Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

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nisiprius
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by nisiprius »

1) You are not looking at investments, you are looking at predictions, forecasts, expectations, conventional wisdom, and what "everyone" is saying. Some of those will turn out to be true but a surprising number won't. For over ten years Larry Swedroe would start the year with a list of all the "sure things" that everyone was certain would happen that year. At the end of the year it was rare for even half of them to have come true.

We tend not to notice this for many reasons. One is that after the fact you (think you) know the surprising, interesting, unusual reason why something didn't happen. But your financial results are based on what actually happened, not on what should have happened.

2) It's really best to take a long view, try to get things roughly right, and ignore everything with the words "right now" in them.

Just to take one example... just as you'd expect, if you adjust for inflation, the Vanguard TIPS funds have been holding their own while the "straight" funds have been losing to inflation.

Intermediate-term

Image

Short-term

Image

So are these TIPS funds good investments "right now?" Beats me. It would have been better to have decided that to invest in them before everyone was worried about inflation. To have made a personal decision based on your inflation fears of whether to accept the quirks of TIPS, use them, and stick with them, or to take the perfectly acceptable inflation risks associated with non-inflation-protected bonds. The current high inflation could be temporary.

If you are personally strongly convinced that high inflation is not temporary--people have been screaming that high inflation is just around the corner more or less continuously for the past decade--but if you are strongly convinced, and if you are bond-heavy and the performance of your bonds matters, then if you don't have TIPS already that is probably what you should be in and to heck with "right now."
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Oct 02, 2021 6:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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HanSolo
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by HanSolo »

Forester wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 5:59 am
HanSolo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 4:22 am
Forester wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:30 pm
Hyperchicken wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:41 pm There are never "good buys" and "bargain deals" in the market. If you think there is one, you either know something that no one else knows, or don't know something that everyone else knows.
... government bonds in early 2000? It's possible for the weight of opinion to be badly offside.
The topic is "right now". Finding bargains right now vs. finding them in the rear view mirror are two different topics.
I responded to his exact point, "There are never "good buys" and "bargain deals" in the market."
OK. I'll assume your response was meant to agree with Hyperchicken (since you didn't make a case to the contrary).
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Beensabu »

HanSolo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 6:30 am
Forester wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 5:59 am
HanSolo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 4:22 am
Forester wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:30 pm
Hyperchicken wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:41 pm There are never "good buys" and "bargain deals" in the market. If you think there is one, you either know something that no one else knows, or don't know something that everyone else knows.
... government bonds in early 2000? It's possible for the weight of opinion to be badly offside.
The topic is "right now". Finding bargains right now vs. finding them in the rear view mirror are two different topics.
I responded to his exact point, "There are never "good buys" and "bargain deals" in the market."
OK. I'll assume your response was meant to agree with Hyperchicken (since you didn't make a case to the contrary).
I could be off base, but maybe the point is that the prevalent opinion in 2000 was that government bonds weren't good buys right then? Looking back now, we see they were. It's similar to the late 70s and early 80s with those crazy high (to us) yields -- they didn't look like deals back then, because people thought inflation was going to go even higher. Whatever ends up having been a "good buy" or a "bargain deal" later on (when you're looking back) wasn't considered to be that by most people at the time.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by ensign_lee »

What asset to put excess cash flow into?

Into that one we're not allowed to discuss here at bogleheads...

But if I'm worried about inflation and want big potential adoption still, that's where I'd be. Definitely a "risk on" asset though
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by KlangFool »

OP and other Folks,

If you go down this path, it mean that you think passive indexing is not working and you CHOOSE to actively manage your portfolio. If you believe that you should actively manage your portfolio, why do you think you are GOOD ENOUGH to do it? If you are, you would be running a hedge fund and/or very rich and retire at a beach somewhere.

I do not believe in passive indexing totally. 40% of my portfolio is in the Wellington Fund. I let the professional manage 40% of my portfolio. The expense ratio for the Wellington Fund is 0.16%. I cannot do a better job with a lower cost.

