Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February 2019 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on February 11th, 2019:


Asset Jan
2019
Feb
2019
Change
Checking 286 1,683 1,397
Money Market 68,295 56,792 -11,503
Savings Bonds 145,552 155,850 10,298
Treasury Bills 10,000 10,000 0
CDs 57,626 57,810 184
Brokerage 157,016 172,428 15,412
401k 168,106 175,947 7,841
Roth IRA 144,659 149,333 4,674
SEP IRA 717,085 749,409 32,324
529 Savings 170,838 173,596 2,758



Total Assets $1,639,463 $1,702,848 $63,385
   
 
3.87%


The market has recovered a bit since the last update, with the S&P 500 falling 4.36% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for January rose to 4.0%, with a strong 304,000 new jobs created. Oil prices have stayed relatively flat at the $53 level, which has translated locally to unleaded regular gasoline prices in the neighborhood of $2.25 per gallon. Despite the apparent strength of the economy, auto loan delinquencies are at their highest level in nearly seven years. That certainly seems surprising considering the low unemployment rate for the past 3+ years.

On the financial front, I continued to roll my maturing 28 day T-Bills into new ones with an investment rate of 2.428%. As mentioned last month, I also bought the max allotment of January 2019 issue I Bonds with the current 0.5% fixed interest rate. Finally, I took an initial equity distribution from my S Corp and stashed the cash in Vanguard's Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) until I make my 2018 Roth IRA contribution before my individual tax returns are due in April.

As for the non-financial, my 2018 business tax returns are complete and I have most of the documents on hand for my 2018 personal returns. I have to admit that I'm curious to see how the tax "reform" package will impact my effective tax rate. Will the $10k limit on SALT deductions hurt more than the 20% deduction on business income helps? I'll find out soon enough.

Friday, January 11, 2019

January 2019 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on January 10th, 2019:


Asset Dec
2018
Jan
2019
Change
Checking 3,472 286 -3,186
Money Market 53,375 68,295 14,920
Savings Bonds 156,136 145,552 -10,584
Treasury Bills 10,000 10,000 0
CDs 57,434 57,626 192
Brokerage 155,521 157,016 1,495
401k 161,647 168,106 6,459
Roth IRA 143,576 144,659 1,083
SEP IRA 721,697 717,085 -4,612
529 Savings 174,121 170,838 -3,283



Total Assets $1,636,979 $1,639,463 $2,484
   
 
0.15%


The market has continued to drop since the last update, with the S&P 500 falling 1.56% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for December rose to 3.9%, but expectations were exceeded with 312,000 new jobs created. Oil prices have increased slightly to the $53 level (up from $52). Markets also have to contend with uncertainty of a continuing government shutdown over a border wall.

On the financial front, I once again rolled my maturing 28 day T-Bills into new ones with an investment rate of 2.438%. Last week I also sold my April 2013 issue Series I savings bonds with a 0% fixed interest rate and will be replacing them with January 2019 issue bonds with the current 0.5% fixed interest rate later this month.

As for the non-financial, it's another new year and I'm hanging in there with the short days and cold weather. It's also time to start getting things together for my 2018 business and personal tax returns. Hopefully the IRS will be open for business in time to handle the onslaught of tax returns headed their way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 2018 Financial Asset Roundup

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


Asset Nov
2018
Dec
2018
Change
Checking 175 3,472 3,297
Money Market 52,172 53,375 1,203
Savings Bonds 155,813 156,136 323
Treasury Bills 10,000 10,000 0
CDs 39,806 57,434 17,500
Brokerage 159,074 155,521 -7,099
401k 167,894 161,647 -3,374
Roth IRA 150,469 143,576 -3,721
SEP IRA 756,094 721,697 -17,787
529 Savings 174,454 174,121 139



Total Assets $1,658,043 $1,636,979 -$9,519
   
 
-0.58%


The market has continued to drop since the last update, with the S&P 500 falling 3.10% during that time:

(chart courtesy of nasdaq.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for November remained at 3.7%, although there are hints of slowing with 155,000 new jobs created. Oil prices have continued their slide to the $52 level (down from $56).

On the financial front, I rolled my maturing 28 day T-Bills into new ones with an investment rate of 2.305%. I did take a final 2018 equity distribution from my S Corp and added it to the funds from my matured Penfed 3.04% APY 5 year CD to open a new Penfed 3.50% APY 5 year CD. I have also started to include in my numbers an identical CD opened with proceeds from Mrs. Frugalson's maturing CD since it will be held in the name of our trust instead of her individually with me as the POD beneficiary. As for why, I believe that the FOMC is close ending their rate hikes for now with the global economy getting a bit skittish, so I decided to lock up some money at familiar institution with a competitive rate.

As for the non-financial, Christmas is a couple of weeks away and I've been working on EOY planning for my S Corp. It's hard to believe we're less than a month away from another new year.

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.