Showing posts from February, 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…

Let's Be Careful Out There

You may remember that classic line from the series Hill Street Blues. Each morning, as he concluded his morning briefing, Sargeant Phil Esterhaus reminded his officers of the importance of staying alert and being careful.

This may be very timely advice for investors as well. I got to thinking about this as the market closed today. Why? Because, as of today's close my personal portfolio is at an all-time high. That in and of itself is not unusual. U.S. market averages are also at all-time highs. In fact, the Dow just posted its 9th straight record close.

What is a little unusual is that I have now achieved new all-time highs for 10 straight days. And what THAT means is that there is an unusually low amount of volatility in the market.

Think about it for a minute. Would you agree that there is currently what can only be described as a higher-than-normal level of volatility in the world? Might you even go so far to describe it as fear and uncertainty? Normally, …

ETF Monkey And The Fiduciary Rule

Earlier today, President Trump signed an executive order delaying the implementation of the fiduciary rule, an Obama-era Labor Department rule that requires brokers to act in a client’s best interest, rather than seek the highest profits for themselves, when providing retirement advice.

While the merits of this rule are a subject of fierce debate, anyone interested in saving and investing towards their retirement has a vested interest in this topic.

What does all of this have to do with me? For a little over a year-and-a-half, I have been writing using the pseudonym ETF Monkey. In this blog post I wrote for, I offer a few thoughts regarding my own work, and what I believe to be the benefits I offer readers whichever way things shake out with respect to future implementation of the fiduciary rule.

I hope you enjoy it.