News & Updates

Steve’s 2nd Quarter 2017 Portfolio Report

Posted by on 9:12 am in Annual and per quarter returns, Financial Education/Literacy, Passive Investment Strategy | 0 comments

Steve’s 2nd Quarter 2017 Portfolio Report

Hi Readers,
I am sorry that I have not been writing many blog posts. As many of you know I am still grieving the loss of my husband, co-author, companion and the kindest, insightful and funniest person ever–Dan. But the good news is that I am making progress. After 1 year and 9 months, I am beginning to enjoy this club I never planned on joining–the single club. I have nobody to be accountable for and I can do whatever I want. It still hurts sometimes, but that is to be expected. Like most of us who lost a close friend or relative, we will never forget them. And that’s good.

Life has a way of throwing both small petty stuff that interferes with our routine, and huge blows occasionally. One can never avoid the pain or the discomfort but to anticipate by thinking and planning for the future is always a good idea, whether it’s a personal loss or personal finance. Through my bereavement group participation, seeing a counselor, writing in a journal and maintain a connection with family and friends, and making new friends have helped a great deal.

Similarly, disruptions, volatility and market crashes also must be planned. Like my grieving experience, I have also sought help for modifying my portfolio. I rebalanced and took some distributions from my portfolio with the assistance of Vanguard’s inhouse Certified Financial Planner. I took out money to fund my retirement such as helping my niece and my sister financially, buying a new wardrobe, new eyewear, throwing a party for friends and relatives, making donations to Palm Springs Writer’s Guild and the Dharmachakra Buddhist Center and Gilda’s Cancer Center for their support of the bereavement group I attend, and planning on a return trip to Vietnam in 2018. The Vanguard financial planner made some excellent suggestions for rebalancing my portfolio and carefully making distributions to keep my capital gains taxes at a minimum.

Look at my portfolio and how I constructed it for low costs, diversification, stock bond split, and best of all SIMPLICITY.

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Book Review: “Your Money or Your Life”

Posted by on 3:06 am in Beginning Investing, Financial Education/Literacy | 0 comments

Book Review: “Your Money or Your Life”

I have read many books on personal finance. The majority were about the quantitive aspect: the data, graphs, statistics, market history, types of stocks and bonds, and the skills needed to construct low-cost diversified portfolios. This book finishes the job by discussing the lesser status qualitative aspect: your thinking and your emotions surrounding money. Both aspects make valid contributions for the eventual, sometimes elusive goal of financial independence, and to be happy at your job and giving back to the greater good.

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Book Review: The Soul of Money

Posted by on 6:25 am in Consumer Finance, Donating to Charities, Financial Education/Literacy, Frugal Habits, Women Investors | 0 comments

Book Review: The Soul of Money

If you want a more emotional, personal, and passionate point of view of money, read my review of The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist. It is surprising similar to John Bogle’s Enough book.

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Steve’s Q1 2017 Returns of his Portfolio and “Dating”

Posted by on 6:31 am in Annual and per quarter returns, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Steve’s Q1 2017 Returns of his Portfolio and “Dating”

Yep, you read the title of this blog correctly. But first I apologize, as it’s been a long time since my last post.

Since the beginning of the year, my portfolio and my personal life are growing and changing. As you know, I have experienced the worst personal loss of my life for the last 1.5 years. Because of my work with a grief group, 1 X 1 with a life coach, and maintaining connections with family and friends, being single again sucks sometimes, but I have begun the impossible, dating! I had never planned to be single so soon in my retirement and in the most shocking way. So what am I doing differently? I put my personal profile on a couple of dating sites, and I have actually gone out on coffee, hiking and dinner dates for the first time in 40+ years! I am beginning to appreciate being free and single again. I can do anything I want, and I have the financial resources to do just that.

Besides my personal life going in a positive direction, this stock market continues to grow, and so does my portfolio. Take a look at how my investments performed, my asset allocation and my costs. It’s only one click away.

