Me and the Dow

Ben Rodriguez

Licensed in both Ohio and Kentucky, Ben practices real estate law in Cincinnati, where he lives with his wife and daughters. Since 2009, Ben's made a hobby out of personal finance by reading books and articles on the subject, and also listening to podcasts.

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Me and the Dow

Ben Rodriguez  |  May 31, 2024

WHEN I WROTE ABOUT the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching 35,000 in 2021, it’ll surprise few to hear that I—like the stock market—was euphoric. I’ll confess that in 2022, as stocks plunged, I felt silly for having written the article.
But here I am again, writing about the latest milestone for our old friend. After flirting with the number in mid-March, the Dow hit an intraday high topping 40,000 on May 16 for the first time in its history.

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No 401 Way

Ben Rodriguez  |  Sep 30, 2023

MY WIFE AND I ARE super-savers. For us, that means we save as much as permitted each year in the retirement plans available to us. Once we’ve done that, we invest in our regular taxable accounts, where there’s no limit on the amount we can contribute.
We’re under age 50. That meant that, in 2022, the maximum contribution was $6,000 each to our IRAs and $20,500 each to our 401(k)s. Because the contribution limits increase with inflation,

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You Are Missed

Ben Rodriguez  |  Jan 4, 2023

IN FALL 2021, I WROTE about my father-in-law’s impending death due to cancer. He died a few months after publication. I had the honor of writing his obituary. Like my wife and her family, I have found myself wanting to call him many times since he died.
I was born in the early 1980s. That means that, until very recently, all I’ve known is a falling interest rate environment. People from my father-in-law’s generation knew environments like today—when interest rates and inflation rose together,

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My Mentor

Ben Rodriguez  |  Oct 20, 2021

FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, my father-in-law was diagnosed with a blood cancer—multiple myeloma—and given five years to live. Ever since, he’s been battling it like a warrior. But he’s dying now, and he won’t be around much longer.
My father-in-law grew up without money to Depression-era parents. He earned his way into a prestigious college, and eventually received a PhD in chemical engineering. He had an impressive career as an engineer with a large chemical company in the Midwest.

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How Do They Know?

Ben Rodriguez  |  Oct 7, 2021

ONE OF MY FAVORITE pastimes is listening to podcasts. I subscribe to about 20—half of them related to finance.
One series, produced by a large Wall Street investment house, features three-to-five-minute episodes. They’re usually about market trends or economic analysis. Truthfully, they aren’t among my favorite podcasts. But I like their short length when I don’t have time for a 30- or 60-minute episode.
On a recent podcast, listeners were told that the firm’s economists believe that U.S.

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What’s Your Number?

Ben Rodriguez  |  Aug 3, 2021

MY WIFE AND I are aiming to retire in 10 or 15 years. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average close to 35,000, I can’t help but wonder: At what level for the Dow can we retire?
Yes, I know the Dow is a terrible index. But it’s also the one that’s most commonly mentioned in the media. I’ve followed it for most of my life, so I’m much more emotionally tied to it than the S&P 500 or any other index.

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The Get Rich Fast

Ben Rodriguez  |  May 13, 2021

TWO YEARS AGO, I was 100 pounds overweight and constantly hungry. I had been overweight most of my life. But as a father of young kids, I was newly motivated to try to improve my life expectancy. I fortuitously discovered intermittent fasting and the low-carbohydrate way of eating, and instantly had success. Right away, I set an ambitious goal of losing the entire 100 pounds in one year. With a lot of hard work and dedication,

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On the House

Ben Rodriguez  |  Mar 22, 2021

THIS IS THE STORY of how I thought I’d successfully timed the market—but didn’t.
I started investing in 2007, when the stock market peaked, which wasn’t great. But then came 2009 to 2019. Stocks enjoyed the longest and one of the strongest bull markets in history, averaging some 15% a year. Thanks to that great bull market, my wife and I found ourselves with more in our taxable mutual funds than we owed on our home mortgage.

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