Riding the Market Up

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Ada writes in:

Like you, I think the stock market is near the bottom right now and will go up greatly in the next three to five years. I have some extra cash (about $10K) but I don’t know exactly what to do with it to get on board. How would you do it?

In fact, I’m already doing it. My wife and I made the decision to start investing much of our long-term savings for a home into stocks because we both feel that the market is at the bottom right now and is poised for a big rebound in the next five to ten years.

So, what are we doing?

What Are We Investing In?
Most of our investment is going into index funds. For those unaware, index funds are a way to invest in a lot of stocks at once at a cheap price. A given index fund is usually governed by a simple rule – all stocks in the S&P 500, for example. Index funds have long been lauded as a great way to easily diversify at a very cheap cost.

We’re investing all of our money equally into two funds – the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (which basically covers all domestic stocks) and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index (which broadly covers all international markets). In other words, the money is as diverse as we can make it.

At the same time, there are a number of individual companies that my wife and I particularly believe in for one reason or another (Apple being one, for example). While we both recognize that individual stock investing is a risky proposition, we also know that our investment choices reflect the things we believe in.

So, we’re allocating a small portion of our overall investment into a diversity of individual stocks – 20, to be exact. Each month, we’re automatically investing a small amount into each of these twenty stocks. Our investment amount in individual stocks is about 25% of the amount we’re putting into index funds.

Who Are We Investing With?
Our index fund investments are handled by Vanguard. We’ve trusted them for years – they’re known for their low-cost index funds and their reliability, which is exactly what we want. They’re also managing my Roth IRA, which they’ve done quite well.

Our individual stocks are being managed by Sharebuilder, which we decided on after a fair amount of hand-wringing. Their automatic investment plans were simple and reasonably priced (without any of the factors that made us nervous about the few brokers that undercut Sharebuilder in price), plus we weren’t restricted in our investment choices (as many of the companies we wanted to invest in didn’t have direct plans for investing). Since we’re planning on just doing automatic investing until the time comes that we actually need the money and then we’ll sell all of it (no market timing here), the actual management of the money for tax purposes will be pretty straightforward, too.

Isn’t This Risky?
Undoubtedly it is. That’s why we’re not putting any of our emergency fund, any of our retirement, or any of our short-term saving goals at risk. The money we’re investing here is money that we will only tap in the long term (ten or fifteen years or so) for the place in the country we’ve always dreamed of. Ideally, the stock market will help take us there a bit quicker than we might be able to otherwise, but if it doesn’t work, we’ve not really risked anything that affects our day-to-day lives, then or now.

Also, this plan merely reflects what we’re doing. You might want to be more conservative with your own savings for long term goals like this, and you certainly wouldn’t want to do anything like this with money you will need to rely on in the future.

We’re only able to start doing things like this because we’ve cut our spending drastically over time and we live by a mantra of spending less than we earn. Because of that, we can now make choices like this, paving the way to our dreams.

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39 thoughts on “Riding the Market Up

  1. Trent, I’m glad you’ve turned your financial life around enough to give advice, but I think you’re in over your head here. Stick to personal finance and stay far far away from investing advice.

    Since many believe that this recent market upturn is a weak bear market rally (dead cat bounce) and full capitulation was never achieved, telling people to get back into the stock market now is dangerous for your future reputation. And if you don’t think people will hold you accountable for your stock advice, please see Jim Cramer of CNBC.

  2. Be careful. I see no indication that the market has hit bottom, rather there are signals that indicate the bottom has a good probabilty of being near. Only invest what you can lose. I would still recommend people keep at least 40% in cash. This rally is all to familiar. In the past, the S&P has increase 20-25% and that is just what has happened recently. Watch for the drop.

    One other thing…for individual stocks, invest in companies that you trust.

    Check out covestor.com, too.

    One of my favorite long shots is TSFG…but you don’t have to take my word for it……reading rainbow:)

  3. I’m a bit confused by your individual stock purchasing plan, maybe I just don’t know how sharebuilder works.

    If I understand it correctly (and it is very likely that I don’t), you are putting a set amount of money split between 20 stocks every month.

    I’m not sure what “reasonably priced” is, but I doubt it beats Vanguard fees.

