At the top of the market: now what?

Tips on best savings rates, simple money management and investing at market peaks

Welcome to the first edition of the Gist by AskFinny, where we share tips on saving money, budgeting, investing, and even stock picking.  We've started this out of frustration and confusion around everything to do with money and investing, and to share simple actionable insights based on the questions you've asked us.  Our goal is to be super helpful to you as you make money-related decisions every day.  Keep in mind, the following content is not financial advice and does not contain any security or product purchase recommendations. 

The Gist will come to your Inbox once a week. All you have to do is to read it and see if any of the tips we provide apply to you--and then make some money moves! 

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You can also ask us any finance or investment question privately by visiting  AskFinny.com.  We will share the most insightful questions and answers with our Gist audience.  

In this edition, you’ll find out about: 

  1. Savings accounts with the highest yield

  2. Super-simple investment portfolio to reach a specific goal such as retirement

  3. Country-specific investments--now that the US market is at an all-time high, which countries could present an attractive investment opportunity? 

So let’s start with the summary of our findings.

Summary

  1. Here is the chart of “best” online savings account rates.

2.  Here is how to look for funds to invest in that will help you meet a specific goal, such as retirement--click on the picture below.  If talking about retirement, enter the date when you’d like to retire, along with the fund issuer of your choice (e.g, Vanguard).    

3.  Worried by new S&P 500 highs?  Check out the markets that are not flying as high as the US stock market: 

Now let’s expand on this and share with you our detailed thinking. 

Deep Dive 

1. Interested in the “best” / highest-yield online savings accounts? We have some good news for you.  The annual percentage yield (APY) keeps getting higher and higher.  The accounts with the highest APYs at the time of this writing are: 

  • Wealthfront, 2.57% APY with no fees, unlimited transfers, and FDIC insurance covering up to $1 million.  Apply here

  • Viobank, 2.52% APY. FDIC insured up to $250K;

  • WebBank, 2.50% APY. No fees, FDIC insured up to $250K;

  • Vanguard, 2.48% APY, FDIC insured.

We update the best savings rates on AskFinny regularly--keep checking our app to get the most recent and updated results.

2. How do you construct a super simple portfolio that you can understand? Is it possible to do it using a single security only (e.g., mutual fund)?  

Good news: this is completely doable--using target-date funds.   A target-date fund is a fund offered by an investment company that seeks to grow your money over a specified period of time for a targeted goal. Target-date funds are usually named by the year in which the investor plans to begin utilizing the assets. 

The approach is truly minimal, which has its positives and negatives.  The biggest upside is simplicity--the mix between stocks and bonds in a target-date fund is chosen for you based on your desired retirement year. 

Imagine paying someone boatloads of money — tens of thousands over a lifetime — to invest your dollars and get the same results as you could with a target date fund?

At AskFinny, you can look for target retirement funds by your desired year of retirement.  E.g., try 2045. Then add your preferred fund issuer (e.g., Vanguard, Fidelity, or Schwab). 

If there are multiple funds, add a share class. “Institutional” will always give you the lowest fee.  Or try “investor” class if you don’t have access to institutional funds in your investment accounts.

Here are the results you get for:

Fidelity 2045 investor funds: FIOFX

Vanguard 2045 investor funds: VTIVX

Schwab 2045 investor funds: SWMRX

Once you narrow down funds, you can compare them to one another.  Ask Finny to do the following compare: FIOFX vs VTIVX vs SWMRX--and here is what you get.

Enough about simplicity.  We realize that target date funds are not for everyone… as a matter of fact, many of our readers are wondering, how do I make money now that the US stock market is at its peak? 

Answer: look for ideas in underperforming segments (sectors, factors, countries, etc.)

3.  Country-specific investments.  This one is for alpha seekers--if you’re seeking rewards and risk above and beyond broader index products.  We have a theory that what comes up must come down. But the opposite also applies. 

The US market is at the top of the 52-week range now.  Some other countries are not performing as well--the question is, could those country funds be your next investments?  

Super-risky bets would be in those countries where there is a lot of political instability, and where long-term returns have been negative. Examples include: Pakistan (PAK), Nigeria (NGE) and Turkey (TUR).   

However, there are some larger economies where the markets are trading well below the peak last year.  Examples include South Korea (EWY), China (GXC), Germany (EWG) and Japan (EWJ).  

The ETFs we referenced here (EWY, GXC, EWG and EWJ) are all representative of their respective country stock markets.  By investing in those ETFs, you are investing in a broad basket of stocks that trade on those countries’ stock exchanges. These ETFs are popular among institutional and retail investors (each one of them has more than $1B in net assets), but they also come to you at a relatively high cost (between .47% and .59%). 

Just to make it clear--we don’t recommend you purchase any of those ETFs.  However, if you’re looking for diversification beyond the US market, and a part of your strategy is to “buy low” country-specific products that have the potential to grow, you may want to research further investing in South Korea, China, Germany and Japan.    

That’s it for this edition.  What would you like to hear about in our next Gist?  Ask us a question here.

The AskFinny Team