Last Week Stock Market Recap (February 5-9, 2018)

Last week, February 5-9, 2018, the stock market was as volatile as its ever been. The stock market also had its worst one week in two years. The market indices were down 10% from all-time highs just a couple weeks ago…entering the market into an official “correction” (a correction is defined as 10% dip). The NASDAQ suffered its worst weekly percentage drop since February of 2016, while the Dow and S&P 500 each had the third biggest weekly point drop on record. The Dow alone had 3 of its top 10 biggest daily point drops on record this past week (closing on February 9, 2018).

Here is a recap of the markets and select industries, and just how down each was when the markets closed on Friday, February 9, 2018. You’ll see that all the major corporations were down significantly last week.

U.S. Market Indices

  • S&P 500: -5.2%
  • Dow: -5.2% (down 9.1% from all-time high)
  • NASDAQ: -5.1% (down 8.4% from all-time high)

How did financial stocks do last week?

  • Goldman Sachs: -4.1%
  • Morgan Stanley: -6%
  • UBS: -7.6%
  • Citi: -4.3%
  • JP Morgan Chase: -3.7%
  • Bank of America: -5.1%
  • Wells Fargo: -12.4%
  • US Bank: -5.5%

How did energy stocks do last week?

  • Exxon Mobil: -9.6%
  • Chevron: -3.9%
  • Shell: -6.3%
  • BP: -4.7%
  • HESS: -11.5%
  • Conoco Phillips: -9.3%

How did home builder stocks do last week?

  • Toll Brothers: -4.1%
  • Lennar: -2.2%
  • Pulte Homes: -6.5%

How did construction stocks do last week?

  • Caterpillar: -5.3%
  • John Deere: -6.1%

How did tech stocks do last week?

  • Apple: -2.2%
  • Microsoft: – 3.9%
  • Intel: -4.1%
  • Cisco: -3.4%
  • Adobe: -3.9%
  • Facebook: -7.4%
  • Google: -6.5%
  • Yahoo: -5.3%
  • Amazon: -6.3%
  • ebay: -6.0%

How did department store and retail stocks do last week?

  • Macys: -3%
  • JCPenny: -3.1%
  • Kohl’s: -3.2%
  • Walmart: -4.9%
  • Target: -0.7%
  • Costco: -5.4%

How did airline stocks do last week?

  • American Airlines: -7%
  • United: -4.1%
  • Southwest: -5.5%

How did health care stocks do last week?

  • United Health Group: -4.7%
  • Cigna: -5.2%
  • Anthem: -3.1%




How did my retirement accounts do last week?

Last week my retirement accounts (company 401k and two Roth IRA’s) were down 4.3%, whereas the S&P 500 was down 5.2%. Overall this year, which is only 41-days into 2018, my retirement portfolio is down 2.77%.

The Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) is down 1.98% so far in 2018. This is my personal benchmark because I could invest all my retirement portfolio into one account or choose a number of index funds to diversify. I am doing the latter and this year I am slightly trailing the 2040 Target Date Fund.

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”.

With that said, if I can beat the market I will absolutely take it (obviously)! In 2016 my retirement portfolio returned 13.01% versus 9.54% from the S&P 500. In addition to the S&P 500, I like to measure my portfolio performance against Target Date Retirement Funds. I specifically like to use the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) because that is what I used to invest in before I went to all index funds. But if I can’t beat the Vanguard 2040 fund, then why not simply invest in it (one fund) versus the 10+ mutual funds I am in now? Well in 2016 the Vanguard 2040 fund was up only 8.73%. So it under performed the market (S&P 500) by nearly 1%, and I personally beat it by nearly 5%. So that tells me I am on the right track with my well diversified portfolio.

And last year in 2017, my retirement portfolio returned 17.04% compared to 19.42% from the S&P 500. In 2017 the Vanguard 2040 (VFORX) fund was up 20.71%. So the Vanguard 2040 target date retirement fund not only beat me by more than 3%, but it also beat the market by more than 1%. That is definitely something worth watching for me. With that said, I am a long-term, buy-and-hold investor with the big picture in mind. So mini annual analyses like this won’t paralyze me and force me into a rash decision. In the last 10 years my retirement account has returned a 11.7% rate of return, whereas the 2040 target date fund has only returned 7.23% over the last 10 years.

