If you read financial news or finance blogs, you probably have heard (a lot) about cryptocurrencies and especially Bitcoin. You probably have read some success stories where people made a fortune investing in one cryptocurrency. You also probably have read stories where people have lost a fortune with them. But what is a cryptocurrency really? And how do they work?
In this post, I am going to try to answer these questions for you. I am thinking that this could be interesting to know exactly how they work. You probably have heard of the words blockchain or miner or even hash function. We are going to see how they come into play for cryptocurrencies.
I am not going to cover the investment quality of the cryptocurrencies in this post. I plan to discuss that in another post. Finally, in a later post, I will also discuss the history of cryptocurrencies since their creation.
Continue reading “What are cryptocurrencies ? How they do they really work ?”
If you are following personal finance blogs or podcast, you probably have heard the name of Warren Buffett. He is very famous in the community. Warren Buffett is a very successful investor. He made a fortune from nothing. This the first reason he is famous in the community. The second reason is that he advised his fortune to be invested in index funds once he passes away. This is one of the few big investors who is supporting index funds. Finally, he also beat the market for many years. Which is something very difficult.
Being one of the richest persons in the world also helps to make him a very well-known figure. In this post, we are going to look at the history of Warren Buffett first. Some numbers may not seem much in the early years. You need to take into account inflation. 1000 dollars 70 years ago are worth around 10’000 dollars now. We are especially going to focus on the biggest investment he did. Then, I am going to talk about some important traits of the man. This is going to be a long post ;)
Continue reading “Who is Warren Buffett ? The man and its investments”
If you are interested in personal finance, you should probably have come across the term Emergency Fund. An emergency fund is simply some money, available directly, that you can use in case of emergency. Most people will advise you to get an emergency fund. And they will insist heavily on this subject.
It is an interesting subject since not everybody agrees on it. Some people have an emergency fund that can cover one year of expenses. And some people think you do not need one. Personally, I do not think an emergency fund is a bad thing. But you should be aware of its cost. It also has disadvantages. And you may not need an emergency fund as big as some people tell you. I think that too much people put too much emphasis on the emergency fund. In this post, we are going to see both sides of the story. We are going to see in details what an emergency fund is.
Continue reading “Emergency Fund – Do you really need one ?”
My new job at Pied Piper is offering my an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). This is the first time I am working for a company that offers such a plan. As such, I have been researching my options for how to handle this ESPP. Basically, an ESPP is a plan to use some of your income to get shares of your company at discount price.
In this post, I am going to present my ESPP plan. I am also going to present many strategies that exist to decide when to sell shares coming from an ESPP. Finally, I am going to present the strategy I decided to use for my ESPP shares.
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We have talked about many things now in the Investing series. We have covered index funds in details. Finally, we have covered several portfolios such as the Three-Fund portfolio and its variants and a few other lazy portfolios. But there is something we have not covered yet. It is the Target Retirement Funds.
Many people are investing for retirement. They may know for instance that they want to retire in 20 years. Given that and their age, it is likely that their allocation to bonds will increase over the years until retirement. Most people will do that by changing their allocation every few years. Either by rebalancing or by injection of new capital. But there is another way. Target Retirement Funds will automatically change their bond allocation over time.
In this post, I am going to cover Target Retirement Funds. We are going to see what is good with them and what is not.
Continue reading “Target Retirement Funds – Too much simplicity ?”
In the previous post of the Investing series, we discovered the Three-Fund Portfolio and its variants. It is a simple portfolio made of only three funds. It is really simple to manage yet very effective and diversified. We also saw the two-fund and one-fund portfolio. They are even more simple and yet have many advantages. But there are more lazy portfolios that are available.
People have proposed many more portfolios over the years. In this new post, I am going to cover more of these portfolios. They are called lazy portfolios because they are all using index funds. And you can kee the allocation of the different funds for many years. Instead of choosing stocks, which is difficult, you choose stock funds or bond funds. You can either use mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) depending on what you prefer and what you have access to.
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In the previous posts of the Investing series, we have covered the basics of the stocks and bonds. We also have covered index funds, in the form of mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). You should now have a good idea of how you want to invest. The problem remains on how to invest! One solution to this problem is the Three-Fund-Portfolio.
This is a very important question and one that you should spend some time thinking about. There is no one-size-fits-all investment in my opinion. There are many kinds of investment that work. For some of them, you will need some knowledge and time to make it work. The three-fund portfolio is a very simple portfolio made of three funds that should work for most people.
In this post, we are going to cover two things. How much bonds you should have and what is the Three-Fund Portfolio. Since there are also some direct variations of the three-fund portfolio, I am also going to cover them!
Continue reading “The three-fund portfolio – Keep it simple”
In part 4 of the Investing series, we have covered Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). In this post, I have mentioned that ETF used arbitrage to follow closely the price of the index. If the price of the stocks in the index goes up, the price of the ETF should follow. And if the price of the stocks goes down, the price of the ETF should follow as well. But if the price of the ETF goes up because of stock market trading, something should correct the price quickly. This is where arbitrage plays a big role.
In this post, we are going to see how Exchange Traded Funds are created. And also what is arbitrage? How it makes sure the price of ETF stay in sync with the price of the index. It is a bit of a complicated subject. But I think it is important to know exactly how financial instrument are working before investing in them.
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In the previous post of the Investing series, we talked about Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Before that, we talked about mutual funds. In both these two cases, we focused, especially on passive index funds. Index funds are replicating an existing index. For instance, the SP&500 index is replicated by many mutual funds and many ETFs. In this post, we are going to focus on index replication.
There are several different ways of replicating an index. There is physical index replication and synthetic index replication. It is important to know how funds are replicating the index. If you want to make a good choice between the different ETFs and mutual funds that exist, it is important to know the different ways they are using for replicating the index.
Continue reading “Index Replication in details – ETFs and Mutual Funds”
In the previous post of the Investing series, we talked about mutual funds. They are a great tool for investment. And especially passive funds with very low fees, thanks to index investing.
This is all great, but the problem with mutual funds is their availability. If you are lucky, you have access to Vanguard via your bank. And you can directly invest in their low fees mutual funds. There are other like Vanguard, but they are the most famous ;)
If you are not lucky, for instance, if you live in Switzerland, you do not have any easy access to good mutual funds. I can bet that your Swiss bank does not offer cheap passive funds. At least mine does not! This is where Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are being a very good investment tool!
Continue reading “Exchange Traded Funds – ETFs”