    I would be VERY interested to see if your 20 stock plan beats your indexes. It doesn’t seem to make sense unless you have a lot of money to invest (which makes the transaction costs lower as a percentage)

    My guess would be that your 20 stock plan might not do as well as your indexes, but who knows. Maybe you should disclose them so we can track your progress! ;)

    In general, I agree though that now appears to be as good a time as ever to get in the market.

  4. Bwahahaha. Seriously? Do you have any evidence other than wishful thinking?

    Perhaps “the stock market always recovers in a reasonable amount of time”? Look at the U.S. in the years at the beginning of the great depression or Japan over the last 20 years. Anything is possible, so don’t assume a rosy picture because you want to believe it. Look at the numbers.

    What do the numbers suggest?

    1) Our banks are insolvent. Large ones are already walking dead. Regional banks will be dead once local builders stop making payments on their development loans. Will they? Are new construction projects selling? At the prices the builders planned for?

    2) Commercial real estate is tanking, as are prime rate mortgages. Prime rate mortgage defaults are increasing at a greater percent than subprime. Commercial properties are rapidly losing tenants (look at malls). Large commercial property owners have already filed bankruptcy. These haven’t hit the economy yet. You thought subprime was bad? Just wait.

    3) Credit card defaults are just beginning to rise. Wait until the full effects of our current 8% plus unemployement (~15% if you use the U6 rate which is more realistic) hit the economy. People will default on credit cards before anything else. This will grind spending to a halt and kill any surviving banks / card issuers.

    4) Our local and state governments are teetering on insolvency themselves. Watch for cuts in services and increasing taxes at all levels.

    5) Finally, our Federal government is playing with fire by buying back their own debt with more debt. Ever try paying your Visa with your Mastercard? It only works for so long. These actions risk inciting the bond market and making it impossible for our government to deficit spend. Try to imagine the effects of them only being able to spend what they collect (Federal tax receipts are down 30% so far this year BTW). Think 50%+ cuts to all existing Federal programs. What will our legions of retirees do without current SS and Medicare payments (or greatly reduced). Imagine the ripple effect of 50% cuts to military spending.

    My point is that there are still huge forces that will drag our economy (and world economy) much further down. Most arguments I’ve seen for recovery are purely wishful thinking.

    Anyone have a counter argument? Don’t try “inflate our way out of the mess”. It can’t be supported. Printing money (as opposed to issuing debt) will destroy our currency and our economy much faster than trying to ride this out and our government planners know it. It is the economic equivalent of thermonuclear war.

  5. Eden.

    NAILED IT. Seriously. Someone else gets it.

    I have been saying this for over a year. I saw the cracks in housing and mortgages because I work in the industry, and Eden is 100% correct. You have not seen anything yet.

    This is not an opinion, or a thought, whim, idea, fantasy or want hope, dream. These are facts.

    Option arm resets. Commercial RE defaults. FHA defaults, etc. All rising. Facts, not hopes. This can all be tracked. The information is available.

    Unfortunately, 2009 is a lull between round one (subprime rate resets) and round two (prime alt-A rate resets). Oh, and Alt-A resets are double the size of subprime.

    It will put false hope into many by thinking the worst is behind us. It isn’t. Then you will see the snowball moving.

    Want to see panic. You saw a tiny glimpse last year for about two weeks. Everyone froze. No one had a plan. Because no one thought it could happen. Just like now.

    That panic was minor and still took out three of the five largest wall street investment banks and the largest savings and loan (WaMu) and fourth largest bank (Wachovia) in the country. Oh, and dropped the markets by about 40-50%. Years to build, days to destroy.

    Imagine what panic will look like when things do really get bad, and don’t fool yourself into thining it can’t happen. It can. When things start to go down, it starts slow, but when it picks up steam, it moves fast.

    The signs are all over the place. Everywhere.

    GET PREPARED.

  6. I agree it’s too early to call the bottom,and that it’s by no means certain that stocks will pay off even in the long run.
    However, I feel Eden and Troy both missed the emphasis on the long term nature of Trents investing- that it’s money they pretty much won’t need for at least a decade, and won’t put them in a financial crush if it’s lost.Under those circumstances, investing(at least as broad-based indexes go) is a perfectly reasonable gamble.
    Investing at a very low point in the market is not as good as getting in at absolute bottom. It is, however, loads better then trying to market time and missing most of the rebound altogether.
    However improbable, it is entirely within the realm of possiblity that many banks will stay or become insolvent, real estate will continue to drop, deliquency will rise, and Federal and state governments will crash continuously for the next 15-20 years. If they do, however, investing in stocks, gold, or anything else will likely be a moot point and we’ll all have bigger problems. If, on the other hand, all of this resolves itself- which is at least equally likely to occur- broad based index investments will pay off nicely.

