I (HEART) Sharebuilder

and Barney Frank! ;)

Now, in all seriousness, I have to admit ... while I am NOT one of those "the free-market will always take care of itself" deregulating cowboys/girls (anyone ever see the doc "The Smartest Guys in the Room"? - the one about Enron and the deregulation of the California energy industry? Great film!) .... I don't really like this whole bailout thingy. 

First of all, I dislike ANYTHING that involves an undefined Bogeyman hurtling towards us at such a rate that we have to make a move as of yesterday (you can't stop to think, ask a question or even breathe - that's how scared you should be!). Whenever something is phrased in that context, my gut reaction is ALWAYS to dig my heels in until someone can explain me some details. So far, I hear no details .. just a lot of Henny Penny running around! Yes a handful of GIANT banks have 'failed' ... but the rest of the handful HAVEN'T (and they're buying out the ones who have - making for quite a lovely little monopoly .. where's regulation when you need it?) But whether it's a good thing or not ... between Warren Buffett, JP Morgan-Chase, and CitiGroup .... we ARE being bailed out! And so far the FDIC is still solvent, so I don't really understand the panic (call me naive). 

I'm not saying I think we shouldn't do ANYTHING about this mess. I get that our economy is flailing. But really, what's with this whole fear-mongering our 'leaders' ALL seem to be doing? Would it really kill us to admit it's going to take more like a couple weeks to come up with a solution - as opposed to running around like headless chickens screaming that if we don't have it "hammered out" in two days we'll all be dead (ok, maybe no one really said that - but close enough)! I'm sorry, but I'm just not inclined to write blank checks (of any amount) when the person I'm handing it to can't explain where it's going or why he needs it (other than to imply Armageddon is afoot). Especially when he/she has a record of ripping me off!

Now, back to the subject-line of this post .... because I'm not anywhere near a gajillionaire (that's a word if I say so - this is MY blog after all, lol) I don't generally have the $1000 minimum lying around that the brokerage firms all seem to want in order for you to get your foot in the door. My main bank account is through ING, and they sent me an e-mail a while back advertising this thing they  were starting up called Sharebuilder. I joined up - and it is BRILLIANT (especially now when this is clearly the time to buy!). You can do any individual transaction you want or ... if you can dedicate as little as $50/month you can do it automatically (lower fees this way), and when you do it that way you can buy PORTIONS of shares. You can literally tell it you want $2 worth of Google, and $1 of Wal-Mart so long as the total transaction will be $50 or more. I love it!

So far I've been investing in the companies we spend money on. I now own bits of the local gas and electric companies, Wal-Mart, Domino's Pizza, Vonage, Virgin Mobile, Home Depot, Lowes, Apple, Dell, and DirecTV. And now I'm adding steel - I saw a financial analyst on CNN or MSNBC who said that whether Obama wins and we go in for windmills and rebuilding our infrastructure, or McCain wins and we do the 'drill baby drill' thing - either way, we're going to need steel! I thought that made a lot of sense (plus EVERYONE needs/uses steel), so this morning when the market opened I bought a single share of United States Steel Corp (which along with another steel co. have been added to my monthly automatic order). I know it's only one whole share but it's all the money I could scrounge up last night (took $$$ out of my emergency fund - I consider this an emergency, sort of, lol), and I wanted to buy it this morning since everything fell so far yesterday (when I bought it it was like $10 below it's previous 52 week low!). And yes, maybe the markets will crash again in a few days or a couple weeks - but in 10 or 15 years I suspect I'll be thrilled that I bought it this morning.

They say in times like these, precious metals are the thing to invest in ... however, unfortunately for me, everyone seems to agree with that. I am personally completely priced out of gold (again with the not having the $1000 just lying around waiting to be spent), but I did find a website with some nice little SILVER coins, and I like the fact that the site lets you buy exactly the number of coins you want at a time, so I can taylor it to my own particular investment budget. 

So there's my dubiously useful financial advice in this wacky world ... join Sharebuilder and buy LOW! :)


La Yen said...

I love Sharebuilder, too. And I totally took your advice and bought some steel. GENIUS. But you can also buy gold on Sharebuilder--symbol GOLD. I added both of those to my auto invest. Mostly I buy index funds and Disney. Because you know Disney will always be around. Bless that Hannah Montana!

La Yen said...

I totally made $8 today. Guess who is getting some Chick-Fil-A tomorrow?!

LuluBunny said...

Oh Mine Goosenecks! I had no idea you could get gold on Sharebuilder - that is SO getting added to my auto invest list! Thank you for the tip :) And I do indeed see your Disney logic (though I cannot bring myself to Bless Miss Montana, lol).

My stocks - which had lost about $30 over the last few weeks (most of that on Monday!), came back up by $25 today! If I were in Vegas I would now be glued to my one armed bandit because I'm obviously on a roll .. and don't pester me with any of that "but you're still $5 down" nonsense, LOL ;)

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