Category Archives: Intro

The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – First Month Results

The third year of my educational investment portfolio has completed its first month. Understandably I am hoping to avoid a repeat of year one’s failures and build on year two’s successes. The markets have been very choppy and mostly down in 2015. Since 3 out of 4 stocks follow the market I fully expected my portfolio to be red. Let’s look at my results:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $69.68 a gain of $141.45
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $41.28, a loss of $175.36
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $16.47 a gain of $134.64
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $10.07 a loss of $103.50

success2015So after the dismal January my fictitious portfolio is up $2.77! Woo Hoo! I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the market fell pretty hard and my balanced portfolio has thus far weathered that storm. If the market should turnaround and resume its climb I believe that I am positioned to do well. If it continues to slide I hope that silver will be my saving grace.

Which will it be? Is this a much needed correction or will the troubles in Europe damage the global economy? Entering its sixth year this bull market is very old and everyday I read something about the economy that gives me concern. Ever since the market crashed in 2007 I have been wary and wrong. Only time will tell.

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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The 2015 PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge

This will be my third year conducting my educational investment portfolio. For those of you who are new to the site, I create a fictitious portfolio to demonstrate to my readers the potential of stock investment. In my first year I failed. Last year I gained about 12%. This year I aim to surpass that. 

Here are the rules, I have $5000 in fake investment money. I select four stocks and track their progress over the year. If I see an opportunity or suspect that a situation will change I will buy or sell a stock to take advantage of that situation.

  • Microsoft (MSFT) –  I am a big fan microsoftof this company and continue to believe that it was a bright future ahead. For many many years this company has been unfairly underestimated. The addition of their new CEO is a welcomed change and I believe will allow their share price to climb into the future. I still hold a 100 a share price target for this company. Purchase Price $46.76, number of shares 32.
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - It was once believed that BlackBerry’s days were numbered. Another victim of the Iphone. While this is still a very popularly held belief, a bbrygrowing number of investors see this company as either a turn around story or a potential buyout target. I think a $!5 price target is very possible for this stock and I am keeping it in my portfolio. Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – I have been wrong about silverssilver and it has cost me dearly. Yet I will still stubbornly hold on because I know that if I am right I will be handsomely rewarded.  Purchase price $15.11 , number of shares 99
  • Krogers (KR) - The only new edition for 2015. krogerThis is a solid growing company with a good reputation. Normally i would shy away from a stock that has run so much, but I can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t maintain their current trajectory. Purchase price $63.53, number of shares 23

So there you have my selection for the 2015 PiggyBankBuilder portfolio challenge. I think it offers a nice balance of risk as well as sound growth companies. I will also tell you that I plan to chase IPO’s this year. I will go into deeper detail as those events near. If you have any question please ask. Best wishes to all of you in 2015, I hope you have a healthy and profitable new year.

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – 2014 Year End Results!

The second year of my educational investing portfolio is in the books and I can tell you that without even looking I have improved over 2013. That portfolio was closed down due to losses, so this years profitability is a great success. With mere hours left in 2014, let’s see how I did. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $21.00 a gain of $206.72
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $47.47, a gain of $330.00 
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $15.65 a loss of $215.82
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.88 a gain of $260.80

My year end results stand at $581.70 or just shy of 12%. winnerThis is almost in lock step with how the markets have performed. Much of my success was from OIH. I bought shares of it believing that prices would rise going into the  Summer, they did. I sold them when I began to read about declining oil prices, they did. My choice to get out of oil and into BlackBerry stopped any losses and locked in profits. Had I not done so I would be sitting slightly in the red. As Kenny Rogers once said “You got to know when to walk away”. 

As for Cablevision, I think it’s a great company with amazing buy out potential. Microsoft is in my opinion is a $100 stock and the decision to change CEO’s will see that prediction realized. Silver, oh silver, with all the turmoil in the world no one seems interested in the shiny metal. This is my second year being wrong about that. BlackBerry is a well run company and I suspect they may be bought at as well. 

So there it is, 2014 in the books, profitable. What does 2015 hold? Come back in a few days to find out. 

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – 10 Month Update

Two months remain in the year and my fictitious portfolio is chugging right along. Recently the stock market has taken a bit of a dive, let’s see how I did. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $18.23 a gain of $18.63, down big from August.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $47.33, a gain of $325.38, up slightly since August. 
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $15.39 a crushing loss of $232.98
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.16 a gain of $145.60

So as things stand now, my gains shrank to $256.63 or just over 5%. As you can see much of the damage was done by silver, dollarwhile that is frustrating, my decision to dump oil and move over to BlackBerry has kept my portfolio green for the year. 