  7. Eden’s info is correct; re commercial real estate — there will be vast numbers of empty parking lots w/all the malls and stores closing across the country. (Unrelated, but this was shocking to me): I was surprised to read recently that millions of drivers are uninsured right now. They can’t afford their monthly premiums – even the minimum liability required by law – (food and rent are more immediate concerns). By the end of 2009, 1 out of every 6 Americans won’t be covered by auto insurance.

  8. Sharebuilders ‘advantage’ plan is $20 a month with 20 automatic purchases included. So thats $240 a year. If you’ve got $24,000 in the account then that equates to a 1% maintenance fee. So it wouldn’t be bad at all if you’ve got enough money in the account. If you’re working with smaller amounts like $5000 balance for example then your fees would be >4% which is a bit much.

    Jim

  9. Rob, a decade isn’t very long in the scheme of things. It will take half of that for all the loans to finish resetting and the resulting ripples of foreclosures to radiate out through the economy.

    Troy & Eden, I think you are right. I hope you aren’t, but the data and facts suggest it is a very real possibility.

    Trent, a wiser course of action may be to take that money and pay off your mortgage early instead. Fixed, if low, return. Plus, having no debt could give you many more options in an unstable economy.

  10. People *still don’t get it.* The economy is in a free-fall.

    Cash is king. Save as much money as possible. 12 months of emergency funds are not out of question these days. Jobs are being lost each day, and they are not coming back.

  11. If the economy is never going to recover, then we’re all in big trouble and no kind of investment is reliable. If it is going to recover — as it has throughout history, even though every time people think “This time is special, our pain is different” — then those who have bought stocks low will have made a very wise investment. That said, I think investing in individual stocks is speculation, not investment. Everybody thinks they know better than the gurus, don’t they? History suggests 50% of those will do better than average, and 50% will do worse. I’m sticking to index funds myself. Trent, you might try tracking the value of your index funds and the overall value of your individual stock investments. It will be interesting to see, in ten or fifteen years, how they did in relation to each other.

  12. Individual stocks! There’s a few tricky things about individual stock investing. One is the brokerage fees – what’s your plan? Personally I try to pay no more than 2%, but ideally less than 1%. This requires an investment amount that’s appropriate to your ideal position size.

    The other is that you need to buy uncorrelated stocks. For example, PEP, JNJ, and COP. Three stocks from different sectors, which are not highly correlated to each other, and not correlated to the market index.

    In stock selection, historical evidence favors consistent dividend yields and low p/e ratios. Read Siegel’s “Stocks for the Long Run”.

    Anyhow, the market’s ultimate lows are yet to come, but it’s important to move into stocks before the ultimate bottom. The end of a bear market is usually too swift to time perfectly.

  13. Eden and Troy make good points; however, I don’t see cash as safe either. I agree with EF, that one needs at least 12 months in this economy, but as an investment cash isn’t that hot either.

    What am I curious about, though, if they foresee inflation or deflation in our future.

    There are two forces here – a deflationary one with defaults, credit crisis and money being lost. If we get long term deflation, cash indeed will bee king and having paid off mortgage is great.

    However, the government is printing money – no it’s not buying debt with more debt, they are printing money and use it to buy debt. This is what Bernanke said in an interview on 60 minutes – he told he was printing money. BTW – it is not the same as using one card to pay another: at the moment the government borrows money at an extremely low rate – 2.8% on 10 year bonds. Either way, there is no shortage of money supply now, and as soon as we get some velocity, we may get inflation. If we do – our cash isn’t safe either. Gold is just a shiny metal which is worth exactly what people want to pay for it. No country will ever go to gold standard – if they do, and things get really bad, we may have gold confiscation as in 1933. Commodities may be good investment for inflation, but what if we get deflation? In 1929 we had deflation, and the same situation happened in Japan. In deflation, commodities will do pretty badly. Incidentally, certain stocks may do well during inflation – people will still shop in Wall Mart and retired baby boomers will still need drugs. We will also still continue to use energy.

    So I am very interested what Troy and Eden are doing – are you investing for future inflation or deflation?

