Tough Times for Conservative Income Investors

JP Morgan Asset Management recently released the Q3 2017 update to their Guide to the Markets, which is another of those resources worth bookmarking for future updates. Some folks put a lot of time and energy into it, and it contains a lot of interesting charts and graphs. Here’s just one that caught my eye.

I consider myself a relatively conservative income-oriented investor, and this chart shows why it’s been a tough several years to be that type of investor. For much of the last 30+ years, you could have put your hard-earned money in an FDIC-insured certificate of deposit and enjoyed a guaranteed return above inflation. This isn’t even when shopping around for the top rates, just taking the average bank CD rates.

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Nowadays, you’re just trying to keep the bleeding to a minimum, jumping at the chance to grab a 3% APY long-term CD that might just keep up with inflation.

This also partially explains why the stock market keeps going up and up. Which would you rather have?

  • FDIC-insured cash savings that gives you $1 in annual interest per $100 invested, or a
  • S&P 500 ETF with a 4% earnings yield and 2% dividend yield? In other words, a basket of companies that for every $100 invested earns $4 a year in profit and out of that gives you $2 a year in cash dividends?

I really can’t complain as my overall portfolio of stocks, bonds, and bank CDs has more than doubled in the past several years. Yet, I also share that vague feeling of uneasiness with many other investors.

Alaska Airlines Dash For Miles Promotion: 3,000 Bonus Miles, Reset Expiration

alaskamilesAlaska Airlines has a Dash for Miles promotion where you can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles: 1,000 bonus miles times three partner sites through September 30, 2017. You must register at the link above first, and then complete at least one transaction from any of the following:

All of these sites are relatively easy to participate in. Mileage Plan Dining has a relatively wide restaurant network and you could link a credit card and buy a $2 soda. Mileage Plan shopping can be triggered with a $5 purchase at Staples.com, Gap.com, or Groupon. The Opinion Terminal only takes the time commitment to fill out an initial survey. (I was able to get the 400 miles after about 15 minutes. Some people only get 5 miles, but that’s enough to trigger the 1,000 point bonus.)

This promo can also be used to reset the expiration of your Alaska Mileage Plan miles for another 24 months. If a Mileage Plan account is inactive for 2 years, Alaska Airlines may close the account, delete any mileage balance and reassign the Mileage Plan number. Deleted mileage can be reinstated for a fee for up to 1 year.

Dash for Miles Challenge Offer Terms & Conditions:

Limited time offer valid August 7, 2017 through September 30, 2017: Mileage Plan™ members who register for this offer and complete at least one transaction with each of Mileage Plan Dining, Mileage Plan Shopping, and Miles for Surveys during the promotional period will receive 1,000 bonus Miles for each partner they earn with. Registration is required prior to the first qualifying transaction. Bonus Miles do not count towards Mileage Plan Elite Status. Bonus Miles will be awarded within six weeks of the last qualifying transaction posting to a member’s account. All terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan program apply. Offer subject to change without notice.

1,000 Marriott Rewards Points for New Visa Checkout Customers

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Here's another promotion for Visa Checkout (they are really pushing this thing). Create a new Visa Checkout account from Marriott.com and earn up to 1,000 free Marriott Rewards points: Earn 500 points when you sign up for Visa Checkout on … [Read the rest]

$20 Starbucks Gift Card for $10 with Visa Checkout

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Fall promo is live. Starbucks is selling $20 Starbucks Gift Card for $10 if you buy it using Visa Checkout instead of credit card directly. Limited to the first 225,000 loads, but if you can still buy a gift card at the link, then the promotion is … [Read the rest]

Solo 401k – Best Retirement Plan for Self-Employed Business Owners

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The wealth management group Del Monte published a whitepaper on Solo 401k plans, calling it the "financial industry's best kept secret" and a "powerful and underutilized" retirement plan for self-employed business owners. The 4-page PDF does a … [Read the rest]

Man Who Lived Alone on an Mediterranean Island For Nearly 30 Years

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Financial freedom means that you can do what you want. Now consider that if you earn like everyone else and spend like everyone, you'll end up like everyone else. This is why unconventional people are the most likely to achieve early retirement. … [Read the rest]

College Majors: Job Availability vs. Average Salary

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The American Enterprise Institute used newly-released New York Fed data in their article Major matters in the job market for college graduates. (They probably could have tried harder in their title choice.) More specifically, they found that … [Read the rest]

Wealthfront Review 2017: Feature Breakdown and Comparison

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(Updated August 2017. Added details about Advanced Indexing (smart beta), portfolio line of credit (lower rates than HELOC), customized company stock sales, and 529 college saving guidance.) Wealthfront is one of the largest independent digital … [Read the rest]

Active vs. Passive Funds Debate: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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A common theme in the financial media these days is that "index funds will take over the world armageddon gaaaaahhhh". People have already used the "bubble" label. Here's an example of how three charts on the same topic can suggest very different … [Read the rest]

Longleaf Partners Funds Shareholder Letters

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One of the early books that impacted my investing philosophy was Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David Swensen. As a very successful manager of the Yale Endowment, he offered common-sense explanations of why … [Read the rest]

Free 1,000+ Marriott Rewards Points Promotion

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Back again, but different? I'm not sure if this works if you've already done it before, but there is a new Chirpify promotional page with a new #RewardsPoints hashtag (instead of #MRpoints) showing the following opportunities: 750 free … [Read the rest]

Free Collection of Investing Books by Meb Faber

Free again. Asset manager Meb Faber is promoting the launch of his new book, The Best Investment Writing: Selected writing from leading investors and authors (Vol. 1), by making all four previous self-published books free in Kindle format for a … [Read the rest]