Here you’ll find articles on traditional and not-so-traditional approaches to investing — primarily in individual stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, and bonds. Along with my breakdown and scrutiny of general strategies are first-hand experiences in implementing these approaches. Specific topics include building an investment portfolio and possible ways to determine whether a stock is bargain priced. Information and insights in the Investing category can help you develop a framework for making investment decisions.

Gross Margin Ratio, What It Is and Why It Matters

When I evaluate a company, one of the measures I consider is its gross margin ratio. I like to see a gross margin that is consistent over time. I also reflect on the story this ratio is telling.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m a numbers person. Gross margin is definitely a numbers thing. But this ratio may also reveal clues about executive priorities, business stability, and competitive advantages.

Let’s cover the basics and then consider what the gross margin ratio may be telling me.

Investing Lessons from the Shark Tank Cast

Over the weekend, I read an article in AARP The Magazine highlighting investment tips from the Shark Tank cast. This magazine is geared toward the 50 and over crowd but the investing lessons seem applicable to investors of all ages, skill levels, and financial means.

Shark Tank, a half-hour business reality show, centers on the pitches of budding entrepreneurs to the sharks (wealthy, business-savvy investors) and the ensuing dialogue. It’s entertaining, educational, and nerve wracking. What’s fascinating is the decision-making processes of the investors, who may commit money to a venture along with their time, credibility, and business acumen.

Generally, I watch the show from the perspective of the entrepreneur. But, as an investor, it’s helpful to consider opportunities from the sharks’ points of view. Watching the show from the shark/investor perspective (and reading the magazine article) helped me glean investing wisdom from the Shark Tank cast. Here’s what I learned: