Free Information I like:

Forums & Blogs: The Motley Fool Forums; Seeking Alpha Blogs;

Charts: Interactive Charts; Private Real Estate;

Long: Warren Buffet’s Letters to Shareholders; Goldman Sachs’ Crystal Ball to 2040

Gold: Educational Vid

My Spiel:
The neat thing about investing these days is that everyone has about equal access to all information. If you read the words of great investors, they tell you things like “be fearful when everyone is greedy and be greedy when everyone is fearful” (Warren Buffet) and “It’s futile to predict the economy and interest rates” (Peter Lynch). The marketplaces for buying and selling “ownership” of companies is really an emotional place to hang out. If you can remove the emotion, you can supposedly on average do better than other investors.  Since you can’t time the market (don’t even try it in mutual funds or you’ll get kicked out), the best places to look are on the 10 to 50-year horizon…or sectors.

I use Zecco Trading for all of my stocks outside of my 401k. I like it because it is pink – and doesn’t charge for trades if you meet certain criteria. It took me three years of saving as much as possible before I felt comfortable ‘playing’ with stocks with ‘extra’ cash on hand. I don’t recommend newbies try to invest for fun or profit. Okay, ‘invest’ as much as you’d take with you to Vegas. But don’t expect to have more money to take with you back out there. My account performance is public; my Woot account is for fun (yeah, XM and SIRI were lots of fun to play with last year :P) and my Roth IRA is a fuddy duddy hitting up the softball league with stalwarts like Coke, Phillip Morris, McDonald’s and ETFs.

It’s tempting to sell on a short-term gain. This is where emotional intelligence comes in. As my favorite money manager, Ric Edelman, says: “be invested all the time.”

Dollars to be Found Online:

1. Paypal Moneymarket. Did you realize that it’s free to transfer money between your checking and Paypal accounts? Paypal’s (free) money market pays you on the first of each month based on your average monthly balance in the fund. What am I getting at? A week before the end of the month, you can transfer funds you don’t need immediately for paying bills. On the second of the following month, transfer most of the balance out. Since I keep money in to pay Drugstore.com and Blockbuster with, it makes sense for me to take advantage of some extra coinage.

2. Referral and Affiliate Programs. The idea is that if someone clicks a link that you send or put up on your website and makes a purchase, the sale technically originated with you and you can get paid a commission. This website provides a comprehensive directory of such programs. Registration is almost always free with them, and you’ll be limited to the programs’ customers, who are marketers and online stores.

3. Text Links. Just like the link at the bottoms of emails from people at yahoo.com ask if “you yahoo?” along with a text-link ad, you can set up your self-hosted site – or googlepages or hubpages – to show text-link ads that are relevant to the words you publish on that page. You’re really not going to make more than a few cents unless your site has high traffic (in the 10s of thousands). And they generally won’t cut you a check until you’ve made $20 in clicks. If you’re interested despite it being generally worthless and cluttering your site, hit up Google’s Adsense or Yahoo’s Publisher. There are tons of websites to search for explaining how to “optimize” ad placement in case you’re interested.

4. Your Own Search Engine. Really, you’re not going to make any money off this than the guy who sells bootleg Calvin and Hobbes tee shirts to tourists on the National Mall.


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