January 2012 Financial Asset Roundup
|Asset||Dec 2011||Jan 2012||Change|
The S&P 500 has been on a nice run since the last update, rising 4.50% (the highest level since July 2011) during that time:
(chart courtesy of msn.com)
With the S&P staying flat during 2011, I'm hoping that history will dictate that we're due for a strong run in 2012. On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for December continued the downward trend dropping to 8.5%, the lowest level since February 2009. Oil prices ticked up a bit to around $102 per barrel, with my gasoline purchases increasing by about 10¢ per gallon.
On the financial front, I am still mourning the passing of my 5 year Penfed CD @ 6.25% APY that I opened in January 2007. Boy, do I wish I hadn't been scared away by the one year early withdrawal penalty on the 7 year CDs back then. However, that blow is lessened somewhat with the recent announcement that the annual electronic savings bond purchase limits were raised to $10,000 per series at treasurydirect.gov. I plan on buying the maximum amount of electronic I Bonds later this month and will elect to receive any Federal tax refund I may be due via the paper I Bond "loophole" that still exists. In other financial moves, I ended up selling all of my Procter & Gamble (PG) stock in December and will be paying 0% Federal income tax on the long term capital gains as per the 15% tax bracket. Finally, I mailed in checks for 2011 Roth IRA contributions for both Mrs. Frugalson and myself last week. If and when she returns to the workforce after finishing graduate school in the spring, I can't help but wonder how long we have until we'll no longer be eligible to contribute to Roth IRAs. I hate to say it, but that's kind of a nice problem to have. :)
Other than that, I'm looking forward to the promise of a new year even as I start work on putting together the information for my 2011 business and personal tax returns. Hopefully the Mayans were wrong about that whole world ending thing in 2012...