With Dividend Stocks, Boring Is Beautiful

So you’ve zeroed in on a nice dividend paying stock.  And you’ve done your due diligence.  The stock pays a nice dividend.  Better yet, it has a good history of dividend increases.  And you’ve determined they can keep paying the dividend.  Your stock has passed all your tests.

That’s great!  Now just do this one final gut check before you buy it.

And the gut check is simple.  Here it is.  Do you understand what the Read the rest of this entry »

Service Is King At John’s Tire Kingdom

Great auto repair service at Tire Kingdom in Orlando

If you’re looking for great service and auto repair in the Orlando area, look no further than John’s Tire Kingdom.

Good service is hard to find, and when I see it I like to recognize it and pass it on.

John and his ace mechanics just solved and fixed a tricky cold start / idle problem with my car.  They stuck with the problem, traced it down, fixed it and gave me a great price to boot.  Once again they demonstrated that they believe in keeping their business competitive one satisfied customer at a time.  They represent the Tire Kingdom business well.

So the next time you need an auto repair, or new tires, check out the nearest Tire Kingdom (I’ve had good experience with them in the St. Louis region as well).

And if you’re in the Orlando area, give John O’Donnell a call, and tell him a satisfied customer John Roberts sent you.

To your health and prosperity – John Roberts

P.S. You’ll want to check out my earlier post about Tire Kingdom in Orlando, where they litterally saved me $1300.  You can read about it here … http://livelearnandprosper.com/i-found-an-honest-mechanic-in-orlando-no-really

Mind Your Ps And Qs In This Market

We’ve all hear the admonition to mind our P’s and Q’s.

It means to stay on your best behavior, or to stay at the top of your game or to pay attention to the details.

So where did this phrase come from?

There are many theories, but I’ll give you one of my favorites.  And that is from English Pubs in the seventeenth century.  Back then, like now, bartenders kept a close watch on how much alcohol their customers were drinking… that is to say they were watching their Pints and Quarts.

To those getting a bit “overserved” the bartender would remind them to “mind their Ps and Qs.”

And that seems particularly good advice for today’s investors as we see the stock market continue to climb.  Because there is always a correction.  Just look at the chart below, which shows the history of the stock market since 1900.  Does anybody really believe this will keep climbing in a straight line up from here?

History of the stock market from 1900.


It could, of course, go up for quite a while, but let’s not get all heady and drunk on our recent success.  It’s time right now to start figuring at what point we will sell if the market goes into a major correction.  Best to do that and live to invest another day, instead of riding the thing down too far and taking a big loss.

I suggest that any stock going down 25% from the highest price you’ve owned it is a good place to exit.  This is known as a 25% trailing stop loss.

We don’t need to do that right now, because it is heading up.  But now is the time to start thinking about it.

Because now is the time to start watching our Ps and Qs.

To your health – John Roberts.

P.S. Three hundred years later IBM created the 1620 scientific computer system.  And there was a young programmer (me) learning how to program it.  Programming is basically telling a machine what to do (called the “operation”) and what to do it to (called the “operands”).  So, for example, if there was a number in memory position 500 that you wanted to add to a number in memory position 600, you simply wrote the operation code for Add (which was 21) and the two operands you wanted to add together, which were 00500 and 00600.  The actual computer instruction looked like this – 21 00600 00500.

You can imagine you wanted to be exactly precise with these instructions… that is to say you wanted to mind you Ps and Qs.

Do you know what IBM called these two operands three hundred years later…

They were called the P Operand and the Q Operand.


Here’s a picture of that IBM 1620 computer system back then… and a reminder to mind your Ps and Qs.

IBM 1620 Computer System - Mind your Ps and Qs

How To Generate Your Own Microsoft Cash By Selling Puts

Here’s another way to play the Microsoft trade for investors familiar with American style options (which can be exercised at any time before expiration date). 

You can sell puts on Microsoft stock to generate income.  Selling puts can be a lucrative way to invest, and interesting, too, because you make money by trying to NOT own the stock.  And Microsoft is a good candidate to generate this kind of income by selling puts on their stock – over and over again. 

At a current price of around $31.89 a share, you can Read the rest of this entry »

Is Microsoft Still A Good Investment?

Is Microsoft still a good investment?  Or is it the beginning of the end for the software company?

Are they about to go the way of the Dodo bird?  Or Eastman Kodak?  Or Wang Labs – one of the biggest office computer makers of the eighties – long since sunk without a trace.

These are great questions to ask because the news about Microsoft of late hasn’t been that great.  Consider this…

·         Microsoft’s profits at $0.59 were lower than the lowest estimate ANY analyst had for it at $0.61 a share.

·         Their share price recently took a whopping 10% dive – all in one day.

·         The Surface Tablet version 1 was a failure that cost nearly $1 billion to write off.

