Showing posts from May, 2016

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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…

My Favorite Hotel In Washington DC

I thought I would take a quick break from my normal postings for something a little different.

I enjoy traveling. And in particular, I enjoy some of the great cities. I have never been a "lay around on the beach" kind of guy.

Anyway, my wife and I discovered a little hotel in Washington DC a year or so ago that we really love. I wanted to share it with you.

It's The Normandy Hotel. Here's a link to their website, which describes the hotel as "A charming urban oasis in Washington DC." I second that description. It is located just a few blocks north of the Dupont Circle metro station. It is a bit of a hike up the hill but, hey, who doesn't need the exercise? If you find the walk a little too daunting, not to worry. Bus lines also run up the hill and will drop you within a block or so of the hotel.

The hotel is in the Kalorama area of DC. If that sounds at all familiar, perhaps it is because you recently read that President Obama plans to lease a home for …

A Quick Example Of Rebalancing Theory At Work

I know I go on and on about disciplined rebalancing. In this article, I also address the concept that each asset class in your portfolio can be viewed as a form of "currency," and can be expensive or cheap.

Today, I merely wanted to share a quick real-world example of how this worked in my personal portfolio. The picture below is a 6-month graph from Yahoo Finance. The blue line represents the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ), the red line the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU) and the green line the S&P 500 average.

You will quickly notice that both VNQ and, even more dramatically, VPU have outperformed the S&P. As a result, the "overweight" indicator recently flashed up for both of them in my portfolio, to the tune of about 7-8% overweight. The red arrows represent my two recent sales to bring them back in line; VNQ on 5/9 and VPU on 5/13.

Want to know a little secret? As I write this, both are now slightly underweight in my portfolio. The sharp drop you see in both at …

The Crucial Role Of Emotion In Investing

Just a quick post for today.

A few days ago, I wrote an article for this blog entitled Millennials: Here's Your Best 2016 Investment Portfolio. Long story short, my friends over at Seeking Alpha apparently liked the article enough that they reproduced it on their site.

I received several comments on the article; some extremely favorable and even a little emotional for me. Others, not so much. Here's an example:
You say this "plan" is for people in their mid 20's early 30's.


Anyone that age should have a high appetite for risk, and therefore growth, which is only achieved by picking individual stocks.

Keep your paltry gains. Anyways, that's investing on easy mode. No fun, and meager returns. I wish you would have included this in your article. Well, at least the commenter had an unequivocal opinion. I like that.

6 ETFs For A Winning Millennial Investment Portfolio

Congratulations! Here you are. A successful millennial. For the sake of argument, we are going to put you in the middle of this group, generally described as being born roughly between 1980 and 2000. We'll stipulate that you are born in 1990, so graduated college in 2012 and are now four years into your working career. At 26 years of age, you have a long and bright working future ahead of you. You are clever enough to know that you should start investing now. At the same time, you are not all about money. You don't want to be a slave to your investments, you want your investments to be a slave to you, and give you both the time and freedom to devote to the things that are important to you.

I'll cut right to the chase. There are a ton of investment strategies from which you can choose. Here is the one I would suggest.

First, open a brokerage account at Fidelity Investments.

Second, buy these six ETFs, in the weightings shown:
45% - iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Marke…