Standardized Personal Finance Advice: Reddit Flowchart Version

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

funny flowchart exampleWhen creating financial statements, there are “generally accepted accounting principles” (GAAP) so that all companies follow the same standardized set of rules. After reading 100+ books on personal finance, you could also create what I would call “generally accepted personal finance principles” (GAPFP?), as organized into a flowchart below by u/atlasvoid in the r/personalfinance subreddit. Hat tip to the NYT article So You Saved a Little Money This Past Year. Now What?. (Click to see full version. Might be hard to read on mobile.)

There are also additional versions for Canada, Australia, European Union, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

I view this as the next step up in detail from personal advice on a 3×5 index card, while still trying to maximize the amount useful information in the given space. You might have some minor quibbles with the ordering or want to add some exceptions, but it still provides a good place to start additional research.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Berkshire Hathaway 2020 Annual Letter by Warren Buffett

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) released its 2020 Letter to Shareholders over the weekend. If you also found reading this letter and Charlie Munger’s Daily Journal transcript an enjoyable way to spend your weekend… you might be an investing geek! As usual, the letter is not long at 15 pages. Here are my personal highlights.

I found the overall theme to be “Here’s a reminder of the many ways that Berkshire Hathaway is different than other companies”. For example, Buffett and Munger both started out with partnerships, where they invested nearly all their own net worth alongside their partners. They treated the investments as carefully as if it was their own money, because it was! I want to take the same care in writing this blog. I want to write things that I would want to read myself, and make recommendations that I would want to see being made to my own family and friends.

A minor surprise was that Buffett’s biggest purchase was $25 billion of BRK’s own shares in 2020 – roughly 5% of all outstanding shares! In other words, they though BRK itself was one of the best investments available in 2020. I guess I should have bought more BRKB when it was lingering at $165 a share.

Last year we demonstrated our enthusiasm for Berkshire’s spread of properties by repurchasing the equivalent of 80,998 “A” shares, spending $24.7 billion in the process. That action increased your ownership in all of Berkshire’s businesses by 5.2% without requiring you to so much as touch your wallet.

He also bought shares of a few big companies like Chevron ($8.6 billion) and Verizon ($4.1 billion), but it would seem that he thinks that most public and all available privately-held businesses are overpriced right now.

While Buffett indirectly pointed out that his Apple shares have gained nearly $90 billion for shareholders ($120B current value minus $31B cost basis), he also admitted a mistake in the price he paid for Precision Castparts:

The final component in our GAAP figure – that ugly $11 billion write-down – is almost entirely the quantification of a mistake I made in 2016. That year, Berkshire purchased Precision Castparts (“PCC”), and I paid too much for the company.

High prices for a stock can be a temporary illusion:

Investing illusions can continue for a surprisingly long time. Wall Street loves the fees that deal-making generates, and the press loves the stories that colorful promoters provide. At a point, also, the soaring price of a promoted stock can itself become the “proof” that an illusion is reality.

But, we should still appreciate our ability to own shares of wonderful businesses by buying shares with just a few clicks:

It took me a while to wise up. But Charlie – and also my 20-year struggle with the textile operation I inherited at Berkshire – finally convinced me that owning a non-controlling portion of a wonderful business is more profitable, more enjoyable and far less work than struggling with 100% of a marginal enterprise.

Be realistic about your expectations for bonds:

And bonds are not the place to be these days. Can you believe that the income recently available from a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond – the yield was 0.93% at yearend – had fallen 94% from the 15.8% yield available in September 1981? In certain large and important countries, such as Germany and Japan, investors earn a negative return on trillions of dollars of sovereign debt. Fixed-income investors worldwide – whether pension funds, insurance companies or retirees – face a bleak future.

Don’t take on unknown risk to chase higher yields:

Some insurers, as well as other bond investors, may try to juice the pathetic returns now available by shifting their purchases to obligations backed by shaky borrowers. Risky loans, however, are not the answer to inadequate interest rates. Three decades ago, the once-mighty savings and loan industry destroyed itself, partly by ignoring that maxim.

Buffett shared some historical profiles of Berkshire-owned companies that started out only as an idea from a single person or couple with limited funds. Through many years of hard work, determination, and taking advantage of the opportunities available in America, these turned into huge businesses. You may recognize the names: GEICO, See’s Candies, Clayton Homes, and Pilot Travel Centers.

Our unwavering conclusion: Never bet against America.

On the creation of wealth (reminds me of this):

Productive assets such as farms, real estate and, yes, business ownership produce wealth – lots of it. Most owners of such properties will be rewarded. All that’s required is the passage of time, an inner calm, ample diversification and a minimization of transactions and fees. Still, investors must never forget that their expenses are Wall Street’s income.

Past shareholder letters.

