The Weekly Investment

Dividend Investing

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Roth IRA Conversion Ladder

I read some recent blog posts about something called a Roth Conversion Ladder on the Dividend Diplomats and Mad Fientist websites and I think I am going to try this investment method.

I have limited knowledge on the subject so I plan to research further but understand that the Roth Conversion Ladder basically allows access to the money placed in pre tax accounts BEFORE age 59 1/2.

I began contributing the full $18,000 into my 403b account in 2013 but then at the beginning of this year, 2016, decided to forgo adding the maximum contribution limit so that I could concentrate building up my dividend investments in my brokerage account.  The reason for my decision to stop maxing out my 403b was because I wanted to be able to access my money before 59 1/2 because my plan is to retire EARLY.

I felt hesitant about ignoring my 403b since contributing to it allows me to pay less taxes.  I actually felt guilty about not taking advantage of this benefit.  But with the recent information I have learned about the Roth Conversion, thanks to fellow bloggers, I think this is a good decision.  And if I decide that I do not like it, I can always change.

Staring at the Future Point Blank

This has also been a beneficial revelation because it has forced me to really think about when I can realistically retire.  In recent months I have been quite burned out so I am more than ready to retire early but retiring now is unrealistic.  However I do have some help!  My brokerage account has now been built up enough to almost pay my monthly bills through its dividend payouts! 🙂  Because of these payouts I now have a money cushion upon which I can rely in case of emergencies.  I believe that these payouts are giving me the flexibility to pursue new methods such as the Roth Conversion Ladder, which, according to Mad Fientist’s analysis, is a good choice since I will save more money through a pre tax account than solely saving in a taxable account.

As of today my portfolio has grown roughly $38,000 since the beginning of the year.  I hope to see these types of returns with my 403b but if I am unhappy with the decision I can always revert to just focusing on dividend investing if I choose.

Target Retirement Age

Since I have been forced to really think about when I want to retire, I have finally come upon an age, which is… 50!  Unfortunately this means that I have to face the fact that I will be 50 someday.  I felt a feeling of dread when I decided upon this age because it is not a pleasant thought; I believe this might be a reason why a lot of people avoid retirement planning because they do not like to face the fact that they will be 50, or 60, someday.

I really do not like thinking about getting older.  I fight it with every fiber of my being, it is not pleasant, and is a hard pill to swallow, but it has to be acknowledged otherwise I cannot plan accordingly.  I think that it would be less painful to plan for retirement if I retired in my 30’s but honestly I did not even like to think about turning 40 when I was 30.  I do not think anyone likes to get older.  Before the age of 40 a person’s assets are in their youth, after the age of 40 a persons assets are in the good choices that they made in their youth.  Through this endeavor I hope to invest in, as I begrudgingly consider, the 50 year old future me.

I originally wanted to retire before 50 because I wanted to spend more time doing the things I like instead of working.  In reality I do not think this would be a good idea.  If I can make more money now, then I think it is wise to do so.  Fortunately, I was able to recently lower my working hours to 32 hours per week, so, in a way, I am now… partially retired! 🙂

I believe that working 40 hours versus 32 will help me feel better, as if life is not being stolen from me, and give me more flexibility.  This is a win-win situation because I will still be making enough income to max out my 403b and also add to my brokerage.

Income Allotment Plans

For the year 2016 I made a goal to add $24,000 to my portfolio annually.  I will not be able to add $24,00 to my brokerage annually and at the same time max out my 403b, especially since I decreased my work hours.  If my calculations are correct I would only be left with $1200 for living expenses for the entire year.  I have added about $19,000 to my portfolio so far this year so I think I will meet my $24,000 goal in 2016 but I still need to add around $14,000 to my 403b. :\  Luckily it is July so I still have time. At this point in time my Roth Conversion plan is a work in progress and we will see how it goes…

These are some pictures I took on a recent trip.  I was checking out some damage from a tornado and the tornado’s path led me to this small town near my city that is known for lots of antique shops but I did not know that it also has a lot of old houses and buildings from the late 1700’s!


