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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by klaus14 »

I am writing at the money SPX calls against my SP500/US Total Market holdings.
My investment algorithm: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=351899&p=6112869#p6112869
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Clever_Username »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:36 pm Q: When do I buy?
A: When you have the money

Q: When do I sell?
A: When you need the money
I have also been buying and selling for the same reasons for a while now and it has worked out great for me.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by WyomingFIRE »

We are roughly 65/37/3; all index funds. We have never owned an individual stock

YTD, we are up 9X

Sometimes -- most times maybe? -- it pays to be lazy and sloth-like as to one's investments. Have an investment policy and an AA. Save aggressively and diligently. LBYM. Don't watch CNBC other than for entertainment purposes

I've been investing since 1986. Every day since then was a good day to invest, which means for a sloth-like investor such as myself next Monday is a good day to invest as well. Same for Tuesday. I'm going fly fishing on Wednesday so will take that one off the calendar mainly because I can't get cell service on the North Platte River. Thursday, however, will be another good day to invest, I'm guessing. And so on and so forth

At some level -- and for long-term investors in the accumulation phase certainly -- this isn't hard
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by fourwheelcycle »

WyomingFIRE wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 4:24 pm Sometimes -- most times maybe? -- it pays to be lazy and sloth-like as to one's investments.
Gee, how did this guy find out my secret? During my thirties I was always looking for the next smart move with my portfolio, and worrying that the market might move in a way that would undermine my last smart move. During my forties I decided I wanted to focus on my family life and my work life, but not on my investment worrying life. I simplified our portfolio and stopped worrying about it. Being sloth-like has worked very well for me.

So my insider tip to the OP is to just buy VTSAX and your favorite total or intermediate-term bond fund. You can buy VTSAX on a regular basis, whenever you have extra cash, or you can sit on your cash and buy VTSAX as soon as the market drops again like it did in March, 2020. Either way, VTSAX is the ticket.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by an_asker »

livesoft wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:23 pm Bonds have dropped into the buy zone. You don't have to believe me though.
Which ones are you referring to? I don't see a lot of movement in BND...
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by venkman »

Semantics wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:53 pm
venkman wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:10 pm Covered calls on stock ETF's to hedge downside risk.

Covered calls on long term bond ETF's to hedge stocks and produce enough return to at least beat inflation.
That's a great way to pay more taxes on lower returns.
The Variance Risk Premium is a thing. Realized volatility tends to be lower than option-implied volatility; so, as long as you don't over-leverage, selling options should be net profitable over the long term. And selling covered calls can be done in an IRA; it only requires the most basic level of options permission.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by 000 »

Maybe just spend the money. :idea:

:shock:

I know, I know, heresy..... :twisted:
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HanSolo
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by HanSolo »

Beensabu wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 2:16 pm
HanSolo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 6:30 am
Forester wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 5:59 am
HanSolo wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 4:22 am
Forester wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:30 pm

... government bonds in early 2000? It's possible for the weight of opinion to be badly offside.
The topic is "right now". Finding bargains right now vs. finding them in the rear view mirror are two different topics.
I responded to his exact point, "There are never "good buys" and "bargain deals" in the market."
OK. I'll assume your response was meant to agree with Hyperchicken (since you didn't make a case to the contrary).
I could be off base, but maybe the point is that the prevalent opinion in 2000 was that government bonds weren't good buys right then? Looking back now, we see they were. It's similar to the late 70s and early 80s with those crazy high (to us) yields -- they didn't look like deals back then, because people thought inflation was going to go even higher. Whatever ends up having been a "good buy" or a "bargain deal" later on (when you're looking back) wasn't considered to be that by most people at the time.
Yes. In other words, hindsight is 20/20.

According to what is known in this moment, all markets are correctly priced at this moment.

According to what we will know in the future, some markets, at this moment, aren't.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Northern Flicker »

000 wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 6:58 pm Other than choosing to spend money it's all the more reason to have a diversified portfolio or look for deep value.

On the latter note I am bullish on and have bought junior miners. Down 54% since the inception of GDXJ, so it must be a good value. Right? Right, guys?
How far they have fallen in the past is irrelevant to their future potential.
My postings are my opinion, and never should be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any particular investment.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by livesoft »

an_asker wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:30 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:23 pm Bonds have dropped into the buy zone. You don't have to believe me though.
Which ones are you referring to? I don't see a lot of movement in BND...
Bonds don't move very much, so I'm not sure what you are looking for and consider "a lot of movement."
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by wunderkind »

An alternative way to think about there being “no good investment assets” is that there is presently considerable inflation. Official CPI estimates nonwithstanding.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Californiastate »

I’m in the Jeremy Siegel camp. I don’t see inflation looking good right now. Our supply chain has been in better shape. Who would have thought of the idea of empty auto showrooms. I’m not changing my AA but IMHO it’s going to get bumpy.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by an_asker »

livesoft wrote: Sun Oct 03, 2021 4:19 am
an_asker wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:30 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:23 pm Bonds have dropped into the buy zone. You don't have to believe me though.
Which ones are you referring to? I don't see a lot of movement in BND...
Bonds don't move very much, so I'm not sure what you are looking for and consider "a lot of movement."
OK, but I am still confused.