  • 1977-2020 are free on the Berkshire Hathaway website (PDF). 1965-2019 are $2.99 at Amazon (Kindle). Three bucks seems pretty reasonable for a permanent copy with the ability to search text and maintain highlights.
  • 2018 Letter discussed why BRK will continue to do fine without Warren Buffett around.
  • 2018 Letter discussed using debt very sparingly and the importance of holding productive assets over a long time.
  • 2017 Letter discussed patience, risk, and why they have so much cash.
  • 2016 Letter touched on the rarity of skilled-stock pickers and some insight on his own stock-picking practices.
  • 2015 Letter discussed his optimism in America and his “Big 4” stock holdings.
  • 2014 Letter discussed the power of owning shares of productive businesses (and not just bonds).
  • 2013 Letter included Buffett’s Simple Investment Advice to Wife After His Death.

The annual shareholder meeting will be virtual again this year, but at least it will include Charlie Munger! Yahoo Finance will livestream it on May 1st at 1pm EDT. I will probably wait to listen in the car via the Yahoo Finance podcast version.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Charlie Munger Daily Journal Annual Meeting 2021 Full Video, Full Transcript, and Highlights

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

It seems that every year, Charlie Munger and the Daily Journal Annual Shareholder Meeting gets more and more media attention. Which is great, as Munger is now 97 years old. Yahoo Finance livestreamed the event, and you can view the full two-hour recording on YouTube. It’s much faster to read the entire transcript, kindly provided at sites like Latticework Investing and Junto Investments. Munger covered a lot of ground, and it’s nice to see he hasn’t lost his edge. I’ve edited things down to my personal highlights below.

On the popularity of the short-term trading of stocks like Gamestop. It is nothing fancier than gambling.

…that’s the kind of thing that can happen when you get a whole lot of people who are using liquid stock markets to gamble the way they would in betting on racehorses. And that’s what we have going in the in the stock market. And the frenzy is fed by people who are getting commissions and other revenues out of this new bunch of gamblers.

A few shots at Robinhood.

I have a very simple idea on the subject. I think you should try and make your money in this world by selling other people things that are good for them. And if you’re selling them gambling services where you make profits off of the top, like many of these new brokers who specialize in luring the amateurs in, I think it’s a dirty way to make money. And I think that we’re crazy to allow it. […] Well, it’s most egregious in the momentum trading by novice investors lured in by new types of brokerage operations like Robinhood. I think all of this activity is regrettable. I think civilization would do better without it.

Nope, Robinhood is not free.

Robinhood trades are not free. When you pay for order flow, you’re probably charging your customers more and pretending to be free. It’s a very dishonorable low-grade way to talk. Nobody should believe that Robinhood’s trades are free.

On SPACs:

Well, I don’t participate at all. And I think the world would be better off without them. I think this kind of crazy speculation in enterprises not even found or picked out yet is a sign of an irritating bubble. It’s just that the investment banking profession will sell shit as long as shit can be sold.

On Treasury bonds, government stimulus, and low rates:

Well no, I don’t think we have a bubble in Treasury securities. I think they’re a bad investment when interest rates are this low. I never buy any and neither does Daily Journal. But, no, I don’t think Treasury securities are a big problem.

I do think that we don’t know what these artificially low interest rates are going to do or how the economy is going to work in the future as governments print all this extra money. The only opinion I have there is that I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to happen for sure. Larry Summers has recently been quoted as being worried that we’re having too much stimulus. And I don’t know whether he’s right or not.

On higher stock prices due to low rates:

I think everybody is willing to hold stocks at higher price-earnings multiples when interest rates are as low as they are now. And so I don’t think it’s necessarily crazy that good companies sell at way higher multiples than they used to.

On the other hand, as you say, I didn’t get rich by buying stocks at high price-earnings multiples in the midst of crazy speculative booms. I’m not going to change. I am more willing to hold stocks at high multiples than I would be if interest rates were a lot lower. Everybody is.

On why DJCO kept its Wells Fargo shares when Berkshire Hathaway sold them all off:

Well, I don’t think it’s required that we be exactly the same on everything. We have different tax considerations. […] So, you can understand why Warren got disenchanted with Wells Fargo. I think I’m a little more lenient. I expect less out of bankers than he does.

On Bitcoin:

So, I don’t think Bitcoin is going to end up as the medium of exchange for the world. It’s too volatile to serve well as a medium of exchange. It’s really kind of an artificial substitute for gold, and since I never buy any gold, I never buy any Bitcoin. I recommend that other people follow my practice.

On Costco. Munger has said in the past that 1/3rd of his net worth is in Costco.

Costco I do think has one thing that Amazon does not. People really trust Costco will be delivering enormous value. And that is why Costco presents some danger to Amazon. They’ve got a better reputation for providing value than practically anybody, including Amazon.

How do you know you really understand something? Avoid confirmation bias.