July 1, 2016 Net Worth Update

The most wonderful part of summer is the sun.  It is very high in the sky this time of year.  I get to see this sun set behind my townhouse every summer through October.  It is absolutely glorious and I still have September to look forward to.  I do not get to see enough of these beautiful skies because I am usually busy working. Staying on my patio to witness the sunset is something that I plan to do all the time once I am partially and/or retired.  If I ever move I will always make sure to have a large living area facing the west.  To me this is like vacation everyday and it is absolutely free.  Not only do I get to view the beautiful sky but I also have an assortment of songbirds and flowers in my yard.  The birds that I often see are cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, finches, hummingbirds,  a tufted titmouse, sparrows, downy woodpeckers, gold finches, and red bellied wood peckers.  They make great neighbors.  The astonishing fact about all of this is that it takes place in a busy city.  I feel like a queen with this beauty and am thrilled that, for most part, it is free, and I don’t need to take a costly vacation to enjoy it.  I am not opposed to vacations but the need to go on vacation is not as urgent as it once was because my perspective has changed and I have learned to open my eyes to the gifted paradise in my own backyard.



And the splendor is not limited to the daytime.  At this present time I am able to see Mars and Jupiter nightly, all from my backyard.  All of this beauty is almost too much for me to bear.  I recently downloaded an app called “Star Tracker”.  It pinpoints your location and tracks the sun’s path through the sky, the location of the moon, the horizon, and all of the stars, planets, and galaxies in between, giving a glimpse of my neighbors in the heavens.  It also indicates the direction that you are facing.  From what I have observed it is accurate.

I have been recording my net worth and dividends monthly.  My dividends have increased steadily from last year.  I am elated to see that my dividends have begun averaging around $450.00 per month.  This is exciting because my bills total $570.00 per month.  The amount of my dividends almost covers my bills and I feel like a millionaire because of this.  The interesting thing is that my total dividend income for the year 2016 is $2399.54.  $2399.54 does not seem like a lot of money to me, I almost felt let down when I calculated this total.  But when I look at the earnings from the perspective of monthly income it seems to have more value.  I am still happily mulling over this paradox because it is fascinating.  I believe it has something to do with the power of passive income.  Oh… I  almost forgot to mention that my net worth rose $5327.12.  I feel very fortunate.  I realize that net worth is a tool that can be used to evaluate one’s overall financial health.  As I continue in this journey I find myself not focusing on net worth but my passive income generated through monthly dividend earnings.  These dividends are priceless.

Another striking observation that I have made is the stock market’s increase since the beginning of 2016.  Looking at the increase of my stocks monthly since January 2016, it is evident that my  brokerage account has increased $34,591.23 since January.  I have added $19,569.47 since the beginning of the year.  The stock market was down in January so the market’s gains has helped to almost double the new money I added.  I have never seen this amount of return on anything that I have invested.  Having a decent savings rate has helped so I have decided to continue to forgo adding to my 403b since most of my savings goes straight into my portfolio.  Monitoring the monthly change in my portfolio’s value and tracking monthly dividend increases has created a completely new dimension of financial tracking.  The crux of the matter is no longer just about saving up a big pile of cash.

These are some of the things I did in June.  Some of the pictures were taken on June 21.

The sailboat below was so cool.  🙂

Have a great July!














June 1, 2016 Net Worth Update


Hello, June is finally here and with it is warm weather and sunny blue skies. 🙂  I was able to maintain my goal of adding $2000.00 to my brokerage account in May and my net worth rose $4504.46.  Most importantly, my dividends for the month of May totaled $423.04!  It is still hard to believe.  I also found out some very good news.  I am able to transfer dividends from my Roth into my brokerage as long as the amount does not cut into the original amount that I added, which will never happen!  This is good news because I did not factor in my Roth dividends to help pay my monthly bills since I thought I had to wait until age 65 to access them.  But this is not true.  And even more exciting is the fact that my bills, excluding food and gas, total $570.00 per month!

I have also happened upon  my own little mantra where I state “This is part of my early retirement scheme”, whenever I buy a new appliance, attempt adjustments to my work schedule, research new ways to live frugally, or just about any other life decision.  I do this because I am so focused upon retiring early that I have subconsciously developed a “retirement nesting instinct” that guides me in the direction that will be the most likely to feather my nest comfortably.

