BACK IN NOVEMBER, I wrote about using options to bet that shares of Peloton Interactive would decline. This was my first options trade. I purchased the put option when Peloton was trading in the low $50s. The option cost me $200, and it gave me the right to sell 100 shares at $35 per share in March 2022.
Since then, Peloton’s shares have indeed tumbled. It was recently announced that the stock will be booted from the Nasdaq-100 index,
MY FIRST RESOLUTION for 2022 is to clean up my investment portfolio. While my garage and my closets are in good order, I shudder when I review my brokerage account.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated close to 20 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Overall, I’ve done well with these investments—most of which are based on stock market indexes—but it’s an unnecessary hodge-podge. By the end of the year, I plan to sell a majority of these positions and consolidate the proceeds in a target-date fund.
MY MOM HAD PLANNED to look for a new home near my wife and me in 2022. In November 2021, I searched Realtor.com to see what was available. I saw a home that looked like a good fit, but its status was listed as “pending.” On a whim, I called the selling agent. It turned out that the house was falling out of escrow. We made an offer.
We didn’t have an agent, so the selling agent offered to represent us.
THIS IS THE TIME of year when many folks rush to purchase last-minute gifts. Not me. While others are out buying, I’m at home selling. You see, this is when I make moves in my brokerage account to limit my tax bill.
What have I been up to? First, I logged on to my Schwab account and reviewed my year-to-date realized gains and losses. I had generated $8,000 in long-term capital gains earlier in 2021 by selling an appreciated exchange-traded fund.
A FEW WEEKS BACK, Jonathan Clements wrote an article reminding readers that they, too, likely made financial missteps in their younger days. His article was in response to comments by HumbleDollar readers about the perceived lack of financial discipline shown by those currently in their late teens and early 20s.
Before my recent career change, I would’ve had the same opinion as many readers. With my new job teaching accounting to undergraduates,
I’M USUALLY BORING when it comes to investing. My portfolio is mostly comprised of stock and bond index funds. I dabble in individual stocks when I come across something I see as interesting, but individual stocks have never made up more than 5% of my portfolio. I currently hold just three individual stocks amounting to less than 2% of my investment holdings.
While my interest is occasionally piqued by stocks with upside potential, I’m more often drawn to companies I see as having significant downside.
WHAT’S THE REAL PRICE? In September, I wrote about the potential tab for sending our first child to college in 2025. The four-year cost was estimated at anywhere from $65,000 to $430,000, depending on the college chosen.
This wild disparity led me to conclude that college financial planning was like saving to buy a car—when you don’t know if you’ll drive off the lot in a Honda or a Lamborghini.
Since then, I’ve tried to put a sharper pencil to college costs.
MY FAMILY WILL SOON be in the market for a new vehicle. With gas prices approaching $5 a gallon in California, my gut tells me that we should set our sights on a hybrid. Upon doing some math, however, I get a different answer.
I priced out a few different vehicles, including the Toyota Camry and the Honda CR-V. In both cases, you pay an all-in premium—including taxes—of about $4,500 to own a hybrid over a similarly equipped model with a conventional engine.
“DEAR OHIOAN: According to our records, you have applied for and/or received pandemic unemployment benefits.” As I haven’t been to Ohio in more than 20 years, I knew something was amiss. It was highly likely I was the victim of identify fraud. After some investigation, I found out someone had been receiving unemployment benefits in my name since March 2021.
I’m hardly the only person victimized by this fraud. In a recent report, Ohio Auditor Keith Faber estimated that $3.8 billion in fraudulent unemployment payments and overpayments had been made since March 2020.
IT HAPPENED AGAIN. For the third time in two years, our credit card number was stolen. I learned this yesterday when I received the now-too-frequent question from Chase: “Do you recognize this gas station purchase for $1?” We live nowhere near the station in question, so I knew something was amiss.
I appreciate Chase’s diligence in identifying such transactions, and the fact that we won’t be held liable for any fraudulent charges. Still, I’ve grown weary of the whole process of cancelling credit cards,
SEPTEMBER WAS A BIG anniversary month for us. In addition to celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, we celebrated our third Pelo-versary. In the words of my mother-in-law, we are Peloton addicts. Ask us about our favorite instructors at your own risk.
The general perception of Peloton—for which the entry price is now $1,495—is that it’s priced too high for most people. While I don’t believe that Peloton is “democratizing fitness,” as its CEO suggests,
IN JULY 2020, I rolled over my old 401(k) to an IRA. Between maxing out my 401(k) contributions for many years and strong investment performance, the balance was significant.
I initially invested half the money in a combination of stock market index funds and a bond market ETF. For the remaining balance, I set up an automatic investment plan that invested a modest amount in stock index funds every two weeks. While long-run market returns argued for investing all the money in stocks right away,
DRIVE TO HOSPITAL. Cut the umbilical cord. Figure out names. Open a 529.
While the primary focus upon our two babies’ births was bonding, I had another item to check off: I opened a 529 college savings account for each one within a month of their births.
It’s paid off handsomely. Through automatic monthly contributions—plus stellar market performance over the past decade—they’ve amassed sizable balances for higher education. One child now is in high school,
THE BUREAU OF LABOR Statistics reported last week that consumer prices in August were up 5.3% from a year earlier. This means that, on average, we’re paying $105 for a basket of goods and services that cost us $100 a year ago. Investors and analysts are worried that higher inflation may be here to stay.
My contention: Inflation will prove to be temporary and the Federal Reserve won’t have to increase interest rates to slow consumer prices.
IN A RECENT POST, I suggested three questions that folks should consider before moving out of California. As a California native who has lived many other places, I appreciate the weather and convenience of living here, and I urged others to think carefully before moving away.
The post generated some great discussion when I shared it on my Facebook page. Based on the comments left by my friends, here are some added considerations and tips for those thinking of leaving California:
Take a test drive.