Financial Samurai Goals And Predictions For 2016

Happy New Year everyone! It's time for my goals and predictions for 2016. As always, the New Year brings a bunch of hope and excitement. Too bad I think 2016 is going to be a whole lot of nothing if you're depending on the stock market or real estate market to boost your wealth!

I sincerely wish everybody reading Financial Samurai upgrades their side hustle engine from a two stroke to a rumbling V8 because we're all going to need to do more. Every year end I put together a year in review post and follow up with an outlook of the new year. Thus, I'm presenting my goals and predictions for 2016 today.

Goals And Predictions for 2016

I've listed out 15 measurable goals I'd like to achieve, and I've also offered up five predictions for 2016. Some of you might spit out your milk with my last prediction, so it's best you not eat anything while reading.



1) Test out a new layout for FS so that more articles can be seen above the fold.

My current design is going on its third year and I'd like to try a new design with at least one more column to show more posts above the fold. I think it will be useful for publishing my usual long form pieces plus publish more current event / short form posts. With the new layout, I won't feel bad publishing more because at least two articles will stay above the fold at the same time.

2) Produce another FS product e.g. book, course, subscription product. 

The easiest thing I can do is write a new book each year and publish it under the Financial Samurai brand. I've got a lot to say on real estate, early retirement, building a lifestyle business, and adventures on Wall Street. The key will be to pace myself. Otherwise, I'll feel overwhelmed and accomplish nothing. It takes courage to put myself out there when I write goals and predictions for 2016 and every other year. Most people don't make their own public, but I find doing so pushes me further.

3) Inject more humor. I used to be funny once, I swear! But the fun posts such as, How To Get Girls If You Live At Home With Mom And Dad and Stay At Home Men Of The World, UNITE!, have all but gone away for more serious subjects. What happened? I donno. My goal is to poke fun at more serious trends while offering some solutions as well. Feel free to let me know what other categories you'd like me to write more about.

4) Open up a digital wealth management (roboadvisor) account and publish its performance. 

Digital wealth advisors are all finally going mainstream now that they each manage billions of dollars. They're cheap (0.25% or less), automated, and do tax loss harvesting, which is all most of us really need. I'm often a mid-stage adopter of technology because 1) I don't know whether they will be around long enough to make the effort (MP3 players anyone), 2) I like to see how industry dynamics, competition, and user feedback plays out, and 3) I tend to get lazy and want to keep things simple.

Given Wealthfront is based here in San Francisco, was one of the first digital wealth advisor founded in 2011, and manages the first $10,000 for free, I'm going to start with them. If things go well over the next year, I will definitely consider allocating a larger slug of my passive index portfolio to them in the future. I think there is a real opportunity for many of these pure robos to help millions of people mobilize their underutilized cash. I've got over $550,000 in CDs expiring in the next two to three years which needs to find a home. My hope is that Wealthfront is it.

Finally, one of the biggest mysteries with the roboadvisors is that I can't easily find the actual performance of these roboadvisory offerings. I plan to fix that by just publishing my own performance every month or quarter and comparing it to several indices. When it comes to making public goals and predictions for 2016 and beyond, it takes courage. Outperform or underperform, there is nowhere to hide!

5) Focus on profitability, rather than growth. 

It seems obvious that many private companies will fail in 2016 because they aren't profitable. The only reason they continue to exist is because of new funding. I've spoken to several insiders from private companies which have had Series C or D funding rounds. These companies have at most 18 months of runway at current burn rates before they will have to raise again or shut down. Now imagine what the runways are like for Seed, Series A, and Series B companies. Things are getting dicy.

After experiencing a ~50% increase in operating profit in 2015, I would love to see another 15% profit increase in 2016. However, based on current trends, there's over a 50% chance my business will see negative growth in 2016. Thus, if I'm to meet a positive operating profit goal, I'll have to hustle and find new partnerships with businesses which have great products (e.g. PolicyGenius for life insurance), plus produce new products on my own (e.g. a new FS book on real estate investing).

My plan is to build out the following categories: Insurance, Investing, Automobiles, and P2P Lending. It's important to diversify my article topics and create more depth in each category. Retirement continues to be my most important category, which I will continue to write about at least once a quarter.


6) Live in Asia for one month. Target locations: Chiang Mai, Beijing, Taipei, Saigon.

