How many of us can look back at our childhood and say we wish we learned more about money? Maybe you were even one of those people who graduated college and still had no clue how to manage your money and pay off your debts? Most people gain their money skills and knowledge from their parents and caregivers as they grow and develop. Your children will learn their financial habits from watching you spend, save, borrow, and earn. Although you are the top influencer in their financial life, you don’t have to be a money expert to help them achieve positive and strong financial habits.
I recently issued a message to Conservatory Members about equity markets in a gradually rising interest rate environment. Today I will address bonds, which are commonly considered poor investments when rates are on the rise.
Return. We chase it. We measure it – daily, monthly, quarterly. We compare investments and investment managers based upon it. Newspapers, radio, television and, now, Internet media focus upon it. Like ‘plastics’ in the 1960’s movie The Graduate, it is the ONE WORD upon which everyone clings.
A new vehicle can be one of the biggest financial expenses you face, which is why you must explore your options before you make your final decision. When you break it down, there are really only two routes you can take: buy or lease. So the question is, which option better suits your lifestyle?
The bond market thinks the new administration in Washington will boost economic activity, and that the Federal Reserve will begin a program of raising interest rates. They may be right. Of course, higher interest rates have been predicted for years and kept falling. We’ll see.
We tend to pay an awful lot of attention to investment returns. Mostly, I suppose, because they are in our faces all the time. Turn on the television, listen to the radio, pick-up the newspaper, even our smart phones have applications to keep us continuously abreast of the latest valuation placed by Wall Street traders on a basket of thirty stocks we know as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). But what does today's valuation have to do with our lives, and should it make or break our day?
I keep coming back to the prospect of adding gold to diversified portfolios. It seems so tantilizing. The enduring popularity of gold as an investment has to do with its tangible nature. Unlike a stock or a bond, you can feel and touch golden coins and larger ingots. And, it appears such a good diversifier. It tends to react in the opposite direction to economic changes as many other asset classes. The problem with such tangible assets, of course, is that there is nothing alive about them; that is, there is no claim on the fruits produced by the labor of thousands of workers, in the form of dividends or growth of the enterprise. As Warren Buffett famously pointed out, if you owned all the world’s gold, you could mainly polish it and admire it in your front yard.