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Birthday Contest Winners


Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry for the birthday contest.
They were all special and we really appreciated them. You can read them here: Birthday Contest Entries
Grand Prize Winner #1-Mankato Teachers Investment Club-Mankato, Minnesota

MANTIC, an acronym for Mankato Teachers Investment Club, was organized by two of our present fourteen members in October of 1967.  Over forty-two years ago our first discussions about forming a club were made during a faculty coffee break.  We knew the market might give us the chance to retire with a little more than what we could expect on teachers' salaries and just might be a good savings tool also.  We thought we could afford the minimum $10.00 a month investment required even if we lost it.  Our minimum payment is now $30.00 a month.  Currently we have members making monthly payments from $30.00 to $100.00 (plus a few cents).  Not in our wildest dreams did we expect that we would be in existence for forty-two years and that some individual accounts would exceed $100,000.00 (even after some earlier large withdrawals).

With bivio's "almost hands-free" computerized accounting and flexible recording system, members can make any amount of payment as long as they include the "cents" for the identification system we use.  bivio also sees to it that each member gets proper credit even for the cents added!

In 2008 we had a rough time when our long-time treasurer of 35-plus years passed away.  We knew he had been using an NAIC-approved computer program for accounting. We had access to his computer but didn't have a member with any knowledge or experience in running the program.  No one had been trained as a backup treasurer.  For several months we floundered, suspended payments, and took no accounting or investment action while holding our more than one million-dollar portfolio.  We were in panic mode and wondering what our next step would be.  Dissolution of the club loomed large on the horizon and became a much-discussed topic.
   bivio to the rescue!  Accounting so easy an old retired teacher can do it.

About this time I attended a reunion of early 1950's Coast Guard veterans.  I got into an investment discussion with a fellow "Coastie" who mentioned that he was in a "family investment club" and they used an accounting program called bivio.  My first thought was, "That's a funny name."  I even had to have him write it out for me.  Since we were in the midst of a mess, I wanted to check out the program he had raved about.  It was worth investigating.  By then my wife had figured out how to download the club records from the original computer to our portable hard drive and transfer them to our computer.  We merged them into bivio, and never used the other program.

After a couple of months of using bivio accounting, we saw that it exceeded our expectations--easy to use and accurate.  With renewed confidence we now moved on and began normal club business.  We consulted Club Cafe for advice on how to to pay withdrawing members.  With bivio on our side we were now able to progress, sell some losing stocks, transfer some stocks with large capital gains, and pay off those who wanted to withdraw.  Over a year-and-a-half period our membership dropped from 28 to a now-stabilized 14 members, 6 still from the original group that organized the club.  The remaining members dug in, revised our operating agreement, and became more active. The purpose of our club has always been to teach members how to invest.  Yet, in all the time we've been organized, the most difficult problem has always been getting members involved in doing stock studies.  We had become too dependent on the advice of the treasurer.  Now we have a backup treasurer and a stock study group that reviews our portfolio and makes recommendations on stocks to buy and sell.
During our forty-two year time frame we have had only three treasurers. I got the job back after a hiatus of 37 years.  Record keeping back then was really an arduous task. Besides the spreadsheet hand accounting, it took a lot of work and time to type dittos, correct errors, retype, then crank out the copies for monthly handouts.  We were NAIC members long before computers were widely used.  Our long-time treasurer started using the NAIC approved accounting program in the early 90's.  He often complained that the program was difficult to run.  We didn't even get official K-1 forms until the last few years.  Members were satisfied because we didn't know any better.

However, thanks to our switch to bivio, club accounting, is a snap.  We use account sync for recording dividends and the "cents ID" with members making automatic bank transfers to our checking account for their monthly investment.  Features in bivio make for an almost automatic monthly recording of member payments.  We also get a plethora of monthly reports, our year-end federal 1065, member K-1s, and individual answers to any problems during the year.  Ideas from the Club Cafe are better than having a local accounting firm do what bivio is more capable of achieving.  All this for only $99.00 a year!

Our average age is now in the low 70s.  We don't meet in January or February.  (We're Minnesotans--and you know "snowbirds" fly south.)  Our monthly meetings emphasize the NAV report and Member Status report.  Both reports and more are now available on line to members.  While I'm spending the winter in my park model in Arizona (paid for from my MANTIC investments), I can do everything on line as treasurer.  I can attest to the fact that club members who have stayed in our club have been able to make major purchases, take better vacations and retire with more security.