Well, I do have a tip. At times in my life, I have put myself to a standard that I think has helped me: I think I’m not really equipped to comment on this subject until I can state the arguments against my conclusion better than the people on the other side. If you do that all the time; if you’re looking for disconfirming evidence and putting yourself on a grill, that’s a good way to help remove ignorance.

Can anyone become a great investor? Bad news.

I think people have the theory that any intelligent hardworking person can get to be a great investor. I think any intelligent person can get to be pretty good as an investor and avoid certain obvious traps. But I don’t think everybody can be a great investor or a great chess player. […] I don’t think it’s easy for ordinary people to become great investors.

What does Munger advise his charitable institutions to hold as assets? Munger also has 1/3rd of his assets run by Li Lu, and the final 1/3rd is Berkshire Hathaway shares.

Well, the one charitable institution where I have had some influence for a very long time has a whole bunch of hotshot financiers in every branch of wealth management there is on the board. And that institution has two assets in its endowment account. One is a big interest in Li Lu’s China fund, which is a limited partnership, and the other is a Vanguard index fund. As a result of holding those two positions, we have a lower cost than anybody else and we make more money than practically everybody else. So you now know what I do in charitable institutions.

Most people have “happiness thermostats”:

I think most people who are assuming tolerable success in life are about as happy as they were ordained to be. They wouldn’t be a lot happier if they were richer or a lot less happy if they’d been poor. I think most people are born with a happystat. That happystat has more to do with their happiness and their outcomes in life.

More on happiness:

The first rule of a happy life is low expectations. That’s one you can easily arrange. If you have unrealistic expectations, you’re going to be miserable all your life. I was good at having low expectations and that helped me.

On choosing a spouse:

A little wisdom in spouse selection is very desirable. You can hardly think of a decision that matters more to human felicity than who you marry. […] Well, you know, I had a failed marriage, so I don’t think I’m in the perfect position to advise the young about marriage.

Here are last year’s 2020 Daily Journal meeting video, transcript, and notes. Here are links to past Daily Journal meeting transcripts and lots of additional Munger material.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Scott Galloway’s Algebra of Wealth (or: How To Become Rich)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Scott Galloway shares in The Algebra of Wealth his thoughts on how to achieve financial security (be rich). You should read the entire thing, but the ingredients in his formula are Focus, Stoicism, Time, and Diversification. I’m only including a few notes and personal interpretations here.

Focus. If you want to get rich, you have consciously take action to make it happen. It rarely happens by accident. Look for a good wave to ride when you are young. Look carefully for the right life partner.

Successful people often unwittingly head fake young people with the humblebrags of “follow your passion” and “don’t think about money.” This is (mostly) bullshit. Achieving economic security requires hard work, talent, and a tremendous amount of focus on . . . money. Yes, some people’s genius will be a tsunami that overwhelms a lack of focus and discipline. Assume you are not that person.

Stoicism. Develop some self-discipline and character. Be generous and helpful to others. This will help you spend less money.

Determine what you can and can’t control. You can control your reactions to temptation — a lack of discipline is the antichrist to economic security. Our society of superabundance makes this difficult. Billions of dollars are spent every year on schemes to manipulate our natural impulses into spending more money, consuming more fat, and believing everyone around us is more successful than we are. The upgrade from economy to premium to business to first class to private jet can seem like an investment in yourself — it’s not. The most powerful forward-looking indicator of your financial freedom is not how much you earn, but how much you save.

Time. Steady improvements over time can supercharge your results. Don’t focus only on the short-term. As the saying goes, “Time in the market is more important than timing the market.”

Compounding is not just a financial thing. The most important returns in life come from the compounded effects of our investments over time, whether in our finances, careers, hobbies, or relationships.

Diversification. Never expose yourself to a fully catastrophic loss. Make sure you can walk away to fight another day. If you do it right, you only need to get rich once.

Diversification is the kevlar that protects you — with it, bad decisions will still hurt, but they won’t prove fatal. Diversification, in other words, is your bulletproof vest. […] That doesn’t mean I don’t look for opportunities that offer asymmetric upside — I do. I just don’t ever take off my kevlar. You don’t need to be a hero to get to economic security.

There is no simple step-by-step plan to become financially independent, otherwise everyone would be rich. Luck matters too, but working on all of these factors helps maintain maximum exposure to good luck.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Vanguard – How The Boring, Long-Term Focused Part of America Invests

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Vanguard recently released a report on “How America Invests”, based on the 5 million households with Vanguard retail accounts (taxable and IRAs, not 401ks). It looked at investor behavior from 2015 through 2019, along with the first quarter of 2020, when there was a sharp market decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lot of information packed inside, but here are a few quick takeaways.

The average portfolio of a Vanguard household. The averages seem reasonable, but I was a bit surprised that 16% of households are 100% bonds. Even if I was extremely conservative, I would still own something like 20% stocks to hedge against the risk of inflation and rising rates.

