March 27, 2008

Haggling staging a comeback?

Filed under: cool, education, entrepreneur, finance — michaelangela @ 7:51 pm

I don’t know if it was ever popular in the US. In Asia haggling is standard as it is in many countries. But even in the US it’s getting more popular. Do your research on price first and it can help. As long as you’re not asking for a ridiculous price it might help you save from time to time.

Even at Megastores, Hagglers Find No Price Is Set in Stone – New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO โ€” Shoppers are discovering an upside to the down
economy. They are getting price breaks by reviving an age-old retail
strategy: haggling.

A bargaining culture once confined largely to car showrooms and jewelry stores is taking root in major stores like Best Buy, Circuit City and Home Depot, as well as mom-and-pop operations.

consumers, empowered by the Internet and encouraged by a slowing
economy, are finding that they can dicker on prices, not just on
clearance items or big-ticket products like televisions but also on
lower-cost goods like cameras, audio speakers, couches, rugs and even

The change is not particularly overt, and most store
policies on bargaining are informal. Some major retailers, however, are
quietly telling their salespeople that negotiating is acceptable.


March 21, 2008

Which self directed IRA to go with?

Filed under: education, finance — michaelangela @ 5:29 pm

I heave heard of Entrust but not Sunwest. This article is kind of old so it might need some updating.

A Blog About Nothing: The Best Self Directed IRA

Entrust offers a pretty good deal. But the best one I found was Sunwest Trust. They charge a $50 setup and then a flat $190 per year if you go with the IRA LLC option.

Note though that by the end the author says:

A Blog About Nothing: The Best Self Directed IRA

A Better Solution

I decided that Sunwest Trust had the best deal, but I may not end up using them. “Why not?”, you ask, (no doubt recoiling in dismay). The answer is that I found a better solution: It’s called an Individual K, or Solo 401K.

I’ll tell you all about it in my next post…

I never found that next post but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Self Directed IRAs

Filed under: education, finance — michaelangela @ 5:27 pm

I’ve just started hearing about these… now I just need something to invest!

A Blog About Nothing: The Best Self Directed IRA

What is a Self Directed IRA?

Self Directed IRA is an IRA that allows you to choose your own
investments. Your current IRA provider will probably tell you that you
can choose your own investments — “Oh sure, you can choose between the
Janus Fund and the Fidelity Fund.” No, that’s not what I’m talking
about. With a real Self Directed IRA, you can invest in not only stocks
and mutual funds but also real estate, businesses, notes, and just
about anything you want, as long as you avoid certain prohibited transactions.
Prohibited transactions are simply transactions where you use the money
to benefit yourself instead of your IRA, but it’s important to read and
understand the details.

So if you’re tired of losing money in
the stock market and getting jerked around by self serving mutual fund
managers, a Self Directed IRA is the way to go.

You can easily
convert a non Self Directed IRA into a Self Directed IRA. You can also
convert a 401K, if you have one sitting around from a former employer.
If you have a 401K with a current employer, you probably don’t want to
convert it to an IRA, since you would no longer get matching funds.

January 6, 2007

Skype backer takes on ETrade with free trades

Filed under: finance — michaelangela @ 4:23 am

Whoa… hmm… wow… you know with other companies charging $7 – $10 just to make a trade it’s so expensive just to be involved. But this makes it available to regular folks much more easily. Will they survive? No one can tell at this point. But it’s interesting nonetheless. Still, the problem is raising the money to invest in the first place…

Skype backer takes on ETrade with free trades:

Morten Lund1, the guy who was the earliest backers of Skype is at it again. He has financed Zecco2, a start-up that will allow consumers to trade stocks for zero commissions, versus $10 to $20 that many online brokers charge today.

January 5, 2007

Willow Solutions, Inc. – Back Testing a Trading Strategy with a Dynamic Moving Average

Filed under: finance — michaelangela @ 11:29 am

This is part of the quest to understand how people earn with the stock market using trend following techniques. It’s harder to actually earn the cash for the investing though! But… one step at a time. So this is about using using Excel to create charts for Exponential Moving Averages. This came about as we were learning about Simple Moving Averages. Exponential Moving Averages track the price closer than Simple Moving Averages.

Why go through all of this? It’s about trends. Of course with stocks and funds, etc., you want to “buy low, sell high”. But it’s almost impossible to know how to predict when to do that. So don’t predict, follow what the market is actually doing. That’s why these are trend following solutions.

One very cool tools are the new interactive Yahoo! Finance charts. They are fun to play with but can be CPU intensive. This example shows the performance of the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 over the past year. Very impressive growth… to me at least. Over 10% for both of them. Another interactive chart is from StockCharts. It is Java based so you need to have Java installed. But it’s fast as well, though it doesn’t have the other indicators on the chart itself. But it’s very useful nevertheless. This is a comparison chart between the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones.

Both show the overall gist though. There have been tremendous gains. More quickly visible on the Stock Charts graphs (by dragging the slider at the bottom all the way to the left) is the huge drop beginning in 2000 and ending around early 2003. That must have been painful, especially if you were using a buy and hold strategy. If you were using trend following, and you were following relatively closely, you would have lost some money. But, on every upswing, you would have made good gains. So that’s the trick: catch it on the upswing. Sell on the downswing, but early enough to catch it. It’s not as easy as it sounds though as there are “whipsaws”, rapid oscillations which could trigger unnecessary activity. If not tracked correctly, i.e. a good time frame for that actual investment, be it stock or mutual fund, you could lose more money as well. So it’s all a trade off.

That’s what leads to this post: Back Testing. Taking an idea an test it on historical data. Have to see how hard that is to do… Well nothing free and easy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Willow Solutions, Inc. – Back Testing a Trading Strategy with a Dynamic Moving Average:

In this Willow Tip we are going to discuss how to add a dynamic moving average to a stock price chart which displays the high, low and close. You create a dynamic moving average by creating within the formula a reference to a single cell. This single cell holds the number of days for the moving average. Once this is done the moving average will recalculate when you change the value in a single cell e.g. from a 30 day moving average to a 20 day moving. The moving average on the chart will adjust accordingly. This lets you visually see how often the moving average is crossed and when a buy or sell signal is generated.

ClearStation: Education

Filed under: finance — michaelangela @ 3:39 am

The basics of trending, what MACD is about, what it means, and how to use it.

ClearStation: Education:

Not all stocks trend. By being able to identify those that do, we feel you will be more successful in your investing.

In this section, you’ll learn:

  • The merits of following a trend
  • How to read a MACD graph
  • To be wary of volatility
  • How to use the MACD histogram
  • What volume signifies
  • How to use moving averages

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