Grow Your Dough Throwdown (Mid-Year Update)

It’s time for another Grow Your Dough Throwdown update.

We’ve reached the midway point, and the competition is definitely heating up. The Dow Jones shows no sign of letting go, hitting that phenomenal 17,000 mark.

Side note – isn’t that freaking crazy? It seems like yesterday that it was March of 2009 and the Dow Jones was at 6,500, and now we’ve hit 17,000? As my Filipino mom would say, “What the heck is that?”  I digress, I digress…..

For those of you who are new to the Grow Your Dough Throwdown, here’s a brief recap on what this Throwdown is all about:

I opened seven different accounts with seven different online brokers and investment sites, and deposited $1000 into each. The idea was to see how each would compare after a year’s worth of growth. To make it more exciting, I solicited several other personal finance blogging experts to join me in the fun.

Grow Your Dough Recap Mid Year

Each of them has opened up an account at an online investment site of their choice, and deposited $1,000. As a rule of state, we cannot deposit any more money throughout the year, but we can trade as much as we want. Since I opened up seven different accounts, I’m using only one account with my numbers compared to them. So how is it going? Let’s take a look.
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Grow Your Dough Update (May Update)

I am not a stock picker.

When I came up with the bright idea of starting the Grow Your Dough throw down, I had a haunting suspicion that I would lose.

Why, you ask? Because I absolutely suck at picking stocks. Yes, I’ve made a few good picks in my day, but many of those have been erased by all the horrible ones. Well, maybe not as bad as my penny stock fiasco, but still, my stock picking resume hasn’t been that good.

Grow Your Dough Recap

Unfortunately, that seems to have carried over into the Grow Your Dough throw down. In case this is the first time that you’ve caught wind of the Grow Your Dough throw down, you can read about how it came to be here.
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50 Experts Share Their First Investment Ever

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” ~ Zig Ziglar

To be good at anything, you have to first get started.  This applies to investing as well.

Before I made my first investment, I knew nothing about investing.   Heck, I really couldn’t even explain what a mutual fund was.

I shared this in GF¢ podcast Ep. 21 which reveals how clueless I was when it came to investing.

The biggest takeaway, though, is that I wouldn’t be where I am today with my investments had I not bitten the bullet and taken that first plunge.

In this roundup post, 50 investing experts share how they got started.

If you’re still on the fence on where to start, there are plenty of stories to nudge you in the right direction.  Be sure to join me in Operation: #investNOW and take the pledge to start investing in yourself.

first investments roundup
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How to Get Out of a Bad Annuity (without breaking the bank)

See if this situation sounds familiar…

I recently had a call from an individual who had left his job, and he needed to roll over his 401(k). Not having a financial advisor, he relied on the referral of a neighbor on who he should work with.

Without doing any more research, he met with the advisor, and the advisor recommended that he roll over his 401(k) into an IRA annuity (note: this isn’t an actual product, just a term for buying an annuity inside an IRA).

Upon learning more about the advisor, the individual felt uncomfortable working with him, and he began to wonder if the annuity was in his best interest, or the advisor’s. Wanting to know his options, he called me.

get out of annuity

When it comes to wanting to cash out or cancel an annuity, this might not be every situation, but it does bring up an interesting discussion: what it takes to get out of an annuity.

Before I start, I should make a point that there are many types of annuities: fixed, variable, indexed, immediate, etc. This post is to be more general in nature, so some or all of the information may or may not apply, depending on the type of annuity we’re talking about.
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Grow Your Dough Throwdown (March Update)

The Grow Your Dough Throw-Down is starting to heat up.

The later part of 2013, I challenged 15 other personal finance bloggers to see who could grow $1000 the most at the end of this year and named it the Grow Your Dough Throwdown.

Every blogger is giving me a month-by-month update, which I’m going to be tracking here on the blog.

Grow Your Dough Recap copy

Thus far, the throw-down has been pretty much what I would imagine it to be, smack-talking, showboating and a whole lot of action. If you recall, I went a little above and beyond the $1000 with one online broker.

I opened accounts with seven other online investing platforms. These were your traditional online brokerages, a few peer-to-peer lending companies and a few niche players. To make it even more fun, I gave my wife free reign to choose some stocks for one of those brokers, which was Scottrade.

You can read the original recap post here as well as my original stock picks here.

Let’s see how we’re doing.
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Why You Must Start Investing Now

This is a guest post to to help kick off Operation: #investNOW where I’m inspiring 1 million people to start investing in themselves. This post comes from Barbara Friedberg of BarbaraFriedbergPersonalFinance.com

Why you must start investing now

Never Before Told Personal Investing Story

When my husband and I were first married we were on an extremely tight budget. We relocated from Ohio for him to go to a very expensive graduate school, and I had no job!

Eventually, I got a job as a career counselor and student affairs administrator at San Diego State University.

His tuition was about 1/3 of my gross salary. Fortunately, we had some savings to help with expenses.

