December 31, 2009, 5:22 pm

2009 Best Stock Picks Contest

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk,Trading

Last post of the year but not the least! This is the big announcement of the final results of our stock contest for 2009!

Quick reminder: on January 1st, each Blogger had to select 4 stocks (including ETFs) on Canadian or American markets. We have also decided to include dividend in the yield calculation. Each quarter, we followed the rankings and provided commentary on our picks. You can see my 3 quarters here:

Best stock picks 2009 1st quarter

Best stock picks 2009 2nd quarter

Best stock picks 2009 3rd quarter

2009 appeared to be a great year for the stock market but this is not what we were anticipating back in January. We all knew it was meant to come back but we didn’t know when and how strong the stock market would arise from its brutal crash of 2008. I am actually surprised they haven’t given a special name yet to the darkest period  most investors have seen in their lifetimes, any suggestions?

In the end, most of bloggers finished with a positive return and some of them would have made a lot of money with their picks. While 4 stocks is not enough to have a balanced and diversified portfolio, you can build something solid if you use at least 10 stocks,  feel free to use our picks as the foundation  😉

So here are my results:

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG):

According to me, this was an easy pick. Google was already on the rise when I picked it in January. Some other techno stocks like Amazon did pretty well too. Google is a strong company and it is demonstrates continuous improvement and innovation. You don’t need any investment services to tell you it’s a good stock to pick!

Com Dev Intl (TSX: CDV):

This was my biggest disappointment of the year. While it was a very promising company with liquid assets and a track record of growth over the past 3 years, Com Dev still flew under the radar of most investors so the stock never picked up. I guess that people were so afraid of investing in 2009 that they would pick small stocks to compliment their portfolios. Make sure to put Com Dev in your track investment apps next year!

Johnson and Johnson (NYMEX: JNJ):

This was my defensive stock pick for 2009 in case we continue to go deeper and deeper. While it didn’t appreciate much, JNJ was more like a safety net in my portfolio than anything else. With its small dividend and its small stock price increase, I am still happy to have it in my 2009 picks 😉

Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX: BNS):

Here again, another easy pick. Canadians banks have always been solid and I knew that it would continue to be the case in 2009. I decided to pick Bank of Nova Scotia since it was the most international of all Canadian Banks. Therefore, I thought that if it was going to be better in another country than Canada in 2009, BNS was surely going to participate. It appeared that any Canadian bank was a good stock pick in 2009 ;-). It also pays a great dividend too!

So overall it is good news since I have finished with at positive yield of  44% and none of my picks were negative! I have finished 4th in the competition. Here are the other results (links to other blogger will update as their post go onlin in the upcoming days):

BlogBest Stock Picks for 2009Ytd
Intelligent SpeculatorGLD
Wild InvestorAKS
Where Does All My Money GoTNA
The Financial BloggerCDV
Four PillarsBCF
Dividend Growth InvestorO
Million Dollar
My Traders JournalDRYS

Stay tuned to see our stock picks for 2010 late tonight and tomorrow morning!

see also:
What does winter look like for Crude? Click Here
Looking for an alternative to gold? Click Here

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December 28, 2009, 9:46 am

What I had for Christmas

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

Whoa! This year, we have celebrated Christmas on the 24th, 25th, 26th, and yes, the 27th as well. Imagine, we will also receive a “few” people over on the 29th… which tomorrow (already!?!). By “a few” I mean 6 adults and 8 kids… talking of a baby boom, huh?

I thought I would drop a short post about what I had for Christmas. I am always surprised when I open my gift 😉

From my wife:

I have received love and passion. I have seen so many glitters in her eyes, I feel much loved and very lucky!

From my kids:

I have received so many laughs and magic moments. The time spent playing with them and looking at what Santa brought was too much fun!

From my parents:

I have received hospitality and kindness. They are the best parents of the world, what can I say more?

From my best friend:

I have received hope, support and words of wisdom throughout this year. In 2009, he has truly defined what a best friend should be.

