Showing posts from March, 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…

On Warren Buffett, ETFs, And The Democratization Of Investing

I’m an average guy. When I travel to New York City, I stay at the Affinia Shelburne in Murray Hill. I usually pick up breakfast at the bagel shop just down the street, or the Pret A Manger at 41st and Lex. Maybe I’ll grab a little lunch at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. And the last time I visited, I had a great $12 bowl of Tokyo Chicken at Momosan Ramen & Sake, Chef Morimoto’s cool ramen bar at 342 Lexington.

I’ve never been able to stay at the Plaza Hotel, nor dine at Per Se or Masa. As I say, I’m an average guy. Not poor, by any means. But not wealthy enough to engage in pursuits where money is no object.
Perhaps that is why a particular point that Warren Buffett made in his 2016 Shareholder Letter, and the way he explained it, really caught my attention. You see, for about two years now, I have been writing on the topic of ETFs. As I have done so, I have focused on the issue of cost; of keeping your expenses low and putting as much as possible of the return…