Real Estate Brokerage & Property Management Blog

Here you will find the latest real estate endeavor stuff I engage in on a daily basis.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stocks/Index Funds/ETF's/Brokerage Accts

Hi Prospects & Friends,

I wanted to share another business experience with you all, that might help many of you who may have thinking abilities like me. Back in November of 2006 I had a friend shout out wow I just made $700 off of a stock in 1 day. Well with me at the time being naive about stock stuff, I went to her and said how did you make $700 off of a stock in 1 day? She said my stock broker actually made me the money, & I have know idea what he did. So she then said April don't you have stocks & I said no & don't know much about them. She said you should hire a stock broker and start investing into stocks and grow your wealth besides just having real estate. I left her office and started to think, she has a point & then I started to research stocks myself. I started with searching the word stock on the internet and came up with various stock websites, but none of them were helpful until I ran across Investopedia.com which helps you with stock terminology. As I furthered continuing to research stocks more websites started to appear that appealed to me like Marketwatch.com or Smartmoney.com or Morningstar.com. I realized after all the researching I was doing I wanted to go ahead & spend about a year analyzing stocks. So in all of 2007 I did all my researching, printed articles from various business websites and calculated the equations needed to analyze stocks and created a stock binder. In my stock binder was:

1. Lists of all the stock websites I found that would help me greatly
2. Articles from Forbes, Smartmoney, Marketwatch, etc. explaining stock analysis from different billionaires who have made money over the years.
3. Definitions of the basic terminology needed to understand stocks (alpha, beta, return on equity, gross profit, etc)
4. Line graph charts describing upward & downward trends (y intercept/slope)
5. Examples of stocks billionaires bought & printed them from the investment websites to see the analysis trend and match against the stocks I'm interested in buying.
6. The tax rules & regulations with concerns to stocks/index funds/etf's/annuities

I then after creating my stock binder decided to research Warren Buffet since he appealed to me the most and decided to add a section to my stock binder with his articles from various investing websites like Forbes, Bankrate.com, etc. I remember I came across a article on Bankrate.com quoting Warren Buffet mentioning if you don't know anything about stocks invest in index funds. So I realized I was ready to buy this stuff, but didn't have a stock broker. Well with all the fraud that was going on back in 2007 about stock brokers hiding the investment analysis data from their clients, I decided to research how to open an investment brokerage account myself. After analyzing information from various websites and calling Fidelity & Vanguard I decided to come to the conclusion to make Fidelity Investments my main brokerage account since it worked better for my stocks/etf's/index funds & make Vanguard my retirement account for only my fixed/variable annuities. So after all of the calling from Fidelity & Vanguard reps constantly and asking questions I came up with the conclusion:

1. I will do my own stock/index fund/etf/annuity purchasing
2. I will use Fidelity as the (stock broker since I don't have to pay them nothing) & I've called them various times with my stock data in front of me & asked them questions & they have helped me greatly. They only charge if they purchase stocks/etc for you, but in my case I do my research first then get a little more analysis from them, then purchase myself after they helped me understand.
3. Use my stock binder as a go by
4. Use Warren Buffets book Interpretation of Financial Statements, which I use every time since he uses equations for calculating gross profit, etc. See http://astore.amazon.com/acohaprll-20
So in conclusion it took me all of 2007 to be able to analyze my own stock purchasing and I was able to open my very own brokerage account in 2008 with Fidelity, Vanguard I opened in mid 2008. My point is I'm saving myself stock broker fees by just doing the analyzing myself and purchasing my own stocks/etf's/index funds/annuities. I make it mandatory to glance at my brokerage account once a day by getting online and looking (since Fidelity only sends the statements when activity occurs/quarterly) and also I put in about 10 hours monthly with the analyzing/researching/staying up to date. I like the fact since I manage my own brokerage accounts:

1. I can buy & sell as I please
2. I don't have to rely off of a stock broker to send me data just quarterly, because I want to see data everyday or when I feel like just seeing it randomly without paying extra.
3. I'm saving stock broker fees
4. It's not locked in a 401k or IRA where the control is still being stipulated by the employer
I know all this may sound like alot of work in the beginning, but if you want to avoid fraud in the stock business it's best you learn all the basics and work independently the rewards are greater.

