CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Jay and Kateri Schwandt, a Michigan couple who recently welcomed a new baby girl. This might not seem like an event that’s worthy of national news, except this is the Schwandt’s 15th child—and the first 14 are all boys. In an interview, Jay Schwandt said he didn’t think a girl was even possible: “You know after 14 boys, we just assumed perhaps medically it just wasn’t meant to be.”
The Schwandt’s new baby illustrates a point that’s often debated in the world of personal finance: When you see a pattern,
I’D LIKE TO TELL you about a unique new book. How I Invest My Money is a compilation of personal money stories shared by 25 investment professionals. The book takes its title and inspiration from a 2019 blog post by investment advisor Josh Brown, a widely followed author and TV commentator.
Brown’s motivation: After years of on-air commentary, discussing every conceivable financial topic, it occurred to him that no one ever asks investment people how they invest their own money.
I’D LIKE TO DESCRIBE—and recommend to you—what I’ll call the John Cleese approach to financial planning. It is, in my view, the simplest and most effective way to think about saving for retirement or any other goal.
John Cleese, the English actor and comedian, is largely retired. But in an interview, he described his approach to getting work done. When he had a weekly TV show, Cleese said, he didn’t worry about being unproductive some days.
AT 82 YEARS OLD, investment manager Jeremy Grantham has seen his fair share of market cycles. And as a U.K. native living in the U.S., he has the interesting perspective of an outsider. In a recent interview, Grantham shared his unvarnished view of the U.S. market. “American capitalism has become fat and happy,” he said. The U.S. stock market is in a bubble that will likely burst within “weeks or months.”
I don’t believe anything should be judged over the span of a single week.
TESLA JUST REPORTED financial results for its most recent quarter. For the fifth time in a row, it announced a profit. This was notable for a few reasons. Among them: Tesla’s increasingly strong performance again raises the question of why it’s been excluded from the S&P 500-stock index.
By way of background, the S&P 500 includes almost all of the 500 most valuable publicly traded companies in the U.S. But Tesla’s stock isn’t included,
STOCKS WENT INTO a freefall earlier this year, as I’m sure you recall. But all of a sudden, on March 23, everything changed. The market turned around and, just as quickly as it had dropped, it rebounded. Remarkably, the U.S. stock market is now in positive territory for the year.
What happened on March 23? The situation with the virus didn’t get any better. And it wasn’t Congress or the White House. What happened was that the Federal Reserve issued a statement.
I’VE DISCUSSED the election in my recent articles and cautioned against timing the market. But if market timing isn’t recommended, what can you do to keep your finances on track through this potentially turbulent period?
Last week, I suggested reviewing your finances through the lenses of leverage, liquidity and cash flow. This week, I’d like to share another framework—and this is one you could employ at any time and not just in times of worry.
WITH THE ELECTION just a month away, many investors are worried about what lies ahead. Does it make sense to lighten up on stocks now, in advance of the election? I see at least four reasons not to sell:
Despite the polls, we can’t be sure what the result will be.
As we saw in 2016, nobody knows how the market will react to that result.
Even if the market reacts negatively, the effect may be temporary.
DO ELECTIONS AFFECT the stock market? Last week, I cited an analysis by Vanguard Group that attempted to answer this question. The study’s verdict: “It’s understandable to have concerns about the election. But as far as your portfolio and the markets are concerned, history suggests it will be a nonissue.” Specifically, Vanguard’s analysis cited evidence that investment returns are no different in election years than in non-election years.
I agree with Vanguard’s overall recommendation—to stay the course with your financial plan.
IN THE BOOK OF JOAN, a tribute to the comedian Joan Rivers, her daughter Melissa shares some of her late mother’s quirks. Among them: Her mother always drove 40 miles per hour. Regardless of where she was—on the highway, in a school zone, in the driveway—she always drove 40 miles per hour. Melissa’s conclusion: For passengers, this could be hair-raising, but at least her mother was consistent.
When it comes to investing,
DOES WEALTH bring advantages? Yes—but it can also invite some unique challenges. Consider country music singer Kane Brown.
Shortly after moving into a new home, he went for a walk. He told his wife he’d be back in half an hour. But seven hours later, after getting lost, he ended up calling for help. What was unique about this episode is that, the entire time he was lost, Brown was on his own property.
TWO WEEKS AGO, I described how to scour your portfolio for holdings that no longer fit your financial plan. At a high level, these investments fail at least one of two tests:
Risk. Some investments are just inherently unsuitable or excessively risky. Alternatively, an investment might be perfectly fine, but it represents a big risk simply because you own so much of it.
Return. You might have an investment that has chronically underperformed,
INVESTING IS JUST one ingredient for financial success. In fact, one of the best routes to financial security is also one of the most obvious: Increase your income.
In the middle of a pandemic, this might seem like a tall order. After all, most people’s work and home life have been turned upside down this year. But it’s for precisely that reason that I wanted to pull together the following time-tested strategies for increasing work productivity.
THE STOCK MARKET hit a milestone last week, surpassing its pre-coronavirus all-time high. There’s a lot of debate about whether this is justified or sustainable. But the bottom line is, your portfolio today probably looks very different from the way it looked six months or a year ago. This may be a good time to take stock of what you own and to consider whether changes are warranted.
Back in February, I talked about the importance of asset allocation—and that’s a critical first step.
LAST SUNDAY, I discussed six strategies that could help you avoid decisions you’ll regret. But what if it’s too late—and you’ve already made a financial choice that’s left you unhappy? Now what?
Below are six notions to help you manage, and hopefully minimize, your regret over past decisions:
1. Your imagined happy ending likely wouldn’t have happened. Back in 2004, I recall seeing an iPod for the first time. A co-worker had received one for Christmas.