Life Is Too Short For Regrets

There was an article up at BuzzFeed titled 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old. While the list is probably a little stretched (master a party trick?) there are some interesting things. The first one was not traveling when you had a chance and there is a picture of a young dude on a camel with one of the pyramids in the background. There is obviously a financial planning aspect to this. The article implied that this was more about age but financially speaking if you wait until you retire, then circumstantially you may not be able to travel as much as you want due to finances, health or both. Obviously not too many people can afford six or seven trips of a lifetime before they turn 40 but one or two before 40 is not crazy once someone has found their career groove. How many trips of a lifetime do you want to take? Can you get to one or two per decade until you retire? Maybe, and if you can then there would be less regret for not getting to the last one or two on your list versus missing all eight of them (some sort of reference to George Bailey seems appropriate here). There were a couple different ones related to not staying in a bad situation (relationships and jobs). We’ve all either had our own bad situations or known people who have. I think of both of these as being similar and would label them don’t waste time. I’ve been lucky with my marriage so I can’t really speak to when the point comes that...

The Market is Scandalous and we have to Deal With It

This morning I have an article up at TheStreet about the LIBOR scandal as part of a package about the scandals of 2013 that I hope you will check out. I wrote that article on Tuesday for an early Wednesday deadline but it published today. This morning as I start my reading I see yesterday’s news about the guilty verdict from the SAC scandal and another story that both Facebook (FB), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sach (GS) and JP Morgan (JPM) might be on the hook for not properly disclosing a revenue warning before the IPO. One of the things I mentioned in the above linked article is the extent to which these things have always come up and always will. There is no refuting that this is unfair when the banks or brokerages (aka the sell side) get away with this stuff and logically you have to believe they get away with a lot more stuff than they get caught. Ultimately investors need to come to grips with this ridiculous reality and get right with staying involved or make the decision that it is too rigged and cease involvement, The reason I frame it that way is that it is not realistic to expect the sell side to operate differently (please read the above linked article for why I draw that conclusion). My hope would be that no one gives up on their investing because of this because this has how it has been since long before anyone reading this ever bought their first share of stock or mutual fund. So there is nothing new here and yet...

The Market is Scandalous and we have to Deal With It

This morning I have an article up at TheStreet about the LIBOR scandal as part of a package about the scandals of 2013 that I hope you will check out. I wrote that article on Tuesday for an early Wednesday deadline but it published today. This morning as I start my reading I see yesterday’s news about the guilty verdict from the SAC scandal and another story that both Facebook (FB), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sach (GS) and JP Morgan (JPM) might be on the hook for not properly disclosing a revenue warning before the IPO. One of the things I mentioned in the above linked article is the extent to which these things have always come up and always will. There is no refuting that this is unfair when the banks or brokerages (aka the sell side) get away with this stuff and logically you have to believe they get away with a lot more stuff than they get caught. Ultimately investors need to come to grips with this ridiculous reality and get right with staying involved or make the decision that it is too rigged and cease involvement, The reason I frame it that way is that it is not realistic to expect the sell side to operate differently (please read the above linked article for why I draw that conclusion). My hope would be that no one gives up on their investing because of this because this has how it has been since long before anyone reading this ever bought their first share of stock or mutual fund. So there is nothing new here and yet...

Why Doesn’t The Dividend Growth ETF Grow Its Dividends?

An article at Seeking Alpha making the case for the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) had the following question left in the comments which as of the time I saw it had not been answered by anyone; $SDY seems to be headed for a lower divi in 2013 compared to 2012..how is this possible if the stocks are supposed to increase divi each yr? SDY tracks an index of domestic stocks that have raised their dividends for at least 20 years. The screen shot below captures almost all of the dividends ever paid by SDY (the fund goes back to late 2005). You may need to zoom it to see, but it is pretty clear the dividend of the dividend growth ETF isn’t growing, so what gives? I stumbled into this in an article I wrote for theStreet.com earlier this year. There are two reasons I can come up with to account for why the dividend growth fund isn’t growing its dividend. The first one is that the index’ constituency can change over time. The index is constructed on growth not yield. As a simplistic example let’s say SDY only had one stock. That stock had grown its dividend for 20 years and yielded 5%. Now let’s say it had to cut its dividend making ineligible to stay in SDY. And let’s say that at the same time the first stock was being kicked out a new stock just qualified for inclusion into the index but that new stock only yielded 2%. The yield of the index in that simplistic example would go from 5% to 2%. So now...

Why Doesn’t The Dividend Growth ETF Grow Its Dividends?

An article at Seeking Alpha making the case for the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) had the following question left in the comments which as of the time I saw it had not been answered by anyone; $SDY seems to be headed for a lower divi in 2013 compared to 2012..how is this possible if the stocks are supposed to increase divi each yr? SDY tracks an index of domestic stocks that have raised their dividends for at least 20 years. The screen shot below captures almost all of the dividends ever paid by SDY (the fund goes back to late 2005). You may need to zoom it to see, but it is pretty clear the dividend of the dividend growth ETF isn’t growing, so what gives? I stumbled into this in an article I wrote for theStreet.com earlier this year. There are two reasons I can come up with to account for why the dividend growth fund isn’t growing its dividend. The first one is that the index’ constituency can change over time. The index is constructed on growth not yield. As a simplistic example let’s say SDY only had one stock. That stock had grown its dividend for 20 years and yielded 5%. Now let’s say it had to cut its dividend making ineligible to stay in SDY. And let’s say that at the same time the first stock was being kicked out a new stock just qualified for inclusion into the index but that new stock only yielded 2%. The yield of the index in that simplistic example would go from 5% to 2%. So now...