8 Apr 2024

Why Not Tax Fee Income?

I remember listening to one of my parents’ friends talk about retirement. He was proud that his tax-free income was covering all of his expenses. Although I was in a pretty low tax bracket at the time, I liked the idea of not having any deductions from my paycheck. I didn’t know it then, but he was saying that his entire portfolio was in municipal bonds, which are generally exempt… Read More

1 Apr 2024

Feel Like Taking Risk? So Does Everyone Else

Last week, I showed four charts that all said the same thing: US stocks are a little expensive when compared to fundamentals (click here to read the article). You could fairly accuse me of saying the same thing this week, but this time, I’m using the bond market. The chart below shows the spread (or difference) between high-yield bonds. High-yield bonds, also known as junk bonds, are issued by companies… Read More

25 Mar 2024

Stocks are Expensive Again

I am as happy about the strong market rally as the next guy. Still, I was caught off guard when I saw that the S&P 500 is up 25 percent per year since the bottom around the pandemic. Of course, the Financial Times journalist said that they picked an unfair start date since stocks were down about a third at that point. But still, even if we pick a neutral… Read More

18 Mar 2024

The Return of Sound Money

There are a handful of annual outlooks that I look forward to each year, and one of them is Vanguard’s Economic and Market Outlook. The report, which you can find here, is thoughtful, thorough, and isn’t trying to sell you anything (which is high praise in this industry). They also have great titles, and this year’s was a standout: A Return to Sound Money. In their opening paragraph, the authors… Read More

11 Mar 2024

Understanding New Rules: 529 Plan to Roth IRA Conversions

I’ve said for some time that college planning is hard. I discovered this the hard way, through my own situation. Both of my daughters are in college now, and I started 529 accounts for each of them the year they were born. I got a little tax deduction and the benefit of tax-free growth. When my older daughter was a freshman in high school, I realized the problem: even though… Read More

5 Feb 2024

Presidential Elections & Stocks

A lot of people are worried about the effect of the Presidential election on the stock market. It seems like no matter who you support, you’re worried that the other candidate will ruin everything. I have no intention of making any political comments of any kind, and the best way for me to allay any concerns without making half of the folks upset is to take a look at data…. Read More

29 Jan 2024

Trading Against Cramer Just Got Harder

Last March, I wrote about a new pair of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the bets of Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money, known as much for his bright lights, loud sounds, and yelling as he is for his investment advice or track record (here’s a link to my article). One of the ETFs would short his stock picks, betting that the picks would fall, and the other went… Read More

22 Jan 2024

S&P 500 Enjoys Record (Close Back in December)

Woot Woot! We can surely celebrate that the S&P 500 is back at record levels as of last Friday. I updated a few charts (below), and noticed something interesting – actual investors in the S&P 500 were back in the money in mid-December thanks to dividends. I am celebrating as much as the next guy about the price improvement, but dividends are part of the equation, but they are often… Read More

16 Jan 2024

Bitcoin: Coming to an ETF Near You

I first wrote about Bitcoin in 2017 and concluded that it probably wasn’t a good investment, but maybe my grandkids would be mad at me because I didn’t buy them a coin for $4,300. A little more than six years later, I’m a little mad at myself as the price is about ten times today.┬áBut I’m not actually mad because I don’t see it as a good investment, even though… Read More

2 Jan 2024

Happy New Year

Perhaps the subject line should have read: Happy Old Year! Today will be brief but take a moment to look at the charts below, which show the return for various stock and bond market indexes in the fourth quarter and for the year that was. The worst major asset class return was just shy of 10 percent, and the best was more than 26 percent – a result that almost… Read More