From this point forward I believe that the more expensive financial decisions that I make will, for the most part, be some of my last since I will be living on a fixed and lower income in partial retirement.  Because of this I am attempting to work hard and purchase what I call “Large Ticket Items”, while I am still working.  A few items I will need to buy before partial or full retirement are a digital camera, dishwasher, refrigerator, window treatments, floor repair,  and hardware for my kitchen.  These items do not seem too unreasonable but they are a big deal to me and I struggle with purchasing them because I would much rather purchase dividend stocks.  But I need to have the items under my belt before retiring.  I speak of retiring somewhat nonchalantly, as though I could retire tomorrow.  I know I only have a very small dividend income stream but my survival instinct is kicking in telling me that I WILL retire soon, it is not even a question any more, I just will, I have to.  My experience has taught me that working for an employer past the age of 40 is a bad idea.  I am 42 and so thankful for my job but the daily grind is more challenging after 40!  My advice to most people would be to  avoid the daily grind after 40 if at all possible.  I am not opposed to working, just working a 9-5 because, being over 40, I fight the physical demands everyday.  I would also much rather spend time at my house.  I have endless tasks to  keep me busy there.

Over the past week I have been purchasing more items than I usual since I do not like to accumulate stuff.  When I retire early I realize I may not have the funds to allow me to travel so I am setting up my townhouse area as nicely as I can in order

to give it a “vacation like” feel.  I am a new homeowner so this is all new to me.  Some of my purchases include a 7.5 foot sky blue patio umbrella, numerous flowers, a bird feeder, and patio lights!  I also gave in and purchased a Roomba 650 which is one of the best decisions that I have made.  The Roomba cost $374 but with a few discounts I paid $320, I hope it lasts me for the rest of my life.

So what do you think?  Am I creating the “vacation like” atmosphere?  🙂  Let me know… have a good day!







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Light at the end of the tunnel.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I recently found out that I will be able to decrease my work hours to 32 hours per week.  This is really good news and could not have occurred at a better time because I was beginning to realize that I may have been experiencing burnout.  I like my field of work but full time was beginning to work against me.

I purchased my townhouse in August of 2015, nine months ago.  It has a small yard that is just large enough for me to manage.  The landscaping is handled by an outside company so I do not have to spend my precious time with its upkeep.

I believe that my decreased work hours will enable me to strike out on some projects that I want to start at the townhouse.  I am looking forward to this because this is the first time that I have owned a property.  For many years I scraped and saved with the goal of saving for a house to purchase in full or by placing a large down payment and taking out a loan.  I knew the latter would be challenging since I never owned a credit card and did not have a credit score.  I applied for a few credit cards to establish credit but was always turned down.

When I landed my new job after graduating from college for the second time in 2002 I was 28 years old and lived in a 350 square foot apartment and slept on an air mattress.  I did not purchase a washer and dryer until I was 36.  I did not have any furniture.  I just worked and saved, worked and saved, and in my free time went outdoors.  The area in which I lived was a beautiful area, full a rolling green hills, fresh air, lots of space, and hillier areas for hiking and biking.  I purchased my first laptop and digital camera during this time. Android phones were not yet on the market.  Everyday was a struggle but I felt great.  I was in my 30’s, I felt healthy and had lots of energy and vitality.  I could also eat whatever I wanted and did not have to be as careful as I am now, in my forties, with every little thing I do.  If I had a bad day I could sleep it off and the next day feel 100% again.  Because I wanted to remember this phase of my life I took numerous pictures of the local and long distance trips I took to the mountains and beaches of North Carolina.  They were my visual memories and I placed a high value on them.

I was not fervently investing during this time period but had been a saver for most of my life.  Five and half years after getting my new job I moved to another city after acquiring another job in the same field.  I was leaving a small college town that I really enjoyed.  It was full of studious college students and nice, friendly locals.  Looking back I think that residing in this upbeat and dynamic area sheltered me from the problems associated with larger cities.

I moved to another city, a small town that was just outside a larger city.   The apartment from which I moved, in the college town, was 350 sq. feet and $350.00  per month rent.  The walls were thin but it was clean and I did not have any trouble while living there.  I moved in January 2008.  The new apartment’s rent payment was the cheapest I could find, $500.00 per month.

For some reason I  did not realize that the new apartment was dirty and grimy until settling in.  I really did not like the new apartment but felt stuck.  Spots could be seen on the carpet and there was unpleasant smell that I have noticed in various apartment complexes..  It was a small town so I assumed it would be like the small college town I left.  This could not be farther from the truth.  I felt uneasy at this place.  People seemed to wander the streets at midday with no direction, they could not have been working because they were wearing sweatpants.  Why weren’t they working?  It quickly dawned on me that this was not like the town from which I moved.  I believe that I experienced culture shock.  And yet I was paying more money to live in a shabbier place.  In order to find a rent payment comparable to my previous rent payment I would have had to qualify for subsidized housing.  But I was determined to save as much money as I could so I decided to stay where I was because a nicer place would have cost $800 to $1000.  At that point in time I had a mattress set so I did not have to sleep on an air mattress but I had little to no furniture, just two bar stools and boxes full of items, and I was 34 years old.  I think my net worth might have been $90,000?

