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.

 TD Ameritrade

I didn’t make any changes to my account, although I’ve been very close several times. To be honest, I’ve been so busy travelling with the family over the summer and completing various other projects that I haven’t been watching this as closely as I would like. Excuses, excuses, I know. Even though the Dow Jones has continued to soar throughout the year, my portfolio is still underwater. Total portfolio value equals $961.12.

What’s dragging me down? Right now I have three stocks that have hurt me, but of those, two have really hurt me. My current holdings are still Bank of New York, Dunkin’ Donuts, eHealthInsurance, Fidelity Guaranty Life, and Yahoo. eHealthInsurance and Yahoo are the ones hurting me the most. My best stock is Fidelity Guaranty Life, which was just issued as an IPO earlier this year.

I know I’ve stressed this many other times in previous Grow Your Dough Throwdown updates where I say that I am not a stock picker. As you can see, that still remains to be true.

Will I end up making some changes to the portfolio? Just for fun’s sake-since this is for fun, not to be treated as investment advice-I may. We’ll see what happens later on.
Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.22.43 PM


I thought it would be fun if I could get my wife to join me. My wife could really care less about stocks, as she lets me handle all of the investments in our family. Based on my stock-picking prowess, I’m not sure that’s a wise idea. Hee hee. I had her give me some stocks and then I purchased those using Scottrade for her custodian.

Why Scottrade? Because she likes purple over the green colors of TD Ameritrade. Think I’m kidding? I’m not. Her picks are Facebook, Coca Cola, Lululemon, Starbucks, and Target. With her total market value being $970.93, that means that she’s beating me.

Yes, I realize it’s not by much, but she’s still beating me. I really hope she doesn’t read this. I don’t want her to know.


The intention of opening up an account with TradeKing was to build a Blue Chip dividend stock portfolio. The stocks I ended up going with were General Electric, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Microsoft, and Verizon. Total account value on the Blue Chip portfolio is $991.86. Correction–$1021.70. Finally. A portfolio that’s making money.
Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.20.27 PM
I often talk to clients who always want to buy Blue Chip stocks, so I thought it would be interesting to see how they would perform against a little bit more risky stock portfolios. Looks like it’s paying off thus far.
Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.20.16 PM


Prior to starting the Grow Your Dough Throwdown, I really wasn’t familiar with Motif or what they did. Basically, you choose your own motif, which is just a certain style, that you think will be a hot sector to be in. As the screenshot shows below, one of the motifs I selected was the Onward Online Ads motif. Some of the holdings included Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, et cetera. Total portfolio value is currently $1049.06. Not too shabby. That’s a pretty decent increase from the last update.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.13.24 PM
One thing I noticed when I logged into my Motif account was that each motif had a button underneath that said “update available.” After clicking on that, I noticed that, apparently, whoever runs that Motif had made some changes to the portfolio. They also like to keep a certain rating of the stocks in the portfolio.

As the screenshot shows below, a few of my stocks: Baidu, Google, and Yandex needed updating-whereas the stocks Yahoo and Blucora were both removed from the motifs. I hadn’t updated any of the motifs since I’ve started, but I thought I would go ahead and test out doing this one.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.12.13 PM

To update the motif, all I had to do was click one button and it would be updated to the new portfolio. The cost to do so was a total of $4.95. Not bad for placing almost 15 different trades. I’m not sure why I changed it, because when I looked at the current performance versus the updated performance, my portfolio actually was doing better.

Either way, I’d never updated Motif, so I was interested to just see how it works. It’s almost important to experiment, test, and learn as you go.
Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.12.56 PM


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-the easiest online site to open a new account and get your money invested was Betterment. Just like my Capital One 360 Savings Account, I had my money deposited almost instantaneously, and my money was working for me. Since I opened the account in the later part of last year, my portfolio has averaged 9% total return.

I selected a 90% stock, 10% bond for my portfolio, with the total balance being $1080.79.

Betterment screenshot

Betterment has some pretty slick tracking tools that you can change your allocation any time and also change your goals, as the screenshot shares below.

Betterment Grow Your Dough July

Peer to Peer Lending

The last two places I opened an account with were peer to peer lending giants Prosper and Lending Club. You can read more about my Lending Club versus Prosper experiment here. Both of these continue to kick butt, which further reinforces why I love peer to peer lending.

Lending Club has returned 12.72%, whereas Prosper has returned 8.14%. Total account value for Lending Club is $1042.34, and Prosper is $1039.38, so they are basically going neck and neck. I need to dig into this a little bit further, but one thing I love about Prosper is that all my cash is automatically invested into new notes. That’s why you only see a cash balance of $11.44.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.18.54 PM

With Lending Club, I have a cash balance of $208.76. I’ll get the occasional email letting me know that notes are available and I have cash to invest. I just have to log in and do it. Unfortunately I get busy, I lose track, and oftentimes I have a lot of cash sitting in there. I think they may offer a feature that does it automatically, but for some reason I think there’s a fee attached.

