Buy American. I Am. by Warren Buffett:
A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense.
Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up.
Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts.
Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree.
Yet more great advice from Warren Buffett. I must admit I think buying stocks from the USA and elsewhere is wise, but there isn’t any reason to listen to me instead of him.
I want to be free to make my own decisions. I like the security of a corporate job, the health and financial benefits, but it IS a business. They’re in the market to make money. If that means cutting jobs and salary, that’s part of the equation.
I want to do something that I’m responsible for; something I’ve poured my heart and soul into. As it happens, I don’t think my current day-job is that “something” which will help build those dreams…
I like this post. For me personal finance is a subset of life. Like health and education, personal finance, can hamper or provide options to your life. You need to keep track of your finances and manage them but that is in order to provide yourself options to live the life you want. Don’t forget to decide what you want out of life. Then see how you can help make that happen based on finances or what steps you need to take to live your dreams in the future.
About 90 per cent of US banks will see their basic deposit insurance fees double in the first quarter of 2009, from between 5 cents and 7 cents for each $100 of deposits to between 12 cents and 14 cents, according to a plan laid out yesterday by the FDIC, a government-backed agency that insures consumer deposits up to $250,000. From the second quarter that range would widen to from 10 to 14 cents per $100.
Banks with the riskiest profiles could end up paying fees as high as 77.5 cents for every $100 of insured deposits under the plan, compared with a maximum of 43 cents under the current structure.
The FDIC insures bank deposits with fees charged to banks. The recent increase of the FDIC Limit to $250,000 seems to indicate that taxpayers will now pay for any costs for covering above $100,000 per account-holder (which I think is a mistake – the fund should be self supporting). But this increase in fees is to restore the fund to the minimum capital requirements of the insurance fund.
|Jim Rogers webcast: Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac should not have been bailed out. Jim Rogers is one of the most successful investors in the last 50 years. He and George Soros (together with the Quantum Fund) and then separately along with Warren Buffett have made the most as investors (that I know of – I could easily be wrong).
How you want to accept their opinions on the current crisis is up to you. I believe they are worth listening to – more than anyone else. That does not mean I believe they are totally right. To me the long term track record of each is very impressive. Especially Jim Rodgers and George Soros have been making big investment gains largely on macro economic predictions in the last 20 years.
In The Dollar is Doomed (July 2008) Jim Rogers predicts the United States Federal Reserve is so badly run it will be gone in a decade or two. I disagree with that sentiment. He certainly has much more expertise than I do but in evaluating such a comment you need to look at what really matters to him. He doesn’t need the Federal Reserve to actually cease to exist to make profitable trades based on his prediction that the Federal Reserves policies are dooming the dollar.
Another thing to note with Rogers and Soros is they will make strong statements and take huge positions but will change their mind when conditions change (often quickly). So you can’t assume what they said awhile back is still their belief today.
401(k)s are a great way to save. Yes, today those that have been saving money have the disappointment of bad recent results. But that is a minor factor compared to the major problem: Americans not saving what they need to for retirement in 401(k)s, IRAs, even just emergency funds… Do not use the scary financial market performance recently as an excuse to avoid retirement savings (if you have actually been doing well).
The importance of saving enough for retirement is actually increased by the recent results. You might have to re-evaluate your expectations and see whether you have been saving enough. I am actually considering increasing my contributions, mainly to take advantage of lower prices. But another benefit of doing so would be to add more to retirement savings, given me more safety in case long term results are not what I was hoping for.
Now there can be some 401(k) plans that are less ideal. Limited investing options can make them less valuable. Those limited options could include the lack of good diverse choices, index funds, international, money market, real estate, short term bond funds… My real estate fund is down about 2% in the last year (unlike what some might think based on the media coverage of declining housing prices). And poor investing options could include diverse but not good options (options with high expenses… [ the article, see blow, mentions some with a 2% expense rate – that is horrible]).
But those poor implementations of 401(K)s are not equivalent to making 401(k)s un-viable for saving. It might reduce the value of 401(k)s to some people (those will less good 401(k) plans). Or it might even make it so for people with bad 401(k) options that they should not save using it (or that they limit the amount in their 401k). I don’t know of such poor options, but it is theoretically possible.
The tax deferral is a huge benefit. That benefit will only increase as tax rates rise (given the huge debt we have built up it is logical to believe taxes will go up to pay off spending today with the tax increases passed to the future to pay for our current spending).
And if you get matching of 410(k) contributions that can often more than make up for other less than ideal aspects of a particular 401(k) option.
Also once you leave a job you can roll the 401(k) assets into an IRA and invest in a huge variety of assets. So even if the 401k options are not great, it is normally wise to add to them and then just roll them into an IRA when you leave. If the plan is bad, also you can use an IRA for your first $5,000 in annual retirement savings and then add additional amounts in the 401k (if they are matching funds normally adding enough to get the matching is best).
401(k)s, 403(b), IRAs… are still great tools for saving. The performance of financial markets recently have been poor. Accepting periods of poor performance is hard psychologically. But retirement accounts are still a excellent tool for saving for retirement. Using them correctly is important: allocating resources correctly, moving into safer asset allocations as one approaches and reaches retirement…
The 2009 budget deficit could be close to $2 trillion, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the record of 6 percent set in 1983, according to David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist. Two weeks ago, budget analysts said the measures might push deficit to as much as $1.5 trillion.
