The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in more than half a century as rising prices put buying out of reach for many renters. The homeownership rate reached a peak of 69.2 percent in June 2004, but it has steadily lowered. Buying a home is still a fine decision, just not a financial one. As Taylor Tepper explained on MSN Money: “Homeownership comes with a host of risks, too. You’re sinking a large portion of your savings into an asset that’s expensive to maintain, and may be extremely difficult to sell. People move, jobs change, markets tank, life happens. There’s no guarantee that you’ll want to live in the same area in two years, much less that your family situation will remain constant… The truth is that, for most people, buying a home is as much about sentiment as it is about dollars and cents. Indeed, young renters who aspire to homeownership do so to control their living space, have a sense of privacy and security, and establish a place to raise a family, according to Fannie Mae. They want a home for the freedom it confers. Don’t like those cabinets? Hate the carpet? You can generally do what you please if you’re the owner. You have to pay for that freedom, and it doesn’t come cheap. But it’s worth remembering that whether to rent or buy isn’t a clear-cut decision. And it’s certainly not only about finances. Rather it’s a reflection of your particular desires — which means you should think deeply about what it is you’re after. If you’re looking to leverage your savings to build more money for the future, you could easily end up disappointed. You’re likely to be more satisfied, however, if you’re trying to create something lasting for you and your family.” (msn.com)
From AFP report on Yahoo News: US wholesale inflation continued its upward trend in January, recording its largest monthly gain in more than four years, according to data released Tuesday by the Labor Department. The Producer Price Index, which measures prices from the seller’s perspective, rose 0.6 percent in seasonally adjusted figures, which was the largest such gain since September 2012 and well above an analyst consensus forecast of 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the index saw a monthly gain of 0.4 percent. Year over year, however, the figure was unchanged at 1.6 percent, unadjusted. “In short, fairly strong and not just because of energy,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a client note. (yahoo.com)
Bill and Melinda Gates describe Warren Buffett’s $30 billion donation a decade ago as “the biggest single gift anyone ever gave anybody for anything.” As reported on Geek Wire, Buffett’s unprecedented gift doubled the size of the Seattle-based Gates Foundation’s endowment — increasing its capacity to take on some of the world’s biggest challenges. “That’s an incredible thing,” said Bill Gates in an interview with GeekWire. “It really energized the foundation, and half of what we’ve gotten done in this last decade is because Warren trusted us.” So what have they done with Buffett’s billions? Some of the money has gone to the Gates Foundation’s work in education, agriculture, and financial services for the poor. But the bulk has gone to global health, supporting the Gates Foundation and its partners in areas such as vaccine distribution, access to contraceptives, and scientific research to help the world’s poorest people. (geekwire.com)
On Monday Apple’s shares closed at $133.29, valuing the company at $700 billion. Fox Business reported: “Apple Inc.’s shares reached their highest closing level ever Monday, as investors bet that the 10th-anniversary iPhone expected later this year will return the world’s most valuable company to renewed momentum after its worst stumble in years. The stock closed at $133.29, topping the prior record close of $133 set in February 2015. The all-time intraday trading high for Apple shares is $134.54, also reached in 2015. That puts Apple’s market value at about $700 billion, which is more than $120 billion ahead of the No. 2 company, Google parent Alphabet Inc.” (foxbusiness.com)
Managing your personal finance can be a pain sometimes. Luckily, there are many useful personal finance apps out there. Here are the top 5 personal finance apps for Windows 10 to help you plan your spending and manage your finances efficiently. These Finance apps which are available in the Windows Store, help you to track its flow and limit your spending and create budgets.
- Money Keeper: “An amazing application with all the required features that lets you maintain accounts, keep track of your income and your expenses. You can generate reports, see summaries and also forecast your expense. You can even create budgets to limit your spending and save some amount of money.”
- Money Lover: “A fluid, easy to use expense tracker available in both free and premium variants and comes with great tracking and budgeting features. You can manage loans and debts using this application.”