  14. Right now I am investing in penny stocks, specially SPNG with Scottrade.com. I know it’s risky, but the only way to have high returns is to take high risk.

  15. I really hate these kinds of prognostications. If you want to invest in stocks and you have a horizon of 5+ years, fine. Stop trying to predict a bottom – no one knows when that will be until after its happened.

  16. SIR,

    You write: “[W]e’re not putting [---] any of our retirement [---] saving goals at risk.”

    Was this a typo or are you really saying that you haven´t invested any portion of your retirement money in stocks or stock funds?

    Is that really wise? As Jeremy Siegel has shown in “Stocks for the long run” stocks are the only effective long-term hedge against inflation. And avoiding stocks imposes a significant to your capital.

    As for the Kassandras commenting here… just ignore them :D If you´re investing horizon are long-term you´re on solid grounds.

    Cheers,

    Mats

  17. Nice art, thanks.
    Personally, I’d like to ask you: what do you thnk of social lending?
    I tried it recently (as an investor) and have already eard\ned more than invested. I must admin I am a very curious investor: take part only in insuranced debt auctions and read the loantaker’s history, but even in a lover risk debts it seems to be a good source of extra cash.
    Can you take a look on these types of debts investments once?

  18. Well there’s no real surprises here. a different opinion for every contribution…lol Personally my retirement fund is employer funded, (for now anyway) thru Prudential. I moved my fund assets from their “safest” (lowest risk and returns!!) investment vehicle into 2 other funds, one mid-risk and the other a high risk fund. In 2 weeks my assets have increased 5%. Since the market already hit 1/2 the high mark I seriously doubt it’ll ever drop back below a 7000 DJIA. I DO agree that only long term investors should be back in the market but those of us looking at 15 years plus before drawing from those funds will do fine. Although I will move my funds in the future if I see another “market correction” coming. I saw the crash coming almost 6 months before it hit and was pretty shocked when it took the housing bubble almost 2 years longer to burst than I had predicted. Everyone just has to go with their own gut feeling but mine has been pretty useful to me so far.

  19. JT is right, no one knows what will happen in the future. The stock market is and always has been a risky investment. If you don’t plan on using the money for five or more (perhaps ten or more years) the stock market is the place to invest. Could things go wrong? Sure, but keeping your money in a savings account or under your mattress for the long term is not the solution either. Eventually things will turn around, and when it does, you will want your money in the market. People who try to time the market usually end up losing. Trent is on the right track, dollar cost averaging is the way to go, particularly in a 401k, IRA or 403b. At the very least you will pospone the tax hit today(which can be very helpful in this economy), or a Roth to eliminate future taxes altogther, (if you have faith the government will keep it’s promise or that the State governments won’t try to tax it).
    The botton line is there are few good alternatives to the stock market for the long term. Sometimes you have to just have faith in the economy and our economic system. You may think these thoughts are overly optimistic but I truely see no real alternatives for the long term and history has supported my views.

    Marc

  20. If Eden and Troy are right, perhaps we should put our remaining cash into weapons instead of investments. If we’re looking at worst case scenarios, we could become a war zone with a ruined economy and an apocolyptic landscape.

    The world doesn’t want that to happen, and there’s alot of talent and energy invested in the U.S. — at home and around the world. We’ll find solutions to these problems, though it will take regulation and restructuring. I think the markets will come out of this more stable, with less ability to make people enormous fortunes but with more long-term stability. As Paul Krugman wrote yesterday in the NYTimes, the system needs to become a lot more boring.

  21. Oh, lets see. I can jump on the hysteria train with Eden and the dig a hole in the ground and hid e crowd, or, I can continue to live modestly and look for opportunities to buy assets at undervalued prices and hold them for the long haul. Here is a FACT, not opinion, as TROY might say: My portfolio is down 8% from its peak, as I was properly diversified when things went south, and I have been able to exploit that fact while Chicken Little and the rest of the mob did the freaky deaky. If you are patient, and are willing to buy and let things find their proper level, now is the best time to make money. That does not mean the path ahead is smooth and without terror. It means if you are nimble and put your time in you can make a lot of money. Lots of bad things are yet to come. On the other hand, Buffet has it right: be afraid when others are greedy, and greedy when others are afraid. I like buying when the teeming hordes are shrill.

  22. I agree that this is not the bottom. None of the fundamentals are good and only to get worse as many here have pointed out.