Looking back I can recall how difficult the situation was.  I returned to school in 2001 in order to obtain a higher paying job.  So the furniture that I owned up to that point had to be stored away and eventually given away after I returned to college.  It was pointless for me to try to set up house with insufficient financial earnings. My return to college took place in my late twenties; I still had the vital energy and stamina of one’s twenties to rely upon and it helped to power me through.

So by the time I was 34 I was still trying to set up house but it still eluded me.  The dreadful apartment smell affected my clothes so that I had to be careful how I stored them.  I had to drag them to the laundromat weekly.

One night I returned home and noticed that a hallway closet door was open.  I was alarmed because I never used the closet, most of my items were stored in boxes… a chill ran down my spine and I new something was wrong buy quickly made myself forgot about it.

After settling in for the night I reached for my camera to view pictures from a recent trip to the beach.  “Oh where is my camera,” I wondered.   I kept looking, and looking, and then the chill returned and a very loud and clear voice stated, “You know your camera was stolen, you know that it happened, it was stolen when they broke in!”  I brushed off the voice because there was no way that someone broke into my apartment.  Why would someone ever want to break into my apartment?  I had nothing!  No one ever bothered me.

Scanning my bedroom, I saw my laptop.  I thought, “If they broke in, they would have stolen my laptop, but the laptop is here, so no one broke in!”  But as I searched, with my heart racing and mind screaming,  under my bed, in the kitchen, on the countertops, and in the bathroom, and was still unable to locate my camera, the clear voice rang out, directly at me, announcing, “You know they took it, it is gone!  They took it, your camera is gone!” “They took it!”  “Your camera is gone forever!”  “The pictures you cherish are gone!” “Can you believe they did it?”  “Aren’t you mad?”  I was furious but contained myself because I was afraid I would lose control which would be futile.   It continued:  “This is the reason why your closet door was open, they were in here just before you returned home, they were looking for things to steal!”  “You just missed them, it is true!”   This was a direct voice that I had heard deep in my gut and was impossible to ignore.

Somehow I managed to get to sleep that night.  As the days wore on I never recovered my camera but managed to talk myself out of the belief that someone burglarized my apartment.  I could not grasp this possibility and decided to ignore it, unable to accept the fact that someone could have broke in.  Besides, my laptop was not stolen.  I came to the conclusion that I accidentally threw the camera away.

One night, several weeks after my camera went missing, I  woke up from a startling dream.  I was in my apartment and heard people moving towards me.  I knew they were dangerous.  The group was in single file and they had a leader.  When the group reached me the leader of the group grabbed me and then reached down and took out a very long and shiny knife, I could see the knife and knew what was coming, he then stuck it right into my side.  I could feel the emotional effects of this event, I was really hurt, something was taken from me, I was pierced.  I woke up immediately and still had the leader’s general appearance fresh in my mind and remember it to this day.

The Trouble that Others Cause

I woke up one day early before work.  I had to do laundry.  I still did not own a washer and dryer so I had to make a trip to the laundromat.  As I left my apartment I noticed several of my neighbors outside.  It was Friday and they seemed to be looking forward to the weekend, they were being loud.

I finished my laundry early so I was able to go jogging before getting ready for work.  I took my laundry home and got ready to go to the park.  I would try to jog before work as much as possible.  It was a nice day in September.  I jogged for about thirty minutes and returned home to get ready for work. My neighbors were gone and it was very silent when I returned from the park.  As soon as I stepped into my apartment I noticed that my kitchen’s ceiling light was turned on.  At that moment I knew something was wrong because I never turn the kitchen light on, it is a fluorescent light and I do not like the light it produces.  Some of my kitchen cabinets were open as well.  I had a very bad feeling. I ran to my bedroom and saw that my laptop was gone.  My heart was racing and it was undoubtedly true this time, someone had just broke into my apartment, it occurred while I was at the park.  I was certain this time, they took everything, I had a jar of coins on my kitchen counter, they were gone, and my flute was gone.  They took almost everything I had, it was not much, but it was all gone.

I called the police.  The officer seemed to think they climbed up a tree and got through my patio window.  He also suspected my neighbors, the loud ones, because he “knew” them.  I was so angry but most of all pierced with grief because my computer laden with pictures  from the past five years that I treasured were gone.  They just took them.  I was so angry I felt sick.  I ran outside but it was eerily quiet, everyone was gone.  They broke into my apartment that day after seeing me leave for the park and took my most valued possession.

