August 2012 Financial Asset Roundup
|Asset||Jul 2012||Aug 2012||Change|
There has been a nice uptick of S&P 500, rising by 4.80% since the last update:
(chart courtesy of msn.com)
On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for July rose to 8.3% while there was a slight sign of encouragement as first time unemployment claims fell for the first week of August. Oil prices have continued to rise from $87 to around $94 as I've seen local gasoline prices rise from about $3.43 to $3.75 during that time (just in time for home heating oil season :().
On the financial front, I would first like to eulogize the HSBC Online Savings Account, one of the many former 5% APY savings accounts that has crumbled into irrelevancy along with the likes of the E*Trade Complete Savings Account. As of 7/31/12, HSBC dropped the already uncompetitive 0.50% APY rate to a paltry 0.40% APY. I do have a token amount of money residing there for money transfer convenience reasons, but it is disappointing to see how such an easy to use savings account with a nice interest rate has become an also-ran. On a similarly depressing note, my E-Loan 5 year CD @5.55% APY is due to mature next week and I once again have a lack of worthwhile alternatives for that money in this current rate environment.
As for the rest, I've actually have a few worthwhile things to mention for once. First, I broke down and took advantage of the tax free holiday weekend (and a 10% coupon from ebay) and bought a Generac XG8000E portable generator at Lowe's. After the 50+ hours without power (and well water) due to Hurricane Irene last year, getting a generator and a transfer switch has been on my wish list. The next time the power goes out for an extended period, I look forward to actually being able to have heat and running water for a change. I've also been released by my orthopedic surgeon and have been allowed to resume "normal" activity with my surgically repaired arm and with any luck I will never be in need of his services again. What a ride that has been... And finally, Mrs. Frugalson is ready to put her new Master's Degree to use and has been hitting the job interview circuit over the past few weeks after 12+ years of being out of the workforce. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a second income and employer-provided health insurance again. Praise be!!!