How Big Should Your Nest Egg Be?
Forwarded this email by a friend? Subscribe here.
We’re now two-thirds of the way through the first quarter, so let’s do a quick rundown on where the markets and economy stand to date.
- Stocks faced a rough month in February, particularly the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was down 4.2% for the month and 1.5% year-to-date. While the S&P and Nasdaq ended February in the red, year-to-date they’re still up 3.4% and 9.4%, respectively. Here’s hoping March looks more like January’s rally. 🤞
- As stocks fell, bond yields soared. The yield on ten-year Treasuries hit its highest level since November on the last day of February. If you’re looking for more info on what this means, CNN has a good explainer on the link between stocks and bond yields.
- Consumer spending is on a tear — the latest numbers show it rose 1.8% in January. While that’s normally a sign of a healthy economy, some experts say consumers are reaching a breaking point as savings dwindle and debt rises.
- No surprise here, but consumers are saving less as we pay more for pretty much everything. Today’s personal savings rate sits at 4.7% — far below the pre-pandemic rate of 8.8%.
If you’re among those with less money to set aside each month, you might be starting to wonder, how much do I actually need to save for retirement? Keep on scrolling to find the answer to that question, as well as more headlines and our new “Figure in focus” feature.
Asking for a friend….
We know there is a lot to think about these days, and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. To help with those nagging questions and so you have useful resources at your fingertips, here are few links to resources and past stories relevant in these turbulent times:
- FWIW’s Guide to Long-Term Investing
- Some of our favorite inflation-fighting strategies (and a few more)
- How to Research ESG Funds and Stocks
- FWIW Guide to Cleantech Investing: Sectors to Watch (covering over a dozen innovative sectors to anchor your research on sustainable investing options)
- How to Practice Faith-Based Investing
- “Siri, What Is a Recession?”
News you can use
- We love the explosion of financial content on TikTok, but as NPR warns, be careful not to rely too much on influencers for investing and budgeting advice. Personal finance experts say that social media can be a starting point but not a key driver of financial decision making. If you’re looking to widen your perspectives and news sources, we have some reading and watching recommendations for value-aligned investors, and we also think you may find these stock and fund rating resources helpful.
- Child labor isn’t just an issue in developing nations. The US Department of Labor just reported a 69% increase in illegally employed kids since 2018. Meanwhile, the New York Times published a report on the exploitation of migrant children, who are working jobs for major brands like Cheerios, Fruit of the Loom, and J. Crew. If you’re curious how the companies and sectors in your portfolio measure up on labor issues, good places to start include the KnowTheChain benchmark and the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
- As Women’s History Month kicks off, a new survey finds stress is the #1 emotion women feel about money. The good news: nearly 90% are tackling that stress head-on by taking steps like opening IRAs and bolstering their emergency funds.