Motif Investing Investment Portfolio Review 1Q2015

Volatile Stock Market

Hang on for the rest of the year!

On January 30, 2015, I finally opened up my first Motif Investing portfolio with $10,000. I waited until the end of January because I felt there was a lot of uncertainty in the market (there still is), and I was also taking my sweet time doing research on the 30 companies and ETFs I wanted to purchase.

Goals For Investing

1) To fully experience the Motif Investing interface to know about the good and the bad as an investor and as a consultant to make suggestions for further improvement.

2) To deploy $10,000 worth of cash that was just sitting in my bank account in order to make more than a lousy 0.1% interest. I’ve made it a habit of investing some amount of money in the stock market through my SEP IRA, 401k, Solo 401k, private wealth management account, or online brokerage account every month for over 10 years. I suggest doing the same as you’ll be surprised how quickly your balances add up!

3) To finally build a legitimate portfolio in an after-tax brokerage account, instead of just speculating on one to three stocks at a time. The portfolio is a comprehensive growth-oriented, special situations portfolio which is supposed to be diversified enough where rebalancing more than once a quarter is NOT necessary. I’m no longer actively looking for home run stocks because I’ve already built my financial nut. Instead, I’m looking for moderate growth in the 7%-12% range for my overall portfolio.

4) To follow the financial markets more carefully. From 1999 – 2012, I spent 5 – 10 hours a day reading investment research, watching financial news, reading financial news, following global politics, monitoring economic indicators, dialing into conference calls, and speaking about companies with clients. Then I’d start going for days without checking anything at all because I was so focused on building my online business. Having an active investment portfolio helps keep my mind sharp so I can make more intelligent investments, and be more knowledgeable when talking to others in the industry.

5) To create a community based investment portfolio. Back in 2010, I actually created a fictitious fund called The Samurai Fund made up by stocks picks from the community. It was fantastic fun that blew away the S&P 500 index thanks to crowdsourcing. For example, my pick was ticker symbol SAM of course, the Boston Beer Company that produces Samuel Adams beer. I bought the stock at $46.60, when the market cap was at $668. The share price is now at a whopping $272 with a market cap of $3.54 billion for a return of 483%!

There are plenty of investment enthusiasts reading Financial Samurai, and I’d love to engage all of your thoughts about the markets, the current positions in the motif, and what trades should be made, if any. Perhaps we can all become better investors and make more money if we put our heads together because it’s hard to keep track of everything, all the time. We can essentially create an investment club with ongoing discussion in the comments section of these quarterly posts. 

Kiva Loans: Alleviating Poverty Using Microfinance

Poverty by Geraint RowlandIn America, we are truly blessed with opportunity to help us chart our own course and grasp success as much as we desire it. Services provided by financial institutions are one of the things that we as American citizens have easy access to, allowing us to utilize financing and credit to further our goals in aspects of our financial strategies on both a personal and business level.

For many Americans, the idea of not being able to take out a mortgage to purchase a house, obtain student loans for higher education, or receive business loans to pursue business goals would be unfathomable – yet there is a significant portion of the world’s population that simply does not have access to financial services of this nature.

What is microfinance? Kiva explains it well, “Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services.”

Tax Penalties For High Income Earners: Net Investment Income, AMT, Medicare

Tax Penalties For High Income EarnersTax refunds are nice. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting one given I didn’t pay quarterly estimated taxes in 2014 despite my freelance income. So why didn’t I pay quarterly estimated taxes given there’s a likelihood I’d pay a penalty if I did not?

Uncertainty and certainty.

I was uncertain whether I’d freelance for the entire year. After spending most of 2012 and 2013 working on my own business, adding 25 hours a week of freelance work was a new endeavor. But I enjoyed freelancing so much (and didn’t get fired) that I decided to commit to at least a whole year. Furthermore, my consulting client was kind enough to offer stock options, so I had an added incentive to stay for at least the one year cliff.