The typical Vanguard household holds a long-term, risk-taking portfolio that’s both diversified and balanced. The average portfolio consists of 63% equities (stocks), 16% fixed income (bonds), and 21% cash (short-term reserves). However, there are substantial differences in risk-taking across investors, with equity risk ranging from conservative to aggressive for investors with otherwise similar asset levels or ages. At the extremes, 16% of households hold no equities, while 22% hold very risky portfolios containing at least 98% equities.

Self-directed investor glide path vs. what Vanguard thinks is best. It is interesting to see what people actually own when they are self-directed, as compared to what Vanguard recommends in their Target-date Retirement Fund and their Vanguard Personal Advisory Services (VPAS) that charges an 0.30% annual fee.

This chart compares the asset allocation (% in stocks) of self-directed investors (blue line is median) against that of Vanguard target-date funds (red line). We see that there is a lot of variation amongst self-directed investors, but overall they do decrease their exposure over time like nearly all target-date funds. However, they don’t decrease it nearly as much as Vanguard’s target-date funds past the age of 65. (Click to enlarge.)

This chart compares the asset allocation (% in stocks) of self-directed investors (dark beige is median) against that of those being advised by Vanguard Personal Advisory Services (light blue line is median). Here, the recommended median asset allocation is much closer to that of the self-directed median. Comparing with the chart above, we see a gap betwewn VPAS and their own Target Retirement funds. Why are their target-date funds so much more conservative? (Click to enlarge.)

Mutual funds are still the most popular, but ETFs are gaining. Only 13% of Vanguard households hold any ETFs at all as of 2019, but that number is double that of 2015.

Younger investors tend to own index funds, while older investors still hold a lot of actively-managed funds. This chart tracks the usage of index funds/actively-managed funds/cash vs. age. I’m actually a little surprised at how much actively-managed funds are held by the older cohorts. Contrast this with the fact that roughly 2/3rd of Vanguard’s global assets under management are in their index funds/ETFs. (Click to enlarge.)

Vanguard account owners are not active traders! Over 75% of Vanguard households place zero trades per year. The Vanguard stereotype would probably be the polar opposite of the Robinhood stereotype. (As someone with the majority of their assets at Vanguard and only a small percentage in trading apps, I’m quite fine with that!) Check out this quote (emphasis mine):

Fewer than one-quarter of Vanguard households trade in any given year, and those that do typically only trade twice. Most traders’ behavior is consistent with rebalancing or is professionally advised.

During the COVID-19 market volatility, Vanguard households stayed boring and long-term focused. The quote below essentially says “they did nothing different”.

Twenty-two percent of households traded in the first half of 2020—a rate typical of trading for a full calendar year. Despite the increase in trading, less than 1% of households abandoned equities completely during the downturn, while just over 1% traded to extremely aggressive portfolios. The net result of the portfolio and market changes was a modest reduction in the average household equity allocation, from 63% to 62%.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Peerstreet Case Study #4: The Perpetually-Late $10M Beverly Hills Estate

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

I’ve invested over $50,000 of my “alternative” money into PeerStreet real estate notes because of the ability to diversify into 50+ different high-interest loans backed by physical real estate. Here is a case study of a $10 million mansion that bounced in and out of late status for years, only to suddenly get paid back in full. You can find additional case study links and the most recent update to my overall portfolio performance in my Peerstreet review.

I called this property “90210” as it was located in a prime spot in Beverly Hills. The loan photo on the Peerstreet listing was quite drab:

Here’s what it looked like on the MLS page when they listed it for over $10 million:

Initial investment details.

  • Property: Single-family residential property in California.
  • Target Net Investor Rate/Term: 8.25% APR for 31 months.
  • Appraised at $8.75M = 60% LTV.
  • Cash-out/Bridge loan secured by the property in first position.
  • Loan originator retained 13% “skin in the game”.

Timeline.

  • June 2018. Loan originated. Original maturity date was January 2020.
  • June 2019. Payments are now late.
  • August to September 2019. Payments are still late. Demand letters are sent.
  • October 2019 to January 2020. Intermittent payments are made, but still behind and late.
  • February 2020. Peerstreet approves a loan extension to April 2020.
  • April 2020. Late again.
  • May 2020. Loan brought current!
  • July 2020. Guess whose late again?
  • August 2020. Another extension is approved, but does it really matter?
  • September 2020 to January 2021. Still… late.
  • February 2021. Loan is suddenly paid off in full.

Final numbers. As the loan was paid off in full, I earned the full promised 8.25% annualized return but for 31 months instead of the original 18 months. I guess that worked out to my benefit, given the current low interest rate environment. My overall annualized return across my entire Peerstreet portfolio is currently 6.9%. These numbers are net of all PeerStreet fees.

