Archive for the tag 'Mutual funds'

Honestly, as I said previously, it could have been lots worse–like tons worse. Consider the price of oil, at least partially due to the crisis in Libya, and the disaster in Japan, and that adds up to a possible stock market collapse.

That did not happen.

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) was up in March, a full 2.22%. This was in addition to the annual 1.59% yield it pays. The Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX), the fund I believed most vulnerable, was also up for the month, a very small 0.43%, while paying 1.53% yield annually.

In the fixed income part of the portfolio, the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX), lost a cent on the month to be down .09% while paying its 3.28% yield, and the Vanguard Total Bond Fund (VBMFX) was down four cents for the month, finishing lower by 0.38% while paying 3.34% yield.

Despite the disasters, the market was fine–if mediocre. Let’s hope that things go even better in the months to come!

While February ended in a rather dismal way, for most of the month the stock market performed quite nicely, thank you.

Starting backwards this month in our fixed income area: the Vanguard Total Bond Market Fund (VBMFX) was up, a minuscule .19% while paying a 3.34% yield; its accompanying Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) was up an almost identically meager (”almost” but seems identical due to rounding) .19% while paying a 3.28% yield.

In the stock portion of our portfolio, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) was up 1.86% for the month while paying a 1.59% yield, and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) was also up, a meager 0.56%, while paying a 1.53% dividend.

So despite the downturn at the end of the month, February was yet another positive month for our model portfolio. While March looks more difficult so far, let’s see how things go!

I assisted one of my friends in setting up her 401(k) this past week. Although I wish she would put away more (but I almost always wish people would put away more), the thing that struck me most about her plan is that there were so many fund choices–possibly as many as fifty.

While I realize that I use only four funds (and could really get by with just three and be fine and dandy) in my model portfolio, isn’t more choice a positive thing?

After being overwhelmed by my friend’s plan, I’m less sure.

I don’t think so. Recently Motley Fool, of which I have long been a fan, created the Motley Fool Independence Fund (FOOLX) mutual fund which has been doing very nicely year to date.

Taking a brief look at its holdings and costs, I’m intrigued.

The Motley Fool, for those who don’t know, is a financial services Web site and company that provides financial services, including, now, this mutual fund. They started out with an investment newsletter which led to a content partnership with America Online and finally the fool.com Web site and several books on investing.

I’ve always been a fan due to their irreverent style and interesting point of view, and now I’m looking at their mutual fund and considering investing. In its brief–less than two year–history, its not done as well as the S&P 500.

We’ll take a deeper look into this fund soon.

January was a positive month for the stock market–just as 2010 was a positive year. How well did our portfolio do to start off 2011? Let’s take a look.

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) was up 0.971% for the month (keep in mind this fund also yields 1.80%). The Vanguard Total International Index Fund (VGTSX) was up, just a hair, at .06% and paying a 2.33% yield.

In the fixed income side of our portfolio, the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) was stable, finishing the month unchanged (but still yielding 3.13%). The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) was also unchanged for the month, paying a 3.39% yield.

It wasn’t a huge month, but it was quite decent, and hopefully this steady pace will continue for quite some time.

Now that it’s 2011, what am I buying into?

Really, more of the same.

The vast majority of my money will channel into the same four funds we’ve discussed over and over in my model portfolio–mentioned so many times I won’t even link to them here: the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund, the Vanguard GNMA Fund, and the Vanguard Total Bond Market Fund.

I’ll spend some time over the next few weeks picking a few stocks I’ll sell and a few I’ll buy for the year. I’ll regularly invest into I series savings bonds and Google (GOOG), Coinstar (CSTR), and maybe another stock or two.

It seems in 2011, my investing plan is more of the same.

Initial numbers and my gut tell me that 2010 was a fine year for investing; let’s really run the numbers extensively to see how 2010 really went.

Our largest fund holding, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) was up, 13.08% for the year while paying a yield of 1.92%. The Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) was also up, 6.63% for the year, while yielding 2.33%.

In the fixed income part of our portfolio, the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) was up 0.85% for the year; along the way it yielded a 3.41% dividend. The Vanguard Total Bond Fund (VBMFX) was also up, 2.31% for the year, while yielding 3.13%.

All in all, it was a great year for the portfolio. Every fund was up, including the steady bond funds. If anything didn’t do as well as I would have liked, it was the international stock fund. Compared to the S&P 500 for 2010, the VTSMX fund did incredibly well, beating the benchmark in growth 13.08% to 12.64% and in yield 2.33% to 1.86%.

I’m totally thrilled by how things went in 2010.

For 2010, I’m pretty happy with how investing has gone. Let’s see how the month of December went, before we look later at how all of 2010 went.

As we know, the majority of our portfolio is in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX), which was again up for the month, a solid 4.02% while paying its 1.80% yield. The rest of our stock money is in the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX), which was up 3.62% for the month while paying an even better 2.33% yield.

In the fixed income part of our portfolio, the Vanguard Total Bond Fund (VBMFX) was down 1.12% while yielding 3.39%; the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) was also down, this time a heftier 2.36% but still yielding 3.13%.

Overall, it was a fine month for our portfolio; let’s see how things went through all of 2010 next time.

Ryan

Are Bonds About to Get Routed?

It’s been a really positive year for bonds–at least high quality bonds like the bond funds I have in my model portfolio, the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) and the Vanguard Total Bond Fund (VBMFX).

As of the end of November, both funds were up more than 7.5% for the year and paying a yield in excess of 3%. However, since then, both are down–the GNMA fund just 0.7%, but the Total Bond more than double that at 1.59%.

The question is whether or not these funds are going to be routed as investors pull money out of the bond market due to the continued low rates that bonds are paying.

I’m not planning on pulling my money out of these–my belief is quality will prevail in the end–but apparently others have different ideas.

It was a slightly down month for the portfolio after two fantastic months in September and October; I’m hoping December puts us over the top for a better than average year, but average is fine too.

In the stock portion of this portfolio, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) was up a minuscule 0.51% for the month, while paying its 1.81% yield. The Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX) was what pulled things down, 4.58% for the month.

In the bond portion of the portfolio, the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX) was also down, a minuscule 0.83% while still paying its very nice 3.40% yield; the Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX) was also down, an even smaller 0.36% but paying a 3.11% yield.

It was a bit down for us but far from the worst; let’s hope for a strong close to the year in December!

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