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Archive for September 2009

September 2009: Net Worth Update and Stock Market Investing

Published 10/1/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Update: Finally Feeling Bullish and Hopeful For The Future Once Again

Despite the fact that historically, the month of September has traditionally been a down month for stock market investors - after months of sitting on the sidelines and hoarding online savings account cash, I've finally pulled the trigger and re-entered the market en masse. Rather than take the often advised path of investing in small bite size chunks through dollar cost averaging, I decided to plow all of my investment cash into long term equity positions simultaneously. I don't plan to pull out of my newly invested positions anytime soon and am very determined to stay the course for the very long haul - in excess of 5 years or longer. Despite the recent run up in the market, stock market prices are still at historical once-in-a-lifetime lows - and I have every intention to double or triple my investments in the next 5 years. The irrational fear and gloom of pending economic depression that gripped the whole world back in spring 2009 has mercifully passed and it now appears the beaten down economy is finally back on the track towards recovery.

Of course, this is not to say that we are anywhere close to experiencing a traditional bull market anytime soon that's punctuated by rising employment numbers and increased consumer spending, but at the very least, the specter of a crippled financial system kamikaz-ing into an irreversible death spiral has disappeared - and replaced by faint glimmers of hope. Who knows if President Barack

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Best Free Anti Virus Software and Anti Spyware Program

Published 9/25/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

For the last week or so, I've been battling a particularly feisty spyware/virus infection on my home personal computer. I was using my desktop computer to browse the Internet like any other day when my PC's performance suddenly started acting strange. One minute I was browsing the web, and the next minute my web browser was redirecting my Google search engine queries to a series of shady looking websites. Even my attempts to visit well known sites such as CNN.com or NYTimes.com by typing in the URL addresses directly into the web browser were mysteriously being redirected to adult themed websites or other advertisement filled home pages. Very soon after, a cleverly designed but obviously fake Windows Firewall alert message started popping up to warn that my computer had been infected by a Trojan virus - advising me to click on the provided link to access a supposed anti virus/anti spyware program that could get rid of it. Unfortunately, it wasn't until days after it all started that I finally realized that my computer had been maliciously hijacked and infected with either a worm or malware virus of some sort.

Dismay and concern immediately set in as I bemoaned the shear number of times I had used the compromised computer during the span of the last few days to check my Yahoo, Gmail, and business email accounts, and used the workstation to log into my confidential online bank and brokerage accounts. Who knows the number of confidential user login names and passwords I had unwittingly submitted

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Best Online Discount Brokers For Cheap Stock Trades

Published 9/15/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Reviews Of Cheap Stock Trade Offers At Discount Brokerage Firms

Anyone who has ever invested in the stock market before knows that one of the biggest potential drains on one's rate of return is the amount of money spent on expensive commissions and trading fees, paid out to brokerage firms. Regardless of whether one only performs equity, option, or bond trades a few times a year - or engages in heavy duty non stop day trading - broker fees have a nasty and rather surreptitious way of chipping into one's investment profits over time.

Back in the day when I opened my Roth IRA account and started investing for the very first time, brokerage commissions for equity trades were in the $20-30 range. That was how much I paid in the way of transaction fees for a single stock transaction back then - for an account that barely broke $500 at the time. These days, with the emergence of deep discount online brokerages like TradeKing and Zecco - for the same amount of money, one can now buy, sell, and transact securities two to three times over.

Of course, while many of these emerging top online brokers are able to offer their customers extremely low fees and discounted charges for investment transactions, bear in mind that they can do so because they offer their account holders substantially less in the way of investment tools, premium research material, and customer service support. While���� not always the case, you generally get what you pay for. Premium high end

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Scottrade Review: Discount Online Stock Broker

Published 9/10/09  (Modified 3/22/11)

Scottrade Review: Discount Online Stock Broker By MoneyBlueBook

As the economy steadily recovers from the devastating recession that has gripped the nation for months, stock market prices that were previously beaten down into the depths of generational lows are finally starting to rise again. With opportunities afoot, it's perhaps time for those of us who have been cautiously hoarding cash on the sidelines to consider jumping back in again. Stock prices are extremely cheap right now, and tremendous long term gains are ripe for the taking. If you have been contemplating the prospect of getting back into the market again or perhaps getting started with investing for the very first time, now may be the time to consider opening up a new discount broker account. In the hopes of earning your business, a host of online brokerage firms are now offering consumers extraordinarily low prices for cheap stock trades - without scrimping much in the way of premium brokerage amenities and features.

One of the most highly touted low cost brokerages in the market today is Scottrade, a brokerage firm with which I have retained an investment account with for years now. While certainly the company's website design and palette choices aren't exactly the prettiest or most intuitive around, the firm's online trading tools and statistical reporting features are more than sufficient to satisfy the discerning needs of most run of the mill investors.

Scottrade's Best Features: Low Broker Commissions, Low Account Minimums, and No Hidden Maintenance Fees

Compared to all-in-one brokerage giants like E-Trade or Charles Schwab that

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How To Request USPS Hold Mail Service Online

Published 9/7/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Although we are now living in the computer (Internet) age and everything seems to be going paperless, certain people still insist on doing things the old fashioned way. But if you want to do a better job of saving precious time and money, you might want to start taking better advantage of the more efficient online services out there, if you aren't already doing so. Services like postal delivery and mail forwarding can nowadays be effectively managed online without the necessity of having to perform an errand run to the post office.

Some of you may live within a short drive or even within walking distance of your neighborhood post office. But unfortunately in my case, my local post office is a bit of a distance away situated within the city center, and getting there frequently requires that I fight through road rage inducing traffic jams and suffer through depressingly long lines once I've arrived. While I'm sure the folks at the U.S. postal service (USPS) do the best they can under the circumstances, I pretty much avoid visiting the post office as best as I can - turning to the free USPS website to manage the bulk of my postal decisions whenever possible.

Put Your Mail On Hold For Free By Requesting USPS Hold Mail Service Online

Unless you have someone at home to receive your mail for you, those of you planning to be away for an extended period of time (3 days or more) on vacation or for a business trip may want to

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