I had such a blast visiting Asia for 3.5 weeks in 2015, that I want to try some digital nomad living by living and working overseas for at least a month. Between 2011 – 2014 I went to Europe for two plus weeks a year, so it's time to focus on Asia, and then perhaps South America. I realized my happiest times are when I'm actually fully utilizing my freedom by traveling. It's nice to work from home in San Francisco, but working from home is no longer something special.

7) Finish the deck off the master bedroom and do some landscaping to improve curb appeal.

Instead of creating a 700 sqft extension to my home for ~$200,000, I'd rather just build a nice 130 sqft deck off my master bedroom for < $30,000. Less stress, less money, happier life! Almost all the windows in my home have been changed, except for the master bedroom's because I plan on creating sliding doors where the windows currently are.

It will take about three months to get my plans approved from the planning department. During the summer, I'd love to be able to walk outside my bedroom, do some yoga in the morning, and write a post in the afternoon while overlooking the ocean. Not having to do much remodeling anymore is another reason why I really want to start travelling again.

8) Get rid of all the old clothes I haven't worn in over a year.

Downsizing to a smaller house helped me donate at least eight boxes of stuff. Having a bunch of unused inventory really bums me out, especially when I know there are other people in need. And it's not just clothes either, but putting a limit to the amount of new retro tennis shoes and the amount of stuff I buy. Now that I've grown accustomed to my new smaller house, once again, things have begun to accumulate.

9) Attend at least four world class tennis tournaments.

I'm a first class tennis junkie. I can watch for 10 hours in a row. Going to Paris seven years ago to watch the French Open and being a tourist was just wonderful. I long to go back and visit the museums, walk the streets, and eat the baguettes. Attending Wimbledon in 2014 to watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play on center court with better seats than the Royal Box was amazing! I definitely plan to go back to the US Open in NYC because my sister and nephew are there as well.

10) End the year at under 163 lbs while winning at least two 5.0 level tennis matches. 

It's much easier to stay in shape if there's a purpose. Break up with your significant other if you want to get in the best shape of your life! My purpose is to join a better 5.0 team and win a couple legit 5.0 level matches. 2015 was the first year I was a 5.0, so as a result, I ended up playing with a bunch of 4.5s and newly promoted 5.0s.

A weight of 163 lbs at 5'10” is just about right for my frame, with an upper bound limit of 168 lbs. After visiting my doctor about sleep apnea, and discovering there is a tight correlation with weight gain and sleep apnea, I've decided to get down to 155 lbs instead!

Related: The Ideal Body Weight Pisses Me Off: Time To Get Back In Shape!


11) Don't go back to work full-time unless the work AND pay are amazing. 

Each year for the past three years I've been able to find work with interesting new companies as a consultant. 2016 will be no exception. I plan to look outside of fintech because I've had enough. I attended too many fintech startup meetups, parties, and presentations in 2015.

At least I was able to write some interesting posts such as, Advice To Startup Employees: Sleep With One Eye Open, when I discovered how poorly the vast majority of startup employees are getting compensated. I'd love to bring new insights into a different industry for 2016. I'm thinking about fashion, fitness, and retail. Industries that are completely out of my wheel house!

12) Increase net worth by $500,000.

2016 is going to be a difficult year for the stock market and real estate market. As a result, I can't count on my investments providing any increase in net worth. In fact, I'm bracing for at least a $300,000 decline in my asset values in 2016. As a result, I plan to increase my net worth through a 60%+ after-tax savings rate, defending my business income from no more than a 20% decline, and potentially new consulting opportunities. My plan is to track my net worth as usual with Personal Capital's free financial tools. I've taken a snapshot of my net worth on Jan 1, 2016, and will measure the progress every single month to make sure I'm on track!

13) Finally achieve my $200,000 a year passive income goal. Although I will be a year late at reaching my goal, it's better late than never. Rents on two properties are going up per my contracts, I've got a new rideshare referral program generating $500 – $800/month, and my severance negotiation book sales have also ticked up by ~$200 a month due to a new edition and an increase in price. If I can successfully publish a new book in 2016, I don't see why I can't achieve my goal. Here is my latest passive income details.

14) Start hacking away at my vacation property mortgage. I plan to pay down at least $20,000 in extra principal to my ~$419,000 Lake Tahoe vacation property mortgage. The mortgage was modified for free by Bank of America from 5.875% down to 4.25% several years ago. 4.25% is not high for a 30-year fixed mortgage, but it is still almost double the risk free rate of return.