Here I was slaving at work, day after day, minding my own business.  I had goals and stuck to them, not deterred, looking straight ahead, focused upon the goal and little else.  I was determined to purchase a house.  But I realized there are other forces at work in the world.  These people do not work but they are predators who sit, at home, watching.  They watch their neighbors especially, since they are nearby and easily accessible.  They saw me leave everyday and return and I am certain they learned my patterns and decided to steal everything I owned.  Looking back I remember times, when I returned from work, where I would see my neighbor open her door when I reached the stairs to go to my apartment.  She would open her door, look at me, and then slam her door shut.  I think she was watching me.  I know she was and I think I must have somehow sensed it.  I also recall the dream that I had of being stabbed, I felt, after being burglarized the second time, that I had been stabbed, I was pierced with pain and grief from the loss.  After it all happened I realized that the leader of the group resembled my neighbor’s boyfriend who I saw outside being very loud on that Friday.  I am certain that he climbed up my side tree and got through my patio door as the officer suggested, using a backpack to collect items.  The coincidences kept adding up, one day I passed by me neighbors apartment and saw a full backpack on her patio…

I believe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  These “neighbors” moved in shortly after I moved in.  If they were not there I think I would have been left alone. After all of this happened I began to piece together the things that happened to me after I moved into that apartment. I have no explanation for it other than that something was trying to tell me something. In my case it seems to try to tell me through vivid dreams that leave deep impressions.

One day, soon after I moved in, I awoke from a dream. In the dream I woke up but was actually still dreaming. I woke up and walked to my kitchen and living area, in this area was also the patio door. Looking at the patio door I saw someone with a beard looking at me through the patio door. He did not break in but was standing on my patio with the left side of his face looking at me through the glass. He had a dark beard and I remember the way his face appeared through the glass, with the left eye peering at me. I woke up from this dream rather startled and walked to my door. My dream was very vivid, appearing just as it did in waking life. I eventually calmed down from that dream, but was surprisingly shook up with my heart racing. This occurred before the burglars moved in.

So I was piecing together these odd occurrences that happened to me. The last episode that I reflected upon occurred at the park where I often jogged. This was not a dream but happened in real life. I went jogging one day before work, shortly before they broke in. After jogging I sat down to stretch and heard someone pull up in a truck and park behind my car, I was seated in the grass next to my car. It was a spacious park so the driver had numerous areas in which to park, it was early in the day and was not crowded and I wondered why he parked next to me. I am not a paranoid person, seeing trouble lurking in every corner, but even I was annoyed that someone would park that close to me without even leaving his car, he just sat inside. I was trying to stretch but was a little freaked out by this apparent lurker. So after about twenty minutes I decided to leave. I got in my car and left. As I left, the driver of the truck started his car too!  I was very aggravated by that he decided to leave when I left. The park’s road had a loop and I drove clockwise around the loop. The driver of the truck drove opposite of me and as I neared the park’s exit the driver of the truck met up with me and got in front of me. This was very strange. But as I drove behind the truck, my eyes noted the driver’s side mirror, I could see the driver’s reflection in the mirror, I could see the left side of his face, he had a black beard and dark hair and I could see his left eye…

Not to sound like I am sensationalizing my experience in that town, but I believe I was being watched, and I also believe there was some sort of criminal activity going on there. Relatives of mine who visited the area even said they thought the small town was strange. I believe that my neighbors had been watching me and I believe they were working with other like minded individuals in the area. I also believe I was being watched in the park that day and that the dream I had where the man was standing on my patio was a forewarning of what was to come. As the truck drove in front of me out of the park that day, he pulled into an apartment complex area that I looked into moving to but decided against it because of the bad vibe I picked up from it. I spoke to the manager of the complex and experienced a sinking feeling after speaking with him. I knew it was a bad area, the vibe I got from this experience made me wonder if I would have cameras planted in my apartment. It was very strange. I think there were very shady things going on there, everything came full circle.

Two months after they broke in I moved out of there, strangely enough the burglars moved out about a month before I did! I found a place near one of my friends with comparable rent. The dreams ceased. The odd thing about the 1.75 years that I spent at that apartment was the noticeable succession of dreams I dreamt with so many connections to other dreams and real life experiences. I still experience very vivid dreams today but have never experienced them with a woven purpose like I did during 2008-2009. Nowadays I am more aware of my surroundings and try to keep valuables limited since I know that they can be quickly stolen. I also really miss my pictures and memories I cherished from a decade ago but have moved on and am happy to have achieved my goal of purchasing a house.







