Tools That I Use to Be a Better Investor

6 minutes

 

Photo courtesy of engineerblogs.org

This is a list of the different tools that I use to help me find the stocks that I investigate, track, and purchase. It is an ongoing list and I discover new tools all the time. Please check back from time to time to see what may have changed. I will update as I discover new things. This is the fun part as we discover more ways to learn about stocks and how to invest. It is never over, the learning. 

Stock Screeners:

FINVIZ

This is hands down my favorite screener. It is super easy to use and has great information on all sorts of financial data. It is sortable by rows and you can edit out the data you don’t want. It does have a premium edition that enables you to export your picks into an excel spreadsheet.

One of the things I like about this particular screener is that you can sort by all the financial data I am looking for to weed out the stocks I won’t be interested in. For the value investing metrics that I look for it gives me great flexibility to edit those metrics out to help narrow down the choices.

It also has links to different news sources relating to the particular company you are investigating. Another perk of this site is that if you are looking for in-depth info on a company and need the data quickly it is easy to search for that data on their site.

One last perk, it is free!

GOOGLE FINANCE

This is another great screener that I will use to get additional ideas. I came across this website in general thru Preston & Stig from The Investors Podcast. They use this site for their stock screener. They send out a checklist for signing up for their newsletters that have some great ratios for you to screen for.

One of the things that I like about the Google screener is not only the ability to screen for stocks but also the ability to check on all the news in the financial world.

An additional plus is you can download the app as well so you can access all of these features from your smartphone as well.

Also free.

FINANCIAL DATA:

Morningstar

This is one of the best sites to gather financial data on any company that you are interested in. It has ten years of data, which can be difficult to find on many sites.

Continue reading “Tools That I Use to Be a Better Investor”

401k vs Roth: Which is best for you?

12 minutes

photo courtesy of girls just wanna have funds

 

“Hang in there, retirement is only 30 years away!” Workplace graffiti
401k is one of the most common words used when discussing retirement. But what do we really know about them? Most employers offer them to their employees as a means of providing a benefit to their employees. It is also a means of retirement for many workers.

Let’s lay out some stats for you so you get a framework of the influence a 401k has on our retirement.

Total value of assets held in a 401k   $4.5 Trillion

  • Percentage of assets held in a 401k    18%
  • Total number of participants in a 401k    52,500,000
  • Percent of works that participate   81%
  • Average percent of salary contributed   6.8%
  • Percent of assets held in a mutual fund   64%

The average match of company contributions to 401k plans is 2.7%.

Let’s spend a little time to layout what a 401k is and how it works. Then we will spend some time comparing it to a Roth IRA.

 

What is a 401k?

 

A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren’t paid until the money is withdrawn from the account.”   Wall Street Journal

The 401k was established in 1978 and has grown to become the most popular type of employer-sponsored retirement plan out there.

Continue reading “401k vs Roth: Which is best for you?”

Microsoft, Would I buy it again?

14 minutes

 

Microsoft, one of the largest, best-known tech companies out there. They are an interesting mix of trendy and hip. Or old-school tech with their previous reliance on arguably out-dated tech, laptop computers and Windows operating systems. With the advent of cloud computing and data storage, they have recently soared back into our collective conscience with their success in this field.

This company was the first stock I ever purchased so it has a soft spot in my heart. And always will. I have never sold that original purchase and have made additional ones since. I would like to take some time to look at why I bought this stock back then and what I think of the purchase now based on my evaluation of today’s company. Would I have bought it back then knowing what I know now?

Let’s take a look and see.

Business Overview

Microsoft was founded in 1975, and they operate in 190 countries around the world. Microsoft(MSFT) is a technology company “whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

Their products include operating systems: server applications, business solution applications, software development tools, video games, and training and certification of computer system integrators and developers. They also design, build and service PCs, tablets, gaming consoles, and of course. Phones.

This is by no means and exhaustive list but a sampling of some of the more well-known products they offer. Of course, the two best known being Windows and Xbox.

For the year ending 2016, Microsoft reported revenues of $85,320 billion which resulted in net income of $16,798 billion. This was a decrease of 9% in revenue from 2015 and an increase of 11% in net income from 2015. The earnings per share increase from $1.48 in 2015 to $2.10 which was an increase of 42%.

Some explanations from MSFT for these changes were in 2016 there was a deferral of net revenue from Windows 10 of $6.6 billion(9%) and an unfavorable foreign currency impact of about $3.8 billion or 4%.

Additionally, the changes in EPS from 2015 to 2016 were due to the negative impact of the Windows 10 net revenue deferral and impairment, integration, and restructuring expenses. This drove down the EPS $0.69 to $2.10. This was an increase over 2015 but not as much as it could have been, obviously.

Some key changes in expenses were:

  • The cost of revenue decreased $258 million or 1%, mainly due to a reduction in phone sales, which was a result of the change in strategy regarding the phone business.
  • Impairment, integration, and restructuring expenses decrease $8.9 billion, due to prior year goodwill and asset impairment charges related to the phone business and restructuring charges associated with changes in the phone business.
  • Sales and marketing expenses decreased $1 billion or  6%, driven by a reduction in the phone business and a favorable foreign currency impact of about 2%.

Some highlights for 2016 were: Continue reading “Microsoft, Would I buy it again?”