Oct 122007

I’ve written a fair amount about my various attempts to invest and/or save both for Z’s college fund and for my possible, eventual retirement. What I haven’t written about very much is investing in the stock market. That’s because I don’t feel my knowledge of the market is deep enough and none of my friends have even half the knowledge that I do. But now I’ve discovered MyWallSt.net. This is where Web 2.0 meets your local investment club.

The biggest problem with starting to invest in individual stocks is that information is so hard to gather. there’s all the traditional print publications. But these, by their very nature, are dated. It simply takes too much time to gather data, write reports, print them and deliver them into your hands. By the time you read the information on the price and estimated fluctuations of the gold eagles you bought at auction, it’s days to months old and any genuine opportunities to flip them quickly have been snatched up by those who are better educated.

Then, of course, we turn to the net. Trying putting “stock picks” or “hot stocks” into Google and see how many millions of pages you’ll get back. There is FAR more mis-information on the web about stocks then probably any other topic (except maybe anarchy 😉 ). And even if you stick with the “recognized experts” what do you do when they disagree? Not to mention that the bulk of these experts also write for print publications and, as such, have to deal with editors and publishing schedules (although they’re of a much shorter time frame than print itself).

But MyWallSt.net is totally different. After completing your own profile you can start interacting with the community and determine for yourself whom to trust and whom not to. Near instant feedback is available on large decisions you’re contemplating and the nature of social networking means those who truly benefit the community (as opposed to simply trying to manipulate it) will rise to the top. If you’re new to the stock market, ignoring MyWallSt.net will surely be to your detriment. If you’re experienced in the market then you can still find a ton of useful advice.

  14 Responses to “Friends Don’t Let Friends Make Bad Investments”

  1. I don’t know what you’re smoking. Yahoo Finance, the Motley Fool, and Vanguard are all better resources for newbie investing.

    This post reads like a spam advertisement for MyWallSt.net. I visited and was quite unimpressed. Compare Yahoo’s page on Coca-Cola (KO) with MyWallSt.net’s page. Are they even in the same ballpark?

  2. It reads like an advertisement because it IS an advertisement. Hence the little “Sponsored By” button on the bottom. Writing advertising copy is one of the ways I pay my bills.

    Yahoo! Finance and Vanguard don’t have the interactive features that MyWallSt.net offers, and I’ve always found the crew at Motley Fool to be pretentious and of little use. All of those sites may be excellent for providing the data one needs and sharing the “expert” analysis, but fail to usher newbies into the world of making their own analysis.

    And you’re absolutely right, Yahoo! and MyWallStreet’s pages on Coca-Cola DON’T compare. The former contains less data and six times as many ads while the latter contains more data and (more importantly in the context of this post) comments from an actual person who can easily be contacted for more details on their opinion.

  3. First, it was by no means obvious to me that it was an advertisement. The only hint was a small logo on the bottom of the page.

    Really? How much did you get paid for compromising your journalistic integrity? How much would I accept to make a white lie like that? How do you line up deals like that? How many advertising deals do you have?

    How many readers do you have? I’m at around 100/week, which probably means I couldn’t net much from advertising.

    Is your promotion of Somalia as a stable anarchistic society an advertisement?

    On the other hand, if I could get a few $k per month on such deals, that would mean I didn’t have to take a regular slave job. My main concern with Aahz’s blog is that the post wasn’t clearly marked as an advertisement. The only hint is a small icon at the bottom.

    Second, I have script-blocking software enabled, so I didn’t see all the features of MyWallSt.net. After allowing scripts to run, I see that MyWallSt.net has approximately the same information as Yahoo Finance. If you count ads, I’d say the two sites are equivalent in ad content.

    Yahoo has more links to new stories. However, both sites appear to choose news based on who pays them to list their stories.

    Their pages on options data are comparable.

    Yahoo’s charting feature is superior to MyWallSt.net’s. Yahoo allows for charts to be displayed on a log scale, which is important if you’re looking at a chart longer than a year. MyWallSt.net’s charts max out at 10 years, but Yahoo will display all data. Yahoo clearly displays split data on their charts.

    There was one feature that MyWallSt.net had that Yahoo Finance is missing. It has “Last Sale” information on the Level II quote screen.

    MyWallSt.net did not appear to have the ability to display and continuously update multiple quotes on the same page. I configured Yahoo to display and continuously update all the stocks in my portfolio. MyWallSt.Net didn’t appear to have the ability to generate a page like this.

    There was one useless user comment for KO on MyWallSt.net. Yahoo has a discussion board that contains many comments, 99.99% of which are spam.

    Overall, it had some slight improvements over Yahoo Finance, but several deficiencies. I’m not convinced to switch.

    Personally, I don’t like to read other people’s analysis of stocks anymore. I’m fully qualified to analyze them myself. In fact, I like to read other people’s analysis, if only to do the opposite of what everyone else is saying. Lately, analysts have really been promoting how awful Citigroup is. My reaction is: “Time to buy Citigroup”. (I currently own 100 shares.)

    Was Aahz merely pretending to be a newbie investor, or does he really not know much about investing?

  4. […] few hours ago FSK of FSK’s Guide To Reality posted a rather long comment on my review of MyWallSt.net from last month asking far too many questions for me to address in the comment section. Apparently […]

  5. I’ve answered the bulk of your questions in a new post entitled Journalistic Integrity At Philaahzophy and simply don’t have the time to address your comments relating directly to MyWallSt right now. I promise to return to this post later this evening, however and do so.

