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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Series I Savings Bonds ( “I Bonds”), issued by U.S. Government through Treasury Direct , are a unique investment choice explained here. I Bonds help protect against inflation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Series I Savings Bonds, purchased through Treasury Direct, are a good alternative to banks for emergency funds.

Monday, May 13, 2024

The State of the Social Security Trust Fund The state of the Social Security Trust Fund in the United States is precarious. The Social Security OASI Trust Fund reserves are expected to be depleted in 2033.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Many financial markets hit record highs in the first quarter of 2024. For example, large US stocks (as measured by the S&P 500), Japanese stocks (as measured by Nikkei 225) and Bitcoin (the speculative cryptocurrency) all hit record...

Saturday, December 16, 2023

The TSP I Fund will change indexes next year. How important is that for TSP participants?

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Monday, November 13, 2023

There are some significant tax related changes coming into effect which impact tax brackets, the standard deduction, retirement account contribution limits, and estate taxes. Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adjusts the...

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for August of 2023 showed that the US unemployment rate was 3.80%, one of the lowest in 50 years (July’s number was 3.50%). Meanwhile, Wall Street economists predicted a...

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Most people are somewhat familiar with how stock prices work. A share of stock represents fractional ownership in a company. Stocks typically trade on an exchange – such as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ – where...

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

A Bond is a simple financial instrument. The investor - or lender - loans money to a borrower (typically a company or government) for some specific or general purpose. The borrower is contractually obligated to pay the lender some...

Friday, June 16, 2023

A few weeks ago, we wrote about a story that was dominating the headlines and conversations on Wall Street, Main Street, and Washington: Will the US default on its debt? We wrote: “Congress is debating whether to raise the debt...

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

An article in AARP Magazine (Our Big Mortgage Debate) discussed whether to pay off or continue a mortgage during retirement.That is an important financial planning question. One aspect is mentioned in the article: the guaranteed rate...

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Congress is debating whether to raise the debt ceiling, the maximum amount the U.S. Government can borrow by issuing bonds. If the debt ceiling is not raised, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen estimates the Government would have...

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

If you have Series I bonds, you should check to see that you have named a beneficiary. It doesn’t take long to do, and you will immediately get a confirmation of the change. This simple step will ensure the bonds transfer as you...

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A reversal in performance from last year’s negative returns, a change in the most popular fund and disappointing results for the Mutual Fund Window are noticeable TSP trends.ReturnsTSP investment returns can quickly change from...

Friday, April 21, 2023

Stock and bond markets ended the first quarter of 2023 with solid gains, even though investors remained concerned about inflation, continued interest rate hikes by the Federal reserve, whether Congress will vote to increase the debt...

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Stock and bond market returns were strongly negative in 2022. Multi-decade highs in inflation combined with historically aggressive Fed rate hikes and growing concerns about corporate earnings and a possible recession, pressured both...

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Only 28 percent of Americans (Source: FINRA) understand one of the most basic investment relationships: When interest rates increase, bond prices decrease, and when interest rates decrease, bond prices increase. This lack of...

Friday, October 14, 2022

Mike Causey died at his desk September 26th doing what he loved; writing a column. He had just finished recording a show, which would be his last. Mike was not well known to many people in the U.S. but he was a well known and respected...

Friday, August 26, 2022

If you have seen your TSP Balance decline in 2022, you are not alone. According to an August 2022 study of TSP participant balances, the number of “TSP Millionaires” is down 36% from the end of 2021 through August 2022. TSP...

Monday, June 20, 2022

If you are interested in ESG investing, you may be wondering if you are going to pay a performance penalty for doing so. In order to look back and compare the performance of traditional investments versus those that are better in terms...

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Some investors try to use “market timing” to boost returns. “Market timing” means predicting stock market declines and advances and then transferring funds between the stock and bond investments in advance of...

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

"Everything old is new again." Many stock market commentators and investors are upset about recent declines and poor performance this year. For instance, the S&P 500 Index (not including reinvested dividends) is down 8.6% since the...

