July 2015 Newsletter

InvestEd 2015: Three Generations Attended

Identifying Investment Risk

HTTPS Everywhere

Important InvestEd Statement




InvestEd 2015

Richmond VA, June 12-14, 2015

Three Generations Attended


By all accounts, the InvestEd 2015 conference was a big success. Our conference evaluation forms, as well as the evaluations of each session presented, indicate attendees gained a good deal of investor education and enjoyed their weekend in Richmond. The InvestEd camaraderie was shared by all.


One of the highlights of the conference was two families of three generations each in attendance at the conference. One family's experience follows.


It was awesome to have our daughter, our grandson, and our granddaughter in attendance with us. InvestEd is enhanced by the widely diversified career backgrounds of the instructor team. It continues to provide a truly worthwhile educational weekend.


InvestEd was a great opportunity to refresh my understanding of fundamental analysis of stock selection, and to obtain new information about technical analysis. I appreciated the variety of sessions teaching comprehensive methods of stock evaluation, and classes exploring different investment products. At my stage of life, I especially found helpful a focus on selling and on dividend stocks.


Attending with my son, niece, and parents was a bonus. It is gratifying to know my son and niece learned the importance of starting to invest in their 20's as they begin their careers. And we all benefit from my parents who generously share their investing wisdom and experience with us.


The most important lesson I learned at InvestEd was the importance of investing early and often. I was surprised to see just how effective dollar cost averaging could be for someone like me.


I came to InvestEd with an open mind and a limited knowledge about investing from family stock club meetings and 401(k) investing through my employer. Now that I'm in my late twenties and secure in my career, I have become interested in devoting more energy and resources into planning for my retirement. My grandparents encouraged me to attend the Newbie program at the InvestEd conference and words cannot express my gratitude! From the moment I walked up to the registration table, I felt welcomed and included. The board members and volunteers went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and to share their skills, tips, and tricks with me.


On the first day of the conference, I attended the Newbie program, which was designed for attendees who were looking for a basic introduction to investing. Within one day I went from feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by stock "lingo" to using an online tool to screen potential stocks! This is truly a testament to the board members and instructors who organized and implemented the Newbie program. On the second day of the conference, the Newbies were set free to attend the regular sessions. I found myself chatting with other attendees in the hallways and between sessions. They took a genuine interest in me and provided me with invaluable insight they had gained from years of experience. I now feel primed and confident to begin investing independently. What an invaluable experience!





Identifying Investment Risk

Sandy Gallemore


Investing is risky business. The risk of investing may be significant; it may be minimal. We need to identify investment risks and discover how to avoid them or to minimize them.


Some investments bring the investor minimal risks. An example is US Treasury instruments. At Treasury Direct we can learn about investing in Treasury bonds, bills, and notes. To learn more about how these investments work, head to the bond articles at Yahoo's Finance. In addition, to learn about the minimal risk savings bonds offered by the government, check out the Treasury Direct's savings bond section. Also, you will find savings bond information at Series EE bonds, or SavingsBonds.com. These types of government investments have minimal risk to your principal, but they do have noticeable risk when you consider the possibility of losing money you may have made if you had put that money into the stock market.


As is evident in the 100 years of Treasury bond rates, the current yield rate of less than two percent is not inviting. Looking at the Historic Returns graph gives us a picture of the possible rewards of investing in stocks, rather than government bonds. Note that the chart is based on an ending date of 2013. As of May 2015, currently issued Series EE savings bonds earn only 0.3 percent.


Let's look at investing in stocks. What are some risks to consider? A common investment risk is business risk. How stable is the company? What factors related to that particular company could cause trouble for the company? Some possible business risks include outdated products/services, large inventory that is difficult to decrease, changes in corporate leadership, wrong-doing within the company, and unwarranted expansion of company mission (getting into products/services beyond the scope of the company and beyond the expertise of the current company leadership and workers). Anticipating these risks may be difficult. By keeping up with company news and performing research on the company, though, the investor or potential investor should be able to gain some insight into risky behaviors of the company.


Socio-political risk is an important risk, but one that is difficult to anticipate and to avoid. Shifts in political power in this country mean priorities of regulatory agencies also may change. Often we do not hear of regulatory agency changes until after they are in effect. In general, we need to anticipate and evaluate potential risks that may be associated with increased or decreased regulation related to the businesses of companies we own.