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.




2018 Stock Market Forecast

2018 Stock Market Outlook

If you’re like me, or any investor for that matter, you are wondering just what the 2018 stock market outlook will be. As they say in the business, past performance is no guarantee of future gains. However, last year the total U.S. stock market was up over 21%. In 2016 the total U.S. stock market was up nearly 13%. So right now we are on a 9-year bull market ride, the longest in history.

But, just how long will that bullish ride continue? Will we make a solid decade-long bull market ride with positive returns in 2018? I am not a prognosticator, but I am certainly bullish on the idea of the 2018 stock market producing double-digit gains for a third year in a row. I do think it will be on the lower side, like 10-12% returns, but that is still tremendous.

With President Trump’s new corporate tax cuts and all the repatriating of corporate money, I think the U.S. stock market is in for another good year, if not two or three. If you don’t believe me, below are some helpful links of others within the financial industry and their 2018 stock market forecast.




2018 Stock Market Forecasts

CNN Money: Can the stock market bull keep raging in 2018?

Yet many bulls point out that there is still much to like about the U.S. right now. There is the potential for a boost to profits from lower corporate taxes. The job market and overall economy continues to hum along. Consumer spending remains resilient too.
CNN Money: Can the stock market bull keep raging in 2018?

 

MarketWatch: 18 predictions for 2018 on the stock market, FAANGs and bitcoin

Bitcoin will “crash”: With the crazy volatility in the cryptocurrency markets over the past few weeks, it’s a pretty safe bet that a serious correction is in the works. A drop of 50% from recent highs around $19,500 would take the digital currency, +5.80% down to just under $10,000 — a figure not that far away after recent declines.
MarketWatch: 18 predictions for 2018 on the stock market, FAANGs and bitcoin

 

USA Today Money: Where the stock market is headed in 2018

Year-end predictions are more art than science. And predicting the future isn’t necessarily Wall Street’s strong suit. At the start of 2017, for example, not a single strategist at 18 top banks saw the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index rising as much as it has. The average gain predicted was 5.5% and the biggest bull saw stocks rising 12%, according to Bloomberg. If the average prediction had been right, a 401(k) investor with $10,000 invested in the S&P 500 at the start of 2017 would have gained $550. That’s well shy of the market’s actual return of nearly $2,000.
USA Today Money: Where the stock market is headed in 2018

 

CNBC: Bank of America raises its 2018 market forecast after S&P 500 surpasses initial target in January

“While 2017 saw building optimism, 2018 may be the year of euphoria. While valuations have overshot fair value, sentiment is likely to be the most important driver of returns — typical of late stage bull markets,” they wrote. They put fair value for year end 2018 at 2,636, and they have a long-term S&P target of 3,500 by year end 2025.
CNBC: Bank of America raises its 2018 market forecast after S&P 500 surpasses initial target in January

 

NerdWallet: 2018 Stock Market Outlook: More Fear of Missing Out?

Strategists are forecasting the S&P 500 will end 2018 about 4% higher than its current level, according to the median forecast of strategists in a survey conducted by CNBC. Buying into the market when stock prices already are high can be intimidating. But that shouldn’t deter you from participating in what’s proven to be a fantastic long-term investment. The market will go up and down in the course of your investing timeline, but one way to minimize the risk of a big shock to your portfolio is to ensure you’ve spread your money across a variety of assets.
NerdWallet: 2018 Stock Market Outlook: More Fear of Missing Out?

 

Vanguard: Economic and market outlook for 2018: Rising risks to the status quo

For 2018 and beyond, our investment outlook is one of higher risks and lower returns. Elevated valuations, low volatility, and secularly low bond yields are unlikely to be allies for robust financial market returns over the next five years. Downside risks are more elevated in the equity market than in the bond market, even with higher-than-expected inflation.
Vanguard: Economic and market outlook for 2018: Rising risks to the status quo

 

