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Lies we have told you so far … (Quick tip)

As a follower, you have many benifits, such as not having to think. But, there are problems too.

As a follower, you have many benefits  such as not having to think. But, there are problems too.

For the past two months and eight articles, we have been preaching the same fundamental actions: Buy solid stocks, keep costs low, avoid brokers & administrators, hold your stocks long term and ignore stock news.

But as one of our genius friends always says, “There is an exception that makes the rule.” He must be a genius, because that axiom doesn’t make any sense to us.

Here is the exception: Read stock news, on losers — because the bigger the loss, the greater the potential recovery. So, every once and a while, Google something like, “Prices fall”, “Stock slips” or “investors are selling”, and note the names of companies on that list. Here are three current examples: Caterpillar; JCPenney; Apple;

However, don’t actually read the article! You are trying to get ideas on companies with a sale price, not over think it. Why this is true: here.

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Bonus quick tip!

So, now your thinking, “These people are asking me to put my money into the least safe place I could put it! I’m going to lose all of my money!”

Well, maybe yes and maybe no. You want to be sure about your money? Put it in a savings account. That is as close to a sure thing as is possible in this life — too bad the sure thing is that it will lose ground on inflation.

We live in a world of volatility. The question is not if a company experiences volatility in it’s price/business, but, is this volatility based on real or perceived problems.  

There are a lot of reasons there can be a loss  in the price of a company: Pending legal action/outcomes, income loss, change in management, market loss, change in strategy/product/the color of the VPs tie, opinions, economic astrology, etc.

Where there are many reasons for a price loss, there are only two categories: Real and perceived.

Remember, the market is run by people that a) panic b) follow the panic-ers and c) people that take advantage of all the panic. The thought process of each of these people can be very, very complex, but the results in aggregate are fairly easy to understand: if there is bad news, the price goes down; if there is good news, the price goes up.

This is where you’re BS detector comes in, and a little common sense. Also, the slightest hint of research … but just a pinch! Just enough to answer this: Is the price low because the product sucks or because the press sucks?

NOTE: StockGuilt is a blog about interesting stocks, and our views. We are not stock brokers, investment councilors, planners or legal advisers. In fact, at least one of us is an idiot. The rest are just folks who think about investments. This is what we think, and what we will do/did. In no way are we telling your what to buy or sell … Do your own homework.

If it works out for you, and you feel generous, well, we’ll probably get in trouble if we take your money, so …  We like Ronald McDonald houseUnicefSalvation Army and SafeNest

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ROTH-IRA vs. Godzilla! (Quick Tip)

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If you are going to get into investing, the very first thing you should do is look into an IRA (look at the pros/cons of ROTH vs. traditional here).

Any online investment house can host your IRA, for free (well,  the account is free).

Why an IRA? Because it forces you to not spend what you save (or, at least gives you serious pause), while also giving you a tremendous tax advantage (while the money is within the IRA):

i.e., If you cue up all your big-gun dividend yielding stocks, and put them into your IRA, you don’t pay taxes on the dividends (whether or not you re-invest them: why this is important) … then you can buy non-dividend stocks* for your non-IRA investments and not pay taxes until you sell them [at which point you should have very little “income”, a.k.a., you’re retired, and won’t get taxed like a brain surgeon].

As one professional said, “Put your tax-adverse investments within your IRA, and put your tax-advantaged investments (e.g., US government bonds) outside of your IRA.”

Hustle! The faster you get your IRA up, the more you can contribute! Time is the main variable at work here!

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*Keep this in mind and be careful — in general companies that pay dividends do so because they are not reinvesting their money, whereas a company that is growing fast is probably not paying dividends (or, very little).

NOTE: StockGuilt is a blog about interesting stocks, and our views. We are not stock brokers, investment councilors, planners or legal advisers. In fact, at least one of us is an idiot. The rest are just folks who think about investments. This is what we think, and what we will do/did. In no way are we telling your what to buy or sell … Do your own homework.