I don't plan to be more aggressive because this asset is the largest laggard in my net worth. It might be worth $550,000 from $700,000+, but I'm not sure. It's never good to throw good money after bad, but I think the Lake Tahoe real estate market has finally turned the corner, and I still plan to hold onto the property forever.

15) Set up a new car fund. In two years I'll be 40, and I know I'll have a mid-life crisis then. In two years, the lease on my 2015 Honda Fit coincidentally runs out as well. Given I will go through a mid-life crisis, I should set aside a separate savings account now to pay for the perfect mid-life crisis car, like a Porsche 911.

This car costs about $60,000 second hand. As a result, I've got to put aside roughly $2,500 a month into an online savings account so the money can at least earn 0.75% interest rather than the 0.1% or 0.2% with a bricks and mortar bank. If I don't go through a mid-life crisis, then at least I'll have saved an extra $60,000!


1) The S&P 500 ends down 1.4% excluding dividends.  

Wall Street S&P 500 Stock Market Predictions For 2016

My first of five predictions for 2016 is the S&P will end down 1.4% excluding divs. If we include 2009, we've had a good seven year run since the crisis. Be prepared to be absolutely disappointed with the stock market in 2016.

Valuations are at the upper bound range, earnings growth is slowing, interest rates are rising, and geopolitical uncertainty is heightened. I think there's about a 70% chance the S&P 500 ends negative for the year, so I've created a very defensive Motif portfolio for 2016. A 1.4% decline on a 2,044 Dec 31, 2015 S&P 500 closing price = 2015 target for 2016.

2015 on the S&P 500 is relatively bearish versus consensus S&P 500 target estimates by most Wall Street strategists below. The general range is 2,100 – 2,300 for a 2.6% – 12.5% gain. I'm happy to be wrong! But I'm not going to wait around and see if I want to achieve my +$500,000 net worth goal.

2) The 10-year yield stays under 2.75%.

My second of the predictions for 2016 is the 10-year yield stays under 2.75%. Despite the Fed rate hike, the 10-year yield will continue to stay suppressed because there's a flight away from stocks and towards US Treasuries for safety. I've made a low interest rate environment call for over 10 years, and I maintain my belief that interest rates aren't going up for a very long time.

The Fed could raise interest rates by another 0.75%, and I still don't think the 10-year yield (~2.3%) will be above 2.75%. In other words, the yield curve flattens, and buying Treasuries is not going to be a bad trade for those who want to protect capital.

3) The real estate market slows down drastically, and goes negative in many noncoastal cities.

My third of five predictions for 2016 is a slowdown in real estate. Despite continued low mortgage rates, the hottest real estate markets in the country (SF, San Diego, Denver, NYC, San Diego, Portland) will see a median price increase of less than half the percentage increase seen in 2015, i.e.,  ~4% – 6% instead of 10% – 18%+. Math dictates that without corresponding wage growth, demand shall slow. Supply is also growing as well.

The national median home price increases by 2%, matching the rate of inflation i.e., no real appreciation. Please be in no hurry to buy a home in 2016. Be picky, ask for concessions, make real estate agents lower their 5% commission already! Read: Should I Buy A Home In A Rising Interest Rate Environment

4) Brazil, Gold, and Oil all surprise on the upside. 

My second to last of my predictions for 2016 is we get some upside on Brazil, gold, and oil. Brazil is at a 10 year low. Gold is at a five year low. And WTI is down to $38, a level where it was during the 2009 financial crisis. I see opportunity in all three asset classes, although the trend is down. As a result, I'm nibbling into EWZ (Brazil ETF), GDX (Gold Miners), and refiners like Exxon. In 2016 I will take a dumbbell approach to investing. I will be trying to get roughly 50% of my portfolio in defensive positions like bonds, 40% in the S&P 500 index, and 10% in more speculative, bombed out names like the ones I've mentioned in this prediction. The logical investment trend is to invest in companies that benefit from USD strength and weakness in commodities.

Here's my Motif portfolio with 41% in bonds, and some small positions in the names I mentioned above which are already causing me pain. I like autos and airlines due to low energy costs that allow for lower input costs and higher profits.

Motif 2015 Year End Portfolio And 2016 Portfolio
Started the year with $10,015, ended the year with $10,124 for a 1.15% gain. Tough year!

5) Hilary Clinton wins the US Presidential election. 

