Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do Your Investing Online Also

The Internet – Your Best Friend in Investing

Are you still of the old fashioned school where you think the best way to invest in stocks, REITs, bonds or mutual funds is to call your broker and ask him to make a buy for you? Why is that? By now, you should have realized that we have come a long way and the Internet is a way that you can take on these investments for yourself.

Many people are reluctant to take their own investing into their hands through the Internet. Their reasons vary from thinking they don't know enough about their specialty market to that they can't make the same kinds of buys as a broker to thinking that their broker knows more than they do and will make sure they get in on a good deal. Let's look at each of these for a minute.

I don't know enough about my market.

If you are one of the people who think you just don't know enough about your market to matter, that's only because you aren't trying to. If you invest in REITs, for example, there are wonderful websites that allow you to learn everything you would ever need to know, plus keep on top of what is happening right now, like

Learning enough about your market to make wise decisions only takes a few minutes a day to do and can take you a long way in the profitability of your investment portfolio.

I can't make the same types of buys as my broker.

Think again. While your broker may have a really fancy computer system on his desk that he uses to make your purchases happen for you, chances are he is really using a program that is just as simple as one you could use to make the purchase. For example, is a complete brokerage firm of real estate investing that will allow you to buy and sell, as you need to, from the comfort of your own computer.

My broker knows more and will make sure I get good deals.

Unless you are sinking millions of dollars a year into your accounts, you’re not big enough for a broker to call you. If your broker hears about a great buy possibility, he is going to call his most prized clients first. Those are not the friendliest ones, but the ones who stand the chance to make him the most money. After all, this is business. This means you are likely not going to get that phone call and are going to miss out on the deal.

On the other hand, if you were signed up with a company like you would see those news stories that are going to impact the market as they come through and also be able to take a peek into the minds of the analysts on their blog to get the inside track on what is happening in your investment world. Then you can make the decision to act right away and reap the rewards.

What About REITs - Real Estate Investment Trusts?

The Good and Bad of Real Estate Investment Trusts

Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, are an avenue of investment that many people have heard of, but have not taken a good look into. Let's take that look now.

First, you need to understand what a REIT is. It is generally a property management investment. You fund a property management company and let them run a real estate asset, with you getting dividends from the profit. For example, a commercial real estate REIT may own a shopping center or strip mall. When you purchase shares of that REIT they are going into building and maintaining that structure. As tenants move in and rent those spaces, and the REIT profits, the profits come back to you in the form of dividends. This is also the case for residential real estate interests like housing developments, apartments and condominiums.

So now let's look at the good and bad sides of this investment option.

Dividends – Unlike other stocks and mutual funds, REITs come with some very strict rules for how their profits can be used. As profits come into a REIT, at least 90 percent of that profit must go right back to the shareholders in the form of dividends. That means most REITs always see a nice annual return on the initial investment, averaging 6% or more.

Their Own Entity – If you have noticed, the stock market has an all for one kind of approach to things. Often if one area of the market goes down, the rest follows, hitting you across the board. But REITs are their own creature. By not being as strongly tied to other investments and stock fluctuations, they can hold strong even when the rest of the market is on a roller coaster ride.

Solid Starting Platform – If you are not a major investor in general, REITs may be the way to go to begin your investment portfolio. For the most part they are strong and stable purchases and can bring in a good, steady profit for years to come.

Constant Investment – Since REITs revolve around property investments, there is always something tangible – a piece of land, homes, apartments or businesses. Usually these also have long-term leases, which means there will be money coming in from those leases to feed your dividends.


There aren't that many bad points to REITs, but here are a few:

Slow Growth - If you are looking for a major growth in your REIT, you likely won't see it. Since only 10% of the money made can be put back into the REIT (as 90% has to be paid out as a dividend) that means there is a lot less going back into the business to make it grow more quickly.

Down Times – Just like any other investment, there is always the chance that a downturn in real estate will make it where your REIT does not bring in a profit for the year.

Despite these few bad points, REITs are worth looking into. Start by going to a full service website like There you can get information about REITS, tools and research help as well as education and advice before you buy. When you're ready, they are also investment real estate brokers who can take care of the entire transaction.