Game days on the hill are perfect for families. The Hy-Vee Hawk Zone opens on the football practice field two and a half hours before kick-off and runs through the end of the first quarter.
It includes inflatable games, live radio broadcasts, tackling station/drills, face painting, a balloon artist, free KU promotional items, a fan photo booth and visits from KU student-athletes.
And I was so happy to learn that the giveaway includes a $50 downtown Lawrence gift certificate. Mass Street in Lawrence is a destination in itself. There are dozens of cool shops and restaurants to spend that gift card. Dinner after the game, maybe?
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post. You can tell me who you would take to the game or where you would spend the gift card or just say I’m in.
The Web has been buzzing about an imminent stock market collapse, and conspiracy theorists aren’t the only ones spouting the rhetoric. Leading thinkers like Robert Reich, Stanford University professor and former Secretary of Labor, and Robert Buckland, Citigroup’s chief global stock strategist, have both speculated that volatile times are ahead. It’s not always easy to predict what the market will do, but investors can still make money by buying securities if they use the right strategies.
Why Do People Think the Stock Market Is in Trouble?
The great recession of 2007 and 2008 took a major toll on the U.S. economy. Even seven years later, unemployment is still high, wages have stagnated, and the housing market remains depressed. Although the stock market has bounced back to its pre-crisis levels and beyond, the booming numbers, however, might not indicate that now is a great time to invest. A few factors could be temporarily inflating market indices and overstating the value of the markets, according to Secretary Reich:
Corporate buybacks. Many companies use stock buybacks to temporarily boost the prices of their stock. Most companies repurchase their stock to make their short-term returns look higher. More companies are engaging in buybacks than ever before, and some observers worry that this is inflating share prices across the market.
Mergers. Companies have large amounts of cash on-hand, and debt is cheap. As a result, they’re buying other companies to create the growth that strapped consumers can’t give them. By June 2014, the business world had already executed $786 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions for the fiscal year.
Inversions. Many companies are attempting to relocate overseas for tax purposes, which inflates their balance sheets but starves the U.S. economy of needed stimulus money.
Low bond yields. Low interest rates have made debt cheap, but they’ve also driven typical bond investors, like institutional investors, toward securities, further inflating share prices.
Foreign capital. With so much instability in the rest of the world and incentives for foreign investment, the U.S. stock market has become a haven for overseas investors.
Should You Be Worried? Warren Buffett Says ‘No’
Even if you become an expert in security analysis and portfolio management, you’ll still never know exactly what the stock market will do. To Citigroup’s Robert Buckland, the stock market seems “eerily quiet” right now, a characteristic that sometimes precedes major volatility. For example, the S&P 500 hasn’t had a major drop within the last three years, which is twice as long as the average length between drops since World War II. Even if interesting times are ahead, people can still make money if they use the right strategies.
Warren Buffett, investment savant and owner of Berkshire Hathaway, advises casual investors to choose mutual funds that track market indices. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX) tracks the S&P 500 closely, its value rising and falling as the S&P 500 rises and falls. The key to investing in index funds is to continue to buy shares and hold them for the long term. Instead of looking at investment performance in terms of weeks, months, or even years, look at S&P 500 growth over the decades. It’s easy to see how well the index has performed over the long haul and how well it could continue to perform for long-term investors.
For investors with more time to research different businesses, now is a good time to remember Buffett’s value-investing philosophy. The best investors, he says, are businesspeople buying pieces of businesses, not traders trying to make a killer profit on stocks. Value investing means buying shares of great businesses when shares are underpriced and positioned for growth. Great businesses can endure short-term fluctuations in the stock market, which helps to protect investor money.
Buy and Hold
Buffett, in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, advises choosing investments that have low loads, or administrative costs. He also warns that many financial advisors make money when their clients conduct financial transactions, so their advice to buy or sell stock isn’t always in the client’s best interest.
In the end, investing is simple: Buy good securities, hold them over the long term, and watch compounding pay off. Sage advice like Buffett’s might sound boring, but it could be the key to weathering stock market volatility.
Stock market graph image by JMiks from Shutterstock
Stock market trend line attached to dynamite image by Risto Vlita from Shutterstock
Burning dollar image by bluecrayola from Shutterstock
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