This story explains how we managed to invest on a small salary, and ultimately grew our initial investment over 6 times.

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Real Life Tips: 68 Experts Share Their Best Investments Ever

There’s two ways that people learn: through personal experience or through someone else’s experience.

That holds true in investing.

I previously shared some of the absolute worst investments I’ve ever made.

While, yes, they were absolutely horrendous (dang penny stock!), those personal investing experiences eventually contributed to the best investments I’ve ever made.

Seeking the advice of others has also helped tremendously.

Best Investments by Other Experts

This has been personal mentors, finance books and blogs, even learning from existing clients.

Taking in their personal experiences and relating it to my own life has contributed to my investing success.

They say “always listen to your elders” and there’s a ton of truth to that.

As part of my latest mission Operation: #investNOW where my goal is to encourage 1 million people to start investing in themselves, I wanted to get real life stories of other investor’s big wins.  (If you haven’t yet, check out what the mission is all about here.)

What I love about the stories shared below is that you see many different ways you can invest in yourself:  stocks, real estate, starting a business, personal development, reading books, and on and on.

Get ready to be inspired to #investNOW.

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Grow Your Dough Throwdown Part 1 – Revealing My Stock Picks

Welcome Savvy Investor

I am excited to share with you the first installment of the Grow Your Dough Throwdown.

If you missed what this is all about, be sure to check out our recap post where I share the rules and the players involved in the throwdown.

Grow Your Dough Part 1

In this post, I am going to dive in and show you the investment strategy that I have made in the seven different online brokers. As a recap, the seven online options that I have chosen are TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, , Betterment, Motif, Prosper, and Lending Club. Since there are 15 other bloggers that are participating, for the sake of the throwdown, the stock positions in the TD Ameritrade account are the ones I’m going to use for the competition. I also mentioned my wife will be participating and for her stock positions we are using Scottrade.

Quick Recap

A quick recap on what the Grow Your Dough Throwdown is all about. People need to start investing or they need to start investing more. I want to show you how easy it is. There are so many different options nowadays that you can go to invest but the whole point and purpose of the Grow Your Dough Throwdown is to show you a wide array of online options that are available. I’ve opened up seven different accounts that I mentioned above and I’ve funded them each with $1,000 and this is showing you how I have invested that $1,000. [Read more...]

The Prosper Vs. Lending Club Experiment

In late 2012 I made my contribution to my Solo 401(k).

As a business owner there is nothing sweeter than getting a nice big fat tax deduction.

After I deposited it into my account it sat there in cash for a considerable amount of time.

It sat there WAY too long….

The funny thing about being a financial advisor is that I spend 99.9% of the time managing my client’s money and about .01% of the time managing my own money.

Oh the irony….

As I sat there watching my cash grow at a snail’s pace the market continued to soar, and soar, and soar and soar.

Basically to the point where I felt that it hit a high. In hindsight it turns out 14,000 wasn’t even close.

To avoid buying at the high I thought, “You know what, I’m going to give peer to peer lending a real shot.”

Lending Club vs. Prosper
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The Grow Your Dough Throwdown – How to Invest Like a Champ

Who doesn’t appreciate a good throwdown?

  • Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow
  • Han Solo vs. Boba Fett
  • Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfied
  • Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
  • Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift, Jimmy Kimmel, the CEO of Zappos and the entire world…

These are some of the best throwdowns in history!  Well, at least to me.  :)

Since I’m a financial planner and blogger, I don’t usually get many opportunities to throwdown.

That is until today….. Introducing the The Grow Your Dough Showdown.

Boom!

Look how serious I am about this (Warning: the following picture may be scary to young children):

Grow Your Dough Throwdown

If you haven’t guessed it yet, investing is kinda my thing.  I love investing and equally love encouraging others to invest for themselves.
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How to Join the New Generation of Confident Investors (Even With Only $100)

This is a guest post by Joel Zaslofsky of ValueofSimple.com

confident investorIt’s a sad and unsurprising truth.

Not all of us can have Jeff Rose as our pocket financial mentor. After all, he has limited time, energy, resources, and attention… just like the rest of us.

But the happy – and shocking – truth is that you might not need Jeff’s one-on-one time or the full suite of certified financial pro resources.

You can confidently and successfully invest by yourself.

I’ve been self-investing for twelve years and the rewards – financial, emotional, and practical – have been amazing.

But maybe you didn’t start reading your parents’ personal finance magazines when you were twelve or work for a decade in the investing industry like I did.

It doesn’t matter.

I’m not an investing pioneer and I don’t know the “right way” (© Wall Street 1880-2013). Yet, self-investing success is not new and is much more likely now than it ever has been.

The tools for joining a new generation of confident investors are available. And the emotional or practical obstacles to building momentum are ready to crumble in your capable hands.

Here’s how to hit the start (or restart) button on investing… with as little as $100. [Read more...]