An Updated Look at the Yield Curve and Stock Market Volatility

Last week, the yield on the five-year Treasury note fell below that of the two-year note. Any investor could have realized a higher yield for tying up their money for only two years rather than for five years. The yield curve—which plots the interest rates for Treasuries of varying maturities—is not supposed to work this…

 

The Taxes You May Be Paying on Your Investments

Depending on what you invest in, this may be a year where you both incur a loss of portfolio value and owe capital gains taxes. This is particularly true if you hold actively managed mutual funds in a taxable account. Even if you don’t hold mutual funds in a taxable account, the new tax law…

 

What to Do When Gains Are Hard to Come By

If you feel like you have struggled this year to realize good or even positive returns, you are not alone. This has been a very tough year for investors. Though yesterday’s comments by Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell helped, returns for most asset classes and categories range from being down to only modestly up year…

 

Reasons for Individual Investors to Be Grateful

In his TED Talk, David Steindl-Rast makes the case for happiness being directly tied to gratitude. The monk and interfaith scholar says people who are more grateful tend to also be happier people. I’m referring to Steindl-Rast not only because he gave a great talk (to be fair, I’m a fan of TED Talks in general),…

 

How We Define Risk

The potential of losing money by investing in the stock market has become front and center over the past several weeks. The decline in the S&P 500 index and the bigger drops in other indexes and stocks has drawn attention. It has also led to the usual chatter about what the downside volatility means and…

 

Credit Spreads Aren’t a Reason to Alter Bond Allocations

A year ago, I wrote about why I favored corporate bonds instead of government bonds. I revisited the subject this week after doing my semiannual review of my workplace retirement savings account. One of the funds I hold in my 403(b) account is the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Investment-Grade Fund Admiral Shares (VFIDX). As the name implies, it invests…

 

Actionable Steps for the Current Market

As a follow-up to last week’s commentary about the recent bout of downside volatility and how many stocks are performing worse than the major indexes, I want to discuss strategies this week. Specifically, actionable steps you can take between now and the end of the year. None of these will be purely tactical in nature (e.g., “reduce…