be named) where they mentioned that investing in individual stocks is a big mistake. The book started out great with some solid personal finance advice but when I got to the chapter about investing I was a bit turned off.

As someone that is passionate about stock investing and that has been investing for almost a decade I obviously disagree with the idea of staying away from stocks. I do agree that stock investing is risky when you don’t know what you are doing. Hence, is not something you can just jump into.

To be honest, this is not the first time I see these kinds of discouraging statements in a book and it makes me sad. Why? because I’ve seen first hand how investing in high quality, growing, thriving corporations can grow personal wealth faster than anything else I’ve ever seen.

With that said, I want to just put it out there that there are in fact risks attached to individual stock investing but there are also great rewards.

Here is what you should know:

(1) When you buy an individual stock you are buying part ownership of a company. This means that the return on your investment will be highly correlated to the performance of that company. When you buy a piece of a business you are entrusting management to do everything in their power to make the company great and make sure your investment grows over time. You also go in with the agreement that there are no guarantees.

(2) Bad things can happen to great companies at any time. Companies go out of business, get disrupted by technology, lose their competitive advantage, and the list goes on.  One way to protect your portfolio from crashing when a single company is doing badly is to make sure you strategically diversify the investments you own and make a conscious effort to make sure you are choosing companies of quality. It is VERY dangerous to invest in random businesses you don’t understand much about or are not sure how they even make money. Always do your own homework.

(3) The market is unpredictable and volatile – One thing you need to understand before you get into stock investing is that the market can be very volatile and unpredictable. It can go up or down at any time for any reason. You have to be able to put up with these kinds of ‘mood swings’. The money you put aside to invest should be part of your disposable income – extra money you may have and that you won’t need for a while – at least the next 3-5 years. Money that you need for your emergency fund, your mortgage, your rent, your car payments, your high school senior’s education, anything immediate should not be in the stock market.

(4) Historically, the market has gone through serious crashes. You have to understand that those things happen but you also have to understand how to remain calm and remember that panicking is not an investing strategy. Here are some market crashes that come to mind: Market crash of 1929, Black Monday (1987), the Dot Com Bubble of 2000, Housing Market Collapse of 2008. I personally lived through the market crash of 2008 and my love for investing remained intact.

(5) If you invest blindly in anything that you don’t understand simply because of other people’s recommendations or simply because you think someone gave you a “hot stock tip” you dramatically increase the risk of losing your money very rapidly. Understand that investing is not playing the lottery. You MUST take the time to educate yourself and this is something I will strive to help you with through the content I share.

In conclusion, investing is an incredible way to build wealth but you have to learn to make educated decisions and understand that not all companies make great investments.

There is a reason why interest rates on savings accounts are 0.001% – because there is zero risk involved. If you put $1000 in your bank today, you will likely see the same $1000 two years from now.  The stock market does not offer those kinds of guarantees but it does present you with the opportunity to grow your wealth significantly and faster over time if you do things the right way.  

Yes, stock investing is risky but things that have the potential to offer great rewards usually are.

Questions? Comments? Wish to discuss further? Comment below!

Cheers to profits!

Mabelle

 

What is Earnings Season?

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Earnings season comes around once a quarter (four times per year) and is the time when most (not all) publicly traded companies report earnings. A publicly traded company is a company that sells stocks to the public.

During earnings season, regulated public companies are required by SEC law* to submit a summary of how the company is doing – specifically how it performed over the past 3 months. Think of it as a ‘report card’ where companies share important financial information and make comparisons to prior quarters and years. They also provide updates on any current or future business plans.

Earnings reports allow existing and prospective investors to examine for themselves how a business is doing.

Earnings calls and reports are free and readily available to the public. That means that anyone can listen in live and/or have access to the full transcript of what was said once the call is over.

Interested in checking out the earnings of a stock on your radar? Is easy!

(1) Go to the official website of the company you are interested in and search for the “Investors’ Relations” tab.

(2) Within Investors Relations – search for a tab/link that says “Press Releases” or “Quarterly Earnings.”

(3) Once in that section look for the most recent quarterly earnings.

And that’s all folks! Questions? Comments? Something wasn’t clear? Let me know in the comments.

*The SEC is the entity of the government that regulates public companies. You can check out compliance requirements here.

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Still a bit confused? No worries! One of the MANY things I teach in the Stock Investing Bootcamp for Beginners is how to read and understand quarterly reports. I teach you what to look for, what the terminology means, and how to use the information for your research. To join the waiting list for the upcoming course, click here!

My Investing Story and Birth of Girl$ on The Money

Hello, everyone!!

Welcome to the first official post of my GOTM blog. I have been trying to work on this blog for a while now stressing myself out about a million and one details. I recently came to the conclusion that things will never be 100 perfect and decide to just do it. 

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I’ve been trying to decide on a first post and then realized what better story than to share how I discovered investing and a bit about how Girl$ on The Money was born.

Here we go …

I discovered the stock market for the very first time during my senior year as an undergraduate student. I attended the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY-Albany) with the intention of becoming a Computer Science major. My “dreams” were crushed soon after I enrolled in Computer Science 101 and realized I was completely lost and confused. Even after getting a tutor I still found the subject extremely hard.

Prior to college, I attended public schools in Bronx, NY and had never taken a computer science course in my life. However, I loved the idea of technology and wanted to “be part” of this “new world” (think 2001 or so). I also graduated salutatorian from my high school and had a lot of confidence in my ‘smarts’ and the idea that I would be able to just “get it”. Guess what, that wasn’t happening.