FYI- My friend who earned the $700 in 1 day asked me awhile back so did you ever talk to a stock broker about opening up a broker account? I said no, I decided to do it all myself, & told her thanks for suggesting anyways. She then said April do you realize the risks of what your engaging in? I said what risks you mean where I can get full control of buying/selling my own stocks/etf's/index funds/annuities & not pay stock broker fees, that's not called risks in my vision but rather called entrepreneurial investment smarts. She then looked at me & said April you should get your stock broker license and open up a brokerage firm & manage funds & mind I will be you first client. I said at this time I don't want to go public with managing other peoples funds/broker accounts I like my hobby I've created for just handling for me, which is less risky. She then said April you've used risky different than way I used the word with what your doing for yourself., and that I have the ability to take something out of something someone else recommends & actually engage in carrying out the results to benefit me greatly. I said you really think so, because I had this same situation with my CPA friend see "Tax Forms/Service" article in my blog. I told her honestly I just like saving money & doing my business stuff myself if I can. She then said no April I don't think you realize your research/stock websites are actually an equation you've developed for yourself & that's more than an average person would think of doing just as a hobby. Will offer another article soon.
P.S.- I have so many stock websites I use for my research/investment analysis I couldn't list all of them in this article, so I only listed a couple.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tax Forms/Service

Hi Prospects & Friends,

I wanted to share a business experience I had awhile back with one of my friends who is a CPA. As a small business owner I try to minimize my business expenses by carefully analyzing the situation/costs. I ran into a problem last year where I was emailing my CPA friend every month asking tax questions about 1099 misc forms, and other related tax forms. He told me April your a good friend, but I'm going to have to start charging you because your causing me to actually engage in consulting, than just a short email answer. So I said ok what is your consulting price, and he said $80/quarter (every three months) with unlimited email questions. So I then said ok I will send you the check, as I said that my brain started thinking there has to be a way to figure this stuff out by myself. So I started surfing the web and came across the Internal Revenue Site. After surfing the site for an hour I came across these things:

A. They offer free tax forms with maxi um of 1,000 for small businesses, and will deliver to your office or home for free.

B. They offer free samples of tax forms, so you can use that as a go-by when trying to fill in your own tax forms.

C. They have a free tax # to call for your tax form questions, and a rep will assist you

D. They offer business seminars to small businesses
E. There link is http://www.irs.gov/ favorite/save it on your computer so will have

So after analyzing after an hour of the Internal Revenue Website, I decided it didn't make sense to pay my friend who is a CPA $80/quarter for tax questions, when I could get what I needed from this site for free & talk to a rep for free. I called him back the next day and said why didn't you tell me about the Internal Revenue Website? He said April I have to make a living just like you and mentioned he was upset with me for going on my own to get my tax question stuff answered for free. I realized I wasn't wrong for what I did and realized he has to make a living just like the rest of us, but my personality trait of being a curious small business owner/entrepreneur caused me to go on my own to get my tax form solutions myself. So my summary is I've replaced my CPA friend with the Internal Revenue Website as my consultant which is free, and saved my company $80/quarter for tax form questions.
"Don't get me wrong my CPA friend was actually a great friend and allowed me to get away without paying all in 2007 and mid of early 2008, but it was around April 2008 he said the recession started to affect a bit and decided to charge me $80/quarter consulting fees. So I then thought because I never paid him anything for the consult emails I was use too getting for free, I had to think quick/fast. My idea about leveraging the Internal Revenue Website was generated the same day he said he would start charging me after I hung up. So I never ended up paying the $80/quarter consulting fee".

FYI- I only leverage this site for my free tax forms and tax related free questions with rep for those forms, because it's saving me $80/quarter than with my friend CPA. *My biggest gainer is I'm saving my business from paying unnecessary consulting money* This site allows me to get my tax questions answered for free unlimited and tax forms free also. I'm just not paying anything, and all its costing me is my time. The site will benefit each business differently, so can use however like.

PS- Picture in article is 1 of my journal designs I offer for sale in my on-line store. Click on ACHP on-line store to the right to see the many other design colors for sale if interested. I use the task style journal for my small business when logging in my tax form question answers I get from free tax rep. Will offer another helpful article soon.