Tuesday bits: Give the Gift of College, How to Pick Stock Market Winners, Disney World Discounts and Tips

Give the gift of college

Every morning, rain or shine, my wife and I go out for a walk. We meet lots of very nice neighbors and have discussions about a variety of topics. Naturally at this time of the year, the conversation involves gift giving. My wife was suggesting to several of our retired neighbors that they open investment accounts for their grandchildren. She pointed out that you could become a millionaire on just $10 a day. So grandparents, or anyone for that matter, could open an account for the grand kids and then deposit $3,650 — that’s $10 a day — into those accounts every years. After 40 years, the kids will be millionaires.

My wife pushed the idea suggesting that this was such a better idea than giving the kids toys which after a few months (if not weeks) they will be done with. The retirees thought that they’d rather buy toys for the kids. My wife pushed a bit further suggesting that they could deposit some amount of cash — whatever they could — into an account for the grand kids. However, she could tell, her suggestions were falling on deaf ears.

If you have grand kids, I can’t think of a nicer gift than money for their future. Looking for a baby gift that keeps on giving? Gift of College, an online registry for 529 plans and student loan accounts, lets you contribute to a child’s college education with gift cards for 529 college savings plans. Find the cards at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in amounts ranging from $25 to $500, plus a service fee, or buy them online for amounts up to $300. (Kiplinger)

How to Pick Winners in the Stock Market

How to pick stock market winners? Spoiler alert: you probably can’t.

Every year around this time of the year, you start seeing articles with headlines line “Top 10 Stocks For 2017” or whatever “next year” is. My suggestion is to ignore these articles. Can you determine which stocks will outperform next year? I suspect you can’t

Eric Crittenden and Cole Wilcox, formerly of Blackstar Funds, performed a study. They looked at every company in the Russell 3000 from 1983 to 2006. They found that 64 percent of its component stocks under-performed the broad Russell 3000 index over that period. Under-performance is a bit of an understatement here — over those 23 years, 4 in 10 stocks (39 percent) were unprofitable.

It turns out that index’ performance is driven by a very small number of holdings. The entire performance of the index was driven by just 25 percent of its members.

What are the odds that a very short list of say 10 stocks will have any of those winners? It’s fair to say about 1 in 4. Now what are the odds of the list being over-represented with those outperforming names? Once you understand how a small number of stocks are driving broader indexes, it is easy to see why it is so challenging to pick out those names.

Stick with the indices. While you won’t be able to outperform the index — you would be holding the index, so short of buying or selling to try to time the market, your portfolio’s performance would be right in line with the market’s performance. wouldn’t you rather have your portfolio perform as well or as poorly as the market instead of trying to pick ten stocks which might outperform the market? Chances are, your stocking picking prowess or the prognosticator who wrote the article will be under-performing the market if you try to pick a handful of winners. (Washington Post)

How to get Discounts at Disney World

Search for Disney World’s Special Offers and Deals. The biggest discounts are between the winter holidays and spring break.

Here’s an easy way to save 3% on your Disney vacation. Use your Costco VISA card at Disney. This card gives you  3% cash back on travel and dining. While on the Disney property, charge everything to your MagicBand. Your MagicBand will charge all of your expenses to you room account, which in turn is charged to your credit card as a hotel expense.



The Echo Dot is on sale

Normally $49, now just $39… Makes a great stocking stuffer. One review on Amazon writes:

Having worked in the electronics retail industry for years now, I’ve seen scores of Smart devices come and go. Until now, nobody quite got it right. In the Echo Dot, Amazon has created a near perfect blend of hardware and software.


Your router can’t do this – Get $50 off right now

WiFi setup is the worst. You know it. We know it. With eero, simply download the app and plug one eero directly into your existing cable or DSL modem. The app takes it from there, prompting you to create a network name and password. Personality encouraged.

Additional eeros just need power from a wall outlet. The app will help guide you where to place them to maximize their connection. You can add as many as you need to cover your home. Powered by advanced TrueMesh™ technology, they automatically connect to each other wirelessly. If you have Ethernet wiring, you can hardwire some or all of your eeros. eero will intelligently determine whether to send data over Ethernet or through the air.

In time for the holidays you can get $50 off an eero, the best-reviewed wifi system on the market. (talkable.com)



Amazon Fire Tablet just $39

Fast and responsive

The fast quad-core processor consists of four high-performance 1.3 GHz cores for quick app launches, smooth games and videos, and great overall performance.

Beautiful 7” IPS display

Fire features a 1024 x 600 IPS display with 171 ppi for a bright display with vivid colors and whiter whites. Enjoy a great viewing experience at all angles through a combination of IPS (in-plane switching) technology and an advanced polarizing filter.

No more worrying about storage space

Keep photos, movies, and compatible apps and games with you using a microSD card slot to expand your tablet’s storage by up to 200 GB. Plus enjoy free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content and photos taken with your Fire device.

Power when you need it

Don’t be tethered to an outlet—with up to 7 hours of mixed use battery life, Fire gives you the flexibility to go wherever the day takes you.

Capture life’s moments

Fire features a 2 MP rear-facing camera for taking photos or recording 720p HD video. The front-facing VGA camera is perfect for Skype calls with friends and family.

Stands up to everyday life

Amazon engineers Fire tablets to hold up against everyday life. As measured in tumble tests, Fire is almost 2x more durable than iPad Mini 4.

The Amazon Fire 7″ Tablet is just $39.99 at the moment. (amazon.com)



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