Thursday, September 11, 2008

DeRamos '08: Opportunities in Ownership

My fellow Americans (and everyone else), if you'll recall, I've given you an extrapolate-from-my-example pathway to small business ownership. Knowledge is power, yes? So let's talk about stock ownership. It's theoretically like owning your own business - you do own a piece of the company in which you own stock - except it's homework instead of hard work. You can dump (sell) your stock when it benefits you, and it only affects the market when other people do what you do (so no biggie, most of the time). On the other hand, if you dump your small business, it's another story altogether.

Anyway, let's talk about trading online. There are several broker services online, but I'll (slightly inaccurately) list a few popular sites and estimated commission per trade:

E-trade: About $13 per trade for accounts less than $50,000, as well as a bunch of other slightly complex commission and fee options.

Scottrade: About $7 per trade, with most commissions costing exactly $7.

TD Ameritrade: About $10 for regular Internet trades, etc.

There are several other online brokers, but you can certainly have the general idea, right? Also remember to read the fine print when it comes to using these financial services. Low commission fees are good, but you might want to trade that off for some other service that one company has over another. In any case, trading on the market is not FDIC insured...it's more like educated gambling (like poker, somewhat).

So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Save up your money, buy less trinkets, and start owning some America, people! Don't wait for your employer to give you these benefits! (You're on your own when it comes to tax ramifications, as that is way above my pay grade.)

Also, if you enjoy the GOP's RNC "Drill, baby, drill!" mantra, and you're not an investor, then guess what? It kind of means that you're being exploited for your enthusiasm, while the ownership class laughs (...all the way to the bank, but duh...). At the time of this writing (pre-market Tuesday), individual shares of various oil and energy holding companies are worth:

BP plc (BP) $54.39,
Chevron Corporation (CVX) $81.05,
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) $76.77,
etc.

Not to mention associated drilling companies (who do the deed, baby, deed):

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (DO) $104.02,
Pride International, Inc. (PDE) $35.41,
Transocean Inc. (RIG) $120.42,
etc.

Go to resources like Google Finance for more market data. Now that you're an investor, feel free to wear the stereotypical straw cowboy hat and chant (if you own a stake in that industry), knowing that you're not a sucker caught up in the hype. You're an investor...remember to do your homework!

My name is Ryan DeRamos, I probably won't personally join in with the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd, but I approve this message. However, I must say that the above information does not constitute professional advice (again, above my pay grade) and is meant for entertainment purposes only.

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