B.I.’s MyStockFund for stock investors | VailDaily.com

B.I.’s MyStockFund for stock investors

Richard Loth

In my Oct. 5 column, I profiled the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) and Better Investing (BI) as individual investor organizations worthy of membership consideration. One of the membership benefits, which was just briefly mentioned, of the latter organization is the opportunity to participate in BI’s direct stock purchase plan called MyStockFund.For those of you interested in a “walk before you run” approach to stock investing, this is a good way to start.About two years ago, Better Investing (then known as the National Association of Investors Corporation, NAIC) and MyStockFund Securities, Inc. joined forces to provide BI members ($50 annually for an individual membership) with an online investing platform. In announcing this new initiative, BI President, Richard Holthaus, highlighted a key aspect of the MyStockFund (MSF) program – its particular appropriateness for addressing the needs of investors that are new to stock investing.Holthaus pointed out that “the best way to learn about investing principles is by applying the lessons learned on actual investments and having a personal stake in the market.” He went on to make special mention of three important issues for beginning investors that the MSF program addresses: affordability, sensibility, and convenience.I see the following aspects of the MSF as being of special interest to early-stage stockpickers: • An easy-to-use Web site. By logging on to http://www.betterinvesting.mystockfund.com, you can take a “Quick Tour,” which provides an overview of how to invest, fund an account, pay for transactions, and use helpful MFS investing guidance. Go to the Need Help tab and click on the FAQ page caption for a comprehensive explanation of how the MSF program works.• Costs. There are three different pricing plans – basic, flex, and diversified – to accommodate all levels of investing activity. Among other features, transaction commissions are very low (as low as $0.99), there are no minimum account balances, dividend reinvestment is free, and automatic or real-time orders are available.• Simplicity. One of MyStockFund’s attractive features, particularly for small investors, is the program’s fractional-share investing. Every investor dollar is fully invested regardless of the price of the stock purchased. If you wanted a piece of Proctor & Gamble (PG), currently selling for about $63 a share, you could send in as little as $25 and buy .40 percent of a share. Under the diversified pricing plan, such an order would cost just 99 cents.• Investment selections. This component of MSF guides the investor through four investing options – a “Top 20 Holdings” selection of twenty blue-chip stocks; a selection of over 1,300 listed stocks, in which I found my 15 favorites; 51 stock exchange-traded funds (ETFs); and a small number (8) of bond ETFs. Readers should note that the listed stocks are alphabetized according to their ticker symbol rather than by company name.• Personal planning. This part of MSF allows investors to create an investing plan for three specific objectives – a down payment on a home, funding a child’s education, and building a retirement nest egg.• Assistance. The MyStockFund Website provides a number of helpful investing guides for beginning investors. Contact with MSF is available through a toll-free telephone number and by email.I have not personally tested the MSF program, but it does appear to be very well designed for any investor. I believe strongly in simplicity and low-cost investing for just about everybody in the investing public. It appears that these investment management elements are also the heart and soul of the MyStockFund approach.I have always championed Better Investing’s investor education efforts and its attention to the needs of individual investors. Now, with BI membership (for information log on to http://www.betterinvesting.org), investors have the opportunity to obtain the additional benefits provided by this new investing tool. The Investing Wisely column is written by Richard Loth, an independent registered investment adviser who operates Mentor Investing. He’s a writer/publisher of investment education materials. His latest book, “Finding Investment Quality in a Mutual Fund,” is now available. E-mail inquiries to mentor@centurytel.net or call 970-328-5591.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO

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