Picking up Nickels

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on November 13th, 2018:


Asset Oct
2018
Nov
2018
Change
Checking 275 175 -100
Money Market 48,484 52,172 3,688
Savings Bonds 155,493 155,813 320
Treasury Bills 6,000 10,000 4,000
CDs 39,806 39,934 128
Brokerage 159,074 162,620 3,546
401k 167,894 165,021 -2,873
Roth IRA 150,469 147,297 -3,172
SEP IRA 756,094 739,484 -16,610
529 Savings 174,454 173,982 -472



Total Assets $1,658,043 $1,646,498 -$11,545
   
 
-0.70%


The market has continued a downward trend since the last update, with the S&P 500 falling 2.28% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for October remained at 3.7%, with a strong 250,000 new jobs created. Oil prices have slumped to the $56 level (down from $72) as supply has exceeded demand.

On the financial front, I put a bit more cash into 28 day T-Bills with an investment rate of 2.199% after taking another equity distribution from my S Corp. Additionally, I've been considering selling off some of my old Series I savings bonds with a 0% fixed interest rate and using that cash to buy January 2019 issues with the surprisingly high current 0.5% fixed rate. I also have an old Penfed 3.04% APY 5 year CD maturing early next month and will need to find a home for those funds. I wonder if there is a chance for an old-school Penfed end of year CD deal? That would be nice. :)

As for the non-financial, we're looking at an early Thanksgiving next week with Christmas not far behind. Ugh, I am so not ready for snow and cold weather.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

September 2018 CPI-U numbers released: Neutral on November 2018 I Bonds


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the September 2018 Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) inflation data last week, which increased by 0.12% over the past month.

As always, now is one of the best times to consider purchasing I Bonds. The reason for this is that we now know what the rate of return for October 2018 I Bonds will be for both the first and second six month periods, which is important since I Bonds must be held for 12 months before they can be redeemed.

Using the CPI-U data from March 2018 (249.554) and September 2018 (252.439) (courtesy of inflationdata.com), we can calculate the variable rate for the second 6 month period for October 2018 issue I Bonds.


That means these bonds would earn the current rate of 2.52% (using 0.3% fixed & 1.11% variable) for the first 6 months and 2.62% (combined 0.3% fixed & 1.16% variable) for the second 6 months. IMO, the current 2.52% rate doesn't really make an October purchase terribly appealing unless you believe that the 0.3% fixed portion will go down next month. At this point, I believe an I Bond purchase is a basically a wash when compared to something like the 1 year CD @ 2.65% APY currently being offered at Live Oak Bank.

Having already maxed out my 2018 purchase limit in January (as I did in 2017), I can't act on these anyway. As always, I will continue to evaluate them and see what makes sense for me in 2019.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on October 10th, 2018:


Asset Sep
2018
Oct
2018
Change
Checking 1,198 275 -923
Money Market 66,893 48,484 -18,409
Savings Bonds 155,168 155,493 325
Treasury Bills 5,000 6,000 1,000
CDs 29,695 39,806 10,111
Brokerage 163,709 159,074 -4,635
401k 170,782 167,894 -2,888
Roth IRA 155,158 150,469 -4,689
SEP IRA 789,634 756,094 -33,540
529 Savings 176,470 174,454 -2,016



Total Assets $1,713,707 $1,658,043 -$55,664
   
 
-3.25%


The market had remained relatively flat since the last update until recent interest rate worries, with the S&P 500 falling 3.18% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for September fell to 3.7%, the lowest since December 1969. Oil prices have climbed a bit to the $72 level (up from $67). And for the second month in a row, we have a hurricane (Hurricane Michael) hitting the continental US. Once again, my best to everyone impacted by this huge storm.

On the financial front, I continued to flirt with 28 day T-Bills by putting some money into bills with an investment rate of 2.138%. To mix thing up a bit, I also put some cash into a Alliant 2.65% APY 12 month CD (my first non-Penfed CD in years). I'm also about due for another equity distribution from my S Corp, which I might use to dabble in T-Bills a bit more.

As for the non-financial, the weather has been cooling off and everyone is busy with work and school. Oh, and my lawn is looking good as my hard work has paid off. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on September 10th, 2018:


Asset Aug
2018
Sep
2018
Change
Checking 1,083 1,198 115
Money Market 83,286 66,893 -16,393
Savings Bonds 154,824 155,168 344
Treasury Bills 0 5,000 5,000
CDs 29,590 29,695 105
Brokerage 161,653 163,709 2,056
401k 172,685 170,782 -1,903
Roth IRA 154,952 155,158 206
SEP IRA 776,046 789,634 13,588
529 Savings 177,101 176,470 -631



Total Assets $1,711,220 $1,713,707 $2,487
   
 
0.15%


It's hard to believe, but today is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I'll never forget that day for as long as I live. :(

As for the business at hand, the market has continued to rise, with the S&P 500 up 1.55% since the last update:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for August remained at 3.9%, with 201,000 jobs created. Oil prices have remained relatively flat at the $67 level. We also have Hurricane Florence heading toward the East Coast of the US, which could bring a devastating mix of high winds and flooding. My best to everyone in the path of this monster.

