Earlier this week the president took to Twitter with his financial outlook for 2018: “All signs are that business is looking really good for next year…Stock Market is poised for another year of SUCCESS!”
While a tenth straight year of stock market gains would be unprecedented, I don’t think any of us would complain if that’s how things turned out. But, before we turn the page on 2017, I thought I would recap for you some of the topics that were of the most interest to readers this year:
Investing at market highs – With the Dow closing in on 25,000, the U.S. stock market has nearly quadrupled since hitting bottom in March of 2009. While this has been great for investors, the near-daily headlines of “Market Hits New High” are also making people uneasy, fearing what comes next. If you are losing sleep over this, you might consider the strategies I outlined in How to Manage Your Financial Worries and in Eight Ways to Ignore the Stock Market.
Spending – One of the ironies of financial success is that it doesn’t necessarily eliminate financial questions from your life; it just changes the nature of the questions. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of budgeting and spending. If you’re not facing traditional budgetary limitations, then you may wonder how you should think about spending. There are multiple ways to answer this question. I provided one perspective in an April article titled Starbucks or Dunkin’?
Constructing a portfolio – According to the Investment Company Institute, there are approximately twenty thousand mutual funds available in the United States. That’s in addition to thousands of individual stocks. With so much choice, it’s no surprise that it can be a struggle to assemble a sensible portfolio. I provided some thoughts on this topic in A Four-Part Litmus Test, Right But Wrong and Misbehaving.
Fiduciary standard – With the ongoing debate in Washington over the fiduciary rule, I got a lot of questions this year about the meaning and significance of the fiduciary standard. I discussed this topic in What the Mystery Shoppers Found.
College tuition – A college education can be invaluable, but the cost of tuition has risen so dramatically that it is becoming harder and harder for families — even high-income families — to manage. In Charlie’s Story I discussed the scope of the problem, and in two later articles, Financial Aid 101 and Three Tips for Tackling Student Loans, I offered some strategies for tackling this challenge.
Bitcoin – Writing in October for the investment industry website SeekingAlpha, I compared bitcoin to the Dutch tulip bubble. The article generated dozens of comments, including some calling the author “ignorant,” “stupid” and “wrong.” I was amused by the vitriol, but I stand by my point of view. In fact, in Bitcoin Mania, I listed ten reasons — and there may be more — why I think you are better off steering clear of bitcoin.
I recognize that we’re heading into a holiday weekend, so if you want the short version of all this, Ten Financial Principles offers a “Top 10” list of personal finance ideas and strategies for 2018.