What I was certain about was earning a higher W2 income since my online business kept growing. When it comes to estimated taxes, my accountant suggests following the safe harbor rules and paying 10% more than the previous year’s tax liability. By doing so, even if you earn a much higher percentage in the current year, you’re safe from having to pay penalties and fees of any underpayment. If you’re unsure about your business outlook, to be safe, it’s advised to pay at least 90% of your prior year’s tax liability.

How Much Does IVF And Eastern Medicine Cost To Combat Infertility?

These IUI meds are a cake walk in comparison to IVF

These IUI meds are a cake walk in comparison to IVF

Today’s post comes from a reader named Melissa who is facing the expensive decision of trying IVF with her husband in order to have their first child. Infertility is a sensitive and grappling topic that many couples are facing today. We’re having children later now due to our careers, and many of us are struggling to conceive.

Unfortunately, a lot of infertility issues are still unexplained and couples are left facing a foggy future of many unknowns. Even though IVF has enabled many couples to have children, it has also disappointed many others. How much would you be willing to pay to start a family if IVF was your best chance at having a child? Let’s take a look at the costs of IVF and the emotional and financial challenges couples like Melissa and her husband face when trying to start a family.

According to the Center For Disease Control, 6% of women (1.5 million) in the US are infertile. Other sources such as the National Institutes of Health say the percentage of infertile couples is as high as 15%! The numbers are significant and unfortunately I’m one of them.

Even though you don’t know me personally, chances are pretty high that you and your spouse or someone you know has also dealt with the struggles of infertility. The average couple trying takes around seven months to conceive. Meanwhile, I know plenty of couples who’ve taken years.

Speaking from experience, infertility is not an easy subject to talk about, especially the longer you try to get pregnant without success. But a lot of times people don’t realize how emotional infertility can be, especially if you never had any issues yourself or had a “surprise” or two. And to top off the roller coaster of emotions people like me have to deal with, it’s crazy expensive!

How To Maximize An Umbrella Policy Like A Champ

Large umbrella policyIf you have assets that amount to more than what your car insurance and home insurance coverage provides, then you should probably get an umbrella policy for protection. The amount of umbrella policy coverage you should have is an individual choice. If you want to be safe, get an umbrella policy equal to your estimated net worth.

I’ve personally taken a “riskier” approach by getting an umbrella policy less than my net worth. I figure, I’m not doing anything particularly offensive or risky in day-to-day life, nor is my business putting anybody in physical danger. If I was running a roller coaster amusement park on the other hand, you bet your buns of steel I’m getting maximum coverage!

The point of this article is remind people to protect their assets, have a talk with your insurance company since you’re paying for coverage, and make sure the insurance coverage is aligned to expectations. Spending a lifetime of work only to see it get wiped away by some random act would be unfortunate. 

How To Get Hired If You Are Overqualified Or Don’t Need The Money

Overqualified For A Job, Occupy Wall StreetConvincing your spouse to allow you to go on a trip with friends to Vegas is easy compared to convincing an employer to hire you if you’re overqualified, too old, or don’t need the money. Finding any type of work is like dating. The older you get, unfortunately, the harder it seems to find a match.

But just like dating, finding that perfect someone is often hilarious, frustrating, expensive, and sometimes painful. Let me share with you a short story about one company I met with a while ago where I failed to find a connection.

Clarifying The $250,000 / $500,000 Tax-Free Home Sale Profit Rule

Tax Free Profits For Homeowners

Who doesn’t love free money?

The Financial Samurai community rocks. There’s just so much collective knowledge from each of you that ensures the content published here (posts and comments) is as accurate and helpful as possible. As the conductor of the site, it’s my job to highlight as much good as possible.

In the post, Buy Real Estate For Capital Appreciation, Rental Income, or Lifestyle, I responded to one reader by mentioning potentially moving back into his rental for two years in order to take advantage of the $250,000 in tax free profits for a single person, or $500,000 in tax free profits for a married couple if he/they then sell within five years of moving back in.

Here’s a great response from reader, Yetisaurus,