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Dividend Capture

Because of my newfound interest in dividends, by the beginning of 2015 I was seeking to learn more information about dividend investing.  By researching I discovered an investment technique called “dividend capture”.  The technique involves purchasing a stock before its ex dividend date and selling it after receiving the dividend payout, usually a month after the ex dividend date.  In theory, a profit is earned by capturing the dividend.  Dividends can be captured weekly, or even daily, and become a source of passive income.  I liked the idea of marking the payout dates on my calendar because it is a visual reminder that I will receive multiple paychecks throughout the week.

I was able to immediately start dividend investing because most of my income was saved in savings accounts.  The bulk of my income was not in a 401k or 403b because I wanted to keep my income freed up in hopes of someday purchasing a home in full with cash.

On March 16, 2015 I purchased my first stock in my attempt to test the profit earnings of dividend capture.  I would purchase the stock before the ex dividend date and sell after the dividend was received.  I ended up purchasing a stock called White Horse Financial because it had a yield of 9.5%.  I spent $990.89, $12.77 per share, including a $7.95 commission, and waited to see if I could come out ahead.

WHF’s stock price dropped below my purchase price on the ex dividend date.  I was aware that this would happen through my research; the company adjusts the stock price downward to pay the dividend.  I wondered if the stock price would meet or exceed my original purchase price of 12.77 per share immediately after the dividend was paid out?

The dividend payout occurred on April 3, 2015.   The dividend was $7.34.  WHF’s stock price on April 6, 2015 was $12.67.  If I had sold at that time I would have received $967.64, this value includes the $7.95 selling commission.  If I had sold I would have sold at a loss of $23.25.  Selling at a loss was unacceptable.  I realized I could have held onto the stock until the price increased above $12.77 per share but did not want to hold onto the stock since holding onto it would tie up the money that I could be placing into fresh stocks with imminent ex dividend dates.

What I learned through my experiment with dividend capture:

#1  Commissions eat away at the profit that could be earned through dividend capture.  In my case the commissions alone cost $15.90.

#2  The stock price falls on the ex dividend date.  The price drop  will prolong selling the stock for a couple of months.  This delay disrupts the technique since holding onto capital diminishes the purchase of new stocks to fuel the next cycle of dividend payouts.

#3  I realized I could just hold onto the stock and avoid a second commission and receive the next quarter’s dividend payout…

I did not sell the stock and still have it to this day.  I was beginning to doubt the profitability of dividend capture but my enthusiasm about dividends did not wane.   I was continuing to research and was not deterred but still had more to learn.



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Investment Beginning

I began investing in 1999 when I was 26 years old and worked for a temporary agency.

During that time I often listened to a financial radio program hosted by Bruce Williams who consistently recommended opening a new form of IRA called a Roth IRA because of its tax free benefits. I decided to open an account.

The maximum annual contribution in 1999 was $2000.00. I saved and readied the maximum amount for investing with a nearby broker.  The process was very exciting: planning, selecting a broker, calling, making an appointment, and leaving work to go to the appointment. A moment in time on a cool autumn afternoon remembered to this day.

I was looking forward to opening my Roth IRA. I believed it was a wise decision because I was starting at an early age which would give the investment many years to grow.  Surprisingly, after being seated and speaking with the broker, I quickly grew uncomfortable towards the idea of having someone else involved with my investments plus paying them a fee. The question bore down on me, “Why is a middleman necessary?” I was under the impression that in order to invest one must go through a broker.

Ironically, I was working temporarily at Fidelity Investments. Because of my apprehension during the appointment I began to consider other ways to open an IRA. Knowing little about investing basics, I relied upon my gut instinct, suspecting that Fidelity might possibly provide a more suitable service. This hope alleviated the acute unease that I felt and I told the broker I would forgo opening an account. Later, after a short amount of research, I confirmed that the correct decision had been made. I discovered that investing with Fidelity would enable me to deposit my money directly into my account and manage solely the decisions and transactions of the account.

Having direct control over my future investments, with no middleman, was the best decision for me. I believe my intuition served me well. Looking back, I recall the broker suggested that I start my new account with an investment in a small airline company. The recommended company shut down in 2012. It is understandable that this is the risk one takes when investing but I preferred facing the risk solely on my own.