Weekend Reading: 4-6-14

Here are some articles that caught my attention this past week. Topics include Maseratis, IRAs, and a solution to America’s savings problem.

 

Dreaming of a Maserati, but Staying the Course

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/business/mutfund/dreaming-of-a-maserati-but-staying-the-course.html?src=recg

As your retirement account grows and grows, the temptation to use your retirement account for a large one time special purchase is strong. But remember what that money is there for. Here author Paul Brown discusses the temptation in a fun, light manner.

 

Here’s a Money-Making Strategy: Save More

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/your-money/household-budgeting/heres-a-money-making-strategy-save-more.html?src=recg

Save More

We spend a lot of time here on Begin To Invest talking about improving your investment returns by lowering costs, trading less frequently, finding efficient ETFs and Mutual Funds, etc. Most of this takes little to no time once established. If you want to move into individual stocks, much more time and dedication spent on researching and planning is required. For most investors, this time does not translate into improved returns on investment (in fact, for most it means a decline in performance).

Here the author gives some examples on how much more impact saving a small amount of extra money each month has on your portfolio’s growth, compared to slightly improved investment returns (that you will hope you get by spending hours per week doing research).

 

It reminds me of a statistic I was thinking about the other day…According to the March issue of Popular Science, people have spent a combined total of 2.9 million YEARS playing call of duty games online since they were released. 2.9 million YEARS is more than 10 times longer than “modern” human existence. If instead of playing video games for 2.9 million years, we worked a job at a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, we would have a total of $184,179,000,000 in extra money laying around. I think we can all do a little more to save more, and drastically improve our retirement outlook.

 

Vanguard’s IRA Insights

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/article/ira-insights-limit-032014?z_rl=T27270

(which references a study here: http://www.ici.org/pdf/per19-11.pdf, which is a great read in its own right. )

 

extra savings in IRA

 

 

How much are investors today saving? Most likely, not enough. The latest numbers from Vanguard show just over 50% of Vanguard investors maxed out their IRAs in 2012. The numbers from a broader chunk of the population are much worse:

household_IRAs

Only 15% of U.S. households contributed to an IRA in 2012, 62% don’t even own an IRA. It makes it worse knowing in hindsight the tremendous returns the stock market had since then. It is sad to know that contributions would have increased 30%+ since 2012 alone.

This is a topic we are going to explore much more in the future on BeginToInvest.com. In a series called “The Status of Investors” we are going to look at some statistics on how much Americans save, where they allocate that money and what that trend will mean for future retirement needs.

 

 

Books:

This week I have some light reading, Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Investor is a fun short book filled with fun facts about Buffett’s life (For example: He was rejected from Harvard in 1950) and loaded with quotes from “The Oracle” as well.  If there is an influx of Buffett quotes next week, this is the reason.

 

That’s all for this weekend, enjoy!

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