As I write this post (on 8/7/19), the S&P 500 Index is 5.75% off its recent high. As I prepare to post this to our website (two days later, on 8/9/19), the U.S. market has rallied a bit, so that we are less than 4% off the all-time high for the S&P 500 Index. When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad. But if you’re watching the news, it can feel a whole lot worse. And if you’re checking the value of your portfolio online each day (a really bad idea), it’s painful to see the declines in your portfolio – even if they are modest in the grand scheme of things.
Growing up, I was always intrigued by money. I liked earning it, and I really liked saving it.
In May 1997, about a month shy of my 14th birthday, I biked from our family’s home in Eden Prairie over to the Chanhassen McDonald’s – a one-mile ride. I went with a friend from the neighborhood. We both applied for jobs there on the spot, and I remember nervously wondering if they had any interest in hiring me.
Buying a house is a big deal. It’s an opportunity to find the home that you’ve always imagined: the perfect size, in the perfect location, with the perfect potential to make it into a place where your family can enjoy many years together. It’s an exciting step! But you know what else is a big deal? Mortgages.
One of the most important rules of investing is this: tuning in to media sources (be they financial or general) will not help you be a better investor. In fact, it will likely make you a poorer investor.
Does it help you to know how much the Dow or the Nasdaq moves in a given day? If the Dow is down 200 points today, will that alter your investment strategy? Will it alter your mood?
Earlier this year, I took my daughter Evelyn to our first “Daddy/Daughter Dance” at Life Time Fitness. While I was merely an accessory as she twirled and twirled on the dance floor, it was a wonderful night for us.
Evie turns 4 next month. About a month before the dance, my wife Krista bought a dress with Evie at Costco to wear for the dance. Evie called it her “ballet tutu dress”, and she proudly wore that dress nearly every day in the weeks leading up to the dance.
Someday, I’ll be walking my little girl down the church aisle on her wedding day. [insert deep sigh] One of the habits outlined in Stephen Covey’s classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to begin with the end in mind. With our daughter, that means looking ahead to the day she leaves us and joins her life to her future husband. While our roles as father and mother won’t end at that point, we want to be thinking now about the kind of woman we hope she will be on her wedding day – and about the kind of man we hope she will marry.
When Mitch Daniels (former Indiana Governor) took over as President of Purdue University in 2013, the school had increased tuition 36 years in a row. Since then, Purdue has not raised tuition once. By graduation day in 2020, Purdue will be able to boast the total cost of “going to Purdue will be less in 2020 than it was in 2012.”
If you’re planning to contribute to your children’s future earning potential (i.e. by paying for college), you are committing to a big expense. But you already know that.
Here’s a good gut-check question to kick off this discussion: how much research time did you put into your last purchase of an iPhone, a computer, or vehicle purchase? Now, compare those answers to how much time you put into researching the college decision for your children.