- Homeasy: “A financial application designed to track the spending in normal households. You can create your own monthly billing calendar which would include recurring bill payments, rents and all those monthly expenditures of your household.
- MoneyPoint: “A complete offline application and does not synchronize any data to other devices. All data is stored locally in the device and you can export data in form of reports and expense summaries. All other major features like expense management, budgeting, goals, and performances are offered by this tool.”
- Spending Tracker: “Another great personal finance app that tracks your monthly expenditure and generates category wise reports and summaries. With not many advanced features, Spending Tracker is quite simple to use. It can generate all sort of reports including weekly, monthly, annually, categorized and cash flow reports as well.”
Insurance agents are not fiduciaries in most cases. They have no obligation to place your interests above their own or above those of the insurance companies they represent. The White Coat Investor describes 6 greatest sins of insurance agents trying to disguise selling as advising:
- Underselling Term Life Insurance: “I see doctors who are sold a 5 year term policy at age 30. That’s dumb. Your term ought to be long enough to get you to your likely date of financial independence.”
- Selling Whole Life Insurance: “Whole life insurance (and its cousins universal life, variable life, variable universal life, and index universal life) is one of the most oversold products in the entire financial services industry.”
- Selling Insurance On Children: “There is simply little excuse to sell someone a life insurance policy on their children.”
- Trying To Be A Financial Advisor: “In fact, in order to get sold, the WORST investments pay the HIGHEST commissions. I don’t care how good of a person you are, that’s a tough conflict of interest to fight against every day for your entire career.”
- Selling Long Term Care Insurance to the Wrong Crowd: “Everybody doesn’t need long term care insurance. Stop trying to sell it to everyone.”
- Not Being An Independent Agent: “Why would any one company be the best company for every type of insurance for every person? It doesn’t make any sense. Yet many agents are ‘captive’ and sell insurance from only one company.”
More and more investors are attracted to Vanguard’s extremely low-cost model. Several studies have shown that funds with lower expense ratios, as a group, deliver better performance than higher-cost funds—because investors keep more of their returns. Wall Street Journal Reports: “Assets at Vanguard Group climbed to $4 trillion for the first time, a fresh high for the index-fund giant. The Malvern, Pa.-based firm pulled in roughly $49 billion in net new money in January, according to preliminary numbers from a spokeswoman, boosting its assets under management to the new firm record…. Vanguard’s rise is largely the result of a rush by investors to embrace lower-cost index-tracking products such as exchange-traded funds. Vanguard executives said in a client webinar early this year that the firm had received ‘unprecedented phone volumes’ but that it doesn’t trade cost for service. Vanguard, which has a staff of about 15,000, hired more than 1,700 new full-time staff members last year and said it expects to hire a similar number of new ‘crew members’ in 2017.”