Monday, November 15, 2021

It is almost impossible to talk about ESG (‘Environmental, Social, and Governance”) investing without talking about the issue of greenwashing.Greenwashing is giving the appearance (or stating that you have the qualities) of...

Thursday, August 5, 2021

In 2020 and continuing through today, there has been an explosion both in interest in and offerings of ESG investing.First of all, what is “ESG” investing? ESG investing is defined as making investment decisions considering...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Once retirees need investment withdrawals to supplement their Social Security and pension payments, they need to decide which type of account to access first. Strategies will vary depending upon the goal. Potential goals include...

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Since its introduction in April 1987, G Fund returns have declined substantially. In 1988 and 1989, the G Fund annual return was 8.8%. In 1990, it was 8.9%. In 2019, the return was 2.2%, a 75% decline from 1988 and 1989.The decline...

Friday, September 18, 2020

My wife is an interior designer (www.DanzigerDesign.com) and regularly posts videos to social media. Two weeks ago she posted a video of our discussions about our bathroom renovation. You may find it amusing. Click below for a laugh. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Presidential election is less than two months away. Some investment clients have asked me if we should prepare for a result that causesThe stock market to be usually volatile before the election orA stock market crash because of a...

Monday, June 15, 2020

Your custodian? No, this is not about the workers who clean and maintain buildings. It is about something much more important: companies that hold and safeguard investments. According to Investopedia,“A custodian is a financial...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

“Bull Market” and “Bear Market” are common financial terms and it’s important for investors to know what they mean. The short definitions:A Bull Market is a 20% or greater gain from a previous stock market...

Monday, January 27, 2020

Choosing an investment advisor (portfolio manager) isn’t easy. There are different designations, compensation methods, business methods and personalities to consider. One way to narrow down the list is to consider only investment...

Friday, December 6, 2019

The introduction of the $24,000 (for couples) standard deduction changed charitable giving for many Americans. Many taxpayers using the higher standard deduction no longer saw their taxes reduced by charitable giving. That may be the...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Last year I spent a day on Capitol Hill providing pro bono advice to Senate employees. Many of them were investing as much as they could in the TSP. In some cases, I suggested that they invest less.Why would I do that?Well, investing...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Retirement accounts (401k, TSP, 403b) are not investments. Mutual funds are not investments. Neither are IRAs. Now before you start feeling like I just pulled the rug from under you, let me explain. Rather than actual investments,...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The terms “safe” and “low risk” are often used to describe the TSP bond funds (G and F). When TSP investors hear that the G and F Funds are safer, many take it to mean that investing in those funds minimizes the...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bitcoin -- a “digital currency” or “digital money” -- is receiving a lot of attention. Not surprising since the Bitcoin price increased 1700% this year, from $952 to $17,371 as of December 12. Definitely...

Friday, August 18, 2017

S&P 500 Index funds are one of the most common investments for individual investors. But what are “index funds” and how do they compare to “indexes?”Indexes and an index funds are different. Cousins, maybe, but...

Monday, July 24, 2017

The G Fund is often described as the safest of the TSP investment funds. Sometimes it is called the “super safe” G Fund that “never has a bad day.” As a result, TSP participants keep a higher portion of their...

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Your home may be at greater risk of flooding than you think. Storms are not the only cause of floods. And global warming increases flood risks from storms because:-- Flood zones change more rapidly than flood zone maps and global...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Worried about running out of money during retirement? Well, that's a legitimate concern. But "running out of money" isn't a very exact term. Most retirees will never run out of income. They will always have “permanent...

