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The following links are fantastic financial market related sites from which you can manage your own market portfolios and obtain mutual fund and stock quotes for free.

Free Internet Portfolio management and quote server sites:

Quicken's site is a must for anyone on the internet who happens to invest in bonds or equities. This fantastic free site offers users the ability to design their own customized portfolio. Just enter in the ticker symbol, total dollar investment, and total number of current shares owned. Next, just click submit and it will calculate your average cost per share, tell you the number of shares you own along with the current share price, calculate the change in price throughout the day for a stock in dollar value as well as a percentage, tell you the current value of your investment, tell you the total gain or total loss on the investment, and calculate the gain or loss as a percentage. It then totals up all the values and gives you an overall view of your portfolio including percentage gains or losses all for FREE! Just register yourself at this site in order to get your own login and password for free.

Free Online Checking / Billpayment

Netbank has fantastic free online checking with free online billpayment services. You won't find many online banks with as many benefits and no monthly fee with no monthly minimum as you will with NetBank.

Online Trading

E*TRADE Securities ($14.95 per trade)
Etrade Securities is a publicly traded company on nasdaq (ticker=EGRP). All NYSE trades are $14.95 no matter how large your trade is. All NASDAQ trades are $19.95 no matter how large the trades are. Option trading is also very cheap. Using Etrade, an investor places his/her own trades and can even specify limit orders for only $19.95.

Get Those Taxes Done!
Use Secure Tax to figure out your taxes and file them electronically for only $9.95! Prepare your federal and state tax return online or electronically file for an extension (Form 4868) for free.

Investment Advice:

Many consumers ask us what they should invest their savings in so that they may earn a high degree of interest yet have an average to low amount of risk. Although Consumer Group USA disclaims any responsibility to such advice, we currently advise investing in a diversified mutual fund. According to research done by Vanguard over the last decade, only one out of every nine funds beat Vanguard's S&P 500 index fund by a significant amount (greater than 2%). Therefore, according to Vanguard, a consumer has a one and nine chance of picking a mutual fund which will outperform the S&P 500 index. Most funds which do outperform the S&P 500 happen to be "sector funds." Sector funds which outperform the S&P 500 can be technology related one year and then be the transportation sector the next year. If a consumer cannot predict which sector will out perform the rest of the market on an ongoing continuous basis, the consumer would most likely be best joining the market. As the saying goes: "If you can't beat them, join them."

Two fantastic funds which "join the market" and have no loads and very low yearly maintenance fees are Vanguard's Index Trust - 500 Portfolio (ticker = VFINX)and Vanguard's Index Trust - Total Stock Market Portfolio (ticker = VTSMX). One way in which we calculate risk on a particular investment is by assigning the investment a "beta" value. The beta itself is a coefficient of a regression analysis. Regression analysis is a mathematical tool that allows us to say if A is related to B then what is the relationship and how reliable is it. The beta of a stock tells us how the performance of that stock is related to the performance of its associated index. A beta value greater than 1 would be considered more volatile than the index it is related to. A beta value less than 1 would be considered less volatile than the index it is related to. Most investors do not invest in the "market" in this fashion and are often investing in investments which are more volatile than the than the index they are related to. The Vanguard S&P index has a beta = 1 since its associated index is the S&P itself.    The Vanguard total market index (VTSMX) may have a betal < 1 since Morningstar associates this funds beta with the S&P index rather than the Wilshire 5000 (which it should be associated with)."   Although most diversified mutual funds are relatively low risk in comparison to investing in single stocks, the Vanguard index funds below are relatively low ("average") risk in comparison to many other diversified mutual funds.

So go get yourself a free IRA account and start investing cheaply, wisely, and compound your interest through an IRA's tax deferred benefits. If you feel you do not want to tie your money up until you are 59.5 years old then at least go get yourself a free normal account with a reputable company like Vanguard and start earning what the rest of the market earns on their savings! It will add up!
By the way, brokers will typically not recommend these Vanguard index funds due to the fact that they earn relatively no commissions on your purchase of these funds. They will typically attempt to try to sell their customers on other portfolios / mutual funds which pay much higher commissions to the broker and include high front end or back end loads along with higher recurring mainteance fees. To avoid these high brokerage fees, simply open an account with Vanguard (or any no-load fund) directly at the fund. You can call Vanguard directly to have them send you information at: 1-800-662-7447.

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