My commentary. This loan is an example where for nearly three years, I stared at the same loan that with a late/default status every time I logged into Peerstreet. It spent more time late than current, yet one day it suddenly became paid off in full and actually improved my overall return numbers. The originator appears to be juggling many different loans, but the property remained valuable enough that they really had to eventually pay off this loan despite having to pay me 8.25% interest while I waited.

It was good to see (and rare these days) to see the originator keep an interest in the loan, as that is usually taken as a sign of confidence. I wish I could only invest in loans with such “skin in the game”, but the reality is that Peerstreet inventory is currently in such great demand that nearly all of their notes sell out instantly to automated investors.

Again, the lesson is to diversify, ignore the late status, and invest money with which you can be patient. Let Peerstreet do the due diligence and manage the late payments and possibly the foreclosure process.

Bottom line. At the moment, out of the $50,000+ I’ve now invested into 66 loans at PeerStreet over 4+ years, 55 were paid back, 8 are current, and 3 are late. However, many of those paid-off loans were late at some point in time. This is one example of a single-family residential loan that was constantly late for years, but ended up being paid in full. The annualized return for this loan was 8.25%, while my overall annualized return across my entire portfolio is 6.9%.

If you are interested, you can sign up and browse investments at PeerStreet for free before depositing any funds or making any investments. You must qualify as an accredited investor (either via income or net worth) to invest. If you already invest with them, they now sync with Mint.com.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Asset Class Correlations Infographic: Large Cap vs. Small Cap Stocks, Stocks vs. Bonds

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

When talking about constructing an investment portfolio, you’ll often hear about diversification and buying low-correlation or non-correlated assets.

  • A positive correlation means that the assets tended to move in the same direction. A value of 1 is perfect positive correlation.
  • A negative correlation means that they tended to move in opposite directions. A value of -1 is perfect negative correlation.
  • A zero correlation means that they had no relationship.

Visual Capitalist has a nice infographic of a few asset class correlation combinations from the last 25 Years (1996-2020). Specifically, they charted the 1-year correlation based on monthly returns.

We see that US Large Cap and US Small Cap stocks are highly correlated historically, as are Developed and Emerging Market stocks. Even though each basket may contain completely different businesses doing different things and even located in different parts of the world, they still contain businesses and thus tend to move together in the same direction. Of course, a Nobel Prize-winning discovery was that as long as assets aren’t perfectly correlated (a value of 1), you still get some amount of diversification benefit from owning different asset classes. For example, owning both US and International stocks still helps diversify your portfolio even if they tend to go up or down together.

Meanwhile, the relationship between US stocks and US bonds have a low correlation. Although it’s not always negative, it has been negative 14 out of the last 25 years. As stocks and bonds don’t reliably move together, this offers a more impactful diversification benefit to your portfolio. In addition, investment-grade bonds tend not to move as much in general and thus can serve as a stable ballast to your portfolio. (Note that the last chart is Gold vs. US dollar, not US stocks.)

Here is another post on asset class correlations with data from Morningstar.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

My Money Blog Portfolio Income Update – February 2021

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

dividendmono225

While my February 2021 portfolio is designed for total return, I also track the income produced. Stock dividends are the portion of profits that businesses have decided they don’t need to reinvest into their business. The dividends may suffer some short-term drops, but over the long run they have grown faster than inflation. Interest from bonds and bank deposits are steadier, but these days it actually lags inflation a bit.

I track the “TTM” or “12-Month Yield” from Morningstar, which is the sum of the trailing 12 months of interest and dividend payments divided by the last month’s ending share price (NAV) plus any capital gains distributed over the same period. I prefer this measure because it is based on historical distributions and not a forecast. Below is a close approximation of my portfolio (2/3rd stocks and 1/3rd bonds).

Asset Class / Fund % of Portfolio Trailing 12-Month Yield (Taken 2/10/21) Yield Contribution
US Total Stock
Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund (VTI, VTSAX)
25% 1.43% 0.36%
US Small Value
Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF (VBR)
5% 1.65% 0.08%
International Total Stock
Vanguard Total International Stock Market Fund (VXUS, VTIAX)
25% 2.13% 0.53%
Emerging Markets
Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
5% 1.85% 0.09%
US Real Estate
Vanguard REIT Index Fund (VNQ, VGSLX)
6% 3.92% 0.24%
Intermediate-Term High Quality Bonds
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury ETF (VGIT)
17% 1.53% 0.26%
Inflation-Linked Treasury Bonds
Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities ETF (VTIP)
17% 1.19% 0.20%
Totals 100% 1.76%

 

Trailing 12-month yield history. Here is a chart showing how this 12-month trailing income rate has varied since I started tracking it in 2014.

Portfolio value reality check. One of the things I like about using this number is that when stock prices drop, this percentage metric usually goes up – which makes me feel better in a bear market. When stock prices go up, this percentage metric usually goes down, which keeps me from getting too euphoric during a bull market.

