Monday, September 26, 2005

The Cure for Interesting Times? Money: Common Sense - Yahoo! Finance

Ben Stein is now writing a new column on Yahoo! Finance, named "Common Sense" !

The Cure for Interesting Times? Money: Common Sense - Yahoo! Finance: "This column is about how to get more money into your life. It's about investing, especially investing for retirement. "

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Market timing

I've been interested in investing for some years now. After studying technical analysis for two years, I'm now trying myself at what is called market timing. Using market timing makes you buy or sell securities based on chart analysis, prediction techniques that predicts the general mood in the market. I'm particularly interested in timing the S&P 500 index (I buy and sell iShares ETFs, ticker: IVV). Only about 10% of my real portfolio will be exposed to my signals decision, whenever there is a sell, I will keep the money in a cash account at 2.4%.

The portfolio starts with $10000 (for simplicity). I will send signals when the market is closed and my track record will be based on the value of the S&P 500 index when the market opens the next trading day.

My first signal, as of Monday september 26th: SELL.

Cash: $9980 (once $20 commission is removed).
S&P 500 exposure: 0$.

(Disclaimer: Don't invest based on my recommendations, I am a junior investor).

Sunday, September 11, 2005

One year later

It's been a year now that I've started this blog and, simulteanously, my early retirement plan.

October 1st, I will post my first "annual" financial update, I will thus be able to compare my projected figures with actual ones. So far, I think I've reached or done better than my objectives. Wages were slightly higher than planned, I think my overall annualized return on investments where over 10% this year. These better figures were slighly offset by higher than expected expenses, but, overall, I'm in the black.

I'm still as motivated as last year to reach my goal before October 1st 2012, in seven years now.

So what's ahead? We are considering moving. We are owners of a condo, its value increased much in the past years. We could sell and take a profit, then rent an apartment. I have calculated that it would cost lower than actually owning, thanks to the profit and future return on the net proceeds. For us, renting could also mean increased freedom: if one of us lose its job, it would be possible to move in another city or temporarily rent a smaller apartment, for instance.

This year, I expect a wage increase in the 5-7% range, which is more that what I used in my plan (I projected 4% increases for the next 12 years) as projections. I base this expectation on last year increase and my overall performance at work.

Thus, the plan is well on track. On the other hand, the year to come is full of uncertainty and not as rosy looking as last year. Following Katrina, gasoline prices have increased by a large amount, which could result in general inflation, which in turn could slow the global economy and thus, investment yields. But lately, markets have been reluctant to go down despite bad news such as Katrina.

Good luck to all!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

MSN Money - The hidden costs of too much stuff

MSN Money - The hidden costs of too much stuff: "The hidden cost of stuff
Glink's point is that most of us aren't thinking. And so we buy another TV, better speakers, more shoes, another suit, a second car, a new set of dishes, more towels, plus that boat we've always wanted -- without stopping to consider:

Is it necessary?
Can I afford it?
And the most important: What is this new thing really costing me?"