Financial Toolkit: Indexing the World

There are many, many U.S. stock indexes.  Naturally there are even more world stock indexes. So I set myself a goal of coming up with a very short list of ETFs that can build a low-cost, globally-diversified portfolio.

I’d start with:

  • VT Vanguard Total World Stock Index (FTSE All-World Index); 0.25% expense ratio; foreign holdings: 58.2%
  • IGOV S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Fund (S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Index Ex US); 0.35% expense ratio
  • IBND SPDR Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond ETF (Barclays Capital Global Aggregate ex-USD > $1B: Corporate Bond Index); 0.55% expense ratio

That’s a good start.  However it underweights US holdings (call it home-country bias).  These ETFs provide counterbalance:

  • BND Total Bond Market ETF (Spliced Barclays USAgg Float Adj Ix); 0.11% expense ratio
  • SCHB Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (Dow Jones U.S. Broad Stock Market Index); 0.06% expense ratio

That’s my stab at it.  Five ETFs that provide reasonable building blocks: VT, IGOV,IBND, BND, and SCHB.

U.S. Armed Forces kill Osama Bin Laden

President Obama and other sources confirm that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Reports say he was killed by Navy SEALs working closely with CIA agents, and DNA tests confirm that the body is indeed OBL.

The impact of this news on U.S. and global markets is yet to be seen, but the Nikkei’s performance is positive — up about 1.5%.

The impact of the 9/11 attacks had a traumatic multi-year impact on the U.S. economy, and a proportionally lesser, but nonetheless dramatic, impact on the world economy.

What can I add, but that this is very good news, both financially and in general.

58,087 Pairs of Eyeballs

Number of visits (pairs of eyeballs) to balhiser.com so far, based on web analytics data.  (More technically, 58,087 absolute unique visitors.)  By web standards for a web-based business, that’s not much.  But it is a start.  And it is dramatically more visits than for my younger, sister-blog sigma1.com.  Of course I predicted that balhiser.com would only interest 1 out 10 people on the planet and sigma1 (Σ1) only 1 out a 100.  Still 58 K for balhiser.com is underachieving relative to those ambitious goals.

Visits, per se, doesn’t mean much.  Repeat visits say more.  And recurring visits say even more still.  Each seems about an order of magnitude less (one tenth) the previous.

Still, by those calculations I have, possibly, maybe, hopefully 500 or so regular or semi-regular readers.  Other data puts that estimate closer to 100.  Its not an exact science, at least not for a web analytics neophyte like me.  (I know an expert analyst, but can’t afford her expertise.)

Sadly, that means that balhiser.com is not currently getting enough traffic to get in the black, financially.  I do have a plan B.   Taking the 119 and counting financial blog posts and using them as raw material for an e-book.  (FYI, plan A is to keep blogging until, somehow, balhiser.com content gets picked up and syndicated, or keeps building momentum until critical mass or singularity occurs).

Most small businesses don’t grow to medium-sized businesses.  And many medium-sized business fail to grow to big businesses.  However, many big businesses started out as small businesses.  Two examples, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, immediately spring to mind.

If, somehow, against the odds, balhiser.com (and Balhiser LLC) become big business, this blog will detail the financial and other aspects of its early ascent.

If not, it still may provide lessons learned and other insights for a) other small business owners and entrepreneurs, b) people interested in personal and business finance.