This quarter’s trailing income yield of 1.74% is the lowest ever since 2014. At the same time, my portfolio value is also bigger than ever. This just confirms that much of the recent US stock market price rise has been due to P/E ratio expansion, as opposed to higher earnings and profits. Either prices will drop quickly and then the future will look brighter, or prices won’t drop and the future will simply hold lower returns.

I choose to treat this income as a “no-stress, perpetual withdrawal rate”. There are countless articles debating this topic, but I support a 3% withdrawal rate as a reasonable target for planning purposes if you want to retire young (before age 50) and a 4% withdrawal rate as a reasonable target if retiring at a more traditional age (closer to 65). If you are not close to retirement, your time is better spent focusing on earning potential via better career moves, investing in your skillset, and/or looking for entrepreneurial opportunities where you own equity in a business asset.)

How we handle this income. Our dividends and interest income are not automatically reinvested. I treat this money as part of our “paycheck”. Then, as with a real paycheck, we can choose to either spend it or reinvest in more stocks and bonds.

Although we are not retired, this portfolio income does enable us to have more flexible working hours as parents of three young kids. If we’re being honest, I don’t think either of us truly wants to be a full-time stay-at-home parent while the other works for money full-time. Nor do we want to be the sole full-time worker while the other stays at home. This works best for us.

We are very thankful for this financial flexibility (always, but especially during this pandemic), which has been both a result of conscious preparation over 15+ years and good fortune. Others may use their portfolio income to pursue new interests, start a new business, sit on a beach, do charity or volunteer work, and so on.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

MMB Portfolio Asset Allocation Update, February 2021

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

portpie_blank200

A central idea here is skin in the game, showing what someone really does with their own money. Too often, what the “experts” tell you to do is quite different than what they own themselves. Here’s my current portfolio as of February 2021, including our 401k/403b/IRAs, taxable brokerage accounts, and savings bonds but excluding our house, cash reserves, and a few side investments. I use these updates to help determine where to invest new cash to rebalance back towards our target asset allocation.

Actual Asset Allocation and Holdings

I use both Personal Capital and a custom Google Spreadsheet to track my investment holdings. The Personal Capital financial tracking app (free, my review) automatically logs into my different accounts, adds up my various balances, tracks my performance, and calculates my overall asset allocation. Once a quarter, I also update my manual Google Spreadsheet (free, instructions) because it helps me calculate how much I need in each asset class to rebalance back towards my target asset allocation.

Here are some performance and asset allocation charts, per the “Allocation” and “Holdings” tabs of my Personal Capital account, respectively:

Stock Holdings
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI, VTSAX)
Vanguard Total International Stock Market (VXUS, VTIAX)
Vanguard Small Value (VBR)
Vanguard Emerging Markets (VWO)
Vanguard REIT Index (VNQ, VGSLX)

Bond Holdings
Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Exempt (VMLTX, VMLUX)
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt (VWITX, VWIUX)
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury (VFITX, VFIUX)
Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities (VIPSX, VAIPX)
Fidelity Inflation-Protected Bond Index (FIPDX)
iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (TIP)
Individual TIPS securities
U.S. Savings Bonds (Series I)

Target Asset Allocation. I do not spend a lot of time backtesting various model portfolios, as I don’t think picking through the details of the recent past will necessarily create superior future returns. I mainly make sure that I own asset classes that will provide long-term returns above inflation, distribute income via dividends and interest, and finally offer some historical tendencies to balance each other out. I make a small bet that US Small Value and Emerging Markets will have higher future long-term returns (along with some higher volatility) than the more large and broad indexes, although I could be wrong.

While you could argue for various other asset classes, I believe that it is important to imagine an asset class doing poorly for a long time, with bad news constantly surrounding it, and only hold the ones where you still think you can maintain faith through those fearful times. I simply don’t have strong faith in the long-term results of commodities, gold, or bitcoin. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do own tiny bits of gold and BTC, but at less than 1% of net worth.)

My US/international ratio floats with the total world market cap breakdown, currently at ~57% US and 43% ex-US. I think it’s okay to have a slight home bias (owning more US stocks than the overall world market cap), but I want to avoid having an international bias.

Stocks Breakdown

  • 43% US Total Market
  • 7% US Small-Cap Value
  • 33% International Total Market
  • 7% Emerging Markets
  • 10% US Real Estate (REIT)

Bonds Breakdown

  • 33% US Treasury Bonds, intermediate (or FDIC-insured)
  • 33% High-Quality Municipal Bonds (taxable)
  • 33% US Treasury Inflation-Protected Bonds (tax-deferred)

I have settled into a long-term target ratio of 67% stocks and 33% bonds (2:1 ratio) within our investment strategy of buy, hold, and occasionally rebalance. I will use the dividends and interest to rebalance whenever possible in order to avoid taxable gains. I plan to only manually rebalance past that if the stock/bond ratio is still off by more than 5% (i.e. less than 62% stocks, greater than 72% stocks). With a self-managed, simple portfolio of low-cost funds, we minimize management fees, commissions, and taxes.

