Your Financial News Roundup
April 11, 2023
1. Economy: Americans’ fear of a banking collapse is fading; U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expresses a positive economic outlook.
2. Tech: An Israeli micro-robot could help study cells and identify cancer; Japan’s government embraces OpenAI.
3. World: Iran uses facial recognition on women who don’t wear hijabs; classified American intel was anonymously leaked.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 3/4]: A Primer on the 3 Fund Portfolio
🥳 Good News! At Last! Goldman Sachs reports that public concern over the banking system has waned. It points to slowing Google search trends on certain banks, bank withdrawals and safety of deposits. The Fed opened loans to troubled banks to prevent a bank run, while customers have stopped withdrawing from smaller banks. But banks are facing smaller profit margins, more regulations, and high-interest rates that all contribute to a decline in lending — affecting consumers and small businesses. (Yahoo! Finance)
Our Take: As the banking crisis was stopped in its tracks, so was the transfer of deposits from smaller to larger banks — halting the concentration of power and assets in the nation’s 4 biggest banks. However, the decline in lending will slow economic growth and potentially the creation of new businesses and jobs.
📈 Not Anticipating a Downturn: Ahead of the spring World Bank meetings, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has expressed confidence in the U.S. economy’s performance. Yellen attributes the economy’s strength to a resilient banking system, steady job growth, moderating inflation, and healthy consumer spending. However, her cheery outlook contrasts that of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF anticipates a slowdown in economy growth from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.8% this year, citing financial market volatility as a contributing factor. (CNN)
Our Take: While inflation has slowed down, other crises have heightened economic uncertainty. They include the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, Credit Suisse’s near death experience, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, and the borrowing cap on U.S. debt.
🏯 Japan Welcomes AI: In contrast to Western nations who are imposing heavy restrictions on OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Japan is embracing AI technology. During a meeting between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, the company announced plans to open a new office in the country. But, despite the government’s positive attitude, the general public has not been as receptive. Several universities have taken steps to ban the use of ChatGPT in academic assignments, citing concerns over potential misuse. (Observer)
Our Take: From its bullet trains to advancements in robotics and automation, Japan is a proven leader in technological innovation. It’s no surprise that the country is actively partnering with OpenAI.
🤖 Pac-Man is Real: Scientists from Israel’s Tel Aviv University created a cell-sized, micro-robot to analyze cells. Like a real-life Pac-Man, the robot gobbles up cells to identify, analyze, and transport them. One study’s results proved the microbot can identify healthy cells from damaged ones, including those dying of natural vs unnatural causes. It does this by analyzing a cell’s electrical properties. Scientists believe that this ‘active particle’ technology can help treat cancer and even help administer drugs. (Good News Network)
Our Take: The biotech field continues to have a series of breakthroughs that receive little fanfare. This cell-sized “Pac-Man” has the potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by specifically targeting the unhealthy tissues.
🧕🏽 A Real Police State: The Iranian government installed smart cameras in public places to send warning texts to women who do not wear hijabs. Last year, nationwide protests started after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody for supposedly breaking the hijab rule. Since then, more and more women have discarded their veils, especially in cities. While the government is enforcing the hijab laws, unveiled women carry the risk of public attack or arrest/fines from the police. (BBC)
Our Take: Iran is taking a page out of China’s playbook by using facial recognition tech and cameras to identify and intimidate dissenters. Iran’s government claims they jailed 20K+ people and wants to enforce the hijab law more easily.
📃 U.S. Top Secret Documents Leaked: A substantial amount of classified documents from the U.S. Defense Department were recently leaked online by an anonymous source. It is one of the most significant leaks of top secret documents in the past decade. Although the Pentagon is still authenticating them, they contained detailed information on sensitive matter, including allegations of U.S. espionage on South Korea, insights into the Russia-Ukraine War, and Egypt and the UAE’s secret support of Russia. (The Hill)
Our Take: At this time, it’s unclear who leaked the documents and what their motives are. Regardless, Washington will need to act quickly to do damage control.
Finance Concept of the Week
Investing with Funds [Part 3/4] — A Primer on the 3 Fund Portfolio
Exploring Time-Tested Investment Strategies
If you’re looking for a simple, low-cost investment strategy with aggressive returns, then the 3 fund portfolio (3FP) is for you!
The 3FP consists of 3 broad asset classes:
- U.S. stocks
- International stocks
- U.S. bonds
This strategy brings broad exposure to the global economy while reducing your risk by diversifying globally and across asset classes.
- Simplicity: The 3FP is straightforward to understand and use, making it a good option for beginners or those looking for simplicity.
- Diversification: Investors get exposure to thousands of stocks and bonds from the U.S. and around the world, reducing the risk of losing value over the long-term.
- Low Cost: Compared to actively-managed funds, the 3FP has low fees (if you select the right mutual funds/ETFs) — so you’ll keep more of your returns over time.
- Limited Flexibility: This strategy does not offer a deep level of customization, which may not align with current market conditions or your personal investment goals/risk tolerance.
- Market Risk: The 3 fund portfolio is subject to market risk, which can result in volatility and potential losses.
- Over-reliance on Index Funds: While index funds can be a good investment option, relying solely on them can limit potential returns and may not be suitable for everyone.
How to Make the Most of It:
To make the most of the 3 Fund Portfolio:
- Find the Optimal Allocation: Do some research to determine the best allocation for you. For example, if you want to invest more aggressively, buy more stocks. If you want to be conservative, buy more bonds.
- Rebalance Regularly: Rebalance your portfolio periodically to ensure that your allocation remains aligned with your investment objectives. Checking in 1x a quarter or every 6 months is common.
- Consider Extra Investments: The 3 fund portfolio can be used in combination with other investments to create a more diverse portfolio or as part of a larger strategy.
Risk Level – Medium to High
A 3 fund portfolio’s risk varies depending on the specific allocation of domestic stocks, international stocks, and bonds. Generally, a portfolio with a higher percentage of stocks (both domestic and international) will have a higher risk level as stocks tend to be more volatile than bonds. Conversely, a portfolio with a higher percentage of bonds will have lower risk, but potentially lower returns.
- Retirement Accounts
- 401(k) or 403(b) plans
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Taxable brokerage accounts
Note that the portfolio includes turnover of its holdings, which triggers taxes. This makes tax-deferred accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA great for this portfolio, but you’ll have to pay Uncle Sam if you use it in a regular brokerage account.
Tip of the Week
💵 If you’re behind on filing taxes, use IRS Free File to request an automatic extension, which will give you until October 15th to file your returns. Note that this doesn’t grant you an extension to pay taxes owed.
Personal Finance Resources
🚀 We recently launched a curated collection of personal finance resources on Gumroad, featuring both free and paid options! Visit us for all your personal finance tracking needs, including:
Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, if there’s any other product you’d like to see, feel free to suggest it here.
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