Instead of me thinking about it, maybe I should just do some research to find out on my own. Either way, they’re both very, very close and I couldn’t be any happier.
Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.15.32 PM

Personal Capital

All the while, I’ve been able to track all my accounts through Personal Capital. Personal Capital is the amazing, awesome account aggregator that allows you to sync up all of your different accounts no matter where they are.

I also use Personal Capital for my other investments, not just the Grow Your Dough Throwdown, though I was able to create a separate one just for this challenge. The only downfall is that they don’t currently work with TradeKing-which I’m not really sure the reason why-but they do sync with the other six investment outfits that I use.

Personal Capital Balances


Personal Capital give you an asset class breakdown of your entire portfolio, and they’ll also show you the performance of how your portfolio’s been doing compared to whatever index you want to compare it to.
Personal Capital Return July

It updates daily, so you can stay up to speed with what’s going on with your investments.

Personal Capital Allocation

The Other Challengers

As the table shows, my competition is doing a much better job growing their dough than I am.

I’m not throwing the towel in since I know a lot can happen in 6 months.

Blog NamePortfolio NameAnnouncement PostRolling Returns:February MarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovember
Good Financial CentsNot-a-stock-picker portfolioGrow Your Dough: Revealing My Stock Picks$973.20$980.36919.89$906.58$961.12$886.97$926.07$917.38$567.41
House of RosePurple Passion$955.45$961.99934.30$939.15$970.93$986.36$1,012.72$1,025.19
Consumerism CommentaryFeemageddonGrow Your Dough: My Investing Results as of February$947.87$937.13$962.12$988.01$1,000.16$1,031,81$1,025.59
Yes I Am CheapThrowdown Hustle Grow Your Own Dough Challenge 2 Months In*$1,079.68 profit
Working to LiveJulie's Investment ExperimentsUpdate on Grow Your Dough Throwdown: Julie’s Investment Experiments$1,016.96$1,016.00949.22$1,049.59$1,205.79$1043.25 $1,057.58
Young FinancesGemini PortfolioFebruary Investing Challenge Results- Gemini Portfolio$1,008.72$1007.71$1018.031,047.29$1,067.95$1089.17$1,058.87$1,077.04$1,117.06
Investor JunkieGrow your..Doh!The Grow Your Dough Showdown – Update (February 2014)$953.66$961.04$1,018.03 $938.49$1043.04$1021.31$1110.69$945.05$769.16$754.40
The College InvestorGrow Your Dough Investor Challenge$985.84$1,010.84$1,027.54$994.84$941.64962.42 $833.06$921.17$952.36
Planting Money SeedsSuper Boring DividendsGrow Your Dough: February Update$1,035.40$1,055.15$1090.47$1,112.74$1,099.28$1,115.79$1,047.55$1,079.46 $1,051.78
Stacking Benjamins STILL CAN HEAR A HEARTBEAT! (MY GROW YOUR DOUGH UPDATE)$1,055.44$1,105.64$1,039.24$1,054$1,095$1,153.27$944$915.60
The Military GuideBoring Investment Portfolio I’m A Boring Investment Competitor.$1,001.23$1034.04$1018.92$978.97$972$965
PT MoneySignal SpeculatorSignal Speculator Portfolio Update (-0.7%) ADEP Flatlines [Grow Your Dough Throwdown Part 2].7% loss$1,086.75$1138.27$1258.51 1258.51$1,262.24$1334
Dough RollerBuy it Like Buffet$1,073.20$1,065.47$1,129.54$1,181.97$1,226.22$1,326.68$1,295.20$1,336.40$1,381.89
Frugal RulesGrow Your Dough Throwdown: February Update$1,017 $1029.53$1022.53$1043.03$1069.13$1,089.33$1068.48$1096.28$1122.08
Afford AnythingBlindfolded Monkey Experiment Could a Blindfolded Monkey — Throwing Darts at Stocks — Beat the Experts?
Canadian Finance BlogCanadian DividendsThe Grow Your Dough Throwdown: My Investments1071.09$1,081.57$1,079.85$1093.031,061.41$1,054.19$1125.75$1020.03$960.31
Free From BrokeGrow Your Dough Throwdown Update – February End – It’s Growing!$958.50$935.43915.43$940.81$933.34$985.32$981.76$972.05$1020.57

Stay tuned to find out who gets crowned the Grow Your Dough Throwdown champion!


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Comments | 1 Response

  1. says

    It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. My update is located at the link on my name. My little experiment might end up being a winning strategy.

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