Picking up Nickels

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come On Irene!

We're currently on the hit list for Hurricane Irene, which is due to make landfall in New England sometime tomorrow morning. We're already getting hit with the outer bands of rain and I realized that I did not clean the gutters in the front of the house as I watched them get overwhelmed by the torrent of tropical H2O. :(

(map courtesy of National Hurricane Center)

I wish the best for the people south of us who will likely get the worst of it, and I'm hoping that we'll weather the storm with no floods, property damage, or extended power outages. Hopefully Irene will be as accommodating as Hurricane Earl was last year.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 2011 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on August 11th, 2011:

Asset Jul 2011 Aug 2011 Change
Checking 1,779 2,221 442
Money Market 42,651 33,108 -9,543
Savings Bonds 37,051 47,098 10,047
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 98,944 99,358 414
Brokerage 106,900 92,534 -14,366
401k 102,095 88,600 -13,495
Roth IRA 52,121 47,106 -5,015
SEP IRA 257,164 256,504 -660
529 Savings 55,657 52,925 -2,732
Total Assets $754,362 $719,454 -$34,908

The S&P 500 has taken quite a beating since the last update, dropping 11.13% during that time:

(chart courtesy of etrade.com)

Despite the market volatility driven by the debt ceiling debacle and the follow-up S&P downgrade, the unemployment rate for July fell slightly to 9.1%. Oil prices have continued to decline along with the stock market, falling from about $94 per barrel to around $85 per barrel.

On the financial front, I have finally finished funding my 2010 SEP IRA contribution, which took some of the bite out of my financial asset losses since my last update. Also, in light of the announcement from the U.S. Treasury to kill off the sale of paper savings bonds at financial institutions starting in 2012, I decided to bite the bullet and pull the trigger on $10k worth of July 2011 issue Series I paper savings bonds ($5k with my ssn and $5k with Mrs. Frugalson's ssn) with the intention of following up with an electronic savings bond purchase next month. At this point, it makes plenty of sense to jump on any good deal for a place to put cash that you come across with the FOMC planning on keeping rates low for 2+ more years. :(

While there is not much to like with regard to personal finance these days, I was pleased to see the landscaper that fixed the $$$ flood damage in my yard last year drive by as I was writing this without stopping here. Thank goodness for small favors...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wow, I have a five year old blog!

As I've stealthily crept into year five with this blog, the financial world is going through yet another nosedive. And while the stock market has basically gained zero ground during that time, I've been fortunate enough to have my financial assets increase considerably during that period through a combination of frugality, saving, and investing:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

Unfortunately, there isn't much good news to blog about when it comes to personal finances. Even the Federal Reserve seems to think we're years away from seeing the economy pick up some steam. Not very encouraging... :(