My Great-Grandma Tootsie was born in 1880, 15 years after the end of the Civil War! She lived to be 98 and died when I was 14 so I not only met her but I knew her and remember her well.
Other than improving my golf handicap, a Sisyphus struggle if there ever was one, traveling overseas again is what I yearn to do most. But until the pandemic ebbs enough so there’s some level of certainty in hopping an international flight, I’m staying right here.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the term, mutual fund, but is it one of those terms you’ve heard so much that you’re afraid to ask what it actually is? Almost all investments within retirement accounts – 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc. – are mutual funds so you own one or more of them already.
Assuming imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, consider this blog post a bit of puffery for J.P. Morgan’s recent thoughts on this subject that borrows heavily from the data in their 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey.
Okay, not evil, I was embellishing to get your attention. They are, however, misleading, offer a false sense of security and, not unlike fire extinguishers and bow ties, are to be used only in a dire emergency.
If you’ve read any commentary over the last couple of weeks about the company GameStop, and how could you miss it, then you’ve probably seen this portrayed as the classic David vs. Goliath story. These tiny investors trading from their phones got the better of the huge, bad hedge funds and this new technology allowed the common man to stick it to the suits! But, does one win just by making someone else lose?
In 2015 the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team entered the NCAA tournament with a record of 34-0 and was deemed the “biggest favorite in modern NCAA tournament history”, according to USA Today. The oddsmakers installed UK as even favorites to win the championship.
I am not a betting man. Now, I do enjoy perusing the betting lines on college and NFL football games and making some bets in my head, but my abysmal record helps me keep my money in my pocket. Similarly, I often get asked how I think the stock market will perform this year. When I answer that I have no clue how it will fare in the short term, I often receive a squinty-eyed stare in return. If I could read minds, I assume that look means, “Isn’t that your job?” Answer: No, the reason I can’t predict the market is that NO ONE can! Witness:
I’ve been asked several times recently if gold should be a part of one’s portfolio to hedge against uncertainties such as inflation, a pandemic economy, high federal debt or a contested election. If you think the U.S. is ready for imminent and complete collapse – think France in WW II – and you and your family will have to flee with only the belongings you can carry, then sure, gold will always have value to someone and is relatively easy to smuggle across a border. As a hedge, however, my personal preference would be boxwoods. Here are my thoughts:
The day after the 2016 election an acquaintance sold about 30% of the stock mutual funds in his $750,000 retirement account and put it in cash. After the market jumped up over the next six months, he estimated he’d lost out on gains of about $35,000 due to his emotions ruling his decision making, he later told me. This year’s presidential election is heating up and many are worried how a contested election might affect the stock market. In fact, daily volatility – ups and downs – is rising in anticipation of the election, which isn’t unusual during pre-election months. As evidence, the S&P 500 was down 3.9% in September even as its 3rd quarter return was up 8.5%. 2020 year-to-date the index is up almost 4%. So, with things getting hotter by the day, what should investors do to prepare themselves – other than stay off Facebook and Twitter – to help avoid the mistake my acquaintance made four years ago?