This past week, July 10-14, the U.S. stock market reached record highs on several indexes (S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Russell 2000) on Friday, July 14, 2017. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave an optimistic outlook on the economy to the House on Wednesday and the senate on Thursday, which fueled a lot of this. This is great news, considering these indexes haven’t performed all that well for the previous five-week period. And, oddly enough, the U.S. stock market had a great week, all while the worries over the fate of Trump’s tax cuts and the toiling over the health care fix cripple Washington. So we continue to have the biggest bull market in U.S. history because the economy is as strong as ever.
Market News from the Week of July 10-14, 2017
- Earnings of companies in the S&P 500 were up 15.3% in the first quarter
- Since the election of Donald Trump as our 45th U.S. President, the S&P 500 is up 14.9%
- The S&P 500 is up 264% since March 9, 2009 (the end of the 2008 “crash”)
- Reports indicate that more Americans are quitting jobs, and more employers are hiring
- Tesla plans to add 1,000 new jobs over the next year
- 44 million American say they have a “side job” (hello, personal finance blog for Millennials)
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates rise to 4.03% this past week, which is the highest level since May
- One year ago 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were 3.42%
- All-time low for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.31% (back in November 2012)
- All-time high for 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 18.63% (back in October 1981)
Last Week’s Stock and Bond Index Performance (July 10-14, 2017)
- NASDAQ 2.6% (YTD 17.3%)
- Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.0% (YTD 9.5%)
- S&P 500 Index 1.4% (YTD 9.8%)
- U.S. Aggregate Bond Index 0.4% (YTD 2.5%)
Last Week’s Retirement Portfolio Performance Report (July 10-14, 2017)?
Below is a snapshot of my three biggest retirement portfolio mutual fund movers in terms of percentage gained (or lost!) last week.
The below mutual funds are held within my work 401(k) plan as well as two separate Roth IRA plans. I currently invest 15% of my income into my company Roth 401(k), and that doesn’t include the company match I get. All accounts are held with Vanguard (so as you can see I primarily invest in Vanguard funds because of this).
- Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets Index Fund ETF Shares (VWO) 4.7%
- Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWILX) 3.7%
- Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VTIAX) 2.8%
Can I Beat the Stock Market?
I am actually not trying to “beat the market” with my retirement portfolio…I am trying to match it. I do have alternative indexes in my retirement portfolio to help possibly beat the market, e.g. Small Cap Value, REITs, International, and Emerging Markets. Through lots of reading and research on my part, I’ve found that a number of these assets classes “zig” when the market “zags”. I am purposely over-weighted in Small Cap Value, which at times helped me beat the market and at the same time lag the market.
With that said, if I can beat the market I will absolutely take it (obviously)! Last year in 2016 my retirement portfolio returned 13.01% versus 9.54% from the S&P 500. The primary reason I was able to beat the market last year was due to the strong performance of my Small Cap Value holdings, which I am weighted heavily in.
Thus far in 2017, which is 197 days, my retirement portfolio is up 8.63% versus 9.85% from the S&P 500. So while I beat the market in 2016, I am now lagging it in 2017. But I am investing for the long term so this doesn’t concern me, as long as I am within reason of the market (roughly 1%). I use a free account with Personal Capital to track my investments like this.
I am a Millennial, a liberal arts major, and I am my own financial advisor. I am strongly considering using the services of robo-advisor Betterment, however. The more I read and research Betterment, the more I like their product, services, and overall costs. But at this point, I am managing my own portfolio.
Millennial Personal Finance Blog
My goal with this Millennial personal finance blog is to show all Millennial’s that you have the power to take control of your personal finances through self-education and self-development on money and finances, and by striving to become financially literate. That is what I have been doing for years now, focusing on becoming an expert in financial literacy, so I can one day become financially independent. I’m trying to prove to Millennial’s that we can all do this and thrive with money. We Millennial’s have the greatest resource on our side to become financially independent and build wealth…time! Save, invest, and let compound interest do the rest.
Follow my blog as I highlight relevant personal finance and retirement topics pertaining to us Millennial’s. You can also join my journey as I track the true cost to raise a child these days. Most of my research shows that on average it costs $14,000 per year to raise a child, which equates to roughly $250,000 to raise a child from birth through high school (the cost of college is not included in this $250,000). I am trying to defy that price tag and show that a Millennial family can raise a child on well less than $250,000…or I will come to the sad realization that this number is dead on. Time will tell.