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Tim Willson

Investing in stocks

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I'm certainly not wealthy, but I dabble in investing and I'm curious to hear from you about any stocks you own, have owned, or just like to watch. What is your MO -- small caps, penny stocks, hot tips at the office, mirror Warren Buffet's trading pattern, commodities... let's hear it! Funny (and tragic) stories welcome.

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I throw the money into mutual funds and let someone else do the picking. I keep some of it in Paxworld - a socially conscious fund - no alcohol, tabacco, gaming or defense stocks. My wife has some B of A stock she inherited from grandparents (with all the mergers and splits along the way I don't even want to think about figuring cost basis if we ever sell them). I usually keep an eye on her company's stock (HORT). We had a bit of stock from it's IPO, but it went south so fast we dumped it and took the capital loss. She has some options, but the options are priced higher than the stock, so we pass on those.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Outside of stock, stock options, and restricted stock in my wife's company, it's Vanguard index funds all the way, baby!

Dale

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I'm not at the moment, but I do occasionally toy with the idea of investing into ventures that might combine good business with good ethics. So I'm not sure how the fair trade market is over there, but over here its seen such growth in the last 15 years that I kind of wish I'd invested in some shares of it then (but I was 14).

Just an idea to get you thinking. Rather than just going for the safest investment option, why not try investing into somethings that should hopefully give you a reasonable return but will do so whilst making a difference as well.

Matt

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An offshoot of this discussion:

My wife and I are ready to put some money aside for our infant daughter

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Seems like I've read somewhere that there may be tax-deferred plans for saving for college (although it doesn't seem like a great idea, since most money would be put in early in career and come out at the height of earning power so you'd end up laying more tax in the long run).

When we got a windfall and started investments, I got a mutual fund issue of one of the financial mags and was able to learn a good deal about comparing funds and reading a prospectus.

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Instead, I

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: Even with a variety of catastrophes included in that time line, the '85

: range dwarfed the roaring twenties, for example.

However, past results do not guarantee etc.

: Instead, I

Edited by M. Dale Prins

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I started this thread, but have had precious little time to develop some of the conversation I might find interesting. But, as I dash out the door, I thought I'd toss in a link to a company that has had me as a long-suffering but freshly-optimistic investor. Westaim is offering a webcast of their AGM here.

Basically, bought several years ago around $6, refused to sell at over $20, then rode down to about $1. Lately the price has been firming up based on two very promising technologies:

1. iFire - a unique flat-panel display technology. The company will focus on the 30-40" range, and believes it has a huge cost advantage over other flat panel displays.

2. Acticoat - a nanotechnology division that uses the antibacterial qualities of silver to meet serious chronic wound and burn treatment issues.

Like a true amateur investor, I feel hope rising again!

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And just for fun:

the Hollywood Stock Exchange

I've probably created a monster.

On the actual topic, I just contribute as much as seems reasonable to TIAA/CREF, spreading things out more or less evenly, and pray. A long history with MK-ness has left me with treasure-on-earth issues. My father used to drive us past tumbledown shacks and say, "Look, kids, there's our retirement cottage." The iron(y) has entered my soul, but I'll try not to be a burden on my relatives and/or the state. Assuming there is a state...

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And just for fun:

the Hollywood Stock Exchange

I've probably created a monster.

This site has been around for years. I tried it for a time and made some good choices, but quit because I got depressed that it wasn't real money I was taking in.

However, it is a good place to keep up on what is coming down the movie pipeline.

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My recent track record with stocks is about a notch-and-a-half above gloomy, so I was pleased to see one of my picks up quite a bit this morning. Turns out TMC has developed a rapid diagnostic kit for respiratory ailments including H5N1 and SARS. I don't have enough shares to retired or anything, but I feel like this could be a significant-enough solution for a big enough problem that my long patience with this stock might be in for a little reward.

Or, you know, the roller coaster may simply be changing direction temporarily. w00t.gif

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This thread is dead (despite it seeming like a useful idea), so to try to revive it buy giving a rundown of where Kim's and my money is right now.

About 40 percent of our net worth is locked up in the equity in our house. That wasn't intentional on our part; we just happened to buy our home right before the Western Henrico County housing market exploded.

