Monday, March 25, 2013

Donor-Advised Funds

If you've been smart enough to allocate your savings appropriately, invest using index funds, and not have touched it during the 2008 crash, then at this time you'd be outperforming the vast majority of active investment managers. Congratulations!

But, now that stock markets have recovered and reached new heights, and your index fund savings have surpassed pre-recessionary highs, what are you going to do with all of your new found gains?

Do you want to be a miser? You can't take it all with you when you go.

Consider giving some of your savings away to a good cause. Now is the right time to give it away.

A donor-advised fund is a philanthropic vehicle established as a public charity. It allows donors to make charitable contributions into the fund and receive an immediate tax benefit.

Donors can then invest those contributions among the various type of investment choices offered by the fund, recommend grants from the fund to charities of the donor's choice, and to donate at times determined by the donor.

Along with being allowed to personally-manage my investment contributions to the fund, the most appealing aspect of a donor-advised fund to me, is that I can donate to a charity without constantly being bombarded with telephone calls, emails, and postal mail requests for more donations, even after I ask not to be contacted. The fund serves as my intermediary. Learn more at Vanguard.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Wrap | It's A Jungle Out There

It's been a while since I've posted a weekly wrap, so it's about time to let my zero readership know what's been going on with my positions and my forecasts, and to keep track about how the stock markets have been performing for my own records.

As I'm sure everyone knows already, the markets have performed well over the past couple of months, especially including this past week. The S&P 500 Index closed out this week at 1551, up 8.8% year to date, and the DJIA has passed pre-recessionary levels to close at record highs.

Economically this week, the jobless rate fell to 7.7% for the first time since December 2008, and job growth outpaced expectations. But there are still many mixed results being reported, including last quarter's "unexpected" -0.1% GDP rate (later revised to +0.1).

Personally, I haven't been posting about market movements because nothing about my portfolio has changed. I sold my position in DEG, and have some open sell orders for a few long-term microcap banks stocks that I've owned for many years, but I'm still sitting fully in cash as I reported back in September 2012. As of this writing, the S&P 500 Index is about 100 basis points ahead of when I moved into cash. So, it looks as though I'm being left behind.

But short-term appearances can be deceiving. Although the stock markets have been rising, nothing concerning my views and opinions has changed. Although the mainstream media seems to be trying to convince the public to invest in stocks right now, I think just the opposite, that it's a good time to get out of stocks.

While my timing may be off, I still fully believe that it's going down, and I'm prepared to stay invested in cash until that happens. I could be wrong now - but I don't think so. Like always, time will tell.