Don’t Try This At Home

When I was a young man, about the time that man discovered fire, it was considered something of a rite of passage to work on your own car. Father and son would pop the hood and pull spark plugs, change the oil, and do other ‘manly’ work on the automobile. My first car happened to be a 1968 Chevy Biscayne. When you opened the hood, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. You could find the plugs, the dip stick, and the windshield washer fluid without any trouble at all. (I still managed to run that car out of oil… twice… because the oil light on the dashboard had a short in it, and I never knew if the light was on because I was actually out of oil or if it was just having a bad day. My father was not pleased.)

A New BMW or One Year of College?

Years ago a friend told me, “Paying for college is like buying a brand new BMW every year, but never getting to drive it.” Not only has it become one of my favorite quotes, but it motivated me to think about how I’d pay for my own children’s college educations. After some quick math, I realized that four years for both my daughter and son — with two years overlapping — would come to 8 BMW’s in six years. If my husband and I were going to be in a position to cover that, I knew we needed to start planning immediately.

Chinese and U.S. Relative Strength

China may be sporting a 9.1% Year over Year Real GDP, but the stock market certainly does not reflect that strength. The chart below displays the S&P 500, which is the green line in the top chart, and the Chinese Stock market measured through FXI ETF, which is the red line in the top chart. It also shows the relative strength of the S&P 500 measured against China. When the line is falling, the Chinese stock market is performing worse than the U.S. stock market.