Thankful For Another Great Year On Wall Street

This past Thanksgiving, millions of Americans sat at the dinner table and proclaimed what they were thankful for. For some, it was loved ones, new family members, a promotion at work or a new job altogether, but at the very least, the food that was about to be eaten was mentioned. The success of the stock market in 2019 was undoubtedly one of mine, but I may be in the minority when it comes to people who said such out loud.

However, with the major indexes again trading at new all-time highs, something we have now had occur more than 20 times in 2019, 18 times in 2018, 62 times in 2017 and another 126 times from the start of 2013 until the end of 2016, its hard not to think about how much further this bull market can run.

Adding new money to the market seems very risky today based on how far the market has come the past few years and considering we have seen so many new all-time highs over the past few years.

However, new all-time highs is a very normal thing for the market. Since 1928, the U.S. stock market has seen new all-time highs on 5% of the trading days. Think about that! That’s on average, one in every 20 trading days, the U.S. stock market is hitting an all-time high. From that perspective, a new all-time high sort of seems like not that big of a deal.

Another crazy thought is that since World War II, the U.S. stock market has spent nearly 40% of its time within 5% of all-time highs. Ok, so almost half the time stocks are trading within reach of an all-time high. Furthermore, 54% of the time stocks are trading within 10% of all-time highs.

However, that means 46% of the time stocks were more than double digits below their highs. Continue reading "Thankful For Another Great Year On Wall Street"

Dividend Stocks Yielding More Than Bonds

A weird thing happens when investors start seeing signs of a recession or just start convincing themselves that a recession is inevitable and coming soon; interest rates begin to fall, which means bond yields begin to drop. Most investors are told when they start investing that stocks are risky, but they offer better long-term growth, while bonds are safer, but they don’t offer investors as much potential growth.

While these statements may be true during certain situations, they certainly don’t always hold true. Sometimes, stocks may be both less risky and offer higher growth than bonds. I personally believe now be may one of those times.

As things sit now, bonds are offering rather low yields. The three-month treasury is paying 1.78%, the 12-month treasury is paying 1.75%, while the even longer five-year treasury is only offering a yield of 1.56%. The ten-year treasury is at 1.68%, and the 30-year treasury is sitting at 2.13%. These returns are hardly likely to keep up with inflation over those longer periods. Buying an investment that may just keep up with inflation seems somewhat risky to me.

Even the bond ETFs that have performed well year-to-date and pay yields to their investors aren’t currently offering anything much better than what investors can get from Treasuries. The Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCLT) which is up 21% year-to-date is offering one of the best yields at 3.5%. But this ETF is rather risky considering if, and when interest rates turn around, this fund will get hit.

On the other hand, certain stocks are currently offering higher yields, while also offering the chance for stock price appreciation, regardless of which way interest rates run. Let’s take a look at a few of my person favorites equity Exchange Traded Funds, which offer both growth and healthy, reliable yields. Continue reading "Dividend Stocks Yielding More Than Bonds"

ETFs Will End The Use Of Mutual Funds

When Jack Bogle started the Vanguard Index Fund, he essentially changed the investment management game forever. He found a way to reduce the fee’s they charged investors, which in turn, brought Vanguard more investment money than they could have ever imagined.

If the move to lower investment fees was the first landed punch in the fight against mutual funds, the rise of the Exchange Traded Fund is the nuclear bomb in the fight against mutual funds. And well to most market participants, the reason is clear, ETFs are way cheaper and easier for all parties involved.

But, why do lower fees matter? Yes, and the math, while perhaps not simple is straight forward. The idea is that if you invest the same amount each year, we will say $10,000, and in one scenario you pay 0.1% in fee’s and commissions and another you pay 1.5% in fees and commissions. Over 30 or 40 years of investing, the difference of 0.1% and 1.5% will add up because of compounding interest. How much of a difference, well that all depends on your annual return rate, how long you stay invested and how much you are investing, but it could add up to not thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, but millions of dollars.

Some quick back of the napkin math looks like this, just to prove my point. A 0.1% fee on $10,000 during one year is just $10. Now a 1.5% fee on $10,000 during one year is $150. Let’s say your account never grows higher than $10,000 over 10 years, (I know very unrealistic, but follow along.) If your fee’s where 0.1% you would pay $100 in fees throughout those 10 years, ($10 a year time 10 years). Now let’s say your fees where 1.5% on your $10,000 for 10 years, (and again it never changed from $10,000) you would pay $1,500 in fees over the 10 years. $100 in fees or $1,500 in fee’s, which would you rather pay? And again, that’s just on a $10,000 investment, imagine if you have $100,000, $500,000, $1 million or more invested. Continue reading "ETFs Will End The Use Of Mutual Funds"