your faith has come down to money & a tv

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Power of One Man

And I'm not talking about Ben Bernanke either.

Amazingly enough, I'm talking about Jim Cramer and his show Mad Money.

I honestly do not watch his show (mostly because I have no patience for the reiteration of the word "booyah"), however CNBC usually seems to be the only channel on TV with any sort of financial news so I'll switch over to it every once and again to see what they have on.

Well I happened to flip to CNBC this last Tuesday night just in time to see Jim Cramer talking about Netgear (NTGR). Apparently Netgear is developing a Skype telephone and this along with various other reasons (such as the new wireless protocol that recently came out, which will get people to buy more Netgear products) made Netgear a definite recommend from Jim Cramer.

The idea of a Skype phone really intrigued me (I think it will do well, especially with old people), so I looked into Netgear a little bit. "A little bit" for me is not enough research to put my money into something (plus I didn't have any extra funds lying around at the time), so I did not invest in Netgear.

Cramer's power is seen thusly: The next day Netgear jumps 7.5%! No other news had come out about Netgear that day, so I'm left only to assume that enough people watch Mad Money to make the stock price jump up 7.5% in one day. Netgear has been going steadily upwards over the last two days as well, and is now up 13.4% since the close on Tuesday (and since the Cramer recommend). Truly amazing. I don't like the show, the guy's annoying, but people sure do listen to him.

Credit Score Myths

Just read a great article debunking some commonly held credit score myths. It's a good read, and well worth your perusing time (or at least your skimming time):

4 Credit-Scoring Myths

Sunday, May 28, 2006

And Just When I Think One Thing...

Something else has to come along and happen.

Well, in this case, it deals with the last post in which I thought I was going to open up an Internet Money Market account at Zions bank. Just when I had decided to open said account to take advantage of their 4.71% APY, I find out that Emigrant Direct has raised their rate up to 4.65%. I was planning on opening up an online bank account with Emigrant Direct anyway. In fact, the night before the rate went up, I was on my computer trying to sign up at Emigrant Direct (The problem in the sign-up process was that my internet connection decided it was just suddenly not going to work. Thanks Comcast!).

So, I'm currently going through the process of opening the Emigrant Direct account and I'm starting to wonder if I should even bother with the Zions account at all. The Zions account only has a mere .06% higher interest rate than the Emigrant. Is it really worth going through all that account opening process (again) just to get a little bit higher rate? I'm thinking no, not really.

I also need to mention a concern I found recently regarding the Internet Money Market account at Zions. If you need to close your Zions Internet Money Market account within the first 60 days you will be charged a $3 fee. This is a big deal for me, since you have to keep at least $1000 dollars in this account to keep getting the elevated interest rate. If you go under $1000 you won't be charged any account fees or anything, you'll just get a much lower interest rate. So the problem then becomes if Zions interest rates do not keep up with those of the market, I won't be gaining as much interest as I could be, since I'd have to leave $1000 in the account. With Emigrant this is not a problem at all, since your min. balance can go down to $1 (maybe even less) and you'll still get the same high interest rate. With Emigrant, if I want to move my money out and into accounts that will gain more, I can easily do so.

As I write this, it seems I'm even going the extra step of convincing myself that I should just put my savings funds into the Emigrant account and call it good. Well, I'll probably have plenty of time to think about it because from what I hear the Emigrant Direct opening process can take a week and a half or so. I'll let ya'll know what happens.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Online Banks and Great Rates

It's amazing the things you find that are right under your nose the entire time.

Case in point, Zions Bank, which is the local and popular bank where I live, but which I once said I would never get an account. I believe I said it in response to their interest rates. Well, now I'm forced to change my mind.

Their Internet Money Market Account is now paying 4.71% on balances $1000 and greater.

Check out the comparison table for other Zions accounts.

