How to Make a Million Dollars with an iPhone

Sorry for the spammy title. I wanted to get your attention, plus I figure it will draw a bunch of traffic from search engines. This article actually discusses ways a blind person can use an iPhone to aide them in their trading and investing.

I turned eighteen in 1995. Of course, at that age I had other things on my mind than my long-term financial planning, if you catch my meaning. By 1999 the dotcom bomb had begun, and I realized I had better start paying attention. I noticed my account going down because of large positions in tech stocks. I warned my bankers to get out. I didn’t need a degree in economics to know that AOL sucked! Continuing questioning just resulted in boring talk, mindless consolations, and a cookie. They did nothing and I suffered for it.

After extricating myself, I didn’t know what to do, so had various people manage my money. They met with varying levels of success. Still, I had my own ideas which proved correct as time went on. For example, I wanted to buy gold at $280 per ounce. Most laughed and called me a kook, accusing me of paranoia over Y2K and suggesting I get some “real” friends. As I write this gold currently sits at $1824.60 per ounce, a 651% increase. Not bad. Eventually I realized that, like so many things in life, if I wanted to do something right I had to do it myself. But how?

In the autumn of 2009 my Dad gave me a few thousand dollars to play with, so I could start learning about trading stocks. A long-time friend of the family became my mentor and we embarked on my quest. At first, it felt like entering a strange new universe. I could perceive the exchange of information but it lacked context, like a bunch of alien robots gibbering away. Over a few months things began to cohere and I started figuring out the pieces of information I needed to make successful trades. Sighted people rely on a lot of graphs and charts to derive useful information. I had to find ways to compensate. I have a good mind for numbers so that came naturally, but I still needed ways to see trends.

When I heard a stock chart while standing in the AT&T store, I knew I had to have an iPhone, and that it would help give me the financial freedom I needed. The iPhone allows me to keep track of all the information I need. I can execute trades from anywhere I can get a signal. As with other areas of life, this constant connection increases confidence and security. When it came time to declare my intentions to take more control of my money, I wrote that having this on my iPhone means I literally have the situation in my pocket at all times.

Now I have a brokerage account with Fidelity. I particularly like their iPad app. I find it much easier to navigate than their web site. It allows for the kind of rapid scanning and execution one needs when computing with the elites and their electronic trading. A lot of people think that buying a stock involves an arcane process of talking to a man who uses a computer to relay orders to anonymous men on a cocaine-fueled floor. Actually it requires only slightly more skill than buying or selling something on Amazon.

While the act of buying or selling doesn’t take much effort, knowing what to buy or sell does. You need information, and lots of it. The web has lots of free information. You might like to familiarize yourself with some of these sites, such as Seeking Alpha, Investopedia, and of course our old friend Yahoo! Finance. An endless amount of experts exist, ready to give you advice to support any point of view you may have. Find sources which you can understand, and which have a proven track record. Many offer paid newsletters and other services which can help. I like Investech, the Trends Research Institute, Solari, the Trading Doctor, and a tip of the hat to Ron Paul.

A collection of apps also help. The core Stocks app provides good basics, and I hear that this will improve in iOS5. The Fidelity app provides news as well. I also like Bloomberg and Gold Live for tracking different things. You can even find apps to recommend trades, such as Stock Genie.

On the Mac side I’ve used two programs. I really like MPortfolio. It has a very accessible layout, but it has had some problems with Yahoo! Finance. It bothers me that so many programs just use Yahoo! Finance as their data source. Give me real-time! I’ve recently begun using Portfolio mobile. The developer has become very open to accessibility, and we have worked together to make the next version quite usable and cool. It also has the ability to sync between my Macs, a feature I need. Unfortunately the iOS version still needs accessibility work, but we will tackle that after we get the Mac version straight. I also love an awesome program called Soulver. It lets you do calculations using variables, and stock symbols can themselves become variables. So let’s say you have Apple (AAPL) configured and you want to know how many shares to buy to spend $5000, just do $5000/aapl.

So can you really make a million dollars from the information in this article? I’d like to think so, but who can tell? Past performance does not guarantee future results. Imposition of order = escalation of chaos. God is a crazy woman!

In the Star Trek the Next Generation episode In Theory, the Enterprise needs to maneuver through a dangerous section of space . They decide to send a shuttle ahead of the ship and relay the guidance information. Picard says he will pilot the shuttle and Riker objects, reasoning that the Captain’s life has too much value to risk on this mission. Picard says: “I believe our best chance of escaping this situation is for me to pilot the shuttle. I’ve got to do this. It’s my ship Will.” Even though Riker may have an advantage, Picard has the most interest. I feel the same way. Now I control my ship with an iPad, a device straight out of Star Trek. Make it so!