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7 Ways to Assist Your Parents

Posted by on 12:26 pm in Financial Education/Literacy, Retired Couples, Retirement Planning | 0 comments

7 Ways to Assist Your Parents

If you’ve got aging parents as well as children of your own to look after, you’re part of the “sandwich generation”. You may want to ensure secure future for both your parents and your kids, the stress of juggling these responsibilities can become overpowering. Retirement is becoming more expensive every day, but have your parents been investing for it?

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Updated Award Winning Los Angeles Unified 457(b) Plan

Posted by on 8:49 am in LAUSD Employees, PreK-12 Educators | 6 comments

Updated Award Winning Los Angeles Unified 457(b) Plan

When you think about greatness, we default to Micheal Jordan, President Lincoln or Albert Einstein. The Los Angeles Unified School District’s 457(b) plan may not appear to be great but when compared to the typical 403(b) plan, it is most certainly GREAT!

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Shrinking Middle Class and Federal Income Taxes

Posted by on 7:46 pm in Personal Finance | 0 comments

Shrinking Middle Class and Federal Income Taxes

According to the Tax Foundation, the richest Americans pay almost all of the Federal Income Taxes assessed by the IRS. Is this good news for us ordinary income earners? Well, perhaps not, as it is an indication of a severe decline in the middle class.

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Wild Ride! Followed by Boring Returns. 22 Years of Portfolio Data.

Posted by on 11:37 am in Annual and per quarter returns | 0 comments

Wild Ride! Followed by Boring Returns. 22 Years of Portfolio Data.

Constructing a broadly diversified, low-cost portfolio is straight forward. But human beings continue to struggle to wrap their heads around this idea of the nonmechanical aspect of investing–what’s between our ears. The financial media is of NO HELP what-so-ever! First off, the well-known financial pundits imply that you can beat the averages by constructing an “exciting” portfolio. On the other side of the argument based on Jack Bogle and his author followers including this writer is to construct a “boring” portfolio. A boring portfolio is defined as a broadly diversified plan that performs close to the market averages, not too high (speculative) and not too low (managers making bad choices and charging the investor too much). My portfolio is boring because it neither exceeds or falls below the averages. It’s just right. That’s what I call genuine excitement. This excitement is the reasonable and sane returns I earned this past year. Nothing wrong with my 5.9% return for a conservatively constructed portfolio and the fun I have spending it supporting my values.
I have updated my data to include the 2016 returns of my portfolio. You can see for yourself. The enclosed graph shows an exciting portfolio during the 1990s and a boring portfolio since 2003. My graph will help you answer the question: Do you want to construct an exciting or a boring portfolio?

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2016 Annual Portfolio Return, from Cuba!

Posted by on 8:33 am in Annual and per quarter returns | 2 comments

2016 Annual Portfolio Return, from Cuba!

Lots to discuss. Pictures of my latest travel adventure to Cuba, dissecting and evaluating my 5.9% portfolio return for the calendar year 2016, and explaining the power of simplicity.

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One Year Later

Posted by on 6:01 am in Loss, Retirement Planning | 4 comments

One Year Later

What do you do in the wake of a personal devastation? How would you heal from the shock, pain, fear, and anger of a sudden loss? In this blog post, I hope you will find a sense of security, or even inspiration as you walk with me on my path this past year. Sudden misfortune creates strong emotions, and opportunities. Preparing for the death of a loved one overlaps with preparing for a loss after a divorce, a close family member, relationship, or a significant financial loss of any kind through litigation, job loss, or from a stock market crash. Emotional preparation has limitations, but not all is impossible. Know how you might react and plan ahead of time to begin the healing process.
I know what it’s like to lose the love of my life for 40 years. I can confidently say that it was how I reacted to my shocking tragedy that made the difference. When tragedy strikes isn’t it always how we respond over the long term that counts? Will I be bitter and angry forever, or will I grow into a better human being with more compassion and kindness than ever before.

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