My advice for new clubs is: "Over the years the market gets wounded, drips blood and then recovers.  Keep on learning, hang in there, and by all means use bivio.“

--Happy, Thankful and Satisfied with bivio

Mantic Investment Club

Grand Prize # 2-Investigators Ink-Loveland Colorado

Greetings from Loveland, Colorado!  We are known as the "Sweetheart City" and try to spread that "love" whenever there is an opportunity.   In 1991 Investigator's Ink was founded by a group of Loveland ladies who were interested in learning as much as they could about investing and discovering from their learning the ups and downs of the market and investing. Presently, there are fourteen members and of our current membership six are founding members. All of these women who make up this club are successful in their own right and pillars in the Loveland community based on their hundreds of hours of volunteerism and community involvement.  We are all retired or semi-retired with a thirst for knowledge and learning about our economy, the stock market and better investing opportunities.  Like everyone, we have weathered the financial storm of the past couple of years and are in the quest for a brighter financial future. 

Investigators Ink has its own Articles of Agreement ande Rules of Procedure.  Our club meets on the second Thursday of ever month with our annual meeting in May.  Membership into our club consists of a one-time entry fee of $50 wirh a $40 a month investment.  A new partner must make a minimum investment of $5000.   All of our trades are done through TDAmeritrade.   

Several years ago, we were struggling with our financial program that we were using.  It was not user-friendly and many of our members missed the schooling when technology came to the forefront.  We were desperately looking for a software program that was simple to navigate  on the Internet and very "step-by-step" and "user-friendly" once the member was on the sight.  We now have most of our members coming to the meetings with their own BIVIO reports.  We love looking at our individual member status as well as the group reports--especially our monthly valuation statement.  There is just so much more data available to us in helping us make our investment decisions. We have found that the taxes and buy-outs have been so much easier with BIVIO.  In honor of BIVIO's 10th birthday, we have written this little poem with the chorus sung to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O Bingo was his name O."  Enjoy!!!!

In 1991 we founded an investment Club called "Investigators Ink"
In the "Sweetheart City" of Loveland was where we began to think
We struggled with investments and accounting for many a year
At last we discovered BIVIO--investment software to make things clear!
B-I-V-I-O, B-I-V-I-O
B-I-V-I-O and BIVIO is its name "O."

Easy-to-understand data and reports are quickly generated
From the member to the president, BIVIO is easily operated
Club Cafe', Manifest Investing and Webiner training
Have all helped our club move from losing money to gaining.
B-I-V-I-O, B-I-V-I-O
B-I-V-I-O and BIVIO is its name "O."  

Accounting, Administration, and Communication are all for the asking
BIVIO helps us with all the report multi-tasking
BIVIO support is just a click or call away
It's "step-by-step" and "user-friendly"--so our members say!
B-I-V-I-O, B-I-V-I-O
B-I-V-I-O and BIVIO is its name "O."  

Better investing is our long term, goal
It's great for the pocketbook and for our soul
We are proud to be a part of this network gem
BIVIO has helped us connect our road with them
B-I-V-I-O, B-I-V-I-O
B-I-V-I-O and BIVIO is its name "O."  

Happy Birthday BIVIO, you need to take a bow
You've helped so many of us so celebrate now!
We are proud to be a part of the dedicated BIVIO team
Continued financial advice and help will make us beam!
B-I-V-I-O, B-I-V-I-O
B-I-V-I-O and BIVIO is its name "O."

Investigators Ink Investment Club

Grand Prize #3-Maniacal Members of the Mausoleum Victoria, British Columbia

Strolling into one of our investment club meetings on October 7, 1999, Bivio took a seat like a welcome spirit we couldn't see. Little did we know that Bivio would guide this little band of schoolteachers for ten years where we watched our account grow to half a million dollars.

But before you get the impression that were investment geniuses,let me blow that apart. We were tech-crazy drunks careening along a cliff called Nasdaq buying unheard of companies and feeling like geniuses as our clubs portfolio soared along the top of the euphoric market bubble. And we welcomed Bivio with open arms, because she confirmed that we were geniuses or so we thought. Every time we logged in, Bivio gave us the intoxicating facts without the commentary. And like a good friend, she gave us the goods, but said nothing about how boneheaded we really were.

At the end of 1999, she helped us with our taxes making the process as breezy as printing off individual tax forms and handing them out. We were pretty smug. In other investment clubs, old time investment officers were doing this by hand. But we had Bivio. And our investment results intoxicated us into thinking we were intellectual equals with Galileo, Copernicus, and probably bigger than Buffett. But we were more like Oppenheimers dumb cousin building a ticking bomb in his own basement and planning to test it there.

When the tech craze ended, our account fell. And then it fell some more. Bivio told us the truth. Again, without the commentary. And it hurt. But it was necessary.

One of our favorite Bivio features is the way she allows us to compare our results with an index of our choosing. After we blew ourselves up during the tech meltdown, we picked up the pieces and figured that, perhaps, indexed investing was the way to go. But whereas the spirit in that, we figured? Bivio would give us the truth. Allowing us to track our investment results with an index boldly suggested whether we were fools to think we could beat a market index.

