Showing posts from January, 2017

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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…

ETF Monkey Focus Series Update: 24 ETFs Now Covered

With my latest article on dividend-growth ETFs, I have now covered a total of 24 ETFs in the ETF Monkey Focus series on Seeking Alpha.

For an updated list of all 24 ETFs and their related articles, feel free to take a look at the handy index I provide right here on my blog.

If you like my work, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+ to receive the latest updates as they happen.

Trumping Trump's Trump Of The Trumped-Up Trump Trade

It is certainly an interesting world that we live in.

As some of my readers know, I am a contributor on the Seeking Alpha website. As such, I receive daily emails featuring the top articles being featured for the day.

One of the titles in particular jumped out at me this morning. The title was: Did Trump Just Kill The Trump Trade? For whatever reason, it stopped me in my tracks, pondering the question of how many articles I have seen attempting to make more and more use of Trump's name in the title.

Now, not all of them are attention-grabbing in nature. Some flow very naturally, like another one I recently came across: Trump's Comments Send The Dollar Reeling. OK, reasonable enough. But several others along the way have struck me as nothing more than blatant attempts to work Trump's name into the title.

In a spirit of full disclosure, I did it myself on two articles I wrote this past November;  Trump's Deplorable Effects On The ETF Monkey Portfolios and The Trump Reset…

The 5 Best ETFs For Investors In 2017

As 2016 drew to a close, I was busily working both on encouraging millennials to make investing their New Year's Resolution, as well as on the ETF Monkey Focus series of articles. To-date, I have reviewed no less than 21 ETFs in this series, all of them with expense ratios of .19% or less. I hope to continue adding to this series on approximately a weekly basis until I have reviewed somewhere in the area of 100 ETFs.

Along the way, however, a couple of readers asked me to do a quick article suggesting some great ETFs to own going into 2017. I thought I would oblige, so spent a little time doing some research. Here is the resulting article.
Readers must be loving it. Although, as I write this, the article has only been online for 11 days, it is already my top-read article of the last year. The last year!
Thanks to every one of my readers!

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

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Goldman Sachs -- Isn't It Ironic?

Is Simpler Always Better?

A quick thought for today.

Regular readers will know that, in general, I am in favor of relatively simple portfolios, constructed with low-cost, quality ETFs.

I just completed building The ETF Monkey Millennial Model Portfolio for Seeking Alpha. This portfolio is comprised of 7 ETFs, covering U.S. stocks, foreign stocks, REITS and bonds.

I received this comment from a reader:
The proposed portfolio is overly complicated. Why don't you simplify the above to 90% VT + 10% AGG or 90% VTI + 10% AGG? Slicing and dicing may look cool. But it promotes more rebalancing which creates more trading and thus more costs. While I am in favor of simple portfolios, there are on occasions valid reasons to use two (or three) ETFs when it could be argued that one would do.

Let me give a simple example from this portfolio. Instead of using the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) for the portion of the portfolio dedicated to foreign stocks, I used a combination of the Vanguard FTSE Developed Marke…