Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekly Update: 3-14-2009

I feel stuck between two different worlds this week. On one hand, there's four-day rally in the stock market. There are almost as many different perspectives on what exactly this upturn means as there are commentators on TV, in the newspapers and online, which is to say thousands all told. I personally don't claim to have anywhere near the amount of knowledge and experience to predict what this means, if anything; I'm simply going to hope for the best and continue to invest my money as regularly, calmly, and automatically as possible.

Now, onto the other world...I am working part-time as an organic chemistry tutor at my old university. There is a test this coming Tuesday, the second of the year. For many of the students, this test could very well determine the course of their future; many of them are trying to get into the Pharmacy school, and if their grades are not good enough, they won't have a chance. Add in the drop course policies, and this is literally the last chance some of them will have to make it into the Pharmacy school.

Why do I bring this up? Simple; for these students, the broader economy is last thing on their mind. By the time they graduate from Pharmacy school in 2013 (if they make it in, of course), this week's financial news might be remembered as a temporary deviation in a horrible market, or as the first coffin nail for the Recession of 2008. And that's assuming it's remembered at all.

Much more importantly, this is yet another reminder of the importance of a long-term perspective. What happens from week to week isn't nearly as important as where you end up. The struggles the students face from one test or even one course are nothing compared to their final degrees. And by the same token, we as investors have to focus on our goals, and not the ups and downs the market throws at us.

Which is why, even though I track my portfolio's progress every week, I do it for my own information and knowledge. Slow and steady wins the race, and makes Roger a wealthy man...


PNC (Checking Account) $ 185 +$85
Susquehanna (CD) $ 2542 +$0
ING Direct (Checking) $ 105 -$550
ING Direct (Savings) $ 3006 +$0
ING Direct (Orange CD) $ 1016 +$0
HSBC Direct (Savings) $ 23 +$0
Smarty Pig (Savings) $ 700 +$0
Vanguard (Money Market) $ 1301 +$0

Total Savings $ 8878 -$465


Vanguard (Roth IRA) $ 5526 +$636
- Small Cap Index (NAESX) $ 3159 +$359
- High Dividend Yield (VHDYX) $ 2367 +$277

Share builder (ETFs) $ 2710 +$555
- Total US Market (TMW) $ 895 +$241
- Extended Market (VXF) $ 745 +$99
- Total Foreign (VEU) $ 526 +$101
- Small Cap Value (VBR) $ 249 +$59
- Emerging Markets (VWO) $ 295 +$55

Total Investments $ 8236 +$1191

Total Assets $ 17,114 +$726


MasterCard (JCPenney) ($ 135) -$28
American Express ($ 1912) -$115

Student Loans ($ 11,866) +$63

Total Debts ($ 13,913) -$80

Net Worth $ 3201 +$646

A rather good week, investment-wise. I will admit to a mild bit of disappointment; if I was still making the same level of investments I was making while I was working, I'd be in an even better position to take advantage of this rebound (if it is in fact a rebound and not a fluke) and make money on the uptick.

But, other than that, things are looking good; investments are doing fine, my Sharebuilder purchases went through alright (three hundred dollars of the increase there is added investment capital), and my spending was kept under control (especially for a weekend I went to visit my girlfriend). All in all, an excellent week.

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