Charles Schwab: 2018 Market Outlook: It’s Getting Late

Should investors look for more of the same in 2018? Or is the party nearly over? Not quite yet, according to the Schwab Center for Financial Research’s 2018 Schwab Market Outlook. Global economic growth will likely continue to lift earnings in 2018—but we do appear to be entering the later stages of the market cycle, SCFR says. And with valuations high in both the stock and bond markets, investors should exercise some caution. “We anticipate solid growth in 2018 and don’t see a recession on the horizon,” SCFR experts say. “However, with markets priced for ongoing moderate growth and low volatility, the risks we’re monitoring include the potential for higher inflation and more central bank tightening than expected.”
Charles Schwab: 2018 Market Outlook: It’s Getting Late

 




2017 Stock Market Performance

Looking Back At The 2017 Stock Market

The stock market had one of its best years in recent memory, as noted below is all of our numbers and indices. The thriving stock market is the result of increasing economic growth and enormous corporate profits. The biggest catalyst was likely the sweeping tax cuts President Donald Trump just signed into law, which over time will save corporate America billions on what they owe Uncle Sam. This sweeping tax cut was the topic of discussion all year, but didn’t get signed into action until December of 2017. Investor.com put together a great chart of all events throughout 2017.

Suggested reading: 2018 Stock Market Forecast – Can the stock market bull keep raging in 2018?

Noteworthy stock market news from 2017

  • At nearly nine years old, the bull market is now the second-oldest and second-strongest in history.
  • The Dow raced 25% higher in 2017, getting even closer to 25,000 and making this year its best since 2013.
  • It had taken the Dow 14 years to climb from 10,000 to 15,000, but just three and a half years to reach 20,000 in 2017.
  • The broader S&P 500 zoomed 19%. And the Nasdaq jumped an impressive 28%.
  • Indexes made superb gains in a year of unusually low volatility.
  • The Nasdaq’s worst drop was only 4.4%.
  • Just 18.7% of taxpayers own stocks directly. Roughly half of Americans participate in the market through an employee-sponsored retirement plan, according to a Pew analysis of Census Bureau data. That gap has contributed to record-high wealth inequality in America.

2017 Year-End Stock and Bond Index Performance

  • NASDAQ 28.2%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average 25.1%
  • S&P 500 Index 19.4%
  • Foreign Stocks 27.4%
  • U.S. Bond Index 3.55%

How Did My 401k Do in 2017?

Last year in 2017 my retirement accounts (one 401k and two Roth IRA’s) were collectively up 17.5%. I am not thrilled about under-performing the major market indices, considering the S&P 500 was up 19.4% and foreign stocks were up over 27%. However, I am very pleased with my performance.

The Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) was up 20.7% in 2017. This is my personal benchmark because I could invest all my retirement portfolio into one account or choose a number of index funds to diversify. I am doing the latter and in 2017 I lost to the 2040 Target Date Fund by 3.2%.

However, over the last 10 years, which is essentially my working career, my personal retirement performance return is 11.1%. I am thrilled with that return. If I can keep that double digit return up until retirement I will be extremely wealthy. But I have worked during the best bull market in history (2007 to 2017) so to keep those returns is unrealistic. But again, I am very happy with my 10-year return of 11.1%. As stated earlier my personal benchmark that I compare my retirement portfolio to is the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX), which is only up 6.44% in the last 10 years.




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.




Best Smart Beta ETFs for 2018

What are Smart Beta ETFs?

For those who are new to Smart Beta ETFs, essentially Smart Beta ETFs are really anything that isn’t solely market-cap weighted. Instead, Smart Beta EFTs are weighted by Value, Growth, Dividend, Volatility, Size, etc. Smart Beta ETFs are also another way to package active management by putting it into a rules-based engine, while striping out the capital gains and high fees.

Best Smart Beta ETFs for 2018

We are in a historically low period for volatility, which hurts active management and Smart Beta. I think 2018 is the year for Smart Beta EFTs to come into their own and make a bigger splash. Below is my list of the 10 best Smart Beta ETFs for 2018. All of these ETFs have an expense ration under 0.50%.

