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Can't Control my Schedule

Posted By: Donn from Omaha <>
Friday, 17 May 2002, at 3:58 p.m.

I'm looking for a part-time opportunity to develop and supplement my income when I retire. What I need is an all-hours source of business...a "doormat client" whose needs can be attended to at whatever hour of day (or night) my schedule permits.

The biggest obstacle is that I have virtually no control over my schedule; I'm a railroad brakeman who can be called to work at any hour of the day or night. I'm often away from home for several days at a stretch, and the only time I'm not on call is within the 10-hour rest-period after I finish a trip.

Furthermore, the hours when I am rested and free often come at a time not convenient to meeting and dealing with the public.

On the positive side, I do have a college degree (in Business Administration, some years ago), have read extensively, and am well-familiarized with both the Internet and various archival- and information-related enterprises.

I have, in the past, pursued a number of part-time opportunities, such as tax preparation, with moderate success, but I know my best opportunity would in a specialty without the constraints of an appointment book.



Posted By: Mel. White <>
Friday, 17 May 2002, at 8:45 p.m.

In Response To: Can't Control my Schedule (Donn from Omaha)

We're sort of in the same boat. One of the things I do (successfully) is what Patricia does: I buy stocks through BUYANDHOLD.COM

As long as you can check your account once a day to sell things that are dropping too fast or make good purchases and as long as you put (regularly) $20-$200 each month into the account, you can do well.

Particularly since you did accounting.

For stock picks, I use the stock pickers on or on I joined Motley Fool and track the stocks they recommend (I found Marketwatch wasn't that good since the reviewers tended to be VERY biased to one industry.)

Your chances of making money in the market (2-20%) are good. I've had months where I've done as well as 30% (for one month, of course.)

Stocks have these advantages:
* you can do them even when you're sick (unlike a business, when if you're not selling, you're not making income.)
* you can trade on your own schedule.
* you don't have to go sell something to someone.
* you've got an "insider knowledge" of one of the big industries (transportation) and would know what's hot and what's doing well. (I have this advantage with tech stuff.)
* it's interesting.
* no appointments or clients to please (THEY have to please YOU!)
* the failure rate is lower than the failure rate for MLM or regular business.
* do NOT get into trading futures or doing day trading.

It's not for everyone. I like the idea that I can come home, even if I'm dog-dead tired, and not have to try and sell something to someone. I just wave my orders at (another good one) or and go off and watch tv or do something that brings me in some more money.

If you go into it, decide how much to spend, and do research (and a practice portfolio) while you set up your account (takes a week or so.) But, frankly, I think it'll be a much better option for you than trying to sell something with your schedule being so spotty.

You've piqued my interest Mel.

Posted By: Joe Cooper <>
Friday, 17 May 2002, at 9:07 p.m.

In Response To: I do have a suggestion (Mel. White)

Sounds like you're "dollar cost averaging", in that you consistently deposit around the same amount into stocks on a regular basis, except for the fact that you sell when the market starts to dip. You said that it's possible to invest $20-$200 monthly and make some good side money. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you do it and how much I could conservatively expect to make by doing the type of research you do and investing the aforementioned amounts?
PS It sounds like you've got a pretty good system for investing. Have you considered taking what you've learned about investing and putting it into a little how-to booklet?

No, I'm not dollar cost averaging. That'd KILL you in this market!!

Posted By: Mel. White <>
Monday, 20 May 2002, at 4:19 p.m.

In Response To: You've piqued my interest Mel. (Joe Cooper)

Actually, even Motley Fool admitted it wasn't that good when you had as nasty a market as we've had. You could have been "dollar cost averaging" Enron, as many were.

Here's what I do (it's so simple it's dumb):

1) look at the chart. If it's whippy (bounces up and down lots), don't consider it. If it's sliding down, don't buy it. Yeah, you might be picking up a bargain, but as they say "it's not a good idea to try and catch a falling knife."

2) look at the financials. Are all the numbers (ROE ROI, etc) positive? If not, don't bother with it.

3) is the stock price sliding upward and has been going upward for 9 months or more? That's a 'consider buying it' stock.

4) Has the company reported a good last quarter? That means it might be a keeper.

5) Check it out on Quicken. Is it a relatively strong company for its sector and has it been outperforming its sector? Another mark of a keeper.

6) Does it pay a dividend? Woo hoo -- all that and the above and it's a keeper.

I put the "keepers" in a practice portfolio and when one of my stocks starts to have a bad month, I sell it and replace it with a keeper (after rechecking to see that nothing's changed.)

Once the profit hits 25%, sell the darling to lock in the profits. If you still like it, wait till it has a downish day and rebuy it.

Set a "sell" limit... no matter HOW much you like it. If it drops more than 20%, get your money out and put it elsewhere. Then when it goes back up you can buy again.

You're permitted to have one "pity buy" as long as you don't spend too much on it. My favorite "pity buy" is Palm (I own several and love them). Now... I've made money on Palm, buying when it hits about $2.50 (it wibbles lotss) and selling when it reaches $3.00. $60 worth of stock at $2.50/share can make a nice little piece of change at $3 or $3.50.

(g) There are so many gurus out there who do this, that I don't see what I'm doing as real magic. Some of them have more successful portfolios. I'm just a small time investor making money that the big guys would scoff at... but it's a pretty painless way of investing. Currently my best performing stocks are OHB, RTN, YUM, and VAL. YUM's performed consistantly well for about a year. A former "star" was AWK, which has done poorly in recent times, and which I did sell for a VERY tiny profit.

Youíve got a heck of a lot more sense than most!!

Posted By: Bill
Tuesday, 21 May 2002, at 7:38 a.m.

In Response To: No, I'm not dollar cost averaging. That'd KILL you in this market!! (Mel. White)

Thank you for the detailed response, Mel. You betcha that dollar cost averaging would've killed ya in the past 12 months! Your approach makes a lot more sense and it's much safer. Even though you refer to yourself as a small time investor, I can tell you, as a licensed Series 7 & 63 stockbroker myself, you've got a heck of a lot more knowledge than some of the folks you've got a heck of a lot more knowledge than some of the folks I've worked with, who have all the fancy titles on their business card. Nice job and thanks for sharing!

Mel, Do You Set Any Stop-Losses???

Posted By: Bob Henry <>
Tuesday, 21 May 2002, at 2:35 p.m.

In Response To: No, I'm not dollar cost averaging. That'd KILL you in this market!! (Mel. White)

Mel, I'm interested in learning more about your investment methods. Do you
set any stop losses just in case the market suddenly moves against you?