Would you mind elaborating a bit more on what analysis you did to say that bonds had dropped into the buy zone? With numbers too please, such as "on xx/xx/xxxx, bnd was $xx.xx and vti was $xx.xx; on yy/yy/yyyy, these were the numbers when bonds dropped into the buy zone (for me)"
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by HanSolo »

an_asker wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:22 am Would you mind elaborating a bit more on what analysis you did to say that bonds had dropped into the buy zone?
The Zweig Bond Model is currently in a buy signal.

1. Don't lose money. 2. Don't fight the Fed. 3. Don't fight the Zweig.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by livesoft »

an_asker wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:22 am OK, but I am still confused.

Would you mind elaborating a bit more on what analysis you did to say that bonds had dropped into the buy zone? With numbers too please, such as "on xx/xx/xxxx, bnd was $xx.xx and vti was $xx.xx; on yy/yy/yyyy, these were the numbers when bonds dropped into the buy zone (for me)"
When BND goes up by 0.5% in one day, that is a sell signal. When BND goes down by 0.5% in one day, then that is a buy signal. This is not for long-term holding.
Image
BND dropped by 0.53% on 2021-09-23

One can simply exchange from VCSH to BND and from BND to VCSH if one wants to. The trading is rather innocous. YTD returns from Vanguard.com
-1.46% BND
+0.22% VCSH
-1.31% VBTLX
+0.38% VSCSX

If you are looking for perfect market timing, then keep looking.
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an_asker
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by an_asker »

livesoft wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:55 am
an_asker wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:22 am OK, but I am still confused.

Would you mind elaborating a bit more on what analysis you did to say that bonds had dropped into the buy zone? With numbers too please, such as "on xx/xx/xxxx, bnd was $xx.xx and vti was $xx.xx; on yy/yy/yyyy, these were the numbers when bonds dropped into the buy zone (for me)"
When BND goes up by 0.5% in one day, that is a sell signal. When BND goes down by 0.5% in one day, then that is a buy signal. This is not for long-term holding.
[...]
BND dropped by 0.53% on 2021-09-23

One can simply exchange from VCSH to BND and from BND to VCSH if one wants to. The trading is rather innocous. YTD returns from Vanguard.com
-1.46% BND
+0.22% VCSH
-1.31% VBTLX
+0.38% VSCSX

If you are looking for perfect market timing, then keep looking.
Thanks! I didn't realize that BND going up and down by 0.5+% a day was a rare phenomenon. Appreciate the insight. Let me see if I can implement it somewhere :-)
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by sperry8 »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:21 pm Purely subjective, I suppose, but stock and real estate valuations seem "high" relative to historical norms.

Bonds/Savings paying next-to-nothing on interest rates and for bonds there is the added risk of capital loss on Bond funds with the specter of future higher interest rates looming.

Inflation is soaring making "cash" a crappy holding too.

What are people doing with excess cash flow right now?
Yes, but interest rates are "very low" relative to historic norms. Valuations are not based solely on a single metric.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by livesoft »

an_asker wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:29 amThanks! I didn't realize that BND going up and down by 0.5+% a day was a rare phenomenon. Appreciate the insight. Let me see if I can implement it somewhere :-)
You are wellcome. Now you can lose money like I do.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by secondopinion »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:30 pm
secondopinion wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 6:15 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 5:50 pm
justsomeguy2018 wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:21 pm Purely subjective, I suppose, but stock and real estate valuations seem "high" relative to historical norms.

Bonds/Savings paying next-to-nothing on interest rates and for bonds there is the added risk of capital loss on Bond funds with the specter of future higher interest rates looming.

Inflation is soaring making "cash" a crappy holding too.

What are people doing with excess cash flow right now?
I invest in stock mutual funds, as always.

I invest in bond mutual funds, as always.

Cash has always been a "crappy holding."

Why do you have "excess cash flow"? If you put the money to work, it wouldn't be excess.
I agree up to, but not including, the cash part. But there are smart ways of holding cash and not so smart ways.
What are the smart ways? Not asking rhetorically.
High yield savings accounts. I know some use stable value funds and similar things like that, but I like to have backing of FDIC or the like.

I know very well that cash loses to inflation, but one buys stuff with cash -- not securities. Ultimately, liquidity does have a premium.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by hudson »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:21 pm What are people doing with excess cash flow right now?
Right Now? High Yield Savings .5%
What about later? Duration matched TIPS...average duration 12 years.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Stormbringer »

I-Bonds are looking pretty good right now, as does paying off debts. Using excess cash to get rid of a 3% interest rate debt isn't terrible when alternatives are lacking, and doing so eliminates a cash flow risk.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by Cheego »

Possibly... a good thing for the OP (and me) is to look at some so-called "defensive" mutual funds such as VGHCX, VDC, VPU. I'm sure there are many others but I've not had time to research it much... but I plan to do this because I agree with the OP. I'm not pulling out of my existing funds to go this way, but I'm not comfortable with new money going into most parts of the market. At this point, for me, the risk isn't worth the reward.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by bhough »


It more sounds like the OP does not know if any investment "is good at this moment". Please read it carefully; I doubt the OP is looking for more than reasonable gains.

To the OP:

Trust me, the problem for me is the same. I never have a problem going to the stock market when people are running away; it is buying (and staying invested) when people are running in.

Such moments should highlight an underlying concern. Any time I run into these emotions, I assess my home conditions, my work stability, my choice of tonight's dinner, etc. Generally, it makes decisions crystal clear afterwards what I should do (especially after dinner); for me, it usually means doing the opposite of the fear.
This (above) is the best answer. Agree this is a psychology question the OP is asking, rather than a portfolio composition or expected rate of returns answer. "Doing the opposite of the fear" is usually the right answer in my opinion as well. 99% of the time that is purchasing boring index funds and treasuries swimming against my fear that I'm buying at the peak. 1% of the time that means rebalancing on a Wednesday night during a global pandemic from bonds to stocks, concerned that I'm trying to catch a falling knife.

OP, if you fear rapidly rising interest rates/inflation will hurt your bond returns or a collapsing stock market under the weight of a high P/E will hurt your stock returns, you might consider changing your allocation to favor more bond holdings and verify that you have maxed out your I bond contribution for this year.

Good luck!
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by 000 »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:43 am How far they have fallen in the past is irrelevant to their future potential.
Are you sure about that? Does it come from verifiable facts or academic dogma? If recency bias causes investors to overbid assets, why might it not cause them to underbid other assets that have scary recent performance?
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by dziuniek »

If you believe inflation takes off even more, then start buying used Honda Civics ;)
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by davehica »

House projects with an ROI.
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by ncbill »

Stormbringer wrote: Tue Oct 05, 2021 8:03 am I-Bonds are looking pretty good right now, as does paying off debts. Using excess cash to get rid of a 3% interest rate debt isn't terrible when alternatives are lacking, and doing so eliminates a cash flow risk.
Yeah, in an ideal world all of us would be able to put all our fixed income asset allocation into I-bonds.

Sadly...
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by djm2001 »

ncbill wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 10:42 am Yeah, in an ideal world all of us would be able to put all our fixed income asset allocation into I-bonds.

Sadly...
Can you give someone a gift of $10k cash, and can they give you a gift of $10k I-bonds? Asking for a friend. :P
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by manuvns »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:21 pm Purely subjective, I suppose, but stock and real estate valuations seem "high" relative to historical norms.

Bonds/Savings paying next-to-nothing on interest rates and for bonds there is the added risk of capital loss on Bond funds with the specter of future higher interest rates looming.

Inflation is soaring making "cash" a crappy holding too.

What are people doing with excess cash flow right now?
I am selling puts on down days to generate small income . BTW there are always some assets on sale relative to others .
Thanks!
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Re: Am I crazy or are there no good investment assets right now?

Post by WyomingFIRE »

WyomingFIRE wrote: Sat Oct 02, 2021 4:24 pm We are roughly 65/37/3; all index funds. We have never owned an individual stock

YTD, we are up 9X

Sometimes -- most times maybe? -- it pays to be lazy and sloth-like as to one's investments. Have an investment policy and an AA. Save aggressively and diligently. LBYM. Don't watch CNBC other than for entertainment purposes
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