Showing posts from July, 2015

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Clearly, Not Everyone Is Getting Rich Off The Stock Market

Well, the NY Fed was out today with its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for Q4 2017. Clearly, Americans are in a lot of debt. Take a look.

Just a couple of quick hits from the report. Total U.S. household debt rose $193 billion in the 4th quarter, to a new all-time peak of $13.15 trillion. That's 17.9% above the most recent trough in Q2 2013. Broken down by segment, what do you suppose was the largest gain in percentage terms? Credit cards, with a 3.2% increase. In the picture above, the widening gap represented by the red arrows reflects the fact that non-housing debt is rising at a faster pace than housing debt.

Here's what's troubling about that. Below is a picture of the stock market, as represented by the S&P 500 index, over that same period; from the most recent credit trough in Q2 2013 to the end of 2017.

And thus, the title of this article. Over that period, the S&P 500 index rose by 75%; from roughly 1,600 to 2,800. Apparently, however, the r…

Presenting: The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core + REIT Portfolio

I recently wrote a series of articles for the Seeking Alpha website, for which I have the privilege of being a certified author.

The initial articles covered, in detail, three ETFs from the Vanguard family which can be used very nicely to build a simple, yet incredibly well-diversified portfolio. These are the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF, the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF, and the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF
Ultimately, those articles culminated in a final article in which I presented The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio. In that article, I developed several suggested weightings for each of the three components, based on an investor's age and risk tolerance. I accomplished this by working from the guidance available by reviewing the portfolio composition and weighting of various professionally-managed Vanguard Target Date funds. Finally, I selected one and built a hypothetical $50,000 portfolio, the performance of which I will track going forward. If you have not ha…

3 ETFs To Anchor Your Domestic Portfolio

NOTE: This article was written for exclusive publication on Seeking Alpha. Per their guidelines, I am reproducing the first 250 words or less here, followed by a link to the source article for those interested in reading further.

Every investor desirous of developing an ETF-based portfolio does well to start by selecting a few core holdings. In my view, such holdings should offer great diversification along with a rock-bottom cost structure. In a previous article for Seeking Alpha, I featured the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEARCA:VTI). I concluded that one should seriously consider VTI as a core holding for the portion of your portfolio devoted to domestic stocks. However, there are several worthy competitors in the marketplace.  . . .

Major ETF Families: BlackRock, Inc. (iShares ETFs)

BlackRock, Inc. is the largest provider of ETFs, with over $809 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM) as of June 30, 2015. BlackRock's ETFs are marketed under the name iShares.

BlackRock was founded in 1988 by Laurence D. (Larry) Fink, Robert S. Kapito, Susan Wagner, Barbara Novick, Ben Golub, Hugh Frater, Ralph Schlosstein and Keith Anderson. Previously, Fink, Kapito, Golub and Novick had all worked for First Boston. Fink and his partners had been pioneers in the field of mortgage-backed securities.

Initially, Fink and his partners received funding from Pete Peterson of The Blackstone Group. Their goal was to build a disciplined asset management firm, with an emphasis on risk management. In 1992, the firm adopted the name BlackRock. Ultimately, BlackRock became a public company in 1999, with broad employee ownership.

Action Alert: Consider VIG

Today's action alert features the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF.

Have a quick look at the chart below. It reveals that, since March 2, 2015, this ETF has fallen 4.24% against only 1.32% on the S&P 500 index.

ETF Monkey and Social Media

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Presenting: The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio

NOTE: This article was written for exclusive publication on Seeking Alpha. Per their guidelines, I am reproducing approximately the first 250 words here, followed by a link to the source article for those interested in reading further.

SummaryThis article is the "wrapper" that packages my first three articles for Seeking Alpha.We will build and track the ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio.The complete methodology used to build the portfolio will be outlined, as well as statistics outlining its contents, diversification, and weighted expense ratio.Lastly, I will share details on how to use a cool, free tool to track the portfolio such that you can try it yourself, if interested.In summary, all modesty aside, this is the article that you will want to share with any friends who are interested in trying out ETF investing for the first time.