BEAR IN MIND

The "Bear in Mind" blog project is meant to be my outlet to put thoughts of all aspects of my life into a digital form.

 

You'll find a wide array of content here as I write whatever is on my mind from my family, to different passion points, to how I go about my career in the world of digital advertising, and more!

 

All thoughts are my own. :)

Come with me on a new unknown where I dive into the world of investing. I'm by no means an expert, but while we are in these low market times I thought it would be something to take a look into and actively start learning about. Here are all my notes I've pulled together as I jump into this crazy information.


What is a Mutual Fund?


It's an investment strategy with a "portfolio" of stocks, bonds, and other securities. Think of it as buying little crumbs from a pie that a company owns, but you're buying crumbs from lots of different pies and it all sits in one basket. The benefit of this strategy is that because it consists of a group of assets when one company goes bankrupt or is not performing well and the stock goes down, there's a way to offset this loss with the overall group of assets. This type of "diversification" gives the investment more flexibility and basically makes it less risky than other strategies like directly investing into stocks with one company.


Mutual funds are managed by a team of investment managers and research analysts. They decide what to change within the fund and optimize performance based on the objective in place. Due to this 3rd party management, mutual funds incur fees. This is typically known as an expense ratio and it's a small percentage of your shares.


How is a Mutual Fund priced?


You need to look at 2 values that are computed daily:


  • Net asset value (NAV): This tells you how much it costs for one share of the mutual fund. This is the price you receive if you were to sell. To calculate this amount, you need to add up all the assets, subtract the liabilities, and finally divide by all the number of shares owned by the public.

  • Public offering price (POP): It takes money for someone to run a mutual fund. POP is the cost a person would have to spend to purchase the mutual fund which contains a sales charge, aka a "sales load". A sales load typically ranges from 0% to 8.5% of the POP.


Therefore, POP = NAV + sales load!


How to Choose the Right Mutual Fund?


1. Determine your objective: Are you in this for the long haul or the short term, or maybe somewhere in between? Think of this like a 5 year, 15-20 year, or 30+ year investment and when you're willing to pull out the funds. The longer time you plan to invest, the more likely you can tolerate risk. For myself, I'm in this for the long haul so I can take on more risk.


2. Match your goal to the investment objective: Essentially there are 4 objectives that a mutual fund can take.

  • "Growth and Income" which consists of large companies (large cap) like Apple. These are consistent and low risk.

  • "Growth" which has stocks made up of growing companies (mid to large cap) and add a bit more risk.

  • "Aggressive Growth" has the highest possible return, but also the riskiest with small cap companies.

  • "International" which provides a way to spread your risk beyond the US and invest in big foreign companies.


3. Research, Research, Research: This is honestly the hardest part, with thousands of mutual funds, it's hard to trim down your options. I have a Morningstar subscription which is an online screening tool and provides a compilation of data and insights to inform you. I may have to do another blog post on just navigating this tool, it's super comprehensive, but for now, I'll give you a quick gist of what to look at and the definitions.


  • Expense Ratio: This is the percentage amount you'll need to pay for a fund's annual operating expense. These typically range from 0% to 1%. Obviously the lower this fee percentage is, the better!

  • Sales Load: As mentioned in the pricing, there is often a sales load added in when buying (front-end load) and selling (back-end load). These are commissions paid to third parties.

  • Category/Investment Style: Basically, now you can match your objective and investment objective to this parameter. It will tell you what types of companies the fund consists of and where it intends to invest.

  • Trailing 12 Month Yield (TTM Yield): This is where the money is at! It refers to the percentage of income a fund returned over the past 12 months. The higher the percentage, the better return you're getting back.

  • Turnover: Refers to the fund's trading activity within a year. A low turnover percentage (20% - 30%) tells you the fund has a buy-and-hold strategy, while a high turnover percentage (more than 100%) means the fund has a very fluid strategy of buying and selling assets. Typically really aggressive mutual funds have a higher turnover.


4. Check Past Performance: This is an obvious one that most people tend to look at as you want a fund that has a history of strong returns aka the track record, but it's not all about the fund's historical performance. You also need to look at who manages it. Review the manager's experience extensively and check if they have also had their net worth invested in the same fund.


Next up, I'll be putting these 4 steps into practice! Wish me luck and happy investing!












6 weeks. That's roughly the amount of time that I will become a mother to a newborn baby girl. Each week that passes by, I reflect and panic rushes through my head. I'm excited, of course, but I also begin to think about how I'm not ready. One thing that does put aside the anxiety is knowing my husband, Ken, is here next to me on this journey to create a family. He will be a great father, I just know it and it will be so natural for him whereas for myself I think I will struggle at first. I hold myself to high standards, and I need to understand how there's a lack of control going forward and it's okay.