On the financial front, my assets have once again hit another all-time high, breaking the previous high from August 2018. That's pretty surprising considering the outflow of money we've experienced over the past few weeks (a reliable used car for my new college student to commute to school with, college tuition and related expenses, a new roof for our house, Q3 estimated taxes, etc.). Even better, those expenses will be followed up a pretty significant credit card bill that is due before the next update. On the plus side, I actually dipped my toe back in to T-Bills for the first time in nearly a decade. I ended up putting $5k in 28 day T-Bills with an investment rate of 1.939%, with gives me a tax-equivalent yield north of 2%. I'll probably dabble in T-Bills a bit more this year, but figure to move toward CDs if the FOMC ends up raising rates one or more times in 2018.

As for the non-financial, I've been hard at work on all things lawn. It's a great time to dethatch and overseed, and I'm trying to build on the success I had with my grass in 2018.

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on August 10th, 2018:


Asset Jul
2018
Aug
2018
Change
Checking 1,014 1,083 69
Money Market 67,940 83,286 15,346
Savings Bonds 154,493 154,824 331
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 42,714 29,590 -13,124
Brokerage 157,276 161,653 4,377
401k 173,999 172,685 -1,314
Roth IRA 154,880 154,952 72
SEP IRA 768,710 776,046 7,336
529 Savings 177,398 177,101 -297



Total Assets $1,698,424 $1,711,220 $12,796
   
 
0.75%


The market has continued its inexplicable climb, with the S&P 500 up 1.41% since the last update:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for July fell to 3.9%, with 157,000 jobs created. Oil prices have dropped to the $67 level (down from $73).

On the financial front, my assets have once again hit another all-time high, breaking the previous high from July 2018. However, we have done some major spending since the last update. First up was our initial foray into Fall semester college tuition for my oldest child. We paid $4,000 out of pocket (to qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit) with the remaining balance being covered by a scholarship and our trusty 529 account. The Bank of Mom and Dad also purchased a safe and reliable used car for the daily commute since our newly minted college student will be living at home. I did take an additional distribution from my S Corp to help defray our newfound college-related expenses. Next up is paying for the new roof we just had installed.

As for the non-financial, we're going to sneak off for a quick vacation before school starts after Labor Day. It's hard to believe that the summer is almost over!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on July 10th, 2018:


Asset Jun
2018
Jul
2018
Change
Checking 407 1,014 607
Money Market 56,940 67,940 11,000
Savings Bonds 154,179 154,493 314
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 42,598 42,714 116
Brokerage 159,460 157,276 -2,184
401k 176,656 173,999 -2,657
Roth IRA 155,591 154,880 -711
SEP IRA 762,361 768,710 6,349
529 Savings 176,657 177,398 741



Total Assets $1,684,849 $1,698,424 $13,575
   
 
0.81%


The market has continued to rise since the last update, with the S&P 500 up 0.43% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for June rose back to 4.0%, with a strong 213,000 jobs created. Oil prices have risen to the $73 level (down from $66), a trend that may continue since the USA walked away from the Iran nuclear deal.

On the financial front, my assets have once again hit another all-time high, breaking the previous high from June 2018. I did take a distribution from my S Corp since the last update, which bolstered my cash reserves a bit. I also have a Penfed 1.46% APY 15 month CD maturing later this month, although I will initially sit on the proceeds for a while since I have some large expenditures heading my way. The first will be an initial college tuition payment for my oldest, who will be starting school in September. Although I have plenty of cash sitting in a 529 account to cover the bill, I will be paying for a portion of it out of pocket to qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit since it survived the tax "reform" passed in 2017. To go along with that, Mrs. Frugalson and I will also be helping our child purchase a car for commuting to college. While that is a large expense, commuter school tuition plus transportation costs is still dwarfed by tuition, room, and board at an expensive private school. Scary stuff.

As for the non-financial, we're in the process on getting quotes from contractors to replace the ageing roof on our house. That should help chew up whatever may be left of the proceeds from that maturing Penfed CD, but I'm hoping it will be the last roof I ever have to buy for this house. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on June 11th, 2018:


Asset May
2018
Jun
2018
Change
Checking 954 407 -547
Money Market 59,351 56,940 -2,411
Savings Bonds 153,860 154,179 319
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 42,478 42,598 120
Brokerage 155,277 159,460 4,183
401k 176,709 176,656 -53
Roth IRA 153,890 155,591 1,701
SEP IRA 743,198 762,361 19,163
529 Savings 175,463 176,657 1,194



Total Assets $1,661,180 $1,684,849 $23,669
   
 
1.42%


Mr. Market has continued his run since the last update, with the S&P 500 rising 1.42% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for May fell to 3.8% with a better-than-expected 223,000 jobs created, the lowest rate since April 2000. Oil prices have fallen back to the $66 level (down from $71), although all things economic are very much up in the air with the POTUS starting trade wars and threatening our closest allies.

On the financial front, my assets have once again hit another all-time high, breaking the previous high from March 2018. The only upcoming money move of note will be taking a distribution from my S Corp later this month, so I should slide into the month of July pretty quietly.

As for the non-financial, the oldest of the Frugalson children recently graduated from high school and things are getting real as we prepare to attend our first college orientation. We should also start to see the 529 college savings account balance shrink a bit when the first tuition payment is due over the next couple of months, which seems a bit weird after contributing to it for eighteen years.