I currently cannot get together the funds for a Presidential Premier Savings Account, (requires an initial deposit of at least $5000 to open the account) with it's great interest rate of 4.87%, however I figure I won't really be losing too much in interest with my small amount of funds with the slightly lower interest rate. So I guess I'm opening up a Zions Internet Money Market Account.

However, for those of you who would like to look into better interest rates/different banks, they have some good discussions going on at Check it out, it's where I found about my local Zions and it's good interest rate.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Good and Bad Stock Picks

So I finally bit, and I went ahead and bought some Electronic Arts (ERTS) stock while it was in it's free fall. Unfortunately, it's still in it's free fall, and my purchase at around $47.95 no longer seems like such a good idea. Stock price is currently sitting at $43.24, and I'm closing in fast on the 10% loss, which I think is going to be my sell point on this one. Luckily, didn't really buy too many shares (5 I think), but I do wish I would've used those funds on my other good pick.

My good pick for the week has been Nintendo (NTDOY), which I purchased right before E3. I'm pretty sure I can hang onto this one for a little while, as I figure that the Wii is going to be a much more interesting product than people give it credit for. Also, Nintendo is still doing alright financially and they control a lot of other patents. They also aren't just putting all their chips on the Wii (the DS is doing well also). I was able to buy NTDOY for $20 a share (I really should've gotten it for around $18.90 about 4 days earlier, but I had all the aforementioned problems with TDA and whatnot and could only finally make my purchase on Monday of this week). Still, most of my funds went into Nintendo, and it's paying off already with the stock currently at $21.25 and earlier today at $21.90.

Other TD Ameritrade things/problems

Today's TD Ameritrade topic:


So, to me, it would seem to make some sense that if you open and fund your account through your normal bank checking account, it would be fairly easy to get more money from that same checking account and deposit it in your TDA account.


You must go through a long + tedious process of confirming your bank account before you can deposit any additional funds in your TDA account. This includes waiting 2-3 days for TDA to deposit two small amounts in your bank account, then you confirming said deposits by entering their amounts on the TDA site. Only then can you wait an additional day or two for your deposit funds to clear so that you can invest your newly deposited monies.

This process does make some sense for security reasons. However, it makes absolutely zero sense why they don't make you confirm your bank from the beginning, when you open your account. I don't get it; anyways keep this in mind if you are still considering opening a TDA account.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Online Banks and Free Bonuses for Opening Accounts

Ok, so I know that there's a link to this on the right side of the page under "Deals," but I thought I would right my own little diddy on it for those of you who are too lazy to click things. So here goes:

#1. ING Direct
Current Interest Rate: 4.15%

The Basic Deal: Get referred by an existing account holder & open an account with at least $250 and you get a $25 bonus (Plus, your referrer gets a $10 bonus). To receive and keep this bonus, you must keep your initial deposit in your account for at least 30 days.

More info: A good look at this bank's info from

Question: What if I don't know any current account holders, how do I get the bonus?
Answer: I am a curent account holder and have plenty of referrals left. Email me at faithtomoneyandatv[at]yahoo[dot]com with your First Name and Last Name to get one.

{Note}: Please only ask for a referral if you plan on opening an account with $250 or greater. If you plan on opening an account with < $250, please use this link.

#2. VirtualBank
Current Interest Rate: 4.60%

The Basic Deal: Get referred by an existing account holder & open an account with at least $100 and you get a $20 bonus (Plus, your referrer also gets a $20 bonus). To avoid any early-closure fees, you must keep your account open for at least 180 days.

More info: A good look at this bank's info from

Question: What if I don't know any current account holders, how do I get the bonus?
Answer: Jonathan at has set up a great system for those who don't know any current account holders but would like that free bonus. Check it out here.

#3. Emigrant Direct
Current Interest Rate: 4.65%
(Update: 5/26)

The Basic Deal: Get referred by & open an account to get a $10 bonus (and possibly up to $20).

