Index Funds

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Think You Can Pick A Mutual Fund That Can Beat the Market? Think Again And Buy An Index Fund Instead!

Based on this recently analysis, go ahead and buy an index fund. Over any recent time period (1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 years) you would have trounced actively managed funds. Of course, “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” however, when you see the persistence of index fund success over short, medium and long-term periods, and the primary reason for it (they carry lower fees), I would put my money (and do) on this trend continuing.

Chart from SPIVA U.S. Scorecard Report (only first four lines, full analysis available by clicking on link):

Question: Can You Really Build Wealth Earning The Minimum Wage?

Thought-provoking infographic from Visual Capitalist. I like the question because the knee jerk reaction to the question would be “of course not.” The infographic lists 10 ways to be able to build wealth while earning a low wage. Frankly these tips work for people at all income strata which is why I am including it here. Some questions for your students:

By |April 2nd, 2017|Current Events, Index Funds, Purchase Decisions, Savings|

Laura’s Insights: NGPF in the Classroom!

This year, NGPF took our show on the road and taught personal finance workshops in several local schools.  These experiences included a 3 day workshop at the Nueva School (San Mateo), a four session workshop at Castilleja school (Palo Alto), seven sessions with an AVID classroom at Mountain View High School (Mountain View) and our intensive 6 week workshop at Eastside Prep (East Palo Alto). In this post, I will share my experiences at the Castilleja School, an all-girls school just down the road from our office.

Given the time constraints (only 4 sessions), I modified our recently released 8-Hour Workshop and focused on Paying for & Budgeting During College, Understanding Debt & Credit, Why Credit Scores Matter and finishing with a Crash Course in Investing.

In each of the sessions, the girls engaged with the content and asked many great questions. Here were some of my highlights:

History Lesson: The Dow Jones Industrial Average Since 1896 In One Chart

Great infographic showing the price action for the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past 130 years with historical milestones along the way (click on the graphic to enlarge it):

By |March 26th, 2017|Chart of the Week, Index Funds, Investing, Math, Research, Stocks|

Investing: What Can Investors Learn from Warren Buffett’s 2016 Letter to Shareholders?

I heard a great conversation today with Roger Lowenstein, former WSJ columnist and Author of Buffett: The Making of An American Capitalist, America’s Bank and When Genius Failed, on the Masters in Business podcast. When asked about how he learned about investing, he mentioned how much he had learned from reading Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Shareholders. I thought I would dissect his 2016 Letter and share his often folksy advice in an abbreviated format (the letter is 29 pages long).

I thought you might find these insights useful:

  • Two things to keep in mind during market declines which captures the psychology of investing (not his use of the phrase “sit for an extended period”):

Spreadsheet Math: Two Investments Walk Into A Classroom…

Ok, not the best title but let’s run with it. Let’s start with a question:

You have a choice between two investments of $100,000:

  • Investment #1: Earns a consistent 8% return every year (put aside the fact that an investment like this doesn’t exist at the current time; it’s been a while since you could buy a 30 year Treasury Bond with that kind of return).
  • Investment #2: Has an average return of 8% per year but has “lumpier returns” aka it has more volatile returns but the returns each year are in the top 10% of fund returns. Some years it is up, some years it is down, but overall it averages the same 8% return as Investment #1.

Which investment has a higher balance at the end of the 20 year period?

Web Quest: How Do I Buy A Stock (Or Better Yet, An Index Fund)?

A teacher at our recent FinCamp reminded me that we should not forget about the importance of the mechanics of personal finance transactions. What good is teaching students about the importance of investing if they don’t know how to go about setting up an account to buy/sell investments. While we have a activities on how to select a credit card and a bank account, we don’t answer the basic question that many young investors have which is “How do I buy a stock?”

Rather than answer this question for them, have students do their own online research to discover:

Videos: What’s New In Investing?

  • Warren Buffett’s Million Dollar Bet: Who’s Winning (from MarketWatch)?
    • What’s the bet?
    • What’s a hedge fund? What’s an index fund?
    • Who’s winning? Why?
    • Why should this matter to you as a regular investor? What’s the lesson?
  • Fee war breaks out on commissions to trade stocks (from CNBC):
    • How much are brokerage fees going down? Is this good news for investors?
    • Why do you think the online brokerage stocks are falling with this news?
    • Do you think investors will change brokers based on these cost reductions?