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Frequently asked Questions
What brokerage firms do you recommend that I use?
While VRA has no relationship (or conflicts of interest) with any of the following, we do recommend using discount and deep discount online brokers such as Charles Schwab (schwab.com), E*Trade (etrade.com), Scottrade (scottrade.com), Ameritrade (tdameritrade.com), and last but not least EverTrade. You’ll find EverTrade through EverBank (everbank.com).
We do not recommend using full service brokers such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Edward Jones, etc. Their built-in conflicts of interest with their investment banking divisions may prevent them from providing truly independent advice and recommendations.
What reference material or books do you recommend to learn more about investing and economic fundamentals?
Here they are, not in any particular order:
- Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing (What the Rich Invest In, That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!) by Robert Kiyosaki.
- One Up on Wall Street, by Peter Lynch.
- Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom, by Van K. Tharp, D.R. Barton, and Dr. Steve Sjuggerud.
- Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham.
- Empire of Debt, The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis by Bill Boner and Addison Wiggin.
- Take on Wall Street (What Wall Street and Corporate America Don’t Want You to Know) by Arthur Levitt (Former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)).
- The Big Investment Lie (What Your Financial Advisor Doesn’t Want You to Know) by Michael Edesess.
- The Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Corporate America by Warren E. Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham.
- Crashproof Prosperity : Becoming Wealthy In The Age of Risk by Kip Herriage. Buy Here!
Which of the VRA buy list recommendations do you recommend that I buy first?
Proper diversification is very important. It is highly recommended that you do not place more than 10% of your investing capital into any one investment position. And this is not limited to the VRA, but applies to all of your investments. When you receive the VRA Buy List, spread your investing capital relatively equally across all the “Buy” recommendations. Some recommendations may be on Hold or Sell when you first join, so do not invest in those.
How can I track my investments?
- Stock charting: StockCharts.com, BigCharts.com.
- Use your brokers web site to review your open positions and cash transactions. You will also typically find quotes and research there as well.
- Yahoo Finance (finance.yahoo.com) is also an excellent web site for quotes and research.
- For Canadian stocks you can go directly to the Toronto Stock Exchange at tsx.com.
- For precious metals see kitco.com.
- Use Quicken or MS Money PC software programs to track all your finances including investments.
How often will I receive a VRA update?
VRA updates are sent regularly. You will receive at least one update each day, at the market open.
Are there other useful resources in the investing arena?
- As you know, we are avid supporters of one of our other alliances, EverBank, through which you can obtain cutting edge investments and banking vehicles that are offered no where else. That’s why Forbes has rated them #1. Frank Trotter and Chuck Butler are the two principals of EverBank. Chuck writes a very worthwhile daily letter at DailyPfennig.com to which you can also subscribe for free. But please remember that Chuck, like many other investments writers, spends much of his time looking at the shorter term market action. But he does also cover the major fundamentals in the markets as well. You can also find Chuck’s Daily Pfennig posted on Kitco.com.
- One of our favorite writers is Richard Russell of the Dow Theory Letters (ww2.dowtheoryletters.com). His is a subscription service with a minimum of 6 months for $150, but well worth it. Richard is 85 years young and has seen it all having lived through the Great Depression and all market cycles since then. Understanding the “Dow Theory” is also very beneficial. Richard covers this several times throughout the year.
How much of my investment capital should I invest into VRA recommended securities?
The answer varies according to each individuals risk/reward tolerance level, however the answer is “not more than you can afford to lose”. Investing in individual stocks is far riskier than a bank investment, a mutual fund, index fund, or exchange traded fund. This is why we place so much emphasis on both diversifying and on long term investing.
Should I use a margin account?
ONLY if you consider yourself an expert investor! Margin accounts carry a great deal of risk and used the wrong way can do real damage to a portfolio.
How should I enter orders?
Most investors should enter a “limit order” when buying or selling a security. Should you have questions, or need help, please contact your brokerage firm. They will walk you through this process.
Can the VRA provide investment advice or financial planning?
No. The VRA is a newsletter subscription based service only, and does not provide specific investment advice.
Can I use my Individual Retirement Account (IRA, RRSP for Canada) with the VRA.
Yes, absolutely. We are not aware of any brokerage firm that is unable to use your IRA funds to buy/sell publicly traded securities. And the VRA only deals with publicly traded securities. Please also note that you do NOT need a “Self Directed IRA” to do this; only a regular IRA is necessary. If your IRA account is with a bank or full service brokerage firm [with associated high commissions], you might consider transferring your IRA to one of our recommended brokerage firms as highlighted in another FAQ here. And you have every right to transfer and establish your IRA account at any financial firm of your choosing. Usually it involves completing a simple transfer form provided to you by the firm that will be receiving your IRA account.