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.

In a nutshell, I opened seven different accounts with seven different online entities, and invested $1000 into each. The goal is to track it after a year to see how well each did. In one of the accounts, which I’ll call the “main account,” I’m using it to compete against other personal finance bloggers who are also tracking a similar $1,000 portfolio. There isn’t a prize at the end of the year, just bragging rights and who can be labeled the King or Queen of the Grow Your Dough throw down.

In the table at the end of this post, you’ll be able to see how I and the other personal finance bloggers are doing. Before we get to that, let’s take a look to see how my stock picks are under-performing, i.e. performing miserably.

TD Ameritrade

For my pick, I elected to use TD Ameritrade as my online broker. Maybe I should have used TD Ameritrade to help me pick some stocks versus doing it on my own. The stocks I chose were Fidelity and Guaranty Life, New York Bank of Mellon, Yahoo, Dunkin’ Donuts, and eHealth Insurance. As of right now, only one stock, Fidelity and Guaranty Life, has made any money.

Everything else is down. Even worse, the ones that are down are really down. I bought Yahoo at $42.05 a share, and it is currently trading at $34.07. #ouch

Dunkin’ Donuts, which was bought at $50, is currently trading at $44.28. #thatblows

eHealth Insurance, which I thought was my money pick, was purchased at $50.82 and is currently trading at $35.55. That pick alone could put me in the stock-picking doghouse. Total balance is $919.89.

To make it even more pathetic, this was at the end of April. When I recently logged into my account, it was down a little more. I can’t wait until next month’s update.  #notreally

TD Ameritrade

My Cost Basis

TD Ameritrade Cost basis


I thought it would be fun if I could get my wife into the challenge as well. For her, I used Scottrade as the online broker. Her picks consisted of Facebook, Coca-Cola, Lulu, Starbucks, and Target. These are all companies that she uses every single day, especially Coke; she loves her fountain Coke! I wish she didn’t love Lulu as much as she does because of their outrageous prices on their clothing. I will say, though, that she looks mighty fine wearing it. :-)


Her portfolio is also down, but she is beating her financial advisor husband. Her current market value is $934.30. I don’t think that she knows she’s beating me, and for that reason I hope she doesn’t read this post.

Moving on….


I also opened up an account with Trade King, and I decided to explore a dividend stock strategy. Going with the whole idea that blue chips never lose, I bought General Electric, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Microsoft, and Verizon. Current value on this portfolio is $975.06, which is beating both my wife and me. Surprise, surprise.



By far, the easiest of all of the online platforms to open an account and get it funded was Betterment. If you look at the screen shot below, you’ll see that the investments returned are as of November of 2013 instead of January 1, when everything else was started. This is because I started opening all of these accounts last November. I gave myself enough cushion to get the accounts funded, so I could start making the trades the beginning of January.

With Betterment, I had my account open and funded in a matter of days, and the money was already off working for me. I am blown away on how easy it is to get money funded into Betterment and to get your money invested into their ETF strategy.

I’m up 5.2% since November, for a total value of $1043.22.  As you’ll soon see, Betterment is currently leading the pack.



Motif is the newest online platform that I’ve experimented with. Motif has an interesting mix in that, depending on what sector that you’re a fan of, there are certain motifs or themes that people have built, and will invest into stocks all around those themes or motifs.

As an example, one of the motifs I invested in was the Clean Tech Everywhere motif, which buys stocks that are all into producing green-type energy. The other example is the ObamaCare motif that would invest into companies that are poised to benefit from the new regulation in healthcare.


On my last update, I was doing fairly well with all my motifs, but most recently my third motif, the Onward Online Ads motif, is down 7%. Total value on all three motifs is $966.17, which is still not too shabby, but I would much rather be up.

Lending Club

The last two accounts that were opened were both peer-to-peer lenders. I opened an account with both Lending Club and Prosper. You may recall where I have already conducted a Lending Club versus Prosper experiment on the blog. You can read more about that here.

In that experiment, it took a little bit longer to get my Lending Club account funded, so I wanted to add these to the Grow Your Dough throw down, so I could get an accurate head-to-head comparison. Lending Club is currently at $1,031.93, and Prosper is $1,023.35. I’ve gone the most aggressive strategy for each, trying to see who can make the most. We’ll see who wins at the end of the year.

Lending Club



The Best of The Rest

Here’s a look at the competition.  As you can see, most of them are kicking my butt!

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

Are also taking part in the Grow Your Dough challenge? How are your stock picks doing this year?

Disclaimer: None of the information contained within this website, or the form in which it is presented is intended to be, or should be, taken as a recommendation, either implied or expressed, to make any particular financial decision.


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Comments | 8 Responses

  1. says

    Enjoyed reading this. A great exercise in the short-term unpredictability of stocks. Also helpful to keep up with changes at different custodians. Pretty neat having your wife involved as well, but not sure I would hear the end of it in my house if this was the case. She still talks about an NCAA Tourney pool she won in the mid-2000’s. :)

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