  6. Back from fatherly duties…

    Your analysis of MyWallSt is much appreciated. You’re clearly looking at it with an entirely different set of eyes than I. Even after reading your comments and comparing the two sites once again I think I’m still comfortable with the opinions expressed in the original review. A few of the features you pointed out on Yahoo would be useful to me as a newbie, but most would not. Perhaps I could have stressed more that it was a starting point and not for experienced traders.

    Two things, though:

    1) I count 6 ads on the Yahoo! page: ScottTrade, E*Trade, Ameritrade and Fidelity across the top, an animated “ScottTrade Smart Text” as on the right (the only one labelled an ad), and a rotating Yahoo! News box ad on the bottom right. MyWallSt has one rotating box ad on the bottom left. Thus, a 6-to-1 advertising ratio.

    2) The single user comment at MyWallSt is attributed to user lizhartt. Clicking on her username brings you to her profile (private in this case) and allows you to send her a message directly, add her to your friends, etc. Were her profile not set to private you would get much more information about her to determine if her rating/comment would accurately reflect your own opinion. For example see http://www.mywallst.net/yeejnyaj But you picked the stock to compare, and we managed to end up with a 1 comment stock, with that comment being from someone relatively new to the site.

    Next time I have a stock question, expect an email from me, FSK 🙂 You’re my new financial expert 😆

  7. If you have any sort of substantial savings, you really need to be invested in stocks or gold or silver. If you invest in precious metal, make sure you take physical possession.

    If you keep your money in your bank account, you’re just letting yourself be ripped off by inflation.

    If you have been working in corporate jobs as many years as you say you have, you should have a substantial amount of 401(k) investments, which should be rolled over to an IRA and invested in the stock market.

  8. My savings has almost all been converted to actual silver coins at this point. Unfortunately, it didn’t take very long (and doesn’t take up much space).

    I haven’t worked a corp job in years. Been avoiding them in exchange for less stress and greater ability to look at myself in the mirror. For the last dozen years or so I’ve been on the bottom of the employment food-chain and lovin’ every minute of the poverty it induces. The closest I’ve come to corp jobs in that time has all be independent contractor work.

    Wait, I’m rambling…

    My point is that my 401(k) was liquidated due to severe financial distress (legal fees) a few years back. Now it’s all about the coins “under the mattress” 😎

  9. Your saving is 100% in silver coins in your possession? Are you concerned about being robbed? That’s the biggest worry I have with holding physical metal. Also, there aren’t any good coin dealers near where I live, presumably due to state regulations.

    “Severe financial distress (legal fees)”? So you’re someone who’s come to the conclusion that the current legal system is completely unfair and biased. Let me guess: you spent a lot of money on legal fees, your lawyer made a bundle, and you aren’t satisfied with the result.

  10. I always find it funny that financially successful people assume others are equally successful. My savings is VERY minimal/near non-existent. When I talk about how poor I am on this blog I’m not kidding. Add in that 20%-40% of my post-tax income goes straight out the door in child support and there really isn’t much left. Anyway, I’m not saying it’s all in one spot, just that it’s all in silver and all as secure as anything can be in today’s world.

    I realized the legal system was screwed up LONG before I became entangled in it. I’m also smart enough not to spend money on an attorney. But we all know how much the courts like their “fees”.
    Can’t say I was ever actually “happy” with the results I received in court, but they were all “just” given the state of the laws in our society. “You do the crime, you do the time.”

  11. Just because the state screws over other people doesn’t mean it’s OK when you get screwed over.

    I read that’s an attitude prosecutors look for in income tax cases. “If I have to pay income taxes, then everyone else had better pay.” The correct argument is “Is the income tax legal at all?”, but most people are incapable of such reasoning.

    I’ve always managed to save a reasonable % of my salary, even when I was very low-paid. Having money in the bank means that you don’t have to worry about becoming homeless if you lose your job. I have enough savings, invested intelligently, that it’s a reasonable source of income. I can’t count on it (yet), so I still need a regular slave job.

  12. Agreed, but when you knowingly and intentionally violate the law of the land I don’t feel you have any right to bitch and moan when that state comes down on you for it.

    Actually, I think the proper argument in tax cases would be “Is the income tax moral at all?”. Legality just means some self-interested bureaucrat decided it should be so. Legality has nothing to do with right or wrong.

    It’s great that you’ve managed to acquire a savings. Personally I went the other direction and spent about half of my adult life homeless in various different stages.

    Both the legal issues and the homelessness were direct results of my refusing to buckle under to immoral authorities, so I can’t complain too much. We all make our own choices based on our own priorities. I’m not ashamed of having been homeless or having been jailed. I know that I was doing the right thing in passing up opportunities for more revenue and also that my “crimes” were victimless, thus not actually crimes at all.

    However, with Z around and still too young to fend for herself I have an obligation to stay “legit” to the best of my ability as jailed or homeless fathers are essentially useless. Curtailing my own freedom is often difficult, but at least now I’ve got good cause. A few more years and I’ll be free to drop some of the chains the state has wrapped around me once again.

  13. Hmm, that\’s something to chew one. First time stopping by, glad I came.

  14. Glad you found it worthwhile, Ciara!

    I look forward to hearing more from you in the future 🙂

  15. Hi, Aahz, nice to know that friends don’t let friends make bad investment. Although this is five years old post, but still applicable today, at least I believe. That’s why I have just setting up a blog regarding silver investment to help my friends on this kind of investment. Btw, do you have any experience on this? Tq