My final predictions for 2016 is Hilary wins. Despite Hilary sounding like a robot who reads populist lines from a script to convince the middle class to vote, she goes on to defeat Donald Trump because she captures the majority of minority and female voters on top of all the Democratic voters. While I like that Donald Trump speaks his mind and can't be bought because he's already a billionaire, his rhetoric is too incendiary to capture the majority of voters. For example, Latinos make up roughly 18% of the electorate, maybe more.

To win, candidates really need to be more political by kissing everybody's ass. Donald suffers the same disease as Mitt Romney. Because they are so rich, they just seem too arrogant to understand the math necessary to win a majority. Mitt never understood that winning 100% of the top 10% still loses to Obama winning 30% of the remaining 90%.

I'd love to see a noncareer politician win. Unfortunately, the reason why politicians win is because they are experts at being politicians!


What are some of your goals and predictions for 2016? Are you as pessimistic about the year as I am? I'd love to hear bullish reasons why 2016 will be a great year for stocks, real estate, or other asset classes! Here's a recap of my 2016 year in review if you're curious. It's always fun to set goals and see how things turn out. What are your biggest predictions for 2016?

Above all else, you must focus on what you can control to build wealth. Track your net worth, come up with a financial plan, raise your savings rate, learn all you can about investing, and properly allocate your assets in a risk-adjusted manner. Hustle to generate more income on the side. Don't wait until you are fired or just can't stand your job to begin planning something new. Start today!

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Make one of your goals and predictions for 2016 to end the year in your best financial shape. I bet you can achieve that target if you set your mind to it.

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About The Author

65 thoughts on “Financial Samurai Goals And Predictions For 2016”

  1. Big oops on that last one.

    Still a bit to go, but predictions 1 and 4 aren’t looking good either. What would you do differently in hindsight?

  2. Hey sam, love reading your blog. Now that it’s much later in the year who do you think is going to win the election?

    Anyway, I’m glad that there’s somebody else out there trying to meet their fitness goals. I started the year at 157 and all of my clothes were tight. I’m 5’10” like you, but I have a small frame, so it really shows. I got down to 148 by the summer, but I’ve definitely bounced right back! It’s a constant battle. Oh to have the 28 inch waist of my college days back! Hope your exercise has been better than mine and that you’re at the ever elusive 155!

    1. Hi Aaron, I’m pretty confident that Hillary Clinton will win. It’s just gonna be more of the same, which for an investor is generally a good thing as there Will be less surprises.

      I’m doing a terrible job with my weight and I’m currently at 168 pounds. But I do feel good and I feel like I’ve gained some muscle along with some fat!


  3. Very much admire your depth of financial knowledge! Some of your passages inspired me a lot! We are planning purchasing our first house in Seattle. As you said, the return of renting is zero. Given the stock performance in the first week 2016, I am wondering maybe I should wait. But Seattle area is see huge inflow of people month by month, but the inventory is in historical low. Plus people are afraid of following rate hikes, so the price is pushing up rapidly. Wondering what is your suggestion in such situation! Thank you in advance.

  4. Congratulations Sam… you successfully jinxed the market on the very first trading day of the year no less. . . you are a magician!

    Thanks a lot – ;-)

  5. Ok so I’m decent I guess at saving money but how about spending advice. Dilemma: I’m thinking about trading my car to get a more luxurious car with bells and whistles. I’d be spending an additional $15k, but I drive my car everyday and want to enjoy the experience each time. My question is what level of enjoyment does one have to achieve to justify the proportion of money one spends to attain the enjoyment?

    I know this is subjective and up to the individual but any thoughts are appreciated!

  6. I agree that this is Hillary’s election to lose. I don’t think the Republican party has learned to adapt to the changing demographics of the country and there is too much bickering for any candidate to gain enough traction to get enough of the electorate to defeat her (nominee will probably be Cruz or Jeb). I also think Sanders has the conception of being too far left to have a legitimate chance at the Democratic nomination.

    Agree with your market analysis, for the most part. There is too much global uncertainty and it’s an election year, so I will say S&P takes about a 3% hit this year.

    Even with all of the uncertainty and crony capitalism that is going on, I still believe we all have tons of opportunity to make great strides this year. That’s why we call it personal finance. It’s personal and I’m not dependent on the government to improve my life.

    -Fire Guy

  7. Happy New Year!

    If you need help with the layout, let me know. I’ve recently redesigned, maybe we can work something together as well :)

    Anyway .. goals for this year? Earn more money than the previous year, be more productive and expand my business a little. And, most importantly, spend all the time I can with our daughter.

