Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recent changes to investment Philosphy:

1)  Still heavily weighted on equities: domestic, international/ large-cap, small-cap
2)  Fewer individual equities, more broadscale ETFs and mutual funds
3)  Emphasis on tax-advantaged accounts:  Roth and Traditional IRAs, 403(b) and 401 (k), and HSAs.  Some put into children's 539 plans, the rest in savings account and to pay off debt (house and car).
4)  A few hedges in Fidelity Account (ETF--ProShares Short S&P.. symbol SH) and a silver mining ETF--(iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners.. symbol SLVP).
5)  Other than that, I'm staying the course.  Our returns were great over the past several years.  That said, I'd like to build the cash position higher for when there's a pullback.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Market Timing

What I'm gradually coming to realize is that market timing is not worth the effort. I think it can be if you make it a full-time job, but more often than not even then it's a waste of time. There doesn't seem to be much evidence to support the financial merit of daytrading and trying to jump in and out of markets. I think the best thing to do for people in their twenties and thirties is to accumulate assets of varying degrees of risk and volatility. From there, you wait until closer to retirement age and begin to manage those assets, drawing from riskier and more volatile assets and/or reallocating them into more conservative vehicles. That's all I've got for this post. But I think the current state of the economy and the near to long-term future will only prove this point further. That being said, if you see a company or type of investment that looks too good to pass up on, maybe just accumulate more of that and less of something else.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Simple Dollar

I was compelled to leave the following comment on a blog called "the simple dollar." I used to listen to the Dave Ramsey show pretty regularly until it was taken of the air on our local AM station. I found the callers' stories interesting and his philosophy refreshing. It helped me to remember not to spend more than I can afford and try to save, pay down any debt, and plan for a better tomorrow. The one issue that the "simple dollar" brought up was about credit cards versus cash. I added my two sense, and here they are:

"Dave’s philosophy on cash only makes perfect sense. It’s the psychology of parting with cash versus swiping a credit card. I think it’s probably even easier to spend money with a debit card than to actually, physically hand over cash.

The one area that I don’t think Dave gives enough attention to is people who already curbed their spending habits and want to take advantage of rewards that credit cards give. My american express card gives me 5% cash back on gas, groceries and some other items (which make up most of my budget) and 1% on everything else. In September, I’ll be getting something like $300 cash back for buying things that I already would have bought. The question is whether I would have spent $300 less on gas and groceries if I’d been paying with cash. Good question, but I don’t think Dave just dismisses it out of hand because he’s so convinced that credit cards are evil, which is pretty accurate. The one other argument I heard him make to a caller on his show was that all it takes is one late payment and/or having to pay the crazy interest because you can’t pay the balance at some point, and all those “rewards” are wiped out.

I’m curious what others think about this. Is it better to just avoid the whole credit card realm and stick to cash, or take advantage of the rewards they offer?"

Here's the actual website:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interesting Website

I just found a website that has some very astute observations:

I will add it to the list of links on the sidebar of this blog.

I intend to spend a little more time writing tidbits on this blog. I will share some of my writing as well as some ideas I have about the economy.

One idea I had just a couple of days ago was to begin accumulating more shares of Aqua America (symbol: WTR). Since then it has come up a little. I really like the business and the 3% dividend is nice, too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Second Guessing

I began blogging because I enjoyed reading several other peoples' blogs and thought it was something I could do. I had no idea the time commitment and the difficulty of being dedicated to something that you have no idea who (or for that matter if anyone at all) is reading it. Also, I've had some reservations about whether I'm truly interested in blogging about the topics I chose to put together. I still think there is an undeniable relationship between the two subjects, but I am no longer sure that they should be written about in the same blog. Perhaps they ought to be mutually exclusive. Anyway, I'm still trying to find time to write and still finding that money (and its pursuit) is one of the main reasons I can't find the time to do much of it. Of course, parenting is no small obstacle. That being said, I enjoy being a father more than anything else I've ever experienced, so it is a small price to pay.


I do think there will be more posts to come if you're a reader. I hope to get back to some of the topics that go me going in the first place. Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Return of James

Dear Friends, Romans, Countrymen,

I'm back. Though I have no idea how much actual difference being done with graduate school will make, I hope it means I'll be able to write on my blog more frequently. The problem is, as I'm quickly realizing, there are several thousand things that I've put off during the grad school process that I kept telling myself I'd get back to upon completion: time with my wife, my kids, reading several hundred books that are on my 'to-read' shelf, write fiction, plan lessons for my students, play music, work-out, look at my investments (though it's probably just as well that I haven't been able to do that), etc. --really, the list goes on and on--

What I've come to realize is that being a graduate student didn't necessarily take up all of my time to do other things, rather it forced me to focus and be very precise in my scheduling. That being said, I'm sure I'll be able to get to some of the things on my list. As it is, I've already been able to do a couple--this, of course, is proof of one :)

Last night, my son spent the night at his Aunt Regina's, so I suggested to my wife that we watch a movie I've been meaning to see for some time: The Dark Knight. Wow, not much redemptive to that movie! I'm still mulling over the details and thinking about the tie-ins with McCarthy's literature, but it was definitely worth seeing. I think Batman Begins was the better of the two, though. The critics got it right about the Joker: he was awesome. What a twisted and terrifying specter.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, I will mention briefly my prognosis on future economic news with just a brief prelude:

1) I have thirty plus years on my investing horizon.
2) I have two children; the first will enter college in 15 years.
3) I have a relatively low paying job
4) My investments (m0st of which came from when I was a salesman) are down over 30%.


Given that I think the United States will continue to see difficult times (I predict that the next bull market won't begin until the beginning of 2010), the best thing I can do is to continue dollar-cost averaging into the market.

Also, given that I want to some day work because I want to, not because I have to, I plan to take advantage of any tax-advantaged retirement options (the Roth-IRA seems the best in that arena).

Lastly, I'll continue to keep the purse-strings tight, mostly out of necessity, but also to try and scrounge together what I can to get more into the market. I want to take advantage of what I perceive to be some really good bargains.

In case anyone was wondering, I got out of Borders (BGP) way before it crashed and put all the proceeds into Whole Foods (WFMI). The shares of Whole Foods were $10.50 and went down to around $8, but are back up to near what I paid. I'm thinking I'll hold onto these shares for the long-haul, unless I hear news to make me think otherwise. No matter the economic outlook, people need food and the stock is down ninety percent from its high. Plus, I really like the CEO, who pays himself $1 salary, they stopped paying the dividend for now (which was wise), and everytime we shop there, it's super busy.

Feel free to reply.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brief Hiatus

I will be back to writing on my blog soon. I have had to take time to work on my thesis and the newest member of our happy household has demands of her own. Anyway, I do intend to get back to writing soon. Thanks for your patience.