    Buffet does say to be greedy when other are afraid, but the man is privy to all sorts of information we are not. In any case, Berkshire Hathaway basically tracks the S&P lately, not a big deal.

    Investment-wise are still in ETFs and inverse ETFs and using options to hedge. We also have a chunk of our investment in gold due to our government’s money printing activities. No one knows what will happen, but we try to cover our bases and hopefully squeeze out some profit.

  23. My husband and I were basically financially illiterate up until last summer, which I had been regretting but am now pretty grateful for. We only started investing in our Roth IRAs last fall; if we had started a year earlier it would have been pretty discouraging just starting out. I agree that we are probably near the bottom, and that now is an excellent time to get into the market. I could well be wrong, but I’m optimistic.

  24. Good reading: “Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism”
    by Kevin Phillips (Author)

    Might make you rethink your investments. I am betting on VGENX and have stopped investing in total stock market index fund.

  25. I admire your conviction and faith in the market. There’s something that worries me, though. How have you come to the conclusion that we are near the bottom? Have you talked with investors and economists? Run your own statistical models? Are you comparing it to past recessions? What variables are different? What conditions need to happen in order to project the growth you want in 10-15 years?

    Buffet admitted he made some huge errors last year. Berkshire Hathaway has been downgraded from AAA to AA2. Even the Oracle of Omaha is not immune to a credit drop.

  26. Compare and contrast: The state government pension fund that manages the bulk of my retirement monies is down 30% for 2008 and, to cover their deficit, are raising employer rates. The net value of my self-directed IRAs, on the other hand, are only down 16% for 2008 and the net dividend income has actually increased by 50%!

    So am I bullish on the economy at this point? Absolutely not, because I’ve got the same concerns as Eden and Troy. Instead, I’m concentrating on income rather than capital gains and keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities.

  27. Trent: Calling a bottom shows me you know nothing about stock picking. Find a pro who will charge you low fees. Good luck figuring your taxes when you sell that sharebuilder account. You can be the best record keeper and it will still be a nigtmare if you are dollar cost averaging into the account.

  28. Can you point me to some data that indicates we are at bottom? The data I’m looking at….show a different story. And where the stock prices are now, looking at historical ratios, is exactly where they’re supposed to be at this moment in time. But, on the horizon…we have worsening business conditions which will cause the ratios to go out of whack again and stock prices will shift downward. This is a really bad time to invest in stocks.

  29. hey just stumbled onto your site, quite impressive! Thought I would chime in on this topic as I blog about the stock market and hedge fund portfolios on a daily basis (marketfolly.com). If you have a 3-5 year time frame, your plan makes sense. No one will be able to pick the exact bottom, that’s for sure. If they do, it’s luck. I have to echo the sentiments of some people here though that it will get worse before it gets better. That said though, markets are also forward looking mechanisms so the market will ‘bottom’ before the economy itself bottoms. Either way, longer term investing makes sense here as you progressively average in. However, it also makes sense to hedge here given the possibility of further downside and volatility.

    I wanted to also present you with an alternative to just buying index funds or randomly picking 20 stocks that I’ve been tracking forever (and also blogging about): hedge fund portfolio tracking. We track some of the most prominent hedge funds who have proven they can outperform over the long-term. Sure, sure, I can already hear the skeptics hitting their keyboards. I just cloned a portfolio of the 21 ‘Tiger Cub’ hedge funds and that portfolio has outperformed the S&p500 by 15.5% since 2000. The numbers speak for themselves: http://www.marketfolly.com/2009/04/creating-tiger-cub-hedge-fund-portfolio.html

    Just thought I’d toss another idea into the ring, as my results have been spectacular thus far. Look forward to reading your blog.

    Jay

  30. I would recommend AGAINST investing in stocks if you are doing so because you think the market is at the bottom. I don’t know if it is or not, and nobody else does, either. We’ve maintained our asset allocation through this whole down-cycle, and I see no reason to change now.

    Trent, I would be interested in hearing how you invest your retirement. If anything, your retirement funds should be in the market, not money you plan to spend in the next five to ten years.

  31. I agree that it is hard to know where the bottom of the market is and have decided not to start speculative investing yet, for that is exactly what we are talking about. But I also think in some ways it is better to do something than to do nothing, for fear of it possibly going belly up. Fortune favors the brave and all that. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  32. I also take issue with ‘money one can afford to lose’ since I don’t think that can be true unless Trent & family have Gates level income which I doubt. Because pensions funds, mortgage overpayments, college savings, disability and elderly care fees could easily eat up several times our household gross income before I would consider us to be anywhere near this situation.