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mike Causey recently interviewed me on Federal News Radio. (You can listen to the interview here). One of the main topics of our discussion was the I Fund, which turns out to have low performance even when compared to many other...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Are investment managers cost effective? Vanguard says they are. Vanguard is often associated with DIY (do it yourself) investors. However, Vanguard doesn’t seem to think that DIY is the best solution. Vanguard’s research...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It wasn’t just political experts who looked bad after Donald Trump’s recent victory. Stock market forecasters also looked bad. Most predicted that if Trump won, it would be bad for stock prices. Whoops! Before the election,...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I recently blogged on the unreliability of stock market forecasts (Are Stock Market Forecasts Worth Reading?). Mutual fund firm Dimensional Fund Advisors published a similar article (Jim Parker, 2016: Ten Predictions to Count On) a few...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 was a poor year for stocks. The S&P 500 Index (with reinvested dividends) increased only 1.4%. The beginning of 2016 has been worse. The S&P has declined approximately 7.5% year to date. Small cap stocks were worse in both periods...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

December and January are popular months for stock market forecasts. But are stock market forecasts reliable? A recent article says they are not. The article (Barry Ritzholtz, Would you let a mystic manage your investment portfolio? The...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Do stock market declines get you down? Do you overreact to advances? Join the crowd. The illustration below summarizes the tendencies of many investors. When stocks are high they become enthusiastic and buy. They lose enthusiasm when...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

As December 31 approaches, you – or your investment advisor – should review taxable investment accounts for “tax-loss harvesting” opportunities. Tax-loss harvesting is an important -- but often neglected --...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers many benefits but flexibility of withdrawals is not one of them. Retirees often experience changes in their income needs. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) offer more flexibility for withdrawing...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A recent article in the Washington Post discussed housing as an investment and whether to buy or rent. It was an excellent analysis of a complex situation. The basic answer is no, houses have not been a great investment. Over the...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Imagine: You are 84, living on $2,500 per month in Social Security plus $5,000 per month withdrawn from your investments. One of your checks bounces. You find out it’s because your investments are exhausted. There is nothing left...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I was a featured guest on a Federal News Radio broadcast on March 19. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the Lifecycle Funds in the Thrift Savings Plan. The Thrift Savings Plan is the 401k plan for federal employees and...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are often considered a “low risk” investment. Depending upon the type of CD, they can offer a guaranteed rate of return, no fluctuation in value and federal deposit insurance up to $250,000,...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Is your house a good investment? Economist Robert Shiller, an expert on housing prices, addressed this topic in the April 13 New York Times. Shiller’s research indicates that housing prices, over the long term, typically rise .2%...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The investment website SeekingAlpha.com recently published my article on Investing in Gold: Is a Bubble Popping? You can read it by clicking on the link. In the last two days, over 7700 people viewed the article and over 200 commented....

Friday, March 8, 2013

Which type of investment advisor is best for you: a small, independent financial advisor or the private client group of a large national firm? A recent New York Times article (“Selling the Home Brand”) reveals abuses that...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Demand for gold has been declining worldwide, but prices haven’t. What does this mean for someone investing in gold? Gold demand declined 11 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, according to...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

J.P. Morgan’s June, 2012 Guide to the Markets report detailed the affect on stock market returns of political control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives from 1940 to 2008. The results are surprising.According...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Your IRA is not an investment. Your mutual funds are not investments. Neither are your 401(k)s or ETFs. Now before you start feeling like I just pulled the rug from under you, let me explain. Rather than actual investments, they...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

If your homeowners insurance is based upon the resale value of your house, you may be underinsured. There are situations where the cost to rebuild may exceed the limits in your policy, forcing you to pay any difference out of pocket...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The July 2, 2012 “Ahead of the Tape” article in the Wall Street Journal discusses investor preferences for bonds over stocks.You can read it here According to the article:“Since the start of 2007, a cumulative $350...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The May 2012 edition of the Morningstar EFTInvestor newsletter (written by Paul Justice, CFA, Director of North American ETF Research for Morningstar) contained some interesting comments about the percentage of investment assets going...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Leaving a job creates opportunities with qualified retirement plans – 401(k), 403(b), TSP – that can enhance (or harm) your future financial health. The four choices for retirement plans when going to a new employer or...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Should you buy long-term care insurance? An article in the Wall Street Journal summarized the issues in a fair and reasonable manner. I agree with the title of the article: “Don’t Grow Old Without It.” Contact me if...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bonds outperformed stocks over the last 10 years, so why invest in stocks?Burton Malkiel, author of one of the best books ever on stock investing (A Random Walk Down Wall Street, now in its 10th edition), explains it well in the...