Holdings commentary. I should be happy that my portfolio numbers seem to keep going up and up after the March 2020 scare, but instead I am mentally preparing myself for some low future returns over the next decade or so. I’m not making any big moves, but in keeping with my investment plan, I will be selling some US stocks this month as part of normal rebalancing. I remain optimistic that capitalism, human ingenuity, human resilience, and our system of laws will continue to improve things over time.

I’ve been seeing various articles about how to adjust your investing after the Gamestop short squeeze. Given that my holding strategy doesn’t require me to follow any market news at all, I don’t need to do any adjusting! 🙂

Performance numbers. According to Personal Capital, my portfolio ended up about 14% over all of 2020. An alternative benchmark for my portfolio is 50% Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund and 50% Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Fund – one is 60/40 and the other is 80/20 so it also works out to 70% stocks and 30% bonds. That benchmark would have a total return of +14.5% for 2020 YTD as of 11/3/2020.

The goal of this portfolio is to create sustainable income that keeps up with inflation to cover our household expenses. I’ll share about more about the income aspect in a separate post.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Gamestop Takeaway: Taking Risks Can Pay Off, But Find Smarter Risks

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

I’ve mostly ignored the Gamestop noise as I didn’t see any actionable takeaways, but then I saw this Reddit post conflating gambling winnings with paying off student loan debt.

This is the same as saying that you bet $10,000 on the Super Bowl, and then used the proceeds to pay off your student loans. The decision didn’t involve much skill, and you got lucky. You get credit for taking the risk, but is that really a newsworthy event?

Consider that if you bet $10,000 on red at a roulette table twice in a row and won both times, you could also turn $10,000 into $40,000. Simple! Every single person reading this has roughly a 1 in 4 chance (22.5%) of achieving the exact same feat (American roulette odds). You just have accept the 3 in 4 chance (77.5%) that you will lose your entire $10,000 and walk away with nothing.

For the most part, these were zero-effort, zero-sum bets. A few clicks, and there is a winner and loser. Last week was not about class warfare, it was just different traders betting against each other. Some average folks won big, others lost big. Some hedge funds lost big, but other hedge funds won big. Nobody “stuck it” to Wall Street! For every Robinhood screenshot that looks like this:

…there is a Robinhood screenshot that looks like this:

My concern is we will continue to see people make easy money (whether in Gamestop or another trade), and others will get sucked into this casino. Like a hot craps table, you want to join in the fun as well. When the market goes up, everyone looks like a skilled trader.

Risk-taking can pay off, but I prefer to search for smarter bets where the upside is huge, but the downside is small. Ones that involve investing a decent amount of time but only a little money. Ones where your personal qualities tilt the odds more in your favor. This is still a risk because you might start a business and fail. You might interview for a promotion and get passed over this time. You might try be a landlord and get a really difficult tenant. You might pursue a specific degree and realize it’s not a good fit. You might ask someone out on a date and get rejected.

In the worst case, you gain valuable experience for later, dust yourself off, and try again. In the best case, you can gain a meaningful life and career (which then leads to financial freedom with a bit of planning). I try to remember that every day we “spend” our time somehow, and it’s a risk because we never get it back. Opening yourself up to the truly big wins is so much better than spending it on gambling (see above), video games, or dead-end jobs. Tell yourself to take good risks.

Here are two WSJ articles about people taking action despite the risks: In the Covid Economy, Laid-Off Employees Become New Entrepreneurs and Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus? Millions of Americans Don’t Think So. These types of articles are so much more interesting to me than anything about Gamestop.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – February 2021

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of February 2021, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I track these rates because I keep 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and there are many lesser-known opportunities to improve your yield while still being FDIC-insured or equivalent. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 2/3/2021.

Fintech accounts
Available only to individual investors, fintech accounts oftentimes pay higher-than-market rates in order to achieve high short-term growth. I will define “fintech” as an app software layer on top of a different bank’s FDIC insurance backbone. You should read about the story of the Beam app for potential pitfalls and best practices. Below are some current options with decent balance limits:

  • 3% APY on up to $100,000. I am happy to see the top rate staying at 3% APY for January through March 2021. HM Bradley requires a recurring direct deposit every month and a savings rate of at least 20%. See my HM Bradley review.
  • 3% APY on 10% of direct deposits. One Finance lets you earn 3% APY on “auto-save” deposits (up to 10% of your direct deposit, up to $1,000 per month). Separately, they also pay 1% APY on up to another $25,000 with direct deposit. New $50 bonus via referral. See my One Finance review.
  • 3% APY on up to $15,000. Porte requires a one-time direct deposit of $1,000+ to open a savings account. $50 bonus via referral. See my Porte review.
  • 2.15% APY on up to $5k/$30k. Limited-time offer of free membership to their higher balance tier for 6 months with direct deposit. See my OnJuno review.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks pay essentially no interest, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I list the top rates as well as competitive rates from banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you with a temporary top rate and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

