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So About that Russian ETF Thing…

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Over the past 8 years, I've made a lot of calls here. Some have turned out very good (buying Facebook stock under $20) and some not so good. Then there's a whole other level that's 5 miles below the not-so-good, that's downright ugly.

It's not always to admit it, but sometimes I just have to count how many eggs I can fit on my face.

In early August I made a case that now might be the time to invest in Russian ETFs. The ETF that I suggested was Ticker:RSX. It is is only down 40% since I wrote about it. I invested in it too, but not that much.

Yep, so that's a 40% loss of money. I feel like I should probably have some kind of reaction to this as it isn't typical. I'm trying to feel something (other than empathy for the Russian people). On the investment level, I'm thinking, "It's in a retirement account that I don't plan to touch for 30 years. I am fairly sure the country will figure it out by then."

And then I used dollar cost averaging to buy more shares during yesterday's collapse. That made me feel something... made me feel quite a bit. I got anxious. Here's a country in a perfect storm of having half its economy (oil) drastically devalued. It's getting trade sanctions from the US and Europe for their handling of the Ukraine situation. The Ruble has fallen faster than Johnny Manziel's career. (Too early? Should I have gone with Tim Tebow?) And I'm fairly sure they haven't recovered from Rocky beating Drago in 1985.

I'd say I summoned all my chutzpah to make the move, but it was probably closer to my stupidity. And where it goes from here will be dependent on factors I don't control and luck. (This article is not turning into the pep talk as I had hoped.)

It's interesting to look at the markets as I wake up today. In 24 hours, the ETF has been up around 10-12% from where I bought yesterday. It isn't nearly enough to wipe out the losses, but I'm now "only" about a 20% gain from breaking even. If they right the ship even a little bit, I think they could get there fairly quickly. If it were possible to get Putin to swallow his pride and work out some kind of deal with the Ukraine, the stock would probably skyrocket. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that one. And things could still take a turn for the worse.

Today there's something even more than Russia interesting on my short 15-stock list. Remember when I wrote, Should You Invest in Frontier Markets? It seems the answer to that question should have been, "Not right now..." It's down nearly 10% today. That's fairly surprising for an index fund that is diversified in a couple dozen countries. It is highly weighted towards Quwait and best I can tell they found some new oil there. You'd think that would be a good thing, but in a world of cheap oil, perhaps the last thing need is... more oil.

The secret is what's in this Barron's article. Many of the countries in there, like Russia, export a lot of oil.

This should be a great lesson in diversification. Even diversifying across many countries can fall victim if one commodity, like oil for example, plummets. The other lesson is that, although I spent over 500 words writing about these two holdings, they combine to be about 3% of my investment accounts... and far less in terms of net worth.

Diversification taketh away, but diversification also giveth. I like it a lot better in that order.

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Introspection, Investing

Posted on December 17, 2014.

Time to Start Buying Oil?

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I hope your holiday season is going well. If it’s anything like mine, it is busy, busy, busy. That’s why you’ve seen fewer articles than usual here. I’m also trying to take advantage of the low expectations of the holiday season to reflect on the things that are really important. In November, the family slipped […]

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Investing

Posted on December 15, 2014.

Lazy Man’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

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For years now I’ve done gift guides around this time of year. I always hope to get them out earlier, but much like my Christmas shopping, it seems to drag on until just about the last minute. When I first started creating gift guides, I struggled with whether to recommend the $400 GPS or the […]

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Spending

Posted on December 11, 2014.

How to Get Clean, Purified Water (at The Best Price)

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Normally, I’d have my holiday gift guide ready for readers today. However, I’ve been sucked into drama on my “Is Home Depot’s Water Test from RainSoft a Scam?” article from almost 18 months ago. If you stick through this, I’ll give you details on a great, unrelated deal that’s 65% off of what I personally […]

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Consumer Battles

Posted on December 9, 2014.

Odds and Ends – 12/4/2014

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I thought I’d try something new today. It’s an article of a few things I’ve been thinking lately. Each of these are a little too long for Twitter, but not long enough to be their own article. So let’s dig in: Money Magazine’s December 2014 I love Money magazine and it is often inspires my […]

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Odds and Ends

Last updated on December 19, 2014.

Things I Like: Amazon Fire TV Stick

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It seems like has been forever since I’ve done a “Things I Like” article. I did a quick search and the last one was my NutriBullet Super Blender nearly 18 months ago. Fortunately, a deserving product showed up at my door a couple of days ago: the Amazon Fire TV Stick. I like my tech […]

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Product Review

Posted on December 3, 2014.

Save Money on Drinks with SodaStream

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[Editor’s Note: As I was writing this article, SodaStream emailed me with a couple of Cyber Monday deals. All SodaStreams are 20% off with free shipping. There’s also a deal that if you buy 2 you get one free (good for gift giving). Finally, their outlet store has everything 50% off. Just go to SodaStream’s […]

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Save Money On...

Posted on December 1, 2014.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Like your typical Thanksgiving leftovers, this post is a bit of a mix of many small items. I wish I could make it as great as real Thanksgiving leftovers, but that’s a goal too lofty. Music Deal of the Century Let’s start with dessert first. What if you could build an entire music collection of […]

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About / Admin, Announcements

Posted on November 29, 2014.

To Get a New Television or Not on Black Friday

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Yesterday I gave some advice to those thinking about buying a television on Black Friday this year. The conclusion I came to was, that for most people, it makes more sense to wait for bigger 4K televisions (where the resolution will matter) and OLED. However, I left open the possibility for those with smaller or […]

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Spending

Posted on November 25, 2014.

Getting a Television on Black Friday? Read This First.

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To get a television or not? That is the question. Just two months ago, I wrote about the next television revolution which combines two upcoming technologies OLED and 4K. OLED is a huge improvement for everyone with typical 1080P televisions (yes even those with plasmas). We’ll get to it in a bit, but 4K isn’t […]

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Smart Purchases, Spending

Posted on November 24, 2014.

 
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