·         Windows 8 is considered a dud, and market research firm Gartner says that 90% of companies globally have no plans to deploy it in a big way.

·         Even university adoption rates of Windows 8 have been Read the rest of this entry »

Get Real Silver Money Or Wooden Nickels

A helicopter, wooden nickel and silver eagle coin

I’m going to buy some real money today.

It’s something I do most weekends.  I visit my local coin dealer and buy a few 1 ounce pure silver rounds.  And it’s something I kind of enjoy doing, too… it always gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I’m done.

Because I know I’ve made a good long term investment.  And I’ve beaten Helicopter Ben at his game.  You know, Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve who’s known to have said he could drop money out of helicopters to stimulate the economy.

And then there’s social aspect of the transaction.  I always kid the coin shop owner as I pay him for the real, hold in your hand silver – as I hand him paper dollars.  I tell him I feel bad about trading him worthless pieces of paper for silver.  And he good-naturedly listens to this every time.  It’s a standing joke we have.

But I don’t feel that bad – certainly not bad enough to stop.  It’s the federal government who should feel bad about foisting their worthless pieces of paper on us in the guise of money and something of value.

After all, this type of activity is normally called counterfeiting.  Except when the government does it, of course.

Now you may think I am being overly harsh in my criticism, but read on because I’m going to support this with a story about how machines used to be smarter than counterfeiters, an interesting man named Merrill Jenkins, detecting and preventing counterfeiting, how he was duped by a federal agent, and the Read the rest of this entry »

How 3D Organic Printing Started From A Simple Sheppard’s Harp

How a harp lead to a piano and the revolutionary technology of 3D bioprinting.

3D printing promises to revolutionize our lives.  And 3D printing of living cells even more so.  But such an advanced technology had a rather humble beginning by today’s modern standard.

You see, many advances in human history come from taking an existing invention and then changing it in some way to make a new thing.

My favorite example of this is the evolution of the harp into something much more sophisticated.  Just imagine a harp, something a simple sheppard may have played to his flock of sheep thousands of years ago – maybe to keep them calm, or perhaps to entertain himself in that lonely job.

Now, a few thousand years later, someone in Europe took a harp like that and turned it on its side, put it in a wooden box, and Read the rest of this entry »

Are Plastic Duck Feet Such A Crazy Investment?

Or have I just turned into another Quack investor?

Three dimensional printing helped make a new webbed foot for this little duck named Buttercup.

Image (modified) courtesy of Ponoko

If I were to suggest that investing in plastic duck feet was an investment with big profit potential, you well might think I had gone a bit daft.

Or perhaps I had watched that old classic movie The Graduate once too often – which, as you’ll recall, showed the confused graduate being told by an older family friend that the future was in “plastic.”

Yet in a sense I am saying just that, or more specifically, that investing in a game-changing technology that can produce plastic duck feet shows great promise.

So today I’m going to tell you a story about a little duck named Buttercup.  And his webbed feet.  And you can decide just Read the rest of this entry »

This Apple Computer Accounting Not So Boring

Here's how Apple pays you money in dividends. What's not to love about this accounting entry from retained earnings?

For those of you who think accounting is boring and complicated, well, I suspect you are in large company with that opinion.  And I’m not going to try to change your opinion, even though I personally think aspects of accounting are interesting.

But I do want to show you some accounting that is quite interesting.  And tell you why.

And I think you’ll agree with me when I’m done.  Now that’s some brave talk, don’t you agree.

In any event, just look at the accounting entries in the illustration above.  Can you guess what they are about?

If you own Apple Stock, or want to own Apple stock, they are incredibly interesting.

Because these are the accounting entries (known as journal entries) that someone in the accounting department just made recently.  And here is what they say – in plain English — not accounting jargon.

“The board of Apple looked at the big pile of billions of dollars they have laying around from all their profits and decided to give about 3 billion (yes, that’s with a B) to the people that have owned Apple stock the past three months.”

Yup – that’s what all of that says.

And Apple has some much cash laying around, and such good prospects of making oodles (not an accounting term) of money in the next three months, that they will probably do the same thing all over again.

Now, who says accounting isn’t interesting.  Especially if you own Apple stock and are about to get a nice dividend check in the mail.

By the way, Apple seems to be priced right for buying in my opinion – so I put my toe in the water and bought a few shares.

To you health and prosperity – John Roberts

Get A Clue From Insider Buying

Here’s a stock buying tip for you.

Find out if there is any insider buying going on when you are thinking about buying a stock.

Many forms of insider buying are completely legal and this is another investment clue. You can improve your odds of successful investing by knowing when it’s happening.

Insiders sell and buy shares of their company all of the time.

Now there are many reasons why insiders might sell, i.e. they think the stock might go down, or they have a child’s college tuition coming due or they just need the cash.

But there’s only one reason why insiders buy stock in their company. And that’s because they Read the rest of this entry »