Investing experts often fail to beat the market

For individuals, investing in the stock market can be a daunting task. Although many of these people trust expert fund managers to boost their returns, USA reports that the majority of firms paid to generate better-than-average returns often fail to beat the market. To be considered successful, a fund must show that it can provide better performance than benchmark indices like the S&P 500 on a consistent basis. If it can’t beat them, then using the service just isn’t worth the money.

According to data provided by the 2015 SPIVA Scorecard, large-cap fund managers, those trading some of the largest companies in the market, failed to beat the benchmark 66 percent of the time during that year, 84 percent of the time over five years, and 82 percent of the time over the last ten years. Small-cap and mid-cap managers had similarly disappointing performance in their areas. They point out that some managers have a proven track record of results, but even those firms that beat the market for a year or two tend to lose ground over time. Adding in the fund’s management fees can also turn a winning portfolio into a loser, and nobody wants to see their gains go from their retirement account to the manager.

The reasons for this lack of performance are hard to uncover, but Forbes magazine reminds readers that there are only a couple of ways to beat the market: access to information other people don’t have or being lucky. For most investors, luck is not something they would likely want to trust their money to, and even the experts don’t have infinite knowledge about every company and market trend. As for those with the best information, average investors won’t be able to discover which firms have it until long after the returns have already been generated.

Use a frugal month to catch up after the holidays

The holidays are often filled with extra spending on things like travel, gifts, and food and many people end the year feeling weighed down in the financial department.

Popular blog Frugalwoods suggests that people make January an ‘uber frugal month’ by spending as little money as possible. Although the challenge sounds rather simple, it will require a bit of preparation.

Before starting, analyze all of the currently expected spending for the month. Then, divide those expenses into a discretionary list and a mandatory list. Rent, for instance, is non-negotiable, while a Starbucks latte can be easily skipped. Entire areas, such as entertainment, need a plan to decrease spending by substituting free or cheap options for the normal routines. Plan to stay frugal for the whole month for maximum savings. In the end, with the frugality meter reset, it will be up to participants to decide which behaviors they want to keep using in the future to save money over the long run.

According to Bankrate, using these no-spend periods isn’t just about saving money but also learning to control impulses. Being able to separate actual needs from simple wants will go a long way toward creating sustainable spending habits as well as provide an excellent jumpstart to a more frugal lifestyle.

For people that can’t manage a full month, blog Believe in a Budget recommends starting with a week or even a day. Their favorite, the no spend work week, allows a person to focus in on miscellaneous expenses that pop up during this time such as the before work coffee, expensive lunch at a restaurant, and unnecessary trips to the grocery store after work. It might feel a little strange bringing a bagged lunch to work, but it is also a great way to find more money for savings and investing in the things that are truly important.

Pop the cork on the bubbly! It’s a great time to sell (and buy)

Everything is coming up champagne and roses for home sellers in 2018 as experts predict more home sales and rising home prices as Millennials appear to finally be buying.

For the new year, the real estate scene looks great for both sellers and buyers.

Buyers will benefit from low mortgage rates, ticking just past 3.9 to 4 percent in mid-November 2017 for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Analysts do not expect those rates to rise much, if at all.

In many areas, the number of houses for sale is low and that drives prices up. On the other hand, prices are not as high as in the recession-era market. Experts say that should give buyers some confidence.

The construction industry appears to be addressing the problem of a low supply of homes for sale as new construction rose in mid-November 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The overall economy also forecasts a healthy housing market, as more people are working and tax cuts may add money to the economy.