January Wrap Up
January was an intriguing month in the markets. On a personal note, it certainly caused us a little bit of heartburn as an impending property purchase has meant that we are on tenterhooks over the fluctuations in interest rates. So each new data point such as unemployment numbers, or macro level sales data was particularly interesting for us as we worked out the impact as far as how it may move mortgage rates.
We’ve actually locked in our 30 yr fixed rate at a touch above 4.5%, but we have a one time float down option which I’m looking to exercise within the next month, that I’m hoping may bring down our rate a touch more :).
What I was Watching
January was very intriguing for the impact that it had on emerging market stocks. The thought of low cost money drying up as a result of the fed paring back it’s bond purchases really hurt some of these emerging market stocks. The emerging markets benefitted greatly from the carry trade to higher risk, higher reward assets funded from low interest US money. Now that this will likely dry up within the next year, some of these markets, and stocks within these markets have started to seize up.
It’s not really a problem for me. I like some of these emerging market players for my growth portfolio, which I want to hold for many years. I don’t want to make the mistake of selling some of these names again too early. Baidu and Yandex were too names in particular that I was focussed on during January. Both emerging market players, they were both punished. I couldn’t resist having a small nibble on one of them. More on that some other time.
Stock Analysis/Write Ups
I had the opportunity to have a few stock analysis published over on Seeking Alpha, featuring some of my favorite stocks. See the links for below for more details.
Great content from other Bloggers
As usual, there has been a lot of great stuff across some of the sites I follow over the last month or so.
Ignore Adversity – I’ve really enjoyed following Dividend Mantra’s story over the last year or so. It’s hard not to want to see this guy do well and achieve his passive income goals. This post was a great insight into how striving to improve a financial situation is possible, no matter what your background and your circumstances are.
New Rental Cash flow – I’ve discussed before how our new property purchase will mean that we’ll now have a rental that we can turn into a cash flow property. I picked up a few things from this post from RBD about the need for a maintenance fund and how to handle credit checking from this post. Curiously, his breakdown of the rental cash flow approximates what I think we should be able to achieve.
2014 Goals – The beginning of the month always brings a flood of new goals. I’ve set my own for 2014, Passive Income Pursuit, W2R , FI Fighter, DGSI all set out theirs as well. It’s always interesting to me to see how folks seek to benchmark success in investments, property and even with their blog.
Early retirement with Dividends– DGI had an interesting article about being able to retire with a consistent dividend growth strategy after 10 years. It’s going to take us a little longer to achieve that, but this post helps really show the value of why dividend investing can really help.
Best Retirement Strategies – I’ve been looking to better inform myself of good tax effective retirement strategies recently. First Million had a good post on what makes a good 401k plan, while MMD had a comparison of traditional 401 vs ROTH.