If it works out for you, and you feel generous, well, we’ll probably get in trouble if we take your money, so …  We like Ronald McDonald houseUnicefSalvation Army and SafeNest

10 ways to over-complicate investing and lose money while doing it! Or, Why my five year old can pick stocks better than you.

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The number one rule in stocks is: Buy low, sell high.

Listen, stocks are scary, because you are investing money and you may lose some of it. But, you go to Vol*dMart to buy groceries every other week, and your probably spending a lot more on those goods than you are on stocks. Why is it so hard to buy stocks?

There are a lot of psychological reasons why buying stocks is hard:

1) You want the perfect stock! The more choices there are out there, the worse you’ll believe your final choice is (seriously, watch this. It will blow your mind); so you hesitate and lose all initiative.

2) You want to buy it at the perfect time! There is no way to know when the perfect time to buy was, until it is in the historical record. Just buy when a stock is really low, and hold the sucker till your 59. I.e., It’s like, you go into Target and see a winter jacket on sale for 33% of it’s previous price, but its June. Since you needed a jacket the previous winter, and had been planning on buying one anyway. You buy it, and next winter you have a good coat. 

3) You don’t know what your doing: I get this, but really, it’s no more complicated than buying a cart full of groceries. It’s way simpler than buying a car, because, heck, if you don’t like it, you just sell it right back and the price is pretty much the same!

4) You worry about the company going out of business. OK, read up on the company, a little.  But don’t over think this. If 5 professionals say, “Hey this company rocks!” It’s probably not going anywhere.

5) You see a company on MSNBC/FOX Business/CNN Business etc., in trouble, and you shy away from it — but those are the only bargains you see. Well, you don’t get $0.15 off a dented can of soup cause it’s pretty! And it’s still the same soup! 

6) You want to buy the next Google, Amazon or Microsoft, with penny stocks, but don’t know which one to buy. Here is the truth, all of them are extremely risky, and 99% of them are garbage. Do you have time to look into these companies? I don’t, and this is one of the two mutual funds I own (small cap and medical insurance). Let the pros figure this out.

7) Your friends/coworkers/relatives/bus boy know more about stocks than you, and you know you can’t compete, and so you don’t. Well, that solves your problem of having to compete with them! But there is a simpler method: Don’t judge your portfolio/decisions/life by other people. Judge it by itself: is it getting better? Just ignore other people. There will always be people smarter, richer, and better at anything/everything than you. But, there will always be someone better than them too.

8) Too many numbers, graphs and ways of looking at this crap! Seriously, there is. Ignore most of that it (look at market cap, dividend, P/E ratio, price and some ratings — done!). Again, if the professionals are saying buy, it is probably OK to just go and buy it. I know there are a lot of serious investors out there who will need some knappy wipes after reading that last sentence, but just because She/He doesn’t know if a company is good or not, doesn’t have any bearing on whether the company’s good! Other people can be right! And another thing these “super knowledgeable” investors seem to forget: It’s pretty easy to buy and sell stuff. If you buy it low, and it goes even lower, you can just wait (or even buy more!). If it goes up, great! Whats the big risk? I don’t understand it …

9) Stocks aren’t safe! Look, if I had bought 10 share of the S&P 500 when I graduated high school in 1993, it would have cost me $4630 at its highest point – at it’s lowest point in the past 10 years, it would have been worth $6830. That is still a profit of $2200. If I had kept it until this very moment, it would be worth: >$15,000, and that is after TWO horrible stock market crashes and the biggest depression since 1930! Lets see your savings account do that!

10) Investing needs to be super-sophisticated. Well, hate to tell you buddy, but you’ve been lied to your entire life. The best diet? Eat less.  The best pickup line? “Hello, I find you attractive. Would you like to have coffee sometime?” Best solution to a mathematical/scientific conundrum? The simplest explanation  The best way to make money in stocks? Buy something.

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Take home message: Buy stocks of companies you know. Don’t think a lot about it. Really, that’s it.

Don’t watch the market news, don’t dither, don’t read the WSJ. Don’t log-in and look at your account all the time. Just buy a solid company, and play with your kids. Simple.

