INVESTMENT CLUBS, ONLINE TRADING & MORE
Online Trading. Early on, many of the large investment firms viewed online trading as a passing fad. But things have changed. Over the last year, almost every investment firm has created a site on the Internet, allowing their customers to make their own trades. The value of this is twofold. First, the information is available when you want it (24 hours a day), and second, it is generally less expensive to handle your own transactions online. Will online trading do away with stock-brokers? No, most stockbrokers are consummate professionals who work hard to maximize your investments. As long as they continue to provide value, there will be a place for them in the market.
Doing Your Own Research. If you enjoy researching your own stocks, the Internet is a gold mine. Nearly all of the major investment firms have created secure, easy-to-use, and information-rich websites. You can look up the past performance and annual reports on most major companies traded on the stock market. In many cases, you can even specify the stocks you are interested in and have them delivered to your e-mail every day.
Investment Clubs. Investment clubs have been wildly popular for many years. They allow people with common interests to share their thoughts and knowledge about the right investments to make while forming new friendships in the process. Traditionally, investment clubs met in a member's home. Many still use this method, but more and more people are finding pleasure and profit from virtual investment clubs. Members of virtual investment clubs are not bound by geographic boundaries. Your club may very well have 20 people of which no two are from the same state. Virtual investment clubs generally have set times to meet in chat areas to discuss how existing investments are doing and what new ones should be looked at.
Where to Start?
If you are interested in investing online, a great place to start is with the Internet directory called Yahoo (www.yahoo.com). Think of Yahoo as the equivalent of a library's catalog online. Once in Yahoo, simply scroll to Business & Economy and you'll see the word Investing. Click on the word Investing and you'll be greeted with an entire library of investment options. Yahoo options include websites relating to banking, bonds, corporate reports, futures, initial public offerings, real estate, and taxes. There are even websites that provide stock market simulation games that enable you to test your investment strategies.
Another option is to go to SeniorCom (www.senior.com). The professional services portion of SeniorCom has preselected many of the key investment sites for your convenience.
Managing Your Money with AOL
The Personal Finance (Keyword: Finance) section of America Online is a vast resource for researching and acting on your investment needs. The Financial Newsstand section provides instant access to publications such as Investor's Business Daily and Business Week. Company Research offers an in depth tour of company news, stock reports, financial statements, and more. Quotes and Portfolios enables you to track your investments with same-day quotes.
Stock market investments are just one of many types of investments covered by AOL. For example, real estate investors will find useful information in the Homeowners Forum on subjects ranging from how to pull out headless nails to installing a sauna in your home. Taxpayers will benefit from online tax-preparation assistance and up-to-the-minute tax law changes. Mutual fund investors can hone their investing skills. The Personal Finance channel averages 3 million users per month and 22 million stock quotes per day! Additional sections cover home office computing, starting a college fund, and purchasing the best-rated consumer products.
All of this information is free to members of AOL (for membership information, call toll free 888-265-8001).
Medicare & Social Security: Online Facts
Learn more about Medicare and Social Security on the web through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Webplace. Information is presented in easy-to-understand terms and provides in-depth information on Medicare and Social Security, current federal legislative activities, and possible future scenarios.
Each site has subsections such as "The Facts," which provide information about each program, who it covers and what benefits are provided. "Issues & Challenges" and "Viewpoints" go in depth with an information exchange between leading experts and policymakers who represent differing views and visions on the future of Medicare and Social Security.
Both the Medicare and Social Security websites will be updated regularly to reflect current legislative activities. (www.aarp.org)