Every year, Bivio showed us the truth. And when we got greedy and foolish (and failed) Bivio gave us the goods, again, without the salt in the wound commentary.

In fact, the support from Bivio has been superb. As a technological luddite responsible for updating our club accounts, I regularly needed help. I'd email Bivio, and the responses always shot back professionally, succinctly, and with an open hand that didn't make me feel stupid. Considering that we've used Bivio for more than 10 years now, I might even be the most pestering questioner Bivio has had.

Thanks largely to Bivios ease of use, our little investment club has blossomed. And we've reported ten year gains that have handily beaten the S&P 500 index. Were not pretending anymore, that we're investment rocket scientists. We aren't. But without such a fabulous service, such as Bivio, we likely would have disbanded our club years ago, without enjoying the ups and downs of a great relationship not to mention the profits that have come along with it.

A lot happens in ten years. Group members move away, pass away, and new investors join. But our core group that was there the day Bivio strolled in is still mostly intact.

And we know that we're going to hit the million dollar mark with Bivio silently sitting on that couch along with us.

Maniacal Members of the Mausoleum Investment Club

Grand Prize #3-711 Investment Club, Fairfax, VA

Dear Bivio!

"You are ten years old and the 711 Investment Club members wish you a Happy Birthday and many more to come!

The 711 Investment Club ( the Club) was formed in the early 1950's by a group of professional, career federal employees. The Club was formed under  Articles of Agreement (AOA) as a Joint Venture and has held a monthly meeting ever since! I joined in May of 2005 and we celebrated our 50th Birthday later that year.  Many of our current members have been in the club for more than twenty years.

As stated in the AOA, the purpose of the Club is to ( and I quote from the AOA):

  " - Educate members in the fundamental principles and techniques of sound investment practices; 
    - Enable members to invest funds mutually;
    - Follow the growth theory of investing;
    - Invest regularly and take advantage of compound income;
    - Promote fellowship and friendship among the members".

There are a few older investment Clubs in the US and there are many fine investment clubs in the US. That said, the 711 Investment Club is still a very special group. Members are drawn from a pool of  career professionals that have lived and served this great country in every corner of the world.  The bond that holds them together has been forged under some truly challenging conditions: through the Cold War, civil unrest, natural disasters, Viet Nam, 9/11, international terrorism, Iraq and Afghanistan. Together, they have lived and died with honor in the service of America. The memories and friendships formed in their careers endure for their entire lives, indeed promoting this fellowship and friendship is a stated purpose of the Club. The Club currently has twenty members and assets valued at about $315,000. Monthly dues are $75 and each member has one vote and owns an approximately equal share of the assets.

Shortly after I joined the Club I volunteered to serve on the Investment Committee and soon began to understudy the existing Treasurer of more than twenty years. We both knew that his health was failing and that we needed to prepare me to serve as his replacement at the appropriate time. I became Treasurer in January of 2008, but we still enjoyed another eighteen months of close cooperation, friendship and mentoring before he passed on 7/11 /2009! Our monthly Club report is now named in his honor.

With the help of another member of the Investment Committee, the Club selected Bivio's AccountSynch as our next generation of accounting software. The Club had survived and prospered for more than fifty years with a #2 pencil and a legendary Treasurer of extraordinary talent, grace and dedication. Nonetheless, the time had come to make sure that we could continue that  success story for another fifty years or more! AccountSynch offered us the tools to better serve our members, move to a web-based architecture, facilitate the accurate and effortless preparation of our member tax returns, and many more features to enrich our investment experience. As part of the AccountSynch transition, we shifted our brokerage account to one of the big online investment firms that has offices in many cities, a much lower commission structure and is also compatible with electronic downloads to AccountSynch. As Treasurer, I greatly value the automatic, daily downloads and accompanying emails that identify the transactions that are captured by AccountSynch. As tax time nears, I am confident that are taxes will be expertly and almost effortlessly prepared by AccountSynch. As more and more of our members learn of the great amount of online information that Bivio and AccountSynch provides, I know that we will all enjoy a better and more profitable investment activity. I have already recruited an Assistant Treasurer, and, with the help of AccountSynch, I know that the next turnover of the Treasurer's position will be readily accomplished with little effort and time and no mistakes or oversights. Yesterday, I greatly enjoyed one of the Tax Webinars and soon I will participate in one of the ManifestInvesting Dashboard webinars. I also look forward to participation in the Club Cafe message board. Finally, the staff of Bivio is always prompt, professional and "spot-on-the-money" in responding to all of my email and telephonic communications. As we near the end of our first year with Bivio and AccountSynch, I can assure you that this remarkable capability is worth every penny that we pay for it, and then some!

Happy Birthday!!



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