  8. Great post and very much admire your depth of financial knowledge. Have you looked into any of the Machine Learning based A.I platforms such as Rebellion Research to make decisions ?

  9. Fantastic list of goals – some challenging & some enjoyable. I agree with many of your predictions. Our Sunday paper listed 9 experts predicting the S&P500. Average of the 9 was +8% for the year, so they are more bullish than some. I agree with you on Trump vs Clinton, although I am a conservative. Little reason not to bet on her to win – especially my state: Minnesota. Our early retirement countdown ends this 4/1/16. Leaving MegaCorp (@49) for a life of leisure on April Fool’s Day. Counting down my last 90 days!

  10. No Nonsense Landlord

    Great analysis pf the markets and great goals. I wish my NW would increase by $500K…

  11. I tested out an amount in Wealthfront for a couple of years (I deposited a starter amount in mid-2012, at a ‘high’ tolerance to risk). Their method of calculating the return (time-weighted) apparently meant I was getting an amazing return, but the math on the comparable net return (on a period of time with no deposits or withdrawals) vs an S&P or similar index for the same time period was terrible – so none of the return that an index would provide, and the downside of also paying fees. Just my 2c.

    1. I just discovered that Wealthfront can do monthly automatic contributions. This is perfect for my mid-life crisis fund of $60,000 in two years! I love automated savings and contributions. I’m digging the ease of sign up and transfer of funds so far.

  12. I also believe that 2016 will be more challenging for the Entrepreneurs. And I say that, Modern men entrepreneurs is driven by money and sex. If you don’t belief, I say you have lost the EDGE in todays culture. And the person who lost EDGE his business won’t growing- Depression, Anxiety and anger destroy his inner sprite.

  13. Great post and I could write a lot more but I’ll just say that there are many places in China that are better to stay than Beijing.
    It’s not just the pollution but I find the place is a terrible mess these days (I’ve being going there for 20 years), the traffic is terrible and the metro has far too small a network.
    It really depends on what kind of Chinese experience you want so I’ll not suggest an alternative here.
    Anyway have a great 2016!

  14. Amazing goals and amazing blog. I’m always optimistic about markets that are growing without use of debt (or conservative use of debt). At the moment in Australia, we’re experiencing massive housing bubble. Where I live, houses sell for 900K (4 bedroom, 500 square metres) but the rent is only $500-$600 per week. Please explain…

    Will definitely follow this blog.

  15. Looks like our outlooks are aligned. Beat up oil and gold look undervalued, whereas the S&P has nowhere to go considering earnings. Also, the couple hundred bucks worth of EWZ I bought a few years back sitting at -60% has my attention… but falling knife and all that.

  16. Wow you’ve got some impressive goals for 2016. Can’t wait to hear all about them! I think 2016 will be another great year. The markets probably won’t be all that great, but I plan to hold onto my positions for the long haul. Happy New Year!

  17. If you are open to a little risk, I strongly believe you buy Under Armour right here around $80.00 hand over fist. I know diversification is key, but I am already overly allocated to real estate.

    So go all in on Under Armour (UA) and 2 to 6 months from now you will be crushing the S&P. Maybe add in a little Disney and Facebook stock if you must diversify more.

    Feel free to revisit this and give it to me good if I am wrong.

    Happy New Year!

  18. I would choose to live in Chiang rai over Chiang mai for an extended period. Less tourists and still a gorgeous little city.

      1. Just a couple weeks between the two. And mostly just relaxed, explored the temples and had great food!

  19. Sam,

    I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work you put into Financial Samurai this year. This site inspires, educates, challenges and motivates me on a weekly basis. Also, your commenters I feel are the best of any financial site on the internet. Keep up the good work!!

    Thanks, Bill

    1. No problem Bill! Thanks for reading and sharing. I’m having a lot of fun, and hope to continue for three more years at least until I get to the 10 year mark! I think that’d be a nice milestone.

  20. I see that you mentioned that you would like to stay under 163 lbs for the year. While on the surface, this looks like a good goal (year long weight management), might I suggest an alternative? For your weight management, you could have 2 numbers that you track for your year – your maximum weight and your average weight. Measuing your weight at whatever interval you want (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) you could set the goal of never exceeding a maximum allowable weight while also seeking an average weight. For example, your average weight might be 165lbs for the year and your maximum allowed would be 172 lbs