Where Yield Investors Get Bold Ideas


Where Yield Investors Get Bold Ideas

A $220 fee keeps out the riffraff.

Most stock message boards make no distinction among the wise, the wild and the wacky. Jokes, political rants and absurd predictions often obscure thoughtful posts. Some investors, frustrated by the noise, have gravitated to more-exclusive forums that don't suffer fools gladly. One such round table is ValueForum.com.

At $220, the annual cover charge helps keep out the riffraff. Still, the site has attracted some 1,400 participants. Among them are semiretired energy consultant William Nichols, 57, who lives in Alberta's oil patch and holds forth on Canadian royalty trusts, and Glen Peterson, 49, a former computer salesman from Northfield, Minn., who digs into coal stocks.

Dividend hounds abound. They write at length about real estate investment trusts, business-development companies and other high-yield investments. The typical participant is a retiree, 55 or older, who actively manages his or her holdings, says co-founder Adam Menzel.

ValueForum may be pricey for infrequent traders or those with small portfolios. If you're in that category, try ClearStation.com instead. It's free and, like ValueForum, it lets participants rate posters' advice. But you'll have to work harder at ClearStation to sift out the bad ideas.