Hello! *Lots* of great questions this week so I’m going to dive right in (after thanking you very much for voting for your favorite new logo. THANK YOU! It will be making an appearance very soon…):

First, Daniel asks,

Hello, Thanks for the great blog. I want to make the most out of 2012 as well. So here I am, brand new and have no idea how to even start. I assume that if I plan to buy stocks, bonds, etc I have to find a broker. How do I go about that. Maybe that would make a good article someday. Thanks.

Hi Daniel, first of all, congratulations on deciding to make the most out of 2012! And yes, I can definitely write a blog post on how to find a broker—that’s a great topic and one I would love to tackle (actually that’s several great topics…full-service versus discount brokers, “specialized” brokers for various asset classes, etc.).

I personally have multiple accounts at different institutions and they each serve different purposes (plus they diversify my holdings among different institutions and countries which is great). For stock trading in the U.S. I like TD Ameritrade, although I also use Wells Fargo, but there are several great options available and I will happily discuss them in an upcoming post (they each have their plusses and minuses).

For now, though, if you are just starting out, I would recommend first coming up with your plan. In fact, that is a great way to kick off the new year and we’ll spend some time on this next week.

I know you’ve been reading awhile now (thank you!) so you’ve already created your vision, but when it’s time to actually get started investing to make your vision happen and turn those dreams into reality, you need a more concrete war plan of exactly how you’re going to do it, complete with goals and strategies. That way you’ll know what type of investments you want to tackle first—is it really U.S. equities, or is is muni bonds, or mining companies, or real estate, or something else entirely? Then, if it is in fact U.S. equities, you can narrow it down to the type of equities you want to go after and learn how to appropriately value them so that you’re getting the best deal.

You can also paper trade (although I would be somewhat careful with this because when you are “paper-trading” there is no emotion attached to your decisions, and when you are using your real, hard-earned money in the “real world” you will find that suddenly it seems much different!). But paper trading is still a great way to get started learning the platform you are using, and most brokers worth their salt offer this option to help you get started on the right track (TD Ameritrade does, and I’m sure others do, too).

There are also some other paper trading platforms out there (free) that you can use…one I have looked into for us here at Kung Fu Finance is Wall Street Survivor, which lets you paper trade for prizes. If there is interest, I can create a group contest for us Kung Fu Finance peeps and we can practice trading together—let me know if you are interested in something like this and I’ll set it up! Thanks for your great question!

Next, Trench asks,
Thanks for Posting, KFG. The transcript wrote, “There was a company that I bought into for this reason. It was Madimech.” It s/b Matamec.
 Wd you happen to have Brent Cook’s presentation at the conference?

Hi Trench, thanks for the correction! I used a company called “InternetTranscribers.com” to do the transcription of the audio for me (no time to do it myself) but they are not rare earth investors and you are right, it should be “Matamec”…thank you for the correction!

I’m so sorry, but I don’t have Brent Cook’s presentation (I didn’t attend his workshop at the Hard Assets Conference—it was a two-hour master class during the same time as two keynotes I wanted to hear), but I did find a good interview with him that he gave in advance of the conference (although there is no substitute for the actual master class itself—sorry!):

http://www.resourceinvestor.com/News/2011/11/Pages/Brent-Cook-How-to-Improve-Your-Odds.aspx

Also, I just interviewed Louis James myself last week and should have that ready for you next week (it’s getting edited and transcribed now). Thanks!

Katie asks,
Thanks for the tips! I probably struggle with tip #1 the most. There is so much conflicting information out there. Do you have any sources you trust more than others?

Hi Katie, thank you! Yes, I definitely do. I spent a lot of time subscribing to newsletters and reading back issues to determine who had gotten past events right, or at least mostly right, and my current list of “people whose opinions I respect” is listed on the right-hand side of my website under “Sites Worth Visiting”. It’s not completely exhaustive, and many of them are paid-for newsletters (those are not “affiliate links” though—I don’t receive any compensation from them; I’m just a happy subscriber), but several offer a no-cost or low-cost option so you can begin to read what they have to say and then decide for yourself if you agree or not before committing more money or time.

The best way to get started I have found is to just dive in! You’ll soon start to see who agrees and disagrees with each other on what issues and why, and you will start to form your own opinions. This will guide your decisions and soon you will find that “somehow” (you’ve started reading about it and applying your knowledge…) you’ve suddenly become educated and have developed your own worldview that makes sense to you.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there, but over time you will certainly sort it out, and of course I fervently hope that Kung Fu Finance will help you!

Paul asks,
Happy New Year to ya! Was wondering if you would be willing to put your Trading/Investing plan and the strategies you use in an upcoming article? 
I know that was the one biggest step I took that helped me to start turning my trading around (after doing my own research and getting my own investing world view of course). Just an idea….
Thanks for listening and lets have an awesome 2012!

Hi Paul, thank you, and Happy New Year to you! Yes, that is a great idea and I am happy to do that in the coming weeks—it’s a perfect way to kick off the new year so I will definitely do that this month (and it ties in with Daniel’s question above, too). Thanks! (I would do it here but this email is already 1352 words YIKES and I still have another two questions to answer—must work on my conciseness!). Thanks for your question!

Next, de’java from Indonesia asks,

Hi Ms. Susan,
 I like what I read here and want to something positive happen in my life through this Kung Fu Finance. Please, what should I do to start? 
I want to have my own business someday. I am a freelance designer on 99designs. I graduated from law university in 2007, and now I have my own family about 7 months from now and counting… I do have background on selling, and having family business in Furniture here for almost 14 years.
 Thank you for your best help.
 Regards, 
de’java

Hi de’java, thank you for subscribing and congratulations on your upcoming family! How exciting!

The best way to get started is to read the following posts:

If you have time, I would also read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki—it’s a great introduction to personal finance from a self-made multi-millionaire (not a large financial institution). You are off to a great start just by freelancing (I see you have done well on 99designs; congratulations!) and also with a background in selling (a fantastic skill that everyone should cultivate!) and by having a family business. You’re already well on your way to financial “independence”…not being dependent on someone else (your government, your employer, your family, etc.) to take care of you…Bravo!

And please keep reading because this month we’re going to take it to the next level…it’s time to develop our war plans and strategies and get moving down the road to financial independence! Thanks for your question!

Tutu from Honolulu asks,
How do I forward (email) your site to those who are not on social networks but would benefit from your advice on investing. Mahalo!

Hi Tutu! Thank you for subscribing, I’m glad to have you as part of our Kung Fu Finance community! Since you have now subscribed to receive email updates, it will be easy for you to forward any of those emails to your friends, and they can click on the link in the email to subscribe via email themselves if they would like. Thank you so much, and welcome!

Thank you for your great questions, and Happy New Year! I hope you have gotten 2012 off to a great start!

To your financial success,

—Kung Fu Girl