  1. Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF (VBR)
  2. BlackRock iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA ETF (USMV)
  3. BlackRock iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF (IWN)
  4. Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)
  5. Guggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Pure Growth ETF (RZG)
  6. SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Growth ETF (SPYG)
  7. Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Co. Index ETF (FNDE)
  8. SPDR NYSE Technology ETF (XNTK)
  9. BlackRock iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Value ETF (IJS)
  10. SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (EDIV)




Last Week Stock Market Recap (October 16-20, 2017)

Last week, October 16-20, 2017, all U.S. stock indices were up due to rising company earnings and easing political uncertainty as the Senate passed a 2018 budget resolution. Rising expectations of lower corporate taxes have helped stocks rise to record highs recently. Case and point, the Dow also hit 23K for the first time ever this week. This is definitely a huge milestone for this U.S. stock index. President Trump is really patting himself on the back for this achievement too. That, obviously, irritates a number of people on both Wall Street and in Washington. The business community of America is a huge reason for the growth and President Trump has helped with the idea of a corporate tax cut.

Black Monday: October 19, 1987

Exactly 30 years ago this week (Monday, October 19, 1987) the Dow fell exactly 508 points to 1,738.74 (22.61%). This is known as “Black Monday” in the financial world. The Black Monday decline was, and currently remains, the largest one-day percentage decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

Noteworthy market news from week of October 16-20, 2017

  • 52% of American’s say they’re less likely to shop on Black Friday this year.
  • Netflix added 5.3 million subscribers last quarter (July, August, September 2017).
  • Existing home sales were up 0.7% in September 2017.
  • But… U.S. home construction fell 4.7% in September 2017.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dips slightly to 3.88% this week (down from 3.91% last week).
  • But… 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were only 3.52% one year ago (all-time low was 3.31% back in November 2012).

Last Week’s Stock and Bond Index Performance (October 16-20, 2017)

  • NASDAQ 0.4% (YTD 23.1%)
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average 2.0% (YTD 18.0%)
  • S&P 500 Index 0.9% (YTD 15.0%)
  • U.S. Aggregate Bond Index -0.5% (YTD 3.1%)

How Did My 401k Do Last Week?

Last week my retirement accounts were up only 0.18%, whereas the S&P 500 was up 0.86% and the Dow was up 2.0%. So last week (October 16-20, 2017) I obviously lagged the two biggest U.S. stock market indices. And, overall this year, which is 294-days into 2017, my retirement portfolio is up 14.85%.

The Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) is up 14.96% so far in 2017. This is my personal benchmark because I could invest all my retirement portfolio into one account or choose a number of index funds to diversify. I am doing the latter and this year I am losing to the 2040 Target Date Fund. Again, slightly. But, more on why I am not using the 2040 retirement fund later.

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”.

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. In addition to the S&P 500, I like to measure my portfolio performance against Target Date Retirement Funds. I specifically like to use the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) because that is what I used to invest in before I went to all index funds. But if I can’t beat the Vanguard 2040 fund, then why not simply invest in it (one fund) versus the 10+ mutual funds I am in now? Well in 2016 the Vanguard 2040 fund was up only 8.73%. So it under performed the market (S&P 500) by nearly 1%, and I personally beat it by nearly 5%. So that tells me I am on the right track with my well diversified 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.




Last Week Stock Market Recap (October 9-13, 2017)

Last week, October 9-13, 2017, all U.S. stock indices reached new all-time highs. The NASDAQ is leading the charge in 2017, with a year-to-date return of nearly 23%. Interesting note; the NASDAQ has logged its 57th all-time high.

Stocks have been setting new highs and interest rates remain low, pushing investment returns well-above their long-term averages. Over the past five years, U.S. stocks returned almost 15% per year, which is roughly twice as much as projected long-term returns most financial experts are predicting (approximately 7% annually).

Last Week’s Stock and Bond Index Performance (October 9-13, 2017)

  • NASDAQ 0.2% (YTD 22.7%)
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.4% (YTD 15.7%)
  • S&P 500 Index 0.2% (YTD 14.0%)
  • U.S. Aggregate Bond Index 0.5% (YTD 3.6%)

Last Week’s Retirement Portfolio Performance Report
(October 9-13, 2017)?

Below is a snapshot of my three biggest retirement portfolio mutual fund movers in terms of percentage gained (or lost!) last week.

How Did My 401k Do Last Week?

Last week my retirement accounts were up 0.52%, whereas the S&P 500 was only up 0.20%. Overall this year, which is 288-days into 2017, my retirement portfolio is up 14.6%. So I am actually slightly beating the market. Slightly.

The Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) is up 14.9% so far in 2017. This is my personal benchmark because I could invest all my retirement portfolio into one account or choose a number of index funds to diversify. I am doing the latter and this year I am losing to the 2040 Target Date Fund. Again, slightly. But, more on why I am not using the 2040 retirement fund later.

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”.

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. In addition to the S&P 500, I like to measure my portfolio performance against Target Date Retirement Funds. I specifically like to use the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) because that is what I used to invest in before I went to all index funds. But if I can’t beat the Vanguard 2040 fund, then why not simply invest in it (one fund) versus the 10+ mutual funds I am in now? Well in 2016 the Vanguard 2040 fund was up only 8.73%. So it under performed the market (S&P 500) by nearly 1%, and I personally beat it by nearly 5%. So that tells me I am on the right track with my well diversified 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.




Last Week Stock Market Recap (September 11-15, 2017)

Last week, September 11-15, U.S. stocks reached new highs. The S&P 500 was up 1.6% and reached 2,500, which puts the S&P 500’s year-to-date earnings at 11.7%.

Last Week’s Stock and Bond Index Performance (September 11-15, 2017)

  • NASDAQ 1.4% (YTD 19.8%)
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average 2.2% (YTD 12.7%)
  • S&P 500 Index 1.6% (YTD 11.7%)
  • U.S. Aggregate Bond Index -0.5% (YTD 3.4%)

Last Week’s Retirement Portfolio Performance Report
(September 11-15, 2017)?

Below is a snapshot of my three biggest retirement portfolio mutual fund movers in terms of percentage gained (or lost!) last week.

How Did My 401k Do Last Week?

Last week my retirement accounts matched the S&P 500 performance exactly; up 1.6% on the week ending Friday, September 15, 2017. This year, which is 260 days into 2017, my retirement portfolio is up 9.07%. So I am under-performing the “market”, e.g. the S&P 500 greatly (nearly 3%) as the S&P 500 is up 11.7% so far. On top of that, the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund is up 12.9% so far in 2017. This is my personal benchmark because I could invest all my retirement portfolio into one account or choose a number of index funds to diversify. I am doing the latter and this year I am losing to the 2040 Target Date Fund.

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”.

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. In addition to the S&P 500, I like to measure my portfolio performance against Target Date Retirement Funds. I specifically like to use the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) because that is what I used to invest in before I went to all index funds. But if I can’t beat the Vanguard 2040 fund, then why not simply invest in it (one fund) versus the 10+ mutual funds I am in now? Well in 2016 the Vanguard 2040 fund was up only 8.73%. So it under performed the market (S&P 500) by nearly 1%, and I personally beat it by nearly 5%. So that tells me I am on the right track with my well diversified 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.




Stock Market Recap (August 28-September 1, 2017)

Stocks finished higher for the second week in a row. Aiding the 2-week rise is a rejuvenated focus on possible tax reform and better-than-expected manufacturing data, and the fact the U.S. economy added 156K jobs in the month of August, while the U.S. economy grew by 3.0%. Oddly enough, the devastation brought from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas area, and continued geopolitical tensions with North Korea and the hydrogen bomb they set-off, did not disrupt the stock market much.

Last Week’s Stock and Bond Index Performance (August 28-September 1, 2017)

  • NASDAQ 2.7% (YTD 19.5%)
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.8% (YTD 11.3%)
  • S&P 500 Index 1.4% (YTD 10.6%)
  • U.S. Aggregate Bond Index 0.1% (YTD 3.5%)

Last Week’s Retirement Portfolio Performance Report
(August 28-September 1, 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).

  1. Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXAX) 2.3%
  2. DFA U.S. Small Cap Value Portfolio (DFSVX) 2.1%
  3. Vanguard Small Cap Value Index Fund (VSIAX) 1.9%

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”.

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. In addition to the S&P 500, I like to measure my portfolio performance against Target Date Retirement Funds. I specifically like to use the Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund (VFORX) because that is what I used to invest in before I went to all index funds. But if I can’t beat the Vanguard 2040 fund, then why not simply invest in it (one fund) versus the 10+ mutual funds I am in now? Well in 2016 the Vanguard 2040 fund was up only 8.73%. So it under performed the market (S&P 500) by nearly 1%, and I personally beat it by nearly 5%. So that tells me I am on the right track with my well diversified 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.