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Retire On Track Column

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

It’s tough to be a bond investor when the ten-year Treasury note is yielding less than one percent. If you need to put cash to work, then your options are limited to either taking the income hit, accepting more risk, or locking...

 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

With ads and articles constantly touting the importance of beating or at least keeping up with the Dow Jones or the S&P 500, you’re bound to become stressed if your funds’ or stocks’ performance is falling short....

 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We all knew it had to happen sometime. With little news to point to, the stock market dug a hole for itself during several recent trading sessions. Much of the carnage centered around the stocks with the giddiest rises over the past...

 

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Federal Reserve has a tough job but made its life—and possibly yours—a bit easier on August 27th at the Kansas City Fed’s symposium1. The Fed, remember, is somehow supposed to help the U.S. economy balance high...

 

Monday, August 24, 2020

As I write this, Amazon’s (AMZN) stock was up close to 78% on the year1, Apple (AAPL) was up by 69%2, and Netflix (NFLX) was up by 49%.3 Alphabet (GOOG), the parent company of Google, was up by a meager 18%.4 Come on, Google, get...

 

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Monday, August 17, 2020

There’s good reason why index funds have become so popular. They can offer good value for the money. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, 80% of United States large cap active funds didn’t beat the S&P 500 after costs over...

 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Want to know how the market feels about the future? Have a look at how much investors are willing to pay for a dollar of profits1. That’s the price-to-earnings ratio. It’s simply the stock price divided by the...

 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I’m going to take a step away from being a discouraged news junkie this week and marvel at one of the world’s most underappreciated inventions: the humble shipping container, those ugly, stenciled and frequently rusty steel...

 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

One of the frustrating facets of any crisis is the opportunity they offer hacks and charlatans to have their moment in the sun. As famed journalist Hunter Thompson once said, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...

 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Many bond funds trade constantly in search of higher yield or capital appreciation. Well, individual bondholders want upside, too. So, when might it make sense to sell a bond you already own to buy another? Though there are some rare...

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

This pandemic economy is getting quirkier by the minute. State mandates change daily and we have little idea whether or how the Senate will continue to open the Treasury’s wallet so freely. There may be a national wave of...

 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

As divided as we are today, we do all share one thing in common: whenever we’re online, we scroll past dozens of little ads for overpriced facemasks. When I first noticed just how many ads for those things I’m bombarded...

 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

As if 2020 didn’t have enough on its plate, we’re approaching silly season. Yep, here comes the home stretch of the Presidential election cycle. True, it feels like it never really left, but we’re going to see a...

 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a private but highly regarded think tank, finally noticed we went into a recession in February1. That announcement came on June 8, the same day the S&P 500 returned to being positive for the...

 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Facebook today is very different today from the much smaller company that was born in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room. My, Mark Zuckerberg, how your child has grown. While Facebook’s growth has accelerated at an astonishing...

 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Though it’s too early to label the rapid bounce off market lows from March 23 a recovery, it has been one heck of a rebound. From the March 23 low of 2,237, the S&P 500 has gained 32% as of May 26. The index still has close to...

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On Monday, Governor DeSantis’s new social-distancing rules went into effect. I won’t debate about which provisions make sense and which seem arbitrary, nor am I a Constitutional scholar. But, like most other states, we are...

 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Every generation has its defining moment, be it President Kennedy’s assassination, the space shuttle disaster, September 11th and/or the Great Recession. Our older children are having their moment right now, and that impact will...

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It’s come time for another chat about America’s resident mad genius, Elon Musk. In the latest installment of “What Was He Thinking?,” Musk announced on May 1 via Twitter that he thought the stock of his company,...

 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

When the markets were skyrocketing to new heights, I reminded readers about the importance of diversification, managing risk and watching valuations. It wasn’t fun to be Sarasota’s “Debbie Downer” for a couple...

 

Monday, May 4, 2020

In business school, aspiring executives are taught to put shareholder return first. The usefulness of the product or service plays a role only in how it increases sales and lowers returns and warranty claims. Under the harsh light of...

 

Monday, April 20, 2020

As you’ve surely noticed by now, I’m confident about the long-term strength in the economy, even if the short-term outlook is virtually unknowable. But as much as I believe in the economy, it’s naïve to think...

 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Here’s to the first responders, the doctors, the nurses, the aides and the orderlies. And thank you to everyone working the night shift at grocery stores. And we’ll always be grateful to the mail carriers, warehouse workers...

 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Here’s to the first responders, the doctors, the nurses, the aides and the orderlies. And thank you to everyone working the night shift at grocery stores. And we’ll always be grateful to the mail carriers, warehouse workers...

 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

When it comes to the long-term viability of the markets, I’m not worried. Most of us have lived through at least one or two historic market disruptions and that experience informs us. But the nation’s health experts...

 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Over the past few weeks, my feelings have evolved from “meh” at first to “hmm” as markets fell hard enough to even make the bears scared to invest. I’m still at “hmm.” As I’ve stressed...

 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

My, how times have changed. Parents used to order kids to go out and give their phones a break. Now we have to tell them to stay inside and message their friends all day. I’m seeing memes that say, “Introverts, put down...

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Most bond investors don’t need to aggressively manage their portfolios, but bonds do need to be at least supervised. Interest rates change, tax losses can be harvested and, given enough time, long maturity bonds turn into short...

 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Tip: How Much? Check your Social Security earnings and see an estimate of your benefits on the website, www.ssa.gov. Social Security’s been a fact of retirement life ever since it was established in 1935. We all think we know how...