Many world events affecting the stock market happen without warning. Companies do not exist totally independent from one another. For example, the current environment in oil-rich countries may cause problems to the commodities market in oil, which could (or would) affect many other industries. One way to minimize this risk is to "know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em," so to speak. Watching consumer demand and the competitive environment for our companies should help us judge the right time to buy, hold, or sell a company.

If you own a dividend stock, keep an eye on the dividend. Can the company afford to pay it? Dividend risk is real. Will the company reduce or cut its dividend? A dividend reduction (or one cut or one not paid) is a red flag. We want our dividend companies to be able to increase the dividend, although a stable dividend for a period of time may be acceptable. If a company cannot maintain the dividend, the probable result will be a lower stock price, since investors will sell that stock and move to a better dividend-paying stock.

The bottom line in investing is that every investment has a risk, whether that risk is in not making the return we need or in losing money. This article points out just a few risks for our consideration. Doing our homework helps us reduce and manage the risks in investing and see our overall investment portfolio reach our goals.


Sandy is an InvestEd Inc. director and serves as vice president for education. She is lead editor and prepares the general program brochure for the conference. Sandy has helped form investment clubs, presented introductory investing programs, and taught stock study and mutual fund classes at local, regional, and national events. In her leisure time she participates in a line dance group, plays handbells, bridge, and golf, and enjoys a variety of other activities, including investing. Sandy is professor emeritus of kinesiology, Georgia Southern University.





HTTPS Everywhere

Sandy Gallemore


We all know that the web is an increasingly insecure spot. Continued threats are reported to us on a regular basis. Many people seem to be able to hack into websites with ease and grab information about us that is stored on these various sites. No, I don't have many answers to fully prevent this, but one protection I've added to my browser is HTTPS Everywhere.


This web app, which is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, encrypts information and communications when visiting various websites. This free software is the result of collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, both of which are interested in privacy online.


HTTPS Everywhere works invisibly on your computer when you are performing a Google search, communicating on Facebook or Twitter, making a purchase on Amazon, reading the New York Times or the Washington Post, conducting research, or viewing many other popular websites. Look for the "https" at the front of the URL in your address bar. HTTPS Everywhere automatically changes thousands of websites from the standard insecure http website version to the encrypted secure https version. However, it does not work with instant messaging or client-based email programs (Outlook, for example) where more comprehensive security tools are needed. And some websites do not support https, although acceptance is growing, so the app does not work on every website you may visit.


If HTTPS Everywhere doesn't cover all websites, should you bother to use it? Yes. I see no downside. The icon at the end of your url address bar is very small and in no way distracting. This app protects you from many forms of account hacking and surveillance, along with some forms of censorship. We know that HTTP is insecure. HTTPS (the S represents Secure) provides extra security for you when on a website so that private information is protected from those who wish to steal it. In essence, it encrypts data as it travels through cyberspace, causing an imperceptible delay of perhaps a fraction of a second.


Add a little security to your computer use. Check out the HTTPS Everywhere website for more information.



Sandy is an InvestEd Inc. director and serves as vice president for education. She is lead editor and prepares the general program brochure for the conference. Sandy has helped form investment clubs, presented introductory investing programs, and taught stock study and mutual fund classes at local, regional, and national events. In her leisure time she participates in a line dance group, plays handbells, bridge, and golf, and enjoys a variety of other activities, including investing. Sandy is professor emeritus of kinesiology, Georgia Southern University.




Important InvestEd statement

In Richmond, the InvestEd Board of Directors announced that no 2016 conference would be offered. This year the board will take time to assess our current situation and, as we move forward, determine how to maintain our established high quality in future educational activities.


The task before us is to determine how we might attract more InvestEd conference attendees, more conference sponsors, more writers for newsletter articles, and more instructors for both webinars and conference sessions. To assist us, we have asked two outside volunteer consultants familiar with and believing in the InvestEd mission to provide us with their expertise in issues related to our task.


In line with our work during this next year, we will be producing the InvestEd newsletter on a quarterly basis. The next newsletter is scheduled for October. Webinars are on hold. However, if we offer a webinar, you will be notified via email. In the meantime, you may view any of our past webinars online.


The InvestEd Board of Directors looks forward to creating a stronger organization and returning in 2017 with the 10th InvestEd conference.




Questions? Contact InvestEd


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