There are still a few days for the Holidays and I’ll make sure to enjoy them!

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December 24, 2009, 8:28 am

Merry Christmas to all!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

Yipee! This morning, I am so excited! I think I am more excited than my very own children! THIS IS CHRISTMAS!… well, not yet… but still, we are almost there! I just can’t wait to see what Santa (and his elves) will put in my Christmas stocking 😉

This has been a tradition for the past 5 years or more; my wife always puts stuff in a Christmas stocking for me 😉 All the little things that make me smile (chocolate, a cigar, hockey tickets… ), I find them on that day 😀

For the first time since I have started working, I am on vacation during the Holidays. I am off from December 23rd until January 5th! During this period, I will spend time with my family and visit friends. This is going to be quite a nice treat!

As in years past, I will slack on posting for the next few days but I will have the results of our 2009 stock contest on December 31st (something tells me that Intelligent Speculator will finish first 😉 ). Then, on January 1st, you will have our new edition of our stock picking contest. So it will give you a few ideas on what to purchase in 2010!

All right, enough said for today! Now turn off your computer and go back to your family and friends. Christmas is this unique time of the year where you have a chance to connect with everyone special in your life. Regardless if you are stuck in dispute or if you lost this friend a long time ago, it is the right time to forgive and squeeze them in your arms and tell them how you are happy to have them in your life 😉

Merry Christmas!!!!

image source: chispita_666

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December 23, 2009, 7:47 am

5 Top Tips on Applying for a Business Loan

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

Since the recession hit, banks have become notoriously stingy when it comes to lending to small businesses, at a time when the economy needs enterprise more than ever to get back on its feet. At the same time, many professionals who have been made redundant now want to start their own businesses, having been presented with a harsh job market and a sudden opportunity to make it on their own. If you’re about to make the leap into the world of small businesses, make sure you read our top tips before you start looking for capital.

1. Finding the right funding

Most people entertain a similar train of thought when looking for capital to start their business. Rather than borrowing from a bank, they turn first to friends, then family, then founders (i.e. themselves and their business partners), and then banks and investors. There are other ways, however, if none of these are suitable.

First, there are ‘business angels‘. These are informal investors, often retired executives or entrepreneurs with a great deal of capital and a lingering taste for more money-making. Rather than demanding collateral, business angels normally invest in return for a share of your business profits. The average investment amount in these cases was around $450,000 in 2007, and business angels are looking for companies that will grow, rather than simply sustain their MD.

With no business angel in sight, you might turn to business schools or other further education establishments for cash. These institutions often have incubator schemes, which lend modest sums to startups and provide valuable advice too. The money they provide often comes from venture capitalists, serving as a friendlier middle man between you and the big lenders. If that doesn’t suit your business either, there are a range of government grants out there to support new companies.

2. Finding the right bank for you

If you do choose to go with a loan from a bank, which is the most common form of raising capital, it’s important to find a sympathetic lender, preferably one with which you have an existing relationship or line of credit. If you have been using the same bank for your current and savings accounts for a few years, your first port of call for a business loan should be that one. If your bank doesn’t offer the right kind of loan for you, or doesn’t have a good enough deal, find a bank with experience of the trade or industry you are working in.

3. Shop around

In banking today, you are a customer, so behave like one. Don’t jump at the first offer a bank gives you and simply be grateful; exercise your ability as a consumer and look around. Get a quote from three or four lenders if you can to make sure you are getting the very best deal.

4. Protect yourself

The bigger a loan is, the greater the need for negotiation and care when entering into a contract. Before you sign anything or accept any deal, check it out with your financial advisor (if you don’t have one already, get one; they are often free) and if you can, with your attorney too. Ensure, with their advice, that the terms and conditions of the loan will not be ruinous to the business should something go wrong.

