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5 things you may be wasting your money on

People often talk about personal finance in terms of large money decisions, like deciding whether to buy a home or creating long-term savings goals. But over time, the little financial decisions, many of which occur on a daily basis, matter too. And it can be hard to know where to draw the line between needs, wants, and wastes.

When it comes to purchases, waste is anything that you don’t get any benefit from or use, Jennifer Faherty, a New Jersey-based certified financial planner, told Business Insider. According to Faherty, you can avoid wasteful purchases by doing the following:

  1. Figure out how much money you can allocate towards discretionary spending
  2. Make sure each purchase fits into your spending plan
  3. Ensure you need and will use each purchase
  4. Determine the value each purchase would provide you, given personal preferences and lifestyle

To help you find and fix money drains in your spending habits, here are five things Faherty says are common wastes of cash:

Don’t Waste Your Money On Cryptocurrencies — These 3 Stocks Are Better Buys

I t seems an understatement to say that cryptocurrencies have taken the investing world by storm. After all, given the potential for these digital assets to upend the financial world as we know it by operating independently of any given central bank, it’s hard to blame opportunistic investors for trying to ride the wave of excessive optimism cryptocurrencies have generated.

But even if they manage to gain mainstream global acceptance, it’s not clear exactly which of the more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies will be the ones that succeed over the long run. In the meantime, as many investors have found out the hard way in recent months, investing in cryptocurrencies also tends to come with extraordinary volatility.

There’s plenty of money to be made by investing in more traditional equities. So we asked three Motley Fool investors to each pick a stock that they believe is a compelling buy at today’s prices. Read on to learn why they like Disney (NYSE: DIS) , Applied Optoelectronics (NYSE: AOI) , and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) .

Image source: Getty Images.

Focus on blockbusters, not blockchain

Steve Symington (Disney): If you ever wondered how long Disney can keep churning out blockbusters on the big screen, look no further than last weekend’s record-smashing debut of Disney Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War . The latest superhero epic collected more than $640 million in worldwide gross ticket sales for the biggest global opening in history. That figure that has since swelled to over $808 million as of this writing — and that’s without the help of moviegoers in China, where Infinity War won’t hit theaters until May 11, 2020.

Of course, Disney’s box office prowess is powered by more than a single film. Since opening in mid-February, Marvel’s Black Panther has already amassed gross ticket sales of more than $1.3 billion, at least temporarily securing its spot as the the biggest superhero movie of all time. Later this month, Disney’s Lucasfilm subsidiary will follow with Solo: A Star Wars Story. Then in June comes Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2 , followed by Marvel’s Ant Man and the Wasp in July. If that wasn’t enough, in November Disney Animation Studios will present Wreck-It Ralph 2 . And that’s not to mention the potential for big hits with a live-action rendition of Disney’s Christopher Robin this August, and Mary Poppins Returns in December.

To be fair, bearish Disney investors are focused on sliding profits from its core media networks segment, as more cord-cutting consumers ditch cable and satellite plans for competing streaming-video and over-the-top services. But even putting aside the fact that Disney’s thriving parks and resorts business has helped more than offset weakness at media networks in the meantime, Disney is fighting back with last month’s launch of its new ESPN Plus streaming service , as well as plans to introduce a new Disney- and Pixar-branded streaming service next year.

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Finally, don’t forget about Disney’s impending $52.4 billion acquisition of most of Twenty-First Century Fox , which is expected to close in mid-2020. The purchase will give the House of Mouse control over assets including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television Studios (think Marvel’s X-Men , Fantastic Four , and Deadpool , as well as This is Us , The Simpsons , and Modern Family ), National Geographic, FX Networks, Fox Sports Regional Networks, a large stake in European satellite provider Sky, a controlling stake in Hulu, and Star in India.

With that kind of industry dominance on the way — and with shares trading at just over 13 times this year’s expected earnings — I think Disney is as intriguing a buy as our market has to offer.

Fiber-optic networking on the cheap

Anders Bylund (Applied Optoelectronics): So you want some adrenaline-pumping excitement in your investments. Maybe you’re living on the edge a little bit — just not far enough off the cliff to invest your nest egg in ultrarisky cryptocurrencies. In that case, let me show you a legit business whose share price has bounced between $23 and $103 in the last 52 weeks, and is currently sitting near the bottom of that range at roughly $33 per stub.