The trending to switch to low-cost index funds from actively managed funds is getting bigger and bigger every year. With more money pouring into Vanguards, the fund fees will be even lower, and that’s a good news for investors like you and me. The net money inflows at Vanguard in 2016 topped those of all of its rivals combined, and this year is going to be even better. According to Morningstar, $289 billion or 54% of the $533 billion of net flows into all mutual funds and exchange-traded funds last year went to Vanguard funds. [Read more…]
With a fortune around $75 billion, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is already the world’s richest man. Together with the power of compounding, more money will create even more wealth. According to research by Oxfam, Bill Gates will be the world’s first trillionaire in 25 years as his total wealth grows at the expected market return of the ultra-rich portfolio. Despite giving money away, Gates’ fortune has risen 50 percent from $50 billion to $75 billion since he stepped down from working full-time at Microsoft in 2006. At the current rate, Gates is predicted to hit the trillion mark by the age of 86. “If you are already rich, you have to try hard not to keep getting a lot richer,” Oxfam notes. (oxfam.org)
“With investment firms cutting costs and portfolio managers combating a barrage of information, financial research shops around the globe are looking for new ways to keep their product relevant,” write Anna Irrera and Olivia Oran on Reuter. “A raft of startups have launched to support that effort, offering tools that can use Google search data to get an edge on retail sales, deploy drones to examine oil supplies or allow investors to rank analysts and bid on their reports, like a Netflix or eBay of research. Whether these innovations will lead to smarter investments, or be used widely enough to prop up research budgets, is yet to be seen. But the startups are forming alliances with banks, brokerages and investors by the dozen. People who use and sell the tools say the trend is changing how research is financed, distributed and consumed for the first time in decades. ‘We are coming up on a very different age for equity research,’ said Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research. Investors now see research as a product that must stand on its own rather than a freebie offered as part of a broader relationship with an investment bank, Sokolin said. Technology can improve the quality and distribution of research, he said….Perhaps most importantly, investors say they are sick of their inboxes piling up with run-of-the-mill reports each day. At a time when people share snippets of information through WhatsApp and Slack and a tweet can move a stock in seconds, sharing loads of PDF files through email is not only passe, but makes it hard to know what is worth reading, industry sources said.” (reuters.com)
Getting rich can be straightforward. Mostly, it requires making smart choices, like committing to paying yourself first and setting aside at least 10% of your pretax income in a retirement account, says financial adviser and self-made millionaire David Bach. “With this in mind, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out the single biggest investment mistake you can make: Not using your retirement plan and not maxing it out,” Bach writes in his book, The Automatic Millionaire. (cnbc.com)
Exchange rates are never constant in the global market. They keep changing from time to time. In fact they are constantly changing every minute as viewed in the stock market graphs. The stock brokers and the foreign exchange experts always keep their eyes on the constant changes on the graphs on how the markets keep behaving. This allows them to know when to make purchases and sales of the money in order to change from one foreign currency to the other. The factors that affect the behavior of currencies in the international market mainly are the supply and demand at any given time. The factors that determine the supply and demand can be political stability in a country, the economic stability in a country and the security that exists within the borders of a particular country. [Read more…]
“Afraid you might be behind on saving for retirement? There’s one simple way to get ahead of pretty much everyone else.” said Katie Lobosco at CNN Money. Here are four things to ask yourself to make sure you’re on track in the new year:
- How much did I spend last year?
- Can I increase my future contributions?
- Did I max out my IRA last Year? There’s still time.
- Are my investments balanced?
About 80% of Americans surveyed by Voya Financial said they hadn’t taken the time to review or revise their retirement plan within the past year. So simply taking a look at how your 401(k) or IRA performed in 2016 will mean you’re already doing more than most Americans. (cnn.com)
Warren Buffett became a player in the investment game at the wee age of 11, eventually using cash he earned from his paper route to buy some farmland in his home state. As a high school sophomore, he also reaped the rewards of a booming pinball machine business. By the time Buffett was 15, he already had a net worth of about $6,000. According to the latest Forbes count, the so-called Oracle of Omaha is currently tipping the wealth scales at $73.1 billion. That’s good enough to put Buffett, who turns 87 this summer, at No. 3 on the U.S. rich list, behind Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. (marketwatch.com)
There is something about putting money into an investment that intrigues a lot of us. Perhaps it is because you can start from anywhere with any amount of money to become a good investor with great returns. Understand that you don’t just have to place your money in the stock market as there are countless ways to invest. All investment methods come with unique risks and benefits, and they all have varying interest rates and timelines. Here are some of the safest and most profitable ways to invest your money in 2017. [Read more…]
It is a good idea if your employer doesn not match or if it does a “true-up” after the end of the year or with each payroll, according to Mike Piper on Oblivious Investor. In the case that your employer contribute a certain percentage of your compensation as long as you contributed an equal amount in that pay period, if you front-load your contribution, you actually end up missing out on part of the match. (obliviousinvestor.com)