As we reflect on Thanksgiving, here are some personal finance things I am thankful for:
- Decimal stock pricing. Remember all those pesky fractions? Decimal pricing is so much easier. And the spreads are much better too.
- Online stock trading. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to talk to a broker. I want fast quotes and cheap trades without the conversation.
- Free online financial data. Thank you all you online publishers of stock data. It’s 2:00 AM and I just have to know the market premium on the BEP closed-end fund — No problem.
- Index funds. Thanks John Bogle and others for these diversified, tax-efficient, cost-efficient funds.
- Good financial planning. Thanks, Dad, and others along the way who taught me money management, investing, and financial planning.
- 401K, IRA, and Roth IRA accounts. These tax advantaged accounts were spectacular ideas, and they work.
- Good accountants. Thanks for helping me make some sense of the US tax code.
- Buying opportunities. Every now and again a great investment comes along and a great price. Doubling my money on PCU comes to mind. Such opportunities are what make investing fun for me and keep me searching for the next great buy.
- Dividends. Even when stocks are down, many still pay dividends. A lot of stocks are currently repaying 3% dividend yields. These quarterly dribbles of cash do feel good to receive.
For investors, there is a lot to be thankful for. Yes, our equity investments are generally down, and our economy is lethargic. Equities have been a wild ride to nowhere in the last decade. But bonds and, yes, in many places even real estate have fared much better. And as long-term investor I am excited about the prospects finding buying opportunities. I wouldn’t say equities are cheap, but I am thankful that they are not all that expensive either. I am looking forward to the next 10, 20, 30+ years of investing.