It's my third blogoversary!
I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at my first month of blogging. One of my early posts was about my E*Trade portfolio, so here's a look at how things have changed since then. There are only 4 mutual funds/stocks that I still hold that were in my portfolio in July 2005:
|BRSIX||$ 14.80||$ 18.01||-17.8%|
|ICENX||$ 35.54||$ 28.94||22.8%|
|RYTRX||$ 11.69||$ 12.88||-9.2%|
|XRX||$ 13.48||$ 13.13||2.7%|
Not the prettiest picture, but at least all of these are up between 40-60% since I bought them, except for Xerox, which is down 1.74% overall. All in all, this is a good reminder that you have to ride out these ups and downs!
I also wrote this post:
Obviously, those who believed the bubble would soon be bursting were right. Though I was leery about the market, I had no idea how broad the implications would be of all these sub-prime mortgages. In any case, a few months after I wrote that post, I went ahead and signed a contract on a non-yet-constructed condo in an up-and-coming neighborhood. I have no regrets-- I don't think I would have saved much, if any money by waiting til now. I love my apartment, and plan to hold onto it for a long time, perhaps even renting it out rather than selling it if I ever decide to move elsewhere. Hopefully I'll still feel the same way even if this downturn gets worse!
I keep trying to figure out if the housing market here is about to take a downturn. For so many reasons, it seems like it has to. Bubble Meter is very reassuring on this topic! I set up a little grid to track how many apartments are listed on the NY Times website each week, so I can see if supply might be starting to outpace demand. I'm kind of passively apartment-hunting right now, just checking out different neighborhoods that I might need to consider, trying to figure out what might still be comparatively a bargain. It's hard to believe that the bubble-burst, when/if it comes, will be a drastic cut in prices, but there has to be some kind of dent in the long-term upward trend line. So do I wait? Buy now in an up and coming neighborhood where I can get more space and prices have more room to grow? Buy now in a well-established neighborhood and get less space but perhaps less risk of loss of value in a downturn?
I also found this article -- it certainly hit home with me. My rent, which includes gas and electric, is $850, for a small studio in a decent area, not too far out in Brooklyn. For this same monthly cost, assuming a 20% down payment and $450 monthly maintenance, the selling price would have to be around $120,000, which is about half (or less) what studio apartments go for in this area, and still a lot less most than studios even in areas quite a bit further out. I could rent a small one-bedroom for less than it would cost me to buy a small studio anywhere near here.
And here's another post I wrote that first month, which captures how I continue to feel whenever I go shopping:
It's Friday afternoon, just went to the gym, do I need to do anything else before I go home? Oh yeah, Bed Bath & Beyond, I've been meaning to buy a new pillow. My neck has been killing me, maybe I'll buy one of those special neck pillows. Here I am in the store, look at all this stuff... wow, they deliver grills to the Fire Island ferries... but then what? Does the ferry let you carry a giant Weber grill on with you? Do they charge extra for that? There are those alarm clocks I looked at last time. My alarm clock is fine, I shouldn't buy a new one even though I've had it since college. Sheets! Wow, a whole set of nice ones, only $59.99! That's cheap, isn't it? Maybe not, I don't know... I haven't bought sheets in ages... yeah, I really should buy new sheets, I'll pick these up. Ok, pillows, downstairs... ooh, more sheets, these ones are even nicer, and only $79.99, which probably is pretty cheap since here are some other ones that are $149... but do I really want sheets? The ones I have are fine. And anyway, if I buy an apartment maybe I'll actually have a bedroom that isn't also my living room, and then I might want a whole new color scheme, I should wait. Ok, ditch the sheets. God, I'm going to spend a ton on decorating if I ever buy an apartment. Ok, pillows. Ooh, there's the neck pillow... memory foam... I don't know, it actually seems kind of creepy how it keeps the handprint... $90! for a pillow! The hell with that! Ok, here are the pillows I want... this one? That one? Geez, even these are $30, when did pillows get so expensive? I thought they were like $9.99... and pillow protectors, they have tons of these. Keeps pillows clean and sanitary, anti-allergen and bacteria, I should probably get some even though I suspect this is one of those made-up things that they invent a need for just to get people to spend money... $5.99 each, that is what the pillow should cost...Ok, let's go pay for this... here's the silverware, someday I'll buy new silverware... hey, ice cube trays for $2.99! That is something I should pick up, I only have one ice tray except for those stupid alphabet letter ones that don't work. Why do I only have one? Oh yeah, I used one for some art project, it's got ink in it... but do I need more ice? It's not like I have a lot of cocktail parties...and I don't use ice that often... well, they're only $2.99, I'll get them. More kitchen stuff, wasn't there something I wanted??? Oh, yeah, a wine holder for inside the fridge... they don't really make such a thing... I could invent one, make some money maybe... this soda can rack could work though, and it's only $2.99... made in China, everything is $2.99 and made in China... should I ditch the pillow protectors? No, I'll keep them. Ok, I'm going to pay and get out of here... at the register... neat-o, bleach pens! and toothpaste clips! Licorice Altoids! Chapstick! Get me out of here! $51.97 total. Not bad. I feel like I just went through an obstacle course.After I bought my apartment, I did go shopping again to buy more pillows, new sheets, a nice set of silverware and a whole lot of other stuff. And I still resisted the temptation to buy a bleach pen.
That's enough blasts from the past for now. Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting and making this blog so much fun for me-- it's been a great 3 years!