Applied Optoelectronics makes fiber-optic networking components and modules , helping data to flow between the super-fast optical cables and more traditional Ethernet systems. The company’s transceivers are particularly popular with large data center customers who need a combination of long cable strands and extremely fast data transfers. In fiscal year 2020, the trio of Amazon.com , Facebook , and Microsoft accounted for 78% of AOI’s total sales.

These data center customers are both AOI’s best asset and its worst nightmare. When order volumes are surging, times are good. That was the story in the first half of 2020, when AOI’s share price surged more than 300% higher. But when one of those key clients taps the brakes on fiber-optic installations for any reason, the market reaction can be punishing. Last summer, Amazon slowed down its transceiver orders to sketch out a firmer plan for the next step in its data center expansion ambitions. Applied Optoelectronics suffered the consequences.

At the moment, you can buy AOI shares at just 9.6 times trailing earnings and 7.6 times free cash flow. That’s incredibly affordable in any light, and any of the computing giants on the company’s customer list would look downright cheap at these valuation levels. Management argues that the order slowdown should be temporary, leading into a new surge in late 2020 and early 2020 thanks to several strong catalysts.

That’s how you can get the excitement of the cryptocurrency roller coaster, without having to deal with all the risk.

Less volatility, less speculative

Keith Speights (Celgene): Like many cryptocurrencies, Celgene has been beaten down quite a bit over the last few months. But the volatility of this big biotech is nothing compared to that of most cryptocurrencies. More importantly, putting money on the line with Celgene doesn’t require investors to take a shot in the dark.

It’s easy to diagnose why Celgene stock has dropped this year. The company botched its submission of promising multiple sclerosis drug ozanimod, resulting in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refusing to approve the drug. That’s not the end of the road for ozanimod, though. Celgene should still win approval for the drug after satisfying the FDA’s additional data requirements.

Even without ozanimod, however, Celgene still has strong growth prospects. Its top-selling hematology drug Revlimid continues to enjoy strong momentum. That’s true for Celgene’s multiple myeloma drug Pomalyst and autoimmune disease drug Otezla as well.

In addition, the biotech’s pipeline is loaded with promising candidates. A couple of drugs gained through acquisitions — hematology drug fedratinib and non-Hodgkins lymphoma drug JCAR017 — hold the potential to be big winners down the road. Celgene also has seven other pipeline candidates that could become blockbusters .

Celgene should realistically be able to grow its adjusted earnings per share by close to 20% over the next few years. With the stock trading at less than nine times expected earnings, this big biotech looks like a bargain.

The bottom line

To be clear, we can’t guarantee that these three stocks will exceed the returns of any given cryptocurrency. After all, there’s still a possibility that cryptocurrencies will fundamentally change the way our financial world works.

But it’s going to be a long road for investors trying to cash in on that trend. And the paths to market-beating gains are much clearer for investors who opt instead to buy Disney, Applied Optoelectronics, and Celgene.

10 stocks we like better than Walt Disney

When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor , has quadrupled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now. and Walt Disney wasn’t one of them! That’s right — they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

*Stock Advisor returns as of April 2, 2020

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Anders Bylund owns shares of Amazon and Walt Disney. Keith Speights owns shares of Celgene, FB, and Walt Disney. Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMZN, Celgene, FB, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Don’t Waste Your Money on Bitcoin, These 3 Stocks Are Better Buys

Instead of gambling on cryptocurrency, you should have a look at these stocks.

Investors in bitcoin have been on a wild ride over the last couple of years, but have also learned a valuable lesson. As an accountant, I would never invest in bitcoin — or any other cryptocurrency for that matter — simply because there are no underlying assets. Rather than investing, this is more akin to gambling. While some people made fortunes investing in cryptocurrency, others lost their shirts when the majority of these digital assets recently lost half their value.

With that in mind we asked three top Motley Fool investors to choose companies that they believe provide a more traditional alternative to the cryptocurrency craze. They offered convincing arguments for The Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) , CRISPR Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) , and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) .

Image source: Getty Images.

The sky’s the limit

Daniel Miller (The Boeing Co.): If you’re apprehensive about buying into bitcoin, you’re not alone. And if bitcoin is too risky or uncertain for your investing style, owning shares of Boeing is quite the opposite and could be a solid addition to your portfolio.

