Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 End-of-Year Stock Market Update

Just to refresh your memory, here are a few market-moving stories from the past year.

Monthly Stock Market Closes for 2011

Stock market (DJIA) 2011 monthly closing prices thru year-end

December, 4th Quarter, Year-To-Date & Recovery-To-Date Review

Previous posts have demonstrated that the market periodically experiences "long, flat periods." This certainly seems to be one of those. Perhaps it was in that spirit that the S&P managed to end 2011 0.02 points away from where it ended 2010!

The DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) fared somewhat better, closing the year at 12,217.56.  Here are some key market stats.

  • From Prior Month Close of 12,046: The Dow is up 172 points (1.4%)
  • From 3rd Quarter Close of 10,913: Up 1304 points (12.0%)
  • From 2010 Close of

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My SIMPLE Retirement Saving Calculator /Spreadsheet

This post introduces my "back-of-the-envelope" retirement model. I've reduced retirement planning calculations to the bare minimum.

It takes a complicated model to account for all of the variables in retirement planning. In this post, I've made some simplifying assumptions. I've tried to develop a "bare bones" model so that we can focus better on the big picture, and still get results that are in the right ballpark.

The Observations Back-of-the-Envelope Retirement Savings Calculator

Retirement planning: Excel spreadsheet to calculate what percent of salary to save
Notes: Click on the screenshot to expand it. The link to download the spreadsheet is at the end of the post. Don't have spreadsheet software? See Related Posts below.

How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?

The key simplifying assumption was to estimate the savings you will need at retirement using

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mission, Vision & Values: A Stronger Foundation for Your Personal Strategic Plan

Choosing personal strategic planning life goalsMy core planning process is designed for readers who want a quick, practical approach to personal strategic planning; that process starts with your dreams. My thesis was that in 2 - 4 hours you could draft a plan that could change your life. This post is for readers who want to build an even stronger foundation for their plans, and for those developing family strategic plans.

Building a Stronger Foundation for Your Personal/Family Strategic Plan

In the core personal strategic planning (PSP) series of posts, I suggested that your Vision is the ultimate answer to "Why?" For example, you plan to begin tracking your expenditures (strategy). Why? So that you can save at least 10% of your salary (goal). Why? So that you can realize your dream/vision of retiring with at least $1,000,000!

Strategic plans for organizations typically add still another level by also including mission and values statements. Developing mission and values statements, in addition to your vision, can provide

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 2011 Stock Market Update

Volatility Continues

November was another volatile month. The market rose and fell more or less in synch with the rising and falling prospects within the European Union. In a month of 21 trading days, the market rose or fell by more than 1% 11 times. Seven times the market changed by more than 2%; twice we saw changes of