IMG_0204For the week ending Jan. 2, 2016

  • You saved how much on gas?

There’s been a lot of hoopla about how much money folks have saved because of the big decline in the cost of a gallon of gas. According to AAA, collectively Americans saved $115 billion in 2015 with the average driver saving $550. That’s all well and good. Trouble is, not every body has a car.

  • Market Quick Glance


Here’s how the major indices performed for the year ending December 31,2015, according to Yahoo Finance:

The only winning index was the NASDAQ closing up +5.7% YTD

-S&P 500 -0.7% YTD

-Dow Jones -2.2% YTD

-Russell 2000 -5.9% YTD


-Mutual funds

Year-end average equity fund performance figures from Lipper show the following:

-U.S. Diversified Equity Funds – 2.08 percent

Large-Cap Growth Funds performed the best + 5.13 percent

Equity Leverage Funds, the worst – 12.26 percent

-Sector Equity Funds -7.61 percent

Global Health/Tech Funds performed the best up 9.08 percent

Commodities Energy Funds, the worst -36,60 percent

-World Equity Funds –3.94 percent

Japanese Funds performed the best +12.09 percent

Latin American Funds, the worst -29.71 percent

Find all of Lipper’s weekly performance figures on both stock and fixed-income funds at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.


The performances of Exchanged-traded funds (ETFs) and Exchanged-traded notes (ETNs) in 2015 can’t be overlooked. Here are some figures from ETF Hub:

-NASDAQ (QQQ) +9.8 percent

-S&P500 (SPY) +1.3 percent

-DJIA (DIA) +0.1 percent

-US Dollar (UUP) +6 percent

More ETF and ETN performance figures at http://seekingalpha.com/insight/etf-hub/asset_class_performance/key_markets

     •In today’s America, finding a working guy isn’t all that easy.

According to MyBudget360.com, around 94.5 million folks aren’t in the labor force and the lion’s shares of them are men. Oh my.

From that same source:” Those “not in the labor force” remains at a record level and this cannot be explained away simply by shifting demographics. Demographics alone is a convenient explanation for this large number but unfortunately only explains part of the large number of Americans not being included in the labor force. We have many going to college but as it turns out, not all colleges and degrees are created equal although most universities charge premium tuition. You also have many wanting a job but not being able to find one. …”

  • No matter what, be happy.

No matter what kind of market returns 2015 brought you, and whether you’re working or not, it’s always good for our psyche’s to be happy. In case that’s been a challenge, here are four  things the pros say to do to  remedy that.

According to TIME magazine, and a story titled “4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According to Neuroscience”, here is  what brain research says to do to make you happy. They do not include puffing on a fat one or sucking down a case of anything:

  1. Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  2. Label those negative emotions. Give it/them a name and your brain won’t be so bothered by them.
  3. Decide to go  for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.  (I’m going to add gingerly here…as we’re not talking perv touching of any sort. Just good old-fashioned hugging.)

To make sure you get it, read the full happy story at: http://time.com/4042834/neuroscience-happy-rituals/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter



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