The financial health and earnings prospects of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — seized by the government on Sept. 7 to prevent them from failing — worsened in the second and third quarters, the companies’ government regulator said this week.
On top of all that, budget watchdogs say the sheer size of the interventions is making Washington more profligate than usual. To attract votes in Congress, leaders added several costly items to the $700 billion rescue, including extensions of some tax credits and tax breaks for makers of wooden arrows and stock- car racetrack owners.
Under normal circumstances, there would have been more resistance to such expenses, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan budget watchdog.
The news sure is not yet getting better. And our failure to act responsibly in good times now seriously increase risk. Just as someone that lived far beyond their means, with excessive debt, debt on multiple credit cards… we have continually elected politicians that had our government live beyond our means for decades. And that means we don’t have the resources to pay for the measures we are talking. For now the world markets are willing to give the USA government more credit cards to finance more spending. But at some point that stops.
At some point the loans have to be paid back. The only options are large reductions in spending, large increases in taxes or just printing more and more money people don’t want to pay off loans (which will cause massive inflation). There is also the possibility of growing our way out of the problems (the equivalent of yes, I have $40,000 in credit card debt but when I make $150,000 a year paying that off will be easy). To some extent this will happen (unless things get very very bad) but the level of economic growth needed is unlikely to fix the problem we make worse every year (as we fall further and further behind). We are now spending huge amounts to money we didn’t save in the good times. That means we are mortgaging even more of our future than we already had before this mess.
Related: Financial Market Meltdown – Warren Buffett Webcast on the Credit Crisis – FDIC Limit Raised to $250,000 – Financial Markets Continue Panicky Behavior – USA Federal Debt Now $516,348 Per Household
This current economic disaster is self-generated. It was generated by the market itself, by getting too cocky, using leverage too much, too much credit. And it got excessive.
The financial system is teetering on the edge of disaster. Hopefully, it will not go over the brink because it very rarely does. It only did in the 1930s. Since then, whenever you had a financial crisis, you were able to resolve it.
the sort of period where America could actually, for instance, run ever increasing current account deficits. We could consume, at the end, six and a half percent more than we are producing. That has come to an end.
Right now you already have 10 million homes where you have negative equity. And before you are over, it will be more than 20 million.
Some of the fundamentals credited with keeping Canada’s banks in the safe zone were put in place nearly a decade ago by the Liberal government of Jean Chretien, including a refusal to approve any Canadian bank mergers.
The finance minister said Canada is in a strong position to deal with the global crisis, with a strong banking system, a stable housing market and a federal budget surplus. “Other countries have been increasing their deposit standards, but they’re still for the most part below the high Canadian standard,” he said.
Related: Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make – Too Big to Fail – What Should You Do With Your Government “Stimulus” Check? – The Budget Deficit, the Current Account Deficit and the Saving Deficit – 2nd Largest Bank Failure in USA History
Over the last 3 months the yields on corporate bonds have increased while treasury bonds have decreased. The chart shows the move away from lower quality bonds to higher quality though probably not as dramatically as actually has taken place as it is just an average for each month (and in September the flight to quality became extreme at the end of the month). While the Fed did not announce a formal cut in the discount rate, the average rate for overnight loans from the Fed last month was 1.81%.
The spread between 10 year Aaa corporate bond yields and 10 year government bonds increased to 196 basis points. In January, 2008 the spread was 159 points. The larger the spread the more people demand in interest, to compensate for the increased risk. The spread between government bonds and Baa corporate bonds increased to 362 basis points, the spread was 280 basis point in January. The rate on government bonds has barely change (decreasing from 3.74% in January to 3.69% now) so the change has nearly all been in increased corporate bond rates.
The panic driven declines in worldwide stock markets have been remarkable. Deciding whether to join the panic and sell, or hold firm, or buy in now is very difficult. In general trying to time the stock market is difficult and not something many have succeeded trying to do. When I look at the long term values of individual stocks I see plenty that seem like bargains to me. Of course I have no idea if they will be greater bargains in a week, a month or a year. And I could easily be wrong that they are bargains at all.
Still I have bought some Google (GOOG), Templeton Dragon Fund (TDF), Toyota (TM) and ATP Oil (ATPG). The first three I am happy to buy and hold for 10 years (and actually there is a greater than 90% chance I will hold the shares I have now own 10 years from now). The fourth one is fairly speculative, we will see how it goes. I did sell one stock, not because I think it is overvalued but because I liked what I could buy if I sold it (the price had held up well so relatively I could trade it for more shares of what I wanted today than I could have a month or 6 months… ago) – Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL). Often those stocks that hold up well in declines are very strong and do very well once the market corrects, so this could well turn out to be a mistake.
Trying to time when things have hit bottom is very difficult. So I am not trying to do that. I did not invest all my cash now, and will be adding to my positions over the next year (most likely). I have been fortunately that I have been saving up cash and not buying into the market much (I wasn’t smart enough to sell though, and my retirement accounts were still going into stock funds primarily). I am guessing the declining prospects (due to the worsening economy) on the stocks I am buying have been more than offset by the declining stock prices. Only time will tell whether that was a profitable move or not.