  • T-Mobile Money has the top rate at the moment at 1.00% APY with no minimum balance requirements. The main focus is on the 4% APY on your first $3,000 of balances as a qualifying T-mobile customer plus other hoops, but the lesser-known perk is the 1% APY for everyone. Thanks to the readers who helped me understand this. There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at closer to 0.50% APY for now.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Marcus has a 7-month No Penalty CD at 0.45% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. AARP members can get an 8-month CD at 0.55% APY. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 0.50% APY for all balance tiers. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 0.30% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Lafayette Federal Credit Union has a 12-month CD at 0.80% APY ($500 min). Early withdrawal penalty is 6 months of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
Normally, I would say to watch out for brokerage firms that pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). However, money market fund rates are very low across the board right now. The following ultra-short bond funds are a possible alternative, but they are NOT FDIC-insured and will also fluctuate in price somewhat:

  • The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund which has an SEC yield of 0.01%. Vanguard Cash Reserves Federal Money Market Fund (formerly Prime Money Market) currently pays 0.01% SEC yield.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 0.44% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 0.54% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 0.23% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 0.43% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes. Right now, this section isn’t very interesting as T-Bills are yielding close to zero!

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 2/3/2020, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 0.04% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 0.08% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a -0.01% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a -0.06% (!) SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest. The annual purchase limit is $10,000 per Social Security Number, available online at TreasuryDirect.gov. You can also buy an additional $5,000 in paper I bonds using your tax refund with IRS Form 8888.

  • “I Bonds” bought between November 2020 and April 2021 will earn a 1.68% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-April 2021, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.
  • See below about EE Bonds as a potential long-term bond alternative.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are severely capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore.

  • One of the few notable cards left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, along with several hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops which usually involve 10+ debit card purchases each cycle, a certain number of ACH/direct deposits, and a certain number of logins per month. If you make a mistake (or they judge that you did) you risk earning zero interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others would rather not bother. Rates can also drop suddenly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling.

  • The Bank of Denver pays 2.50% APY (dropping to 2.00% APY on 2/18/21) on up to $25,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each and at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. If you meet those qualifications, you can also link a Kasasa savings account that pays 1.50% APY (but dropping to 1.00% APY on 2/18/21) on up to $50k. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • Devon Bank has a Kasasa Checking paying 3.50% APY on up to $10,000, plus a Kasasa savings account paying 3.50% APY on up to $10,000 (and 1.25% APY on up to $50,000). You’ll need at least 12 debit transactions of $3+ and other requirements every month.
  • Presidential Bank pays 2.25% APY on balances up to $25,000, with fewer hoops than some others.
  • Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union pays 3.30% APY on up to $20,000. You’ll need at least 15 debit transactions and other requirements every month.
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union pays 3.00% APY on up to $15,000. You’ll need at least 10 debit transactions and other requirements every month.
  • Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 1.50% APY ($500 minimum). Early withdrawal penalty is 1 year of interest. 4-year at 1.20% APY, and 3-year at 0.95% APY ($500 minimum). Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($25 one-time fee).
  • Hiway Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 1.34% APY ($25k minimum) and 1.24% APY with a $10,000 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 1 year of interest. 4-year at 1.19% APY, and 3-year at 1.10% APY ($25k minimum). Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. I see nothing special right now, but it might still pay more than your other brokerage cash and Treasury options. Be wary of higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10 years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. You might find something that pays more than your other brokerage cash and Treasury options. Right now, I see a 10-year at Vanguard for 1.35% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently 0.10%). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. But if holding for 20 years isn’t an issue, it can also serve as a hedge against prolonged deflation during that time. Purchase limit is $10,000 each calendar year for each Social Security Number. As of 2/3/2021, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 1.69%.

All rates were checked as of 2/3/2021.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Time Capsule: The Startup Unicorns of 2015

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

While we wait to see how Gamestop and silver prices can be manipulated either by the big money of a few hedge funds or the combined big money of millions of individuals, here is an interesting chart of “unicorns” from 2015 (startups with a valuation of at least a billion dollars). Taken from an old Fortune article, MG Siegler observes that just 6 years later, many are already much larger while other have disappeared. (Click to enlarge.)

This infographic can serve as a time capsule, and it will be interesting to see how things change in another 5 or 10 years. I support the ability to take big risks and seek to disrupt, but that also includes the acceptance of big failures. As long as they are publicly traded, I’ll be satisfied to own a part of the winners in my total market index funds.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.