This brings me to why I wanted to put together promises I hope to keep for Kaylee, it will a foundation for myself as I enter motherhood. These are my promises:


1. I promise to be patient and let you learn to be who you want to be. You are the maker of your own destiny. I'm only here to guide you through this adventure called life where I have to remember to sit in the backseat but provide advice wherever possible.


2. I promise to make as many sacrifices as necessary to help you succeed. I will always put you first. If money is strapped, or we're in a place that puts our family under some hardships - you will be at the center of it where I will make sure you still have similar or more opportunities than I did.


3. I promise to substantiate your feelings. I don't process my own feelings well, and empathy has always been hard for me, but I will actively work on this. I want you to be able to come to me with anything on your mind and know at the end of the day, I am your mother and I do not judge.


4. I promise to instill confidence in you. My parents did this with me, and I can tell you confidence goes a long way. I was very shy as a child, and it took a lot to open me up and have myself be comfortable in my own skin. You should never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Confidence is key in being who you are, and building relationships with others.


5. I promise to teach you (not just at the beginning, but throughout my lifetime with you). Teach you the values and morals that make a person kind. Teach you to open your imagination to creativity. Teach you skills to grow your knowledge. And most importantly, teach you to challenge yourself and never give up as cheesy as it sounds. You should always be striving to self-improve with a positive mindset.


6. I promise to discipline you fairly. There are always consequences to wrong actions, and it's my duty as a mother to make sure you understand what is considered wrong. We'll disagree I'm sure of it, however, please remember I only discipline to do what's best for you.


7. I promise to be there for you for all your big moments or the ones you care deeply about. Moments are fleeting, and I want to be a part of those memories. I will always make time for you and I want you to see me as your biggest cheerleader.

8. I promise to love you and show you how to love others. Ken and I say we love each other daily (sappy, I know!), but that kind of affirmation reminds you to appreciate who you have in your life and reinforce there's an invisible bond that lives strongly between humans. Love is what gives our lives purpose.


With these promises, I want to be the best mother I can be.


Kaylee, you're almost here. Your dad and I can't wait to meet you.




With this being a never before experience long period of self isolation time due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and myself being a high risk as I'm in the third trimester of pregnancy, I've been looking to fill my day with new things to do outside of my typical routine. It has not been easy, but I wanted to share what I've been doing to keep me sane. (These aren't hard or fast rules)


1. Create Daily To Do Lists


This is the biggest piece advice that I highly recommend. Typically I take the night before the next day to think about how I want to prioritize my schedule. It lets me brainstorm the best way to keep myself productive in a positive way. These to do lists can consist of different chores, tasks, exercise, and entertainment. I usually have a combination of all of these in order to get a bit of variety throughout the day, and at the end I feel fairly accomplished. Nothing's worse than feeling like you let a day just pass you by.


I keep track of my work tasks with a very thick planner, while on the weekends I resort to using my phone and the reminder app as I'm more on the move. Both these methods can be used together, although it could be duplicative effort, I have found that writing things down has kept me accountable and I take pride to see what I've crossed off my lists.


2. Find Ways to Self Improve


This may sound like assigning yourself unwanted homework, but you have to think about it in the perspective of improving yourself beyond your current knowledge base. For instance, I like to broaden my digital technical skills completing different certifications related to my job, or I take some baby care online courses to help me prepare for motherhood, and finally I've started to find new creative skills to hone on (like this blog!) Self improvement goes a long way. You might need to wrangle some motivation, and it's definitely hard for myself, but I want this to become a lifestyle habit of mine.


3. Practice Self Care with Health and Mind


Next up, caring for your health and your mind. Before quarantine, I was an avid hiker and loved to explore new parks and places on the weekends. Now, I've been forced to change this up. During the weekday mornings, I've taken up daily prenatal yoga routines and a 15 minute meditation sesh to start my day fresh minded. Then during the day, I schedule in breaks to walk around my house with a chore or even take 15 minutes to indoor cycle on a bike. Finally, if the weather permits I try end the day at least 3 times a week with a 40 minute walk around my neighborhood. All of this moving around will get your blood moving and take your mind off things. I even schedule a call during an outdoor walk to connect with an old friend as it gives me a chance to maintain relationships. Self care is important and should be a high priority to upkeep.


4. Find Ways to Entertain Yourself


Of course, don't forget to relax, chill, and unwind a little bit. This could be crafting, puzzling, or for myself I spend a lot of time playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch and watch some new TV shows or movies. I think the one thing to make sure you don't do on this one is spend too much time here. You can easily binge watch a whole TV show season in day, or get carried away on a game for many hours. When you over do this last one, you'll quickly realize this is quite the way to be positive in your productivity.


These 4 everyday actions can and will help you. It's all about finding the right balance, and actually going through with it - I swear by it. Hopefully by the end of this quarantine, you can say you kept yourself busy and you were able to adapt your lifestyle for the better. :)