Showing posts from December, 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…

Making Investing Simple

Sometimes, investing can be scary and intimidating. A recent article suggested this as one key reason that some 80% of millennials have not invested in the stock market. In my work as ETF Monkey, one of my goals is to take fear out of the equation, and suggest that anyone who has even a little money to invest can be successful. Let me give you an example of how I believe what, at first, can seem intimidating and scary can be made simple and understandable.

Recently, I read a wonderful article on Seeking Alpha, for whom I am also a contributor. In the article, the author performs a review of 2016 and, in the process, nicely explains some realities about investing. Someone new to investing, however, might find the article a little technical and hard to understand. So, let me attempt to simplify it and also explain how it relates to, for example, the three implementations of The ETF Monkey 2016 Model Portfolio.

The author explains that, when you invest, you expect to take a dollar today…

A Cautionary Note On Debt

Personal finance site NerdWallet recently released the results of their study on 2016 American Household Credit Card Debt.

Among other figures, they note that average household credit card debt is up to roughly $16,000, and that it is costing households who carry this debt roughly $1,300 per year in interest.

The article is worth a look. For millennials, it is an opportunity to learn from others and to be proactive with respect to your own circumstances. Yes, it may mean saying "no" to yourself once in a while, and getting the Grande instead of the Venti. But, in the long run, you'll be way ahead of the game.

Some Life & Investment Advice To A Millennial

I recently wrote an article for Seeking Alpha suggesting a specific ETF-based portfolio for millennials to consider as their New Year's resolution going into 2017.

In the comments section, I received the following question from a 25-year old reader.
If this has already been answered, I apologize, but why would someone invest in this portfolio rather than increase their IRA contributions or save up to contribute to their Roth? The reason I am asking is that I have been thinking about investing outside of my IRA, but to me, it does not make sense to use that extra money in a taxable account, where I could use it in a nontaxable instead . . . I ended up writing a fairly long response to this young man. As I reviewed it afterward, it occurred to me that this might form a nice article in and of itself.

So, here it is:

Millennials - Make 2017 The Year To Invest In Your Future

Millennials, hasn't 2016 just seemed to fly by? It's hard to believe that 2017 is almost here.

This offers a great chance to reflect on the concept that time, and life, moves very quickly. This means that important things, including working towards financial goals, can get past us almost before we know it.

In my work as an author for Seeking Alpha, I just finished an article especially for you. Here is how I summarize its intent:
Certainly, your 20s is a time to have fun, explore life, and enjoy a wide variety of enjoyable experiences. It is not my goal to change that. At the same time, you can take small, meaningful steps to ensure your financial future, and you are wise to do so. In the article, I outline a step-by-step plan that you can take, right now, to make 2017 the year that you begin to invest in your future. Have a look.

Authors Note: If you like my work, I would be profoundly grateful if you would take a minute to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/o…