These are choppy markets, and no one knows what is in store. Will today’s election spook Wall Street? Will low oil prices help the economy? I hope so. Looking out over the next two months I feel good about my portfolio’s short term prospects, but only time will tell. 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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My Garden Adventure – SugarBaby Watermelons

My garden is nearly complete, I am following my corn review with one for my watermelons. I planted my “sugar baby” watermelons back in mid June and harvested them in mid September. Here is what I found:

Yield: I grew about 12 melons, but only 5 of them were edible. Garden1The other 7 melons never reached full size. Some of this could be attributed to me planting them late, another factor might be the plants being planted too close to a fence that shaded them for a few hours each day. The main factor I believe was my failure to prune the plants. I should have cut back the amount of melons to allow the remaining ones the energy to grow. I would rather have 7 great big watermelons that I can enjoy rather then 4 that are good, one that was okay, and 5 that I can’t eat.

Taste: The four that I harvested first were delicious. They were so juicy and tasted fantastic.

Problems: This was probably the most problem free of all of my crops. It spread well and grew strong. It never got sick and the bugs seemed to leave it alone. It really was a treat.

Things I Would Change: Although I consider this a fairly successful crop and I think a few changes next time will go a long way. I plan to move it over one bed so it can get direct sunlight for most of the day. I will research pruning techniques to increase the size and yield of the melons. Finally I will try to fertilize the watermelons more with an organic fertilizer.

Conclusion: I give this crop a B+ based solely on yield. I will certainly plant it again next year and as I learn more about gardening techniques I hope to be able to improve on this years results. 

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My Experience with Peer to Peer Leading – One Year Out

For the last year now I have been investing in peer to peer lending through my Prosper account. For those of you who may not be familiar with them Prosper pairs investors like myself with people looking for loans. I deposit money into my account, search the available loan listings for one that I find appealing, and select a loan to fund.  Once the loan is fully funded the money is released to the borrower and they make their monthly payments. Prosper pays me back that portion of the principal plus the interests every month for the life of the loan. 

So how did I do? Well in theScreen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.30.58 PM last year I have deposited $1100 into my account. During that time I have earned $84.75 from my 29 loans, a return of nearly 8%. Now I realize the dollar amount is small, but you won’t find a return like that at any bank that I know of. My local federal credit union is currently paying 1.3% on a 3 year CD, if I had invested my $1100 into that my yearly yield would have been about $15. The only upside to CD’s is the extremely low risk, CD’s don’t default.

Going back to my loans, none of them, knock wood, have defaulted. None of them have even been delinquent. As you can see from the illustration the majority of them are rated “A” or “AA” by Prosper. I have chased the higher yield of riskier borrowers and so far it seems to be working out. My “AA” loans have an interest rate of about 6% while my only “E” pays an interest rate of 28.25% and he’s made all of his 11 payments on time. 

If I were to give this experience a grade thus far it would be an A-. The prosper site is very easy to use and the information they offer is very detailed. Their rating systems is an excellent tool and I will continue to use this site for my investing. Over the next year I would like to build the value of my account to $3000.00. As long as the economy remains stable that will be my plan. 

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My Gardening Adventure – Corn

As my micro farm is coming to an end I thought it would be best to review each crop and focus on my experience. To recap I have planted corn, watermelon, pumpkins, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This first to be completely harvested was corn so I will focus on it in this post.

I planted some “Golden Bantam Sweet Corn” back in mid June. I harvested that corn in early september. Here is what I have taken away from the experience.

Yield:  I harvested 32 ears of corn. This number exceeded corn2the high range of my estimates and allowed me to share much of my corns with several friends and family members. Compared to traditional genetically modified corn, my “Golden Bantan” cobs were similar in length, but thinner. I did a little searched and found that corn thickness is measured by rows of corn. I may look for a high row count next time I plant.

Taste: Delicious! I realize that I am biased, but pulling corn from the stalked and cooking it minutes later was a real treat. For about a week I had corn as part of my lunch.

Problems: Honestly, none. I was always worried about bugs or blight, but nothing ever happened. The corn grew fast and steady. When it got to 6 get I added a small dance around the edges in case a storm came. The tips of many of my cobs failed to produce kernels, but this may have been caused by me. I read online about the need to hand pollinate corn to improve yield. I tried their techniques and it may have caused the pollination to fail at the end. When I asked an expert about this she told me that hand pollination was unnecessary, that the corn does a fine job on its own.

Secret for my success: This is my first year so I am far from a pro, but I think I did a few things right. First off was the soil, my raised beds allowed me to control the soil and create a great environment for the corn to grow. I used organic soil, compost, and dry manure. I also added earthworms and organic fertilizer. With that storm foundation I was able to grow storm tall plants. I checked on them every morning and watered them regularly, first with a hose and then switching to soaker hose to keep the water off of the leaves.