About 25 percent of our net worth is in CDs (the unmusical kind), mostly two and three years and with some laddering. Kim and I are both risk adverse, so we probably put more of our money in CDs than we ought; I do a lot of research before buying them, however, so we end up with good, good rates. (I invested just today in a 3-year at 5.61 APY -- about the best anyone has right now after rates dropped last week.)

About 5 percent of our net worth is in very short-term stuff -- checking accounts, money markets, and cash-in-hand -- and about the same percent is in our two cars (which aren't good investments, of course, but are necessary.)

About 20 percent of our net worth is in retirement accounts -- a 401(k) and an IRA. The IRA is all in Vanguard's S&P 500 index fund; the 401(k) is a mix of domestic and foreign mutual funds.

The remaining 5 percent is various places, such as a Coverdell Savings Account and a 529 for Benji's education, a brokerage account we don't do anything with and need to close, and a little bit of stock in my wife's company.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

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If capital losses count for anything, I'm rich!

Tired of watching my stock prices slide, I decided earlier this year to crystallize some losses and moved my money into an energy trust. These income trusts are a Canadian creation which lets corporations (which convert to a trust) pass through their cash to unitholders; the funds are taxed in the hands of the unit-holder rather than the corporation. Such creatures were paying monthly dividends at a decent rate -- not hard to find a stock yielding 10% in dividends (in the form of monthly cash distributions).

Last month, without warning, the government changed the rules to prevent a wholesale conversion to trusts by corporate Canada: trusts will now be taxed at the same rate as other corporations starting in 2011.

Which wiped out $25-billion in stock values the next day. And wiped out 20% of my investment along with it. So, I'm still earning distributions, but the capital losses are potentially a bigger issue. So, do I sell or hold? Who knows?

But (like you Dale) our equity is in real estate. Housing has exploded here in recent years, and we're fortunate to have bought when we did. We also have savings in what we call RSP's (self-directed "Retirement Savings Plans").

Stocks stink. :unsure:

Edited by Tim Willson

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We've been putting a few thousand dollars in CDs recently. Rates on a 3-month were somewhere above 6%, I think. The catch is that, if you don't pay attention, the CD will renew at a different rate for 12 months. We don't want our money tied up for that long.

Sarah called and was told we'd receive notice -- can't remember if that comes via mail, or a phone call -- a week before the renewal date, so we went ahead with that one. The other CDs matured, but we renewed them anyway. I think there was $1,000 in those, maybe $2K.

I'm losing track already...

But I feel good about those investments. Short 'n' sweet, nice yields.

Meanwhile, we've decided *against* opening a Virginia 529 education savings account for Micah, our newborn, before the end of the year. There's a $500 minimum, and we have to put some money into Sarah's car to get it to pass inspection. We also have a few other expenses, like a new Oreck vacuum, to address.

Naomi and Leah both have 529s, each of which we put $1K into this year. That's our goal. It ain't much, but it's something. Over 18 years, it should grow some and give them a good start on college expenses.

Edited by Christian

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I have a mix of index funds, socially-conscious mutual funds, bonds, and individual stocks. Of the individual stocks, one started great and is currently bad (XM Radio), and one started bad but is currently doing great (Wild Oats Supermarkets).

The less you know about playing the market, the more you should consider index funds. Over the long haul, these funds will most likely make a profit.

After that, feel free to go after the socially-conscious mutual fund and stocks (for brands you like). And never sell early.

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And, of course, never sell late!!

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I'm looking into investing (on my own, modest scale) in ETFs/index funds. Does anyone have any financial resources they enjoy? This could involve anything from blogs, books, apps, particular writers, magazines, etc., no matter what the topic or technical level, though I am at a rudimentary level myself. I have always been repulsed by the grimier sort of monetary obscenity that sometimes dominates the visible world of finance, but I know there must also be advocates for humane and wise stewardship of resources. 

Edited by du Garbandier

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I have found the schwab.com resources to be useful, particularly for screening stocks.  But then again, I am an extremely opportunistic investor, with a long time horizon.  I plunked a chunk of cash down in March 2009, and it was almost foolproof.  That said, I looked for PEG of less than 1.00, and for stocks with P/E ratios lower than their industry, and for low debt/equity ratios, and for those that paid a dividend.

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