A recently widowed woman visited our office not long ago asking for help understanding her investment portfolio. Fortunately, she was in good financial shape but I was struck by some of her questions. While I strive for clarity both in person and in print, at one point she asked me what an index fund was.
My last article featured a couple of sketches by Carl Richards, a Utah-based financial planner who uses a pencil to illustrate various financial planning concepts. I’d like to enlist his help again this week as I talk more specifically about investing.
Over the years I’ve been involved in the world of investments, I’ve found that my clients have been able to make money in all three of stocks, bonds and real estate, though rarely at the same time. Since no one knows the best time to invest in any one of them, we encourage most of our clients to use all of them.
During the past seven years or so, interest rates have fallen to generational, if not all-time, lows. Here’s a chart showing the rate of the two year Treasury Note over that period courtesy of the Department of the Treasury:
I’ve heard that you can tell whether someone is an optimist or a pessimist by their answer to the question “Which do you want first, the good news or the bad?” I’ve started a couple of businesses during my working life, something that’s almost always associated with optimism. Yet my usual response to that question is to ask for the bad news first.
One of the small mysteries of my life is how my articles come into being. Sometimes I’m asked a question that seems like it might be of wider interest. Sometimes I read a book which I think others might find interesting. Sometimes a title forms itself in my mind and the article just follows.
Since my beard has long been completely white there’s not much I can do to disguise my age. That being the case, there’s probably little further embarrassment in letting you know that I watched both Andy Rooney and Gilda Radner’s character “Emily Litella” on live television. What did these two have in common?
I’m turning to the Bard for the title of 2014’s first message because there are articles everywhere right now offering forecasts for the upcoming year. I never try that myself because I know I can’t predict the future. Instead, I thought I’d reflect a bit on the past to see what lessons we might learn.
The best way to legally hasten someone’s death is to arrange for the services of a personal physician.
I don’t watch very much TV but I happened upon CNBC’s mid-day market coverage one day last week. This will not be news to regular viewers but I was nearly overwhelmed by the amount of information being offered. In addition to a series of stories in the main window, there were four sets of market quotations crawling across the screen, two at the top and two at the bottom.