In my last post, one of the last things that I said was that if you have neither the time nor the inclination to research your own stocks, you should at least put some time into researching people or newsletters that will help you make good investment decisions. So, in the interest of helping you get started on the road to investing and making stock picks, I will outline the names and benefits of some great newsletters that I know of. I will also give the more enterprising of you the names of some books that you can pick up (in addition to some websites) to begin your investing journey.
Before I give you the names of these newsletters though, you need to have a place to hold your stocks, i.e. a brokerage account. I've written about how to open a brokerage account on this blog. And if you're interested in learning more about the different types of accounts you can open, you can check out the May 27, 2007 post entitled, "How to Open a Brokerage Account/Different Types of Accounts". But in the interest of brevity, I will just post a link to the form that you need to fill out in order to open one:
After you fill out the form, you can Google the Scottrade branch nearest to you.
Now, back to the investment newsletters.
One of my favorite websites, the Motley Fool (http://www.fool.com/), has seven great choices (but I only recommend six) for all types of investors. You should visit the website and read the descriptions for yourself, but I will explain each type of service in a few sentences. (Disclosure: I don't in anyway benefit from recommending these newsletters to you. I have no business affiliations with the Motley Fool. I do subscribe to their Hidden Gems service however.)
Champion Funds ($149/year): This newsletter is headed by Shannon Zimmerman, a Ph.D in economics, who has extensive experience in the mutual fund industry. Each month, Shannon Zimmerman and a fellow advisor scour the mutual fund and exchange-traded-fund universe to give you two great picks. They write about the managers of the funds, the funds' performance, and the costs to get into the funds. Zimmerman also always strives to select mutual funds and ETFs that have low expense-ratios. That is, mutual funds with low costs of ownership.
Stock Advisor ($149/year): This newsletter is run by the two brothers who co-founded the Motley Fool - David and Tom Gardner. In terms of the types of stock picks (small-cap growth, large cap value, large dividend payers), this service includes the whole universe of stocks. It is the flagship newsletter and has done quite well versus the Standard & Poors 500 Index (which I've written about in the July 17, 2007 post entitled, "Deciphering Financial Mumbo Jumbo".
Income Investor ($149/year): This newsletter recommends stocks with great growth potential, but that pay dividends also. A dividend is a portion of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders, as opposed to earnings being reinvested in the company to fuel its growth. Although dividends receive favorable tax treatment (tax rate of 15%), I recommend that you use this newsletter in conjunction with your Roth IRA. That way, your dividends will not be taxed at all. Essentially, by owning stocks that pay dividends, you a creating another stream of income for yourself.
Hidden Gems ($199/year): I subscribe to this newsletter and I've been a subscriber since senior year of college, which is when I began investing on my own. So I can tell you in truth that it's helped me make some money. The service, headed by Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner, picks "small-cap" or "small capitalization" stocks (companies that are relatively small, but have big potential for growth) that are not well-known to the public before they become behemoths. Think about owning Starbucks in 1995, or Deckers (the maker of Ugg boots) in 2003. Hidden Gems searches for these companies when they are small-fries.
Inside Value ($199/year): This newsletter searches for stocks that are "undervalued" by the stock market. That is, stocks that are mispriced because of temporary problems or because the industry is currently out of favor. Philip Durell, the head advisor of this newsletter, subscribes to the investment philosophy of the world's greatest investor and third richest man - Warren E. Buffett. 'Nuff said!
Global Gains ($299/year): This newsletter is headed by one of the co-advisors of Hidden Gems - Bill Mann. He has tons of experience evaluating businesses, as he's run a few in his lifetime. He also has a great investment track record. Global Gains looks for companies in markets outside the United States that are poised to grow. If you haven't heard, stock markets in places like Brazil, India, Russia, and China are doing really well. Mann looks for companies in these countries and beyond.
Lastly, if you would like to know what to read to learn about investing, pick up a copy of Peter Lynch's "One Up on Wall Street", Benjamin Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" and "Financial Accounting for Dummies". Also, http://www.investopedia.com/ is an excellent resource for all your questions.
Thanks for reading and until next time...