And tell your self this: If you were explaining to your child about a company and you said, “You know, ___, where we have shopped your entire life, and where mommy and daddy shopped with their grandma and grandpa? The one that’s on every corner in America? Yes, that one. Do you think it will be there tomorrow?” My 5 year old could pull the trigger on that one!

Cited for walking without insurance.

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Since the advent of the car, there have been accidents — and ways to make money out of them. One of the legal ways, though some would argue more immoral ones, is insurance. And it’s easy: you promise to pay someone if their car gets damaged in a crash, and all you have to do to make money is take in more than you give out.

But, from the insurance company’s point of view, people that have accidents are losses. In order to make money, the insurance company needs people who are not getting into accidents. 

So, in the early days, insurance companies looked around and noticed that most of the people they were insuring were either a) rich or b) those at the greatest risk for accidents. In order to compensate for the at risk, the insurance companies had to raise the premiums … and they could only do that so long until people just went somewhere else, or dropped their coverage’s altogether. What they needed was a bunch of people that were not risky to purchase insurance — in other words, get people that didn’t need insurance.

Then, as if by a miracle from Heaven, laws began being passed in certain states requiring minimum insurance for any driver and/or automobile.  All of a sudden, insurance companies had plenty of low risk customers (who were forced to purchase the insurance!), and the people that owned stocks in those companies received dividends because the company had “extra” money and didn’t have any thing left to pay for. Hooray!

Now, is it ethical to force people that don’t need insurance to purchase it? Americans don’t like to be forced to do anything … so, on a personal level, I find this repellent. Is it necessary? Probably, because, we can’t know before an accident, who will actually be in an accident. Sure, statistics can tell us percentages or likelihood  but this can not be applied to an individual. So, while it sucks being forced to pay for something you haven’t ever needed, you can never tell if you ever will  need it. And, heck, if you do need it, it’s sure nice to have.

So, it may be ugly, but it’s not, as suggested earlier, immoral — at least on the surface.

So, what the hell am I babbling about car insurance for, you may be asking yourself. Well, lets look at the “system” of insurance: Receive money, payout money. Keep the profit margin by two mechanisms: Raising prices above losses and spreading the risk. If this is done properly, you will always make more than you lose. Always. There is no gamble.

This may seem attractive to you, as an investment. However, if you purchase stocks in auto insurances now, you will be paying a lot to get a little: i.e., because the insurance companies make money, and people appreciate that, people will pay more for it because of competition. Thus the price raises, but the dividends stay the same. This is called the price/earnings ratio, or P/E ratio. Insurance companies have high P/E ratios. The bottom line is, you will get very little bang for your buck out of an auto insurance company.

So, again, you are asking, what the hell am I talking about, then?

In 2014, the federal government is going to require all people to own body insurance on all human body’s driven by citizens in these United States.

Just like those proto-auto insurance companies, this will be the clarion call for healthcare insurance profits, because when people are forced to  have health insurance, the healthy will have to buy it too. Not only will insurance companies have more customers, those customers will pull down the level of risk!

Sure, insurance rates will fall, because of competition, but this will not be at the expense of profits. The insurance rates will only fall after dividends are distributed (who do you think owns insurance stocks? Why, insurance company employees, of course!)

And here is the crux: Prices on health insurance companies are not up, they are down. This means the P/E ratio is low for this sector. StockGuilt feels confident enough to purchase a mutual fund of health insurances (because we won’t be able to keep up with emerging companies, new competition, policy developments, etc.).

Don’t make me tell you, “I told you so” in ten years, ’cause I will. Look into this, OK?

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NOTE: StockGuilt is a blog about interesting stocks, and our views. We are not stock brokers, investment councilors, planners or legal advisers. In fact, at least one of us is an idiot. The rest are just folks who think about investments. This is what we think, and what we will do/did. In no way are we telling your what to buy or sell … Do your own homework.

If it works out for you, and you feel generous, well, we’ll probably get in trouble if we take your money, so …  We like Ronald McDonald houseUnicefSalvation Army and SafeNest