I was discouraged for a while and discussed this with my college counselor. I had no idea what to do next. He suggested I look into the business school and consider majoring in Business instead. At first, I was skeptical but then it kind of started to make sense. I grew up with a father who had a very successful business for YEARS (he still does!). I also loved math and numbers and all that good stuff and business actually started to sound interesting. I figured, OK sure! And so, I slowly started adding business courses to my schedule. 

In the fall of 2004 I enrolled in a class that completely changed my life  “Investment Management” by professor Christopher Faugere (still clearly remember his name and the class). As someone that had NEVER been exposed to the world of investing in any way, shape, or form; I found the course extremely fascinating and was completely hooked from the beginning. The core of the class was to learn the general concepts of investing and how to analyze publicly traded companies. Our project for the semester was to apply everything we had been learning into building a virtual stock portfolio.

While my team and I didn’t win the contest of the most ‘profitable portfolio’ we did get a 92% on our paper and I won something far more valuable – I found a passion. I immediately switched my concentration to finance. 

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The actual report that I’ve saved for well over a decade!

In May of 2005, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Finance and went on to work a corporate job in the insurance industry. Although my real dream was to work in Wall Street for a major investment bank, the reality was that I had zero connections in the Wall Street ‘world’ and as a minority (Latina) and also a female I was not very well represented in the finance world (we still aren’t). I was afraid I would graduate jobless and disappoint my parents. And, so, I decided to go with the insurance job.

All I could think about day in and day out was how I could start investing and asking the “universe” to send me someone that could explain this to me. Notice that even with an “official” degree I was still clueless and confused about the actual process of investing.(Side note: this is why I love teaching my investing class because I get to show my students exactly how this works).

I was eager to learn and so I would read everything I could find on the subject. I would say I was borderline obsessed and I may or may not still be the same today =). 

It took 3 years for me to finally meet someone that taught me the actual process of investing. As my higher power, luck, or the universe would have it, this person was a new hire at the insurance company where I worked. The crazy thing is that they could have sat this person anywhere in that office but they sat him right next to me and we got to talking.

When The Student Is Ready The Teacher Appears.

Talking about stocks to anyone who would listen is something I had been doing for YEARS so naturally the conversation came up. Most of the time I would be greeted with blank stares and confusion. However (and thankfully) this time was different. To my pleasant surprise, this person shared they had been investing for a while and dedicated the following weeks to teaching me everything he knew about investing.

I would be forever thankful to that person (Alimo). If it wasn’t because he “magically appeared” in my life perhaps I would have never gotten started or would have gotten started much later in life. I also know there are no coincidences in life and I took that ‘serendipitous’ meeting as a gift from God/my higher power.

Finally, in the summer of 2008, a few months shy from the financial crisis that shook the world, I opened my very first online brokerage account with Tradeking and a few days later I bought 4 shares of stock from my favorite company – Google. I remember the day clearly and I was so excited I think I almost cried. As you could probably tell by the fact I only purchased 4 shares, I was still a little bit “hesitant” and working on getting the hang of it. I was so excited to go through the actual process and to just learn hands-on how to complete an investing transaction from beginning to end.

As the financial crisis got crazier and major corporations started going out of business I was not discouraged at all. Instead, I remember being super excited and started to buy shares of high-quality companies at deep discounts. I think this only served to strengthen my love for investing and I continued educating myself on the subject.

As time went by and my passion for investing continued growing, I decided to pursue an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship which I finished with honors in the spring of 2014. I learned a ton in those business classes mostly fancy finance formulas and how to be strategic about business practices. I also learned that no one needs an MBA degree or a finance degree to understand investing and be successful at it.

Once I finished my MBA degree I was faced with the decision of pursuing my life long dream of a Wall Street job. However, as the universe would have it (again!) a semester before I graduated with my masters I got the idea for Girl$ on The Money while sitting at a cubicle at my corporate job. 

In the spring of 2014 after finishing my MBA I finally quit my job in insurance and decided to pursue my dream of Investing Education for the masses. Despite wanting a “Wall Street Job” so bad for many years, when I got the idea for Girl$ on The Money things started to make a whole lot of sense.

I soon realized that maybe my mission in life is not working in Wall Street making the wealthy wealthier. My mission is to spread the knowledge of investing education to everyone who will listen and show (in a practical hands-on way) that investing is NOT rocket science and that anyone has the power to invest and be successful at it. 

Today I manage a profitable portfolio of various stocks most of which I’ve held for several years. One of the reasons why I feel so strongly about investing and spreading the knowledge of investing education is because I have seen first hand the incredible difference between seeing your money grow in an investing account VS. seeing your money make pennies on the dollar every year in a regular bank account.

If you educate yourself and make educated investing decisions (which is what I strive to teach with my content and everything I share) you can grow your wealth a lot faster and be exposed to a world that many of us are not exposed to – sometimes ever! Through Girl$ on The Money, I am here to change that.

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In this blog, I will continue sharing valuable content about investing for beginners so please feel free to spread the word and share it with your family, friends, and loved ones. 

To the right-hand side of the page, you will find a box where you can add your email and be notified when a new post is up. You can also join our mailing list to stay in the loop of all content and follow us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

Cheers to profits!
Mabelle

 

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Courses & Resources:

Stock Investing BootcampClick here for details of our Best Seller 5-week Stock Investing Bootcamp for beginners.

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