You Should Max Out Your Retirement Accounts As Early and Often as Possible

We came across a piece in Bloomberg claiming the 401(k) "crisis" is getting worse.  To wit: Tim Egan has been working since he was 14. He’s now 56 and has spent most of his career as a restaurant manager. He has virtually nothing saved for retirement and, until last month, never had a 401(k) account. It's true: 401(k)s aren't a universal option … [Read more...]

Are Tax-Advantaged Funds Actually Better For Your Taxable Account?

The number of types and styles of mutual funds and ETFs has expanded to a point where no one person can keep track of all of the options out there. There are, to use a technical term, 'a ton' of funds and fund types out there competing for your hard earned dollars. One of the more popular fund styles is the so-called tax-advantaged fund. Folks … [Read more...]

Riding the Market Weather

June 29th, 2006. It was an innocuous day as the stock market was booming in the post-9/11 recovery. The economy was torrid and the unemployment rate was 4.6% in the USA. That fall, I opened up my checking account with Charles Schwab with their floating-rate free checking account (with no minimums or ATM fees) was paying 4.50% interest. That … [Read more...]

Under 30? Here’s Why You Should Invest in the Stock Market

Gallup releases a semi-regular poll on the state of stock ownership - and it is one of the more depressing poll reads you can find out there in the world.  To wit: only a little more than half of Americans have any investments in the stock market, at least self-reported: We haven't even touched our previous peak right before the housing (and, … [Read more...]

Did Donald Trump Beat the S&P 500 With His Career Net Worth Increases?

I'll give a short answer, then back it up with a longer article: Trump's net worth increases probably beat investing in the S&P 500, depending on where you start the counter. (1974 - yes, 1982 - maybe, 1988 - no... but why 1982 and 1988?). However, it's really a silly question, for reasons I'll get to in this piece.  Here's the real … [Read more...]

CCC (and Below) Rated Corporate Bond Total Return Calculator

This article includes a calculator which lets you compute the total realized returns of CCC and below rated corporate debt, as tracked by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch US Corporate Master Index.  This index tracks speculative corporate debt, debt which is recognized to be more risky than the AAA, AA, and A debt tracked in our first calculator … [Read more...]

Maybe The Market Doesn’t Know Where Inflation is Headed

One of the topics we like to revisit time and time again is our calculation of the inflation, measured in CPI, that the market is expecting over various timeframes.  We most recently looked at inflation expectations at the end of August, and noted a recent uptick.  In fact, you don't even have to wait for our updates to get a quick gauge of the … [Read more...]

BBB, BB, and B Rated Corporate Bond Total Return Calculator

The following is a calculator which allows you to compute the total return of corporate bonds rated BBB, BB, or B, including allowances for inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index. It is based on the Bank of America Merrill Lynch US Corporate Master Index, split to only return corporate debt in the B to BBB range.  This can be considered … [Read more...]

Continued: The Shanghai Composite Versus the NASDAQ In 2000

A couple months ago, we pointed out that the returns in China's Shanghai Composite from (and before) its nominal closing peak on 6/12/2015 looked eerily similar to the US's own investing experience with the NASDAQ preceding and immediately following its 3/10/2000 peak. As the market has continued to drop, we decided to come back to the series … [Read more...]

What About US Treasury Debt Owed to China?

Well, what about it? As we often do in our articles: let's back up first. China continues to go through a bit of an economic swoon (it's too early to call it anything else, still) currently, as we've detailed in our stock market articles on the subject recently.  And, yes, "feelings" do matter in stock markets - those mushy things that can't … [Read more...]