Princess Cornflakes

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Archive for March 2016

Investing with the Princess

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I learned something very interesting tonight. Investing can be almost as fun as shopping. OK, almost, and I’m new to it so I’m talking out of my ass, I realize.

Still, tonight after work I did two things. I went shopping at Target and Kohl’s, looking for a vest. I didn’t find the right one anywhere and spent about 40 minutes digging through sale racks. I almost bought a furry black vest that said “FILA” in large blue letters, at Kohls, but thinking it was tacky, and as the line was long, I left it there.

When I got home I decided to invest (wow after after not finding a vest, I just realized that!), for the first time ever. I had converted an old 401K  into a rollover IRA a few weeks ago.

My bank kept telling me, “Now you have to invest it”, and emailing me this tool. They really love to email the tool. I have about 6 copies in my inbox right now. I thought “oh, they probably automatically invest it in something like the “Saving Until You Are Old And Decrepit” fund. Whatever man.

But tonight I was bored enough to do something about it so I called them.

Now I should say that Fidelity has the WASP-iest sounding brokers in the world, and they are all men. I’m picturing a bunch of Indians with really good voice training saying they are “Jim Tate” or “Jonathan Peterson” or “George Michael” but good for them and their nice acting skills.

I should back up a little. I had actually done my research and figured out that I’ll never be able to retire. If I want to have $45,000 a year by the time I’m 65, I’ll have to invest well over half my  monthly income in 401K. Forget it! Assuming that I’ll be still be a poor college student at age 65, I can at least do something good with my money because poor students always care about the environment and besides, who cares!

With that in mind I have been researching “social responsibility funds”. Because, for me, the quality of a fund depends on the types of companies it invests in, not how bullish it is (is that the right word?). And there are a lot of social responsibility funds but, as this article points out, they all decide what is socially responsible to them. Most exclude alcohol (I LIKE alcohol, alcohol is GOOD), cigarettes (I don’t care!), and weapons manufacturers (Now we’re talking. I like to exclude weapons manufacturers!).  So in the end you have to do some research down at the level of companies.

allthings-fund

Based on this article, I decided that a good fund would be Parnassus. They are doing OK, they invest in public water (yay! I don’t like water bottles everywhere!), and Autodesk (CAD software – plus I used to work at Autodesk and they were nice).

So back to tonight. I called 1-800-whatever and spoke to a very knowledgeable man who explained about the difference between funds (a group of stocks) and stocks (individual companies). He said I could find out about the different stocks using the research tool that he’d be happy to email to me. They do love to email that tool.

He connected me to a trader and, after a brief hold, I seriously heard the following:

“LOOKS LIKE THAT STOCKS GONNA TANK, BRO!!”

“Uh, I’m calling from the outside. I’m a customer” I said.

“Oh I’m sorry, I was not paying attention. Um. Uh.” (puts on a professional tone) “What would you like to do tonight, ma’am? Are you logged in?”

“Yes I am and don’t worry. I thought it was funny” (he’s probably snorting coke off a prostitute’s butt right now).

So after that he showed me the very complicated steps of going to the home page, clicking “trade” and entering the stock symbol and clicking “buy”. When I did it all without a problem he said “well look at you!”. Look at me! It’s almost as fun as shopping!

And that was my first experience investing. I may do it again. I definitely like the fact that even if recycling is a joke, I could possibly be supporting public water, low-cost homes,  vests in colors that I like, or any number of things that make a difference.

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Written by nattie

March 4, 2016 at 2:56 am

Posted in money, Uncategorized