  33. If the economy is in a free fall until we are recessioned/deflationed/inflationed back to the stone age … I’m sure I will still find someone to “pay” me to make flint tools. Heck, I may be the only person within 50 miles who knows how to make a decent Clovis point. Of course, all my profit will be going to the guy who mines the flint. But we’ll both have jobs!

    Like Kitty, I’m interested in know what people are doing rather than what they are saying. Its one thing to say the world is changing and the sky is falling but its quite something else to actually do something constructive to attempt to maintain normalicy in your life. Trent tells us what he is doing based on what he believes will happen. I’m doing similiarly.

    Eden, Troy, you say “Be Prepared”. Ok – what are you doing in preparation for the ‘economic equivalent of thermonuclear war’?

  34. I never said the sky was falling, end of the world, etc. I said economically things will get worse because we have not solved the problem and those that think that the market is at a “low” are using an incorrect reference point.

    It is true, the market is low…compared to last year. Unfortunately it needs to be compared to statistically significant data. Using reversion to the mean, which is a basic statistical measure, we have a way to go down before we “average out” to make up for the excess returns of the past 15 years.

    This is not a difficult situation to understand. You just need to know what you are trying to understand. Finding it isn’t hard, it’s knowing where to look and what you are looking for.

    So, here is your MBA million dollar answer.

    Until foreclosures slow, things will progressively get worse. Foreclosures are the foundation. They effect everything. Employement, credit, economic spending, GDP, etc.

    The data I discused earlier shows forclosures are virtually guaranteed to INCREASE in the next 1-3 years due to unprecendented rate resets. There are also over 600K “shadow” foreclosures that exist. Those are homes already owned by banks yet not on the market. This is to control supply to eliminate a further depression of prices.

    It’s all about forclosures. Stock market forward thinking, economic indicators…toss them. Pay attention to housing.

    Regarding Get prepared, that means take whatever means you need to to get your family’s finanical position both SAFE and CONTROLLED.

    ELIMINATE AS MUCH FINANCIAL RISK AS POSSIBLE. This is advice that is true no matter the economic climate, but especially true when good times can no longer hide the cracks.

    Pay off debt, Cash in the bank, save money, large emergency fund. whatever. The financial equivalent of preparing for a long, cold winter. Don’t concern yourself with the return ON your mony, but the return OF your money.

    But if you have money in the market, or your emergency fund is a home equity line of credit or credit cards, or you are subject to substantial risk with either your assets or debt, I would try and control & eliminate that quickly.

    I would keep my assets safe somewhere where I could control the return. CD’s, your own business, companies you FULLY understand etc.

    I would not have substantial assets in “the market” because it is a speculators game.

    At some point in time I imagine the market will correct itself and investing will again make sense, but I don’t think that time is anytime soon.

  35. I agree with Troy and Eden, and I think that Max Brooks’ book “The Zombie Survival Guide” is a great piece of non-fiction.

    It’s amazing how many people are willing to discount almost 100 years of repeated history.

  36. Troy – I appreciate the clarification and the advice.

    Your advice also elucidates why I don’t see the falling sky which is causing many people to panic. I have no debt, a pretty secure job, decent insurance, emergency fund in savings and laddered CDs which could take care of up to 3 years of living expenses (depends on how hard I squeeze) for me and my boy if I became jobless. The assets I do have on the market are some of my retirement yet I really don’t plan on ever retiring from working — I simply plan to become pickier about the work I do. Even if my job suddenly vanished, I have a multitude of employable skills from archaeology to xenoscaping. Essentially, without knowing it, I have followed most of your advice — although I’m sure you’re going “NO! NO!” at hearing my retirement is in the market :-). Trent also mentions that this is a long-term investment and warns not to use money you’ll need to rely on, he says that for him this is long-term, 10-15 years. You say that “At some point … investing will again make sense”. At what point do you think investing will again make sense? Five years? Fifty? Perhaps you’re betting on fifty, but I am betting closer to five. I’m just not betting the metaphorical farm. I don’t think Trent is either.

    Brian – I have GOT to get a copy of “The Zombie Survival Guide”! It sounds fantastic.

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