Thanks for stopping by the only investing website on the 'net designed by working folks for working folks. As more and more companies dump their old guaranteed pension plans and move their employees into 401(k) retirement plans, it's more important now than ever to learn how to manage your own investments. Come on in and get started!
We'll show you how to get a better understanding of the markets and become a confident, competent investor. And we lay it all out for you in plain English (well, a Southern variety of English, anyway). Hey, you work hard for your money - learn how to make your money work hard for you!
Happy 5th Birthday…To Us!
Get out the party favors: it’s our birthday! Yep, March 1st marks the 5th birthday for hardhatinvestments.com and we’re ready to celebrate!! But before we tap that keg, we thought we’d reminisce a bit - if you’ll bear with us…
The website you see here actually started out as a weekly newsletter, “Hard Hat Investments.” With the horror of the 2008 stock market collapse still fresh on everyone’s mind, we launched our newsletter in October of 2009. Each week, we’d present our view of the markets and the current investing environment in a short, simple email. Our views were based - then as now - on using a basic trend following method to better manage our long term investments (401(k)s, IRAs, etc.). Here’s a copy of one our first newsletters (click on the letter to enlarge):
As we went forward with the newsletter, we quickly discovered 2 things:
1. When it comes to long term investments, there is absolutely no need for a weekly newsletter - the ‘Big Market Picture’ doesn’t change that quickly!
2. A newsletter is no place to fully explain the basic principles of ‘trend following’ and ‘reading price charts’ - that we would talk about in those newsletters.
The logical solution was to have a website that would give us the ‘room’ to cover and present all of the information we wanted to share. After working through the dead of winter to build the site, on March 1st of 2010, we hit the ‘Publish’ button. The website was launched...but our work was just beginning.
We changed web hosts in late 2013 and took that opportunity to do a total re-vamp of the site. In an effort to reach more folks, we also started our Facebook page in 2010 and went live with our YouTube channel (hardhatinvestmentsTV) in 2013. The website, however, continues to be our main focus as we try to help regular, real-world working folks make sense of the markets and become smarter investors.
How’s that going? We’ll be honest - even though the site is free and (we think) easy to use, convincing people to learn anything about investing is a hard sell! To our amazement, there are still a lot of good folks out there who are content to either put their hard-earned moolah into their company’s 401(k) plan and forget about it…or they plop it into a savings account and let it sit. For some reason, they just don’t want to be bothered with learning even the basics of investing (hey, we used to be the same way, so we probably shouldn’t be fussin’ so much)!
As for us, the website is a labor of love. We enjoy what we’re [trying] to do here and if we can help a few folks along the way, well that’s even better. That’s why we’re here.
Now, let’s go see if we can find that beer tap…
NEWS YOU CAN USE
"Vanguard to Launch Muni Bond ETF"
"Wall Street Managers Get Cut of State Pension Funds" from abc27 News
"Pension Funds Trail Individuals
in Embracing Index Funds"
from The New York Times
"Changes Coming to Target-Date Funds"
from USA Today
"Vanguard Readies 'Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund"
VIEWS YOU CAN USE
"What Men Can Learn from Female Investors"
from US News & World Report
"Investing 103: mutual funds, ETFs"
"4 Things Mutual Fund Managers
Don't Want You to Know"
from The Motley Fool
"Smart Beta Funds: Are They Really Smarter"?
"Are You Investing in Too Many Funds?"
from CNN Money
Spring Reading List
Spring is a busy season for most of us working folks. In addition to our never ending list of everyday household chores, now we've got to start working in the yard!
That's why we keep shorter books on our Spring List. You'll get a ton of useful info from these 3 quick reads & still have time to plant those petunias!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>
<<<<<<<< Clicking on these book images takes you to Amazon.com via our affiliate link. You won't pay a penny more for what you buy, but we do get a little moolah for sending you there - and that helps us cover the costs of keeping our website running free!
TAKE A BREAK!
('Cause nobody can read this boring investment crap all the time.)
Here are a couple of very simple retirement calculators courtesy of our friends over at Calculator Pro.
Here are the figures we used:
> Required Annual Income: we put in what we're making now (we don't buy into that "plan to spend 70% of your working income in retirement" idea!)
> Years until Retirement: we shot for age 65, but who really knows, right?
> Years after Retirement: we sure hope to have 20 good years of doing what we want to do!
> Annual Inflation: we used 3.5% (maybe go a tad higher to be safe?)
> Annual Return on Balance: we used 7% (maybe go a tad lower to be safe?)