When it comes to investing, simpler is better. Trying to beat the market doesn’t work. Paying higher fees doesn’t guarantee higher returns. In fact, many times it’s the complete opposite. If you are new to investing or even understand investing but want to make certain you have it all down, I urge you to read the following posts. If you have any questions, please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out.
My Investing Book
I also have written an investing book, 7 Investing Steps That Will Make You Wealthy. It’s a great read and is competitively priced.
A Very Brief History of My Investing Life
I started investing my money when I was 18. I used a discount broker (nothing like what a discount broker is today). From there I moved to a large retail firm that my parents used. Tired of not getting any attention because I didn’t have “enough” money, went out on my own. I currently use Schwab, Vanguard, Betterment and Sharebuilder for my investing needs.
Below is a summary of various investment providers and link to my review/their site.
Investing Providers I Recommend
Sharebuilder: I personally use their automatic investing service. They offer you codes for free trades. A quick search over the internet will yield more free codes. Some will work, others will not. When I run out, I pause my plan until I get a handful more codes. You can read my Sharebuilder review for a complete analysis.
Betterment: These guys have it all figured out. Low fees and simple portfolios so that you are diversified from the start. I love these guys! If you click on the link and open a new account, you get a $25 bonus. You can read my full Betterment review as well for an analysis.
Trade King: I know that not everyone is a fan of buy and hold investing. While 100% of my investing for the long-term is based on a buy and hold plan, I too have a “play” account that I trade in. For this, I use Trade King. They have super low commissions on trades and on options as well.
Prosper: Prosper is a “peer-to-peer” lending service. What is this? It allows people like you and me to get loans to help pay down debt or to start a business. The borrowers are people like you and me as well. After you sign up, you search for loans that need funding and invest you money. You don’t fund 100%, you fund a percentage along with others. As the borrower makes monthly payments, you get a portion of your money back plus interest. I used to do this, but then my state stopped allowing me to invest. Otherwise, I would still be all over this. If you’re a little unsure, know that there is a bank that acts as an intermediary and there are collection agencies to help you should the borrower default. (I never experienced this in my three-plus years investing. The site claims that over 85% of loans are repaid.)
Pay Attention To Fees
Regardless of how you invest your money, I urge you to pay attention to fees and commissions that you pay. The more you pay in fees and commissions, the less money you earn. Contrary to popular belief, higher fees do not equal higher returns.If you are clueless to how much you are paying in fees (don’t be ashamed, most overlook them) you can sign up for a free account at Personal Capital. They will show you just how much fees are costing you.
If on the other hand you would rather not give your usernames/passwords to another firm, you can hire me and I will put together a fee analysis for you.
If you read my investing posts or my book, you will see that you can earn a decent return with little work. Investing isn’t overly complicated. It just sounds that way. Once you understand the basics, you have the knowledge you need.