Conclusions:  I give this crop and A- and will certainly be planting it next year. The only changes I will make will be to move it over one bed so that it doesn’t shade any of my other crops. I will also plant the rows at different time so the row closest to the sun doesn’t shade out the further row. I may select a thicker cob variety and will add beans to the bed. Corn pulls nitrogen from the soil and beans add it so they work in harmony. I can’t wait till spring.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – Eight Month Update

Eight months down and four to go. stocksThe year has been good to my educational fictitious portfolio which has been performing very well. Let’s see what August brought us. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $19.07 a gain of $75.48
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $46.79, a gain of $307.56
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.22 a loss of $46.20
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.21 a gain of $153.60

So year to day, net gains of $490.44 or just a hair shy of 10%. Silver’s slide is annoying, but I still maintain that it is an excellent hedge against disaster. Microsoft continues to impress and I am excited about its future. Perhaps is will touch $50 soon. BlackBerry, the newest edition to the portfolio, has been doing fantastically. 

Summer is usually the worst season for stocks, if we get a nice run into the end of the year I could see some great gains. Time will tell, as always I remain cautiously optimistic. 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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Enjoying the Fruits of My Labor – Home Gardening the Final Stretch

Corn in the handToday I harvest my first ear of corn. This is the beginning of the end for my backyard garden. Unlike most endings this is a good thing. It all started back in mid-june, and now look at it. I’ve had a few bumps along the way and I’ve certainly learned a lot. Here is where things stand.

Howden Pumpkins: DISASTER! About three weeks ago we got a down pour of rain and it lead to the spread of a mildew that I have to admit, I can’t eliminate. Since I am organic I tried several remedies, Neem oil, a vinegar mixture, a milk mixture. Nothing seemed to work. Finally a found and organic fungicide that has helped me fight the spread, but I still can’t eliminate it. 

Organic GardenThe effects of the mildew have caused a huge die off in my once hearty pumpkin leaves and the loss of two pumpkins. The complications from this problem could cost me the entire crop. I have 5 pumpkins that seem like they will make it but I really don;t know. I have at least a month to go so at this point I will renin cautiously optimistic that I can pull through. 

Cucumbers: Since they are growing near the pumpkins they suffered at even worse amount of damage, the plants are fruiting but they look very sick. 

Golden Bantam Sweet Corn: Wow! These guys are doing great, I harvest my first ear less than an hour ago and will be eating it in mere minutes. Corn belowMy stalks are about 7 feet high, they are thick and healthy. I think I may have been a day or two early on my test ear so I will wait a day and begin picking my corn as the ears mature. I hope to get at least 15 ears of corn onto my dinner table this fall. Some of the ears are very small and might not reach full maturity. My wife and mother have already staked claims for the dead stalks and will turn them into Halloween decorations. I am very pleased with this crop and will be growing it next year. 

Tomatoes: I underestimated the space that these guys would need when I was planning my garden . They are 4 feet tall! They are break out of the cages I set them in! I have dozens and dozens of big green tomatoes that I am waiting on tot turn a bright beautiful red. It I can keep the squirrels away I am planning on giving almost everyone I know a bowl of tomatoes. What a great plant, it will also be in next years garden.

Sugar Baby Watermelons: I still have 10-12 more days before I begin harvesting these champs of my garden. No muss no fuss, they have been growing strong and steady. I can not wait to try them. More of them to come in a future post.

So I had some ups and some downs, I am fighting to keeps the pumpkins alive and the pests out. I am feeling confident and will share my more as the fall arrives.   

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – Seven Month Update

With month number 7 in the record books its time to see where we stand. The portfolio has seen some changes, a major change came in the form of me closing out a position. Today I will reveal my replacement pick, but firs lets see where we stand as of right now. 

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Sold on July 16th at $56.99 for $1481.74 a gain of $234.26
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $18.17, a gain of $14.28
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $43.23, a gain of $190.08
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $19.17, a gain of $16.50
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160

A total profit of $455.12, which is down slightly from the last month. I attribute this to the stock market decline over the last month. Many are calling this an adjustment before the next leg up. I guess time will tell. 

As for the newest edition, blackberry.bbry I have been reading a lot about them, many investors had written the off for dead. I think otherwise, they have a great CEO and are poised for a turn around.  If my suspicions are correct, It think its possible that BBRY could rise to $15 a share. They have some new phones that should be releasing soon, much of the company’s success will ride on the quality of their new products. We shall see.

Going forward I maintain my cautious optimum. 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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