Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Money for used books

A few weeks ago, I went to ebookdrop.com to see what they'd give me for some books that I had listed but not sold with Amazon. They bought four books for $16.33 and PayPal'ed me the money 18 days after I mailed them. Not a bad way to earn a little cash from books that I've already read and don't plan to read again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Learning to Earn More

I went to my library again in recent days to pick up a couple more learning resources. The first was an audio book appropriately titled Learn to Earn, written by famed stock picker Peter Lynch.

One of the most interesting of Lynch's theses was about the dangers of market timing. In order to get the full benefit of being in the stock market, Lynch points out that you have to put money in that you can leave forever. He talks about a good stretch for stocks in the 1980's, when "stock prices gained 26.3 percent per year." But the most interesting thing about this profitable stretch of 1,276 days was that most of the gains occurred 40 days. As Lynch writes, "If you were out of stocks on those 40 key days, attempting to avoid the next correction, your 26.3 percent annual gain was reduced to 4.3 percent."

Although the book is ten years old and somewhat dated (he mentions tracking stock prices in the newspaper), his primary message is still relevant: pick stocks based on the earnings of the company. If the earnings of a company go up, the price of its stock probably will as well.

The second was Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey. If you're a fan of his show (as I am) there isn't a lot here that will be new to you, but it's a quick read and has some beneficial nuggets. I enjoyed his chapter on negotiating and on investing. One particularly interesting point in the book (page 120) is the importance of investing early in your life. He shows two investors who invest $2,000 per year at 12 percent. The first one invests from age 19-26, for a total of $16,000, and then never invests another penny in his lifetime. The second invests nothing until he turns 27 and then invests every year until he turns 65. His contributions amount to $64,000 or four times the first investor's total. Who ends up with more at age 65? The first investor. The more of the story: INVEST EARLY AND INVEST NOW!

The book also has almost 30 pages of financial management forms that assist in budgeting and planning, some of which are available on Ramsey's web site. If you're just getting into financial planning and budgeting, this book is a great place to start.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Free Credit Monitoring from PayPal

PayPal is offering two free credit monitoring services from Equifax for PayPal account holders. One monitors balance changes (in amount and percentage) and the other will send you wireless alerts when inquiries are made to Equifax about your credit.

With all I've been hearing about identity theft these days, I signed up right away. If you don't have a PayPal account, it's easy (and free) to sign up. If you need any other incentive to sign up with PayPal, their Money Market Fund is currently earning 4.62 percent.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Is Real Estate in a Buyer's Market?

Today's New York Times reports that It's going from a seller's market to a buyer's market. Those of you out there trying to make money in real estate...do you agree?

If you're looking to buy and rent, maybe this is a good thing. However, if you're a property flipper, this has to make you a little nervous. Will declining real estate values change your investing?