Values, Spotify, and Taking Advantage of a Down Market

April is in full effect, and I know you are looking forward to warm weather actually showing up this spring. As you wait, I want to share a few nuggets of wisdom that one of my mentors recently shared with me.


You see, my mentor is in his mid-50s and I respect how he has built wealth over time. So, I asked him what advice he would give me as I’m in my 30s (don’t worry about where) on how to build wealth.  He shared three things:


1.     As your income goes up, live below your means. This is a simple principle, espoused in the popular book, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy, which left a strong imprint on him. I like the book too! If you don’t have time to read the book, it’s okay – just remember the principle.

2.     Your money reflects your values. Whatever choices you make with your money, albeit to invest in your kids’ 529 college savings plans, or invest in that trip around the world, think about what regrets you will have for not making that investment decision. What you value should dictate where you put your money.

3.     Real estate in the right place can change your asset trajectory. Give yourself the opportunity to invest in property that can appreciate in value in the long-run. Now, this is easier said than done. But, if you have properties that are likely to appreciate, especially if they sit in gentrifying neighborhoods, be patient and don’t try and get the quick sell.


I am grateful for my mentor’s candor with me. Ask someone who you respect that might be 15-20 years older than you about what investment advice they would have for you. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by the answers. Feel free to share it on my blog.


Now, the markets took a toll this week. Here’s my thoughts on what happened this week, and implications for your investments:


·      Spotify’s IPO Made History.  Spotify became a public company this past week, and how it did so is worth talking about. As I’ve talked about in my “How the stock market works” video, IPOs usually give large institutional funds (like a JPMorgan, Fidelity, etc.) a price advantage in the IPO – they get their shares cheaper than average investors like you and me because they buy in bulk. However, Spotify had its own automated auction process and set its IPO price with no investment banker involved, so that all investors got shares at the same price. I would pay attention to Spotify’s share price in the coming weeks, especially for those of you who use the service.


·      Stocks Got Crushed This Week. We have already witnessed how poorly the stock market reacts to Trump’s antics, and this week’s the trade war with China was no different. Over the last month, the S&P has been down 6.5% and the big tech stocks (FAANG - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix Google), have dropped more than 10% over the same period. I want to remind you to revisit why you may have purchased a particular stock, and assess whether its movement has been swept up in the overall stock market slump. Ask yourself – Is this a buying opportunity? Or, have I made a lot of money already over the past 12-18 months and it’s worth taking a little bit of profit on my position? Talk about your thoughts with your financial advisor.


·      Middle-Class Families Refuse to Pay Exorbitant Prices for Kids’ Education. This week’s New York Times article on the increasing prevalence of middle class families choosing to send their kids to community colleges should make all of us pause for a second. Some might say that these parents are denying their kids a “quality” education. But, others say that these parents are “not succumbing to the idea that the only acceptable education is an expensive one.” If you are currently planning for your child’s future education, I urge you to think about how our system is forcing us to choose one path or the other, rather than figure out how to change the system. Something is wrong with this system and unless we change the underlying structure, we will all be faced with these difficult choices.


Has there been anything on your mind this week related to your investments? Drop a comment on the blog, and let’s continue the conversation.