We are bombarded by information all day, every day. It’s especially hard to process all the business, political, and technical information about the financial world if you don’t live it like I do. This is why I’m starting a new series ‘What you need to know about the financial world in just 2 minutes’. Okay, I’m still working on the title, but you get the idea. Here’s August’s edition!
-Through the end of July, the stock markets (other than the NASDAQ) are flat. 2013 and 2014 brought us an average S&P 500 return of 22%. Ha. Not happening again this year. You’re going to have settle for somewhere in the 8% 3-year average range.*****
-Gas prices are falling. Sub-$2/gallon gas is on the horizon. Be sure to pass the savings onto your financial priorities, such as debt-reduction and savings.
-Apple stock is taking it on the chin (that’s bad). Don’t be surprised if many of your mutual funds (likely inside your 401k) are down on your next statement. Apple is one of the most widely held stocks in the world. You’re likely to own it somewhere in your portfolio, whether you thought you owned it or not.
-It’s student loan season. If you get student loans, then you may also get what’s called a student loan refund check. It’s toxic. Don’t cash it. Don’t deposit it. Send it back. You don’t need it.
-Airlines tickets are super-cheap right now. If you need to buy tickets, don’t wait until September or later. I bought a multi-city ticket from Indy to Denver to Dallas and back to Indy again, the other day, for $220. That’s insane!
-Interest-only mortgages are back. THEY HELPED DESTROY THE ECONOMY IN 2008. Sorry for yelling. Don’t get one. If you need an interest-only loan to make the payment fit into your budget, you can’t afford it. You should almost always stick with a 15 year conventional mortgage.
*****I calculated this incorrectly. If the market ends flat, the market will have average 14% over the last three years.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.