More info: A good look at this bank's info from

If you would like a better/clearer rundown on any of these bank's, I again advise you to take a look at Jonathan's site here, which should clear up most questions. Good luck with your new free money!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Watchin' EA Fall

So I spent a goodly amount of time today at work (Don't tell my boss!) watching the great fall of Electronic Arts (ERTS). This was a stock that I was somewhat interested in at the start of the day (since I am a red-blooded American male who plays video-games), and I kept watching it fall and wondered all the while if I should buy some at this lower price.

I read a couple of places that some companies thought the stock was overvalued as it was, but still, in case you didn't get to see it, EA fell about 11%, around $6 a share at close. While I was watching it, it was even lower, down over $7 a share. In real terms, EA stock is normally around $54-55, and it dropped to at one point $47.50. That's when I started getting antsy about buying.

However, I never did pull the trigger and I think it comes down to my lack of trust in EA and its direction. I personally only play one EA game, Battlefield 2. How can I justify buying stock in a company whose games I won't play? EA's games never struck me as that good either. I was actually surprised to see that they have as much of a market share as they do.

Anyways, I guess we'll just watch and see if I regret this some months down the road.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Remember to read the Fine Print, part II

Ha, so you thought I was dumb before? Just you wait, I'm still screwin' up and still with TD Ameritrade. And it's simply another classic example of reading the fine print.

TD Ameritrade gave me the impression that I could transfer in my funds electronically, then buy stock the same day. Not so. You can only buy marginable securities immediately after your funds have deposited. If you want to trade non-marginable securities, IPO's, or options you have to wait 5 business days after you deposit your funds. It turns out what I wanted to buy is a non-marginable security, so I'm stuck waiting.

So now I'm just sitting here, watching my stock go up in price without holding any shares of it 'cuz TD Ameritrade has to take 5 days to clear my funds. Great.

And so far, with all of my great experience with TD Ameritrade, I DEFINITELY DO NOT RECOMMEND! There are better and cheaper services (First Trade, Scottrade) that I now wish I would've gone with instead.

Remember to read the Fine Print

I'd really like to blame this on TD Ameritrade, but in all actuality I must put this squarely on my own stupidity. So I figure maybe it will give me some consolation to tell other people how not to screw up. Maybe then I'll feel a little better about my own screw-ups in the first place. Anyways, on to the blunders!

A little while back I posted about that TD Ameritrade deal where you could get $75 and $100 bonuses if you opened and funded a TD Ameritrade account with a certain amount of money. At the time, I passed this up because I determined that I could not survive without the minimum ($2000) being in an account for 9 months.

Well, as smart as this sounds, I decided about a week later that I could do without $2000 for a little while. Unfortunately, this was after the deadline had passed for the $75 bonus. However, I saw that TD Ameritrade was running a new bonus, 15 free trades for opening and funding your account with $2000, like that $75 bonus. This looked to me like an even better deal than the $75. TD Ameritrade usually charges $9.95 a trade, so I would basically be getting ~$150 (~$10/trade x 15 trades) bonus. Twice as good as the previous offer!

As it turns out, I'm dumb like I said and didn't really read the fine print. You do get 15 free trades, however you only have 45 days from the opening and funding of the account to use these trades. Now that I think of it, it's kind of like that E*Trade thing they do when they offer you 100 free trades, but only for a limited time.

That's the part where I'm dumb; thought I was getting a good deal, turns out not so much. However, I have devised a stupid scheme where I at least get some usages out of all of my free trades.

First, you've got to know that I mainly opened the account to put money in one company and leave it for about 6-9 months. Basically I'm still going to do that; I'll still stick almost all of my $2000 in the one company. But, now that I have about 14 free trades to work with, I'll invest smaller amounts in some random companies that could eventually do well. $50 here, $10 there; with no commissions to worry about the dollar amount of my trade isn't incredibly important.

So there you have it. I'm still mostly screwed, but I can at least feel a little better about myself after I've used up all those free trades.

However, moral to the story: READ THE FINE PRINT!