5. Think about collateral

Banks are more likely to lend to your business if you have something valuable to secure the loan with. In most cases, property is the best kind of security, and many business owners use their business premises or even their homes as security, but before doing this, make sure your business plan is watertight. If you can’t face the chance that, if you fail to meet repayments, you may lose your home, office or workshop, don’t sign on the dotted line. If you have no business premises and cannot use your home as security, banks then look at other assets you may have, such as a fleet of cars or any expensive equipment you have for your business. Again, make sure you will be able to meet repayments before using your assets as security; losing them could mean losing your livelihood.

If you have none of the above to use as security, you may be able to get an unsecured business loan, although, given the credit crunch, this has become even more difficult than ever. Be prepared, if this is the option you go for, to pay more for your credit; with the increased risk of losing money as you have no collateral, banks will charge higher interest rates to make sure they get their money’s worth from your loan.

About the author

Rachel is a freelance writer who writes about saving money, earning more and building wealth for a 100% free-to-use credit card comparison service where you can compare, review and apply for a business credit card for businesses located in Australia.

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December 22, 2009, 5:33 am

List of Millionaire Prerequisites

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

I recently ran into Budgets Are Sexy’s millionaire’s club. Actually, this is not about real millionaires… it is more like millionaire wannabees 😉 I am usually not a wannabe, but I definitely could get my head around being part of the gang of rich people! This is why I have decided to join their ranks and share my plan to become a millionaire.

I actually talked about a few ideas in the past and my plan is giving me the opportunity to reach the million dollar mark by the age of 45 (or so 😉 ). However, the reason I created an online company with my best friend is definitely to cut this objective down to 35 years old. How I am going to do it you ask? Here’s my list of prerequisite to reach millionaire status and to reach it by 45 (I’ll talk about how I can accelerate the process cutting out 10 yrs later on 😉 ):

#1 Maximize my RRSP every year (which is about 6K per year since I have a decent pension plan). This should give me 213K at the age of 45 (at a rate of 7%, since I am 100% in stocks, I should be able to reach it!). Since I don’t have much time to do stock picking right now, I am using index mutual funds that replicate perfectly the Canadian, American and International markets.

#2 Keep my house. The value is now at 325K, at 3%, it will be worth 537K… not too bad 😉 If I was ever to switch houses, I would need to keep the same value (or more) to make sure to reach the million dollar mark by 45.

#3 keep working on my online company (my share should grow at a minimum rate of 10% for the next 17 years). This is a very fair assumption as it is growing at a much faster rate right now (like more than 100%!). This would give me an additional 151k (now worth 30K). This is probably the part of my plan that will require reassessment on a yearly basis to know how good (or how bad!) and I am doing with it. We will surely hit an income ceiling at one point since we are quite limited in the time we able to invest in it. At that time, some real questions will have to be answered; do we keep doing it “for fun” or do we want to create a full time company with it?

#4 Keep my pension plan. This is very hard to put a value on. However, at the age of 45, it would include 22 years of contributions. At full retirement, it will give me 70% of my base salary. Hence I figure that my pension plan will be worth at least 200K at the age of 45.

#5 Pay off my debts! If I am able to pay off 150K in debt over the next 17 years, I will be able to drop my debt to 100K. Since my first plan to become a millionaire, I have quit my Smith Manoeuvre strategy in order to shift my investments into my online company. I have also temporarily cancelled my systematic investment plan since we are now living on a single income. I prefer to concentrate on paying down my debts since my family is depending on my capacity to earn enough income from year to year.

This would put me at about 1M$ by the age of 45. While a million dollars is a lot of money, this won’t mean as much in 17 years… This is a bit disappointing when you think about it!

This is why I  must find a way to put more fuel on the fire and make it happen at the age of 35! While reaching a million dollar net worth at the age of 45 seems virtually feasible (without much effort), becoming a millionaire by 35 will require a lot more effort and I will have to take much more risk…. Oh well, it doesn’t sound like I am afraid of it anyway! How am I going to do it?… nah… not in this post folks…

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