Not only has air travel been a resilient market over the past several decades, but Boeing management predicts that growth will be robust over the next two decades, with world commercial-aircraft deliveries topping 41,000 units for an estimated market value of $6.1 trillion. That’s a massive pie out of which Boeing is well-positioned to carve a healthy slice.

While future demand is likely to be robust, Boeing already has a backlog of commercial aircraft and defense products valued at roughly $465 billion. With such a massive backlog, Boeing’s near-term opportunity is increasing production rates with its high-margin products. Boeing’s 737 production has jumped from 42 per month as recently as 2020 up to 57 next year.

The icing on the cake for Boeing investors is its dividend. The company increased its quarterly dividend 20% in December, to $1.71 per share. While that’s only a 2% yield, Boeing has proven it will continue to dish massive value back to shareholders by significantly increasing its dividend.

If bitcoin is too risky for you, a stable company such as Boeing with an enormous backlog of orders, a healthy dividend, and significant anticipated industry growth over the next two decades would be a wise choice for investors.

This sci-fi tech is becoming a reality

George Budwell (CRISPR Therapeutics): Our ability to treat deadly genetic-based diseases has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade, thanks to major advances in gene-editing technology. The latest iteration of gene editing, known as CRISPR and based on the Cas9 system, has the potential to radically alter the way we treat a range of blood-based disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia, as well as a whole host of cancers and other genetically based diseases.

To this end, I think aggressive-minded investors may want to check out the clinical-stage biotech Crispr Therapeutics, a pioneer in the rapidly evolving CRISPR gene-editing space. Crispr is presently developing its lead product candidate CTX001 in conjunction with Vertex Pharmaceuticals as a possible treatment for both beta thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. If things go according to plan, CTX001 should become the first company-sponsored CRISPR-based therapy to enter human trials later this year.

Image source: Getty Images.

From an investing standpoint, the truly compelling part of this story is that CTX001 could end up entering a pivotal-stage trial at a near record pace. This therapy, after all, is designed to be a functional cure for these single gene-based disorders, meaning that its effectiveness (or not) should be readily apparent even in a small number of patients. Success with CTX001 would also validate this platform in the general sense, which would greatly increase the value of Crispr’s earlier-stage pipeline targeting various cancers or other genetically based diseases like cystic fibrosis.

Of course, this unproven tech could prove to be a dead end, and Crispr’s shares would be worthless in that case. But there’s a solid body of preclinical data suggesting that CRISPR may, in fact, be a game changer in the fight against dozens of life-threatening conditions.

Cash in on another massive trend

Danny Vena (NVIDIA): Laying out your hard-earned money for something that exists only in digital form — and is notoriously hard to value — is the worst form of speculation. Those looking for a potentially explosive investment backed by technology and an exciting emerging trend should consider graphics processing pioneer NVIDIA.

Investors can profit from the rise of digital currencies without the massive risk. NVIDIA developed the graphics processing unit (GPU) responsible for rendering graphics in video games, but found a secondary use in cryptocurrency mining — the process used for verifying these digital transactions. That’s led to a run on GPUs by those seeking to benefit from the cryptocurrency craze.

NVIDIA’s DGX-2 “AI Supercomputer-in-a-Box.” Image source: NVIDIA.

Gaming still produces more than half of NVIDIA’s revenue, but there’s another exciting trend that’s been driving the company’s impressive growth. Researchers have found that the massive parallel processing capability — or the ability to perform complex mathematical calculations at lightning speeds — that generates images for gamers, works equally well for the number-crunching needed for training artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

NVIDIA recognized the opportunity presented by AI early on and put its developers to work creating entire platforms geared toward solving the algorithm-intense challenges of AI. The company’s data center segment, which houses sales from this emerging field, has produced seven consecutive quarters of triple-digit year-over-year gains and now accounts for nearly 21% of NVIDIA’s revenue — up from just 10% two years ago.

That’s not the only significant trend that could benefit NVIDIA going forward. The company is investing heavily in the platforms that provide the foundation for the next generation of self-driving cars, a market that could begin to accelerate as early as next year and begin contributing significantly to revenue by 2022.

With NVIDIA, investors can get in on the ground floor of several once-in-a-lifetime technologies, without the inherent risk of gambling on bitcoin.

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