Financial Tidbits

I just got my retirement fund annual report in the email box. What a disaster, thankfully, I don’t need this money anytime soon. On the other hand, choosing a plan with a 5 year wait for full vestment was a monumental mistake. No chance, hopefully (but unfortunately for my dumb-ass decision), that equities will be this cheap again in 5 years.

Michael Lewis (with David Einhorn) has two OP-ED pieces on the economy in NYTimes today and both are excellent. Check them out. If you haven’t read Lewis’ piece on the end of the wallstreet boom from last month you should check that one out as well. Depressing yet informative.

Based on the NYTimes pieces I went over to trulia to check out home prices in my zip code. The sky is falling indeed. What is worse is the foreclosure numbers. More than 3000 in my zipcode alone. I have no way to check if those numbers are correct but I distinctly remember looking at them when we were buying the house and back then foreclosures were fewer than sales volumes. Now they are 10 times higher. I don’t know much about economics but I’m gonna venture a guess that its a bad sign.

5 responses to “Financial Tidbits

  1. Yeah, it’s been some pain. Through my family we use a broker who specializes in land and natural resources as investments (eg natural gas, various mining companies, etc.) Land and natural gas–we were flying high for a long time but the last few months have knocked us down to about 50% of where we started the year. Ouch! The Lewis articles were great, although they make me despair at the scope of the problems. I don’t see Obama being able to restore much integrity in the financial system for several years, and probably not even then. It’s just too massive.

    Thank goodness I’m fine with jeans and sweaters in lab and don’t have the Cole Haan bill :P

  2. I definitely recommend Lewis’s book, “Liar’s Poker” about his experience as a bond trader in London. Having numerous friends from college who went to Wall Street in these kinds of jobs, it was a very interesting insider’s take on the industry.

    It’s hard to imagine that these new college grads came into their jobs over a decade ago making more money than I earn now, and that’s not even adjusting for inflation. [Oh, hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Opportunity Cost].

    Still, for those of us with long term horizons and who missed the 92-00 bull market, this is a great time to buy. Which reminds me, it’s time to attend to the asset allocation, meaning we’ll likely be moving money into stocks.

    And DrJ, it might be time to diversify!

  3. last year was, if anything, a good time to convert a traditional ira to a roth. i don’t know if it was much of a good time for anything else.

  4. I don’t even bother looking at mine… it’s far away and if things don’t change, I guess i might not retire…

    Seriously though, the house prises are really out of control. I’m not saying they were “realistic” say, 2006, but surely now they are undervalued. I really wish they could be somewhere in between, so people could move to a new place where they have found a new job for example…. or jsut exist.

    thanks for the links! interesting NYT. sad but interesting.

  5. I put some of my graduate school stipend aside in some stock a few years ago and so far I have a negative 300% return. Yeah, I’m pretty glad I’m several decades away from retirement.

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