How many Tinas do you have in your life? I have a couple in real life, but I hadn’t had much interaction with them due to COVID-19. Instead, they’ve been replaced by three new Tinas. Two, I will briefly mention, but the third Tina is what we are all here to focus on today.
Giratina is one of almost a thousand Pokemon. The kids love Pokemon. We recently watched a movie starting this character. It’s one of the more important Pokemon in their Pokemon Go games.
Each Pokemon has its own brief description and fittingly, Giratina’s is, “This Pokémon is said to live in a world on the reverse side of ours, where common knowledge is distorted and strange.”
Sometime during COVID (no one knows the timing for sure because time ceased to exist), Cartoon Network inked a deal to show one million episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball. That last fact is probably not true, but it would seem true if you had kids who were a fan of the network as they grew out of Nickelodeon, PBS, and Disney.
Tina Rex, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, is a side character in the show. She’s the school’s bully.
You didn’t come here to read about cartoon Tinas. You (hopefully) didn’t even come here to read about bullying or living in a world where common knowledge is distorted and strange. We’ve got enough of that in 2020, right?
Maybe you’ll be more interested in my investing friend, TINA:
There Is No Alternative
While “There Is No Alternative” can be used in many different contexts, it’s often been used in the investing markets.
Loosely, it means that one has to deal with a sub-optimal asset allocation of investing because other investments aren’t very viable or unappealing. For example, putting money in a savings bank for a number of years hasn’t paid very much interest. Many 2-year Certificate of Deposit rates earn about 0.75%. That’s far less than the typical annual inflation.
Interest rates in bonds are down too. My go-to bond fund is the Vanguard ETF (BND). It’s paying a 1.16% SEC yield. I don’t completely understand the bond markets, but from what I do understand it seems like a very bad time for them as well.
You can look at alternative investments. Gold is up 27% this year. It’s close or at its all-time highs. Bitcoin is also close or at all-time highs. Real estate may be an option, but buying physical houses is competitive with all-time low mortgage rates. REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) may be better, but I’m worried about the long-term effect of the lockdown. It’s not an easy time to be asking people or businesses to pay their rent on time.
You could invest in commodities. However, earlier this year the value of oil went negative. It cost more to store oil than get someone to buy it from you to use it. It’s still a messy situation and will probably continue to be one until travel picks up.
That leaves stocks. The S&P 500 is hitting new highs. Markets internationally are doing well too. Everything almost seems to be at highs. There are some stocks that are still in difficult shape. For example, airlines and cruise ships are notably not doing well. However, they aren’t doing as bad as they used to be. Many have anticipated travel to ramp up around the middle of 2021 with better weather, vaccines, and leaders looking to take charge.
As I look at my portfolio, I see a true TINA situation. I have investment games of 20% this year, which has been compounding on investment games from the previous 10 years. I want to be more conservative because these markets scare me. However, it’s hard for me to go to investments with so little upside.
I look at the markets like it’s a Magic Eye poster waiting for the perfect answer to appear. The closest I’ve come are the solutions in my recent article about income investing. I’ve been steadily moving more investments more to dividend funds. For now, that’s about the best I can do to feel a little safer. Other people may find paying off their mortgages to produce a better return. A rational person would tell me to stop looking at the markets and my portfolio and do something to bring in more money. (So far efforts to bring in more money haven’t worked out very well.)
Is anyone else looking at their investments and thinking, “Where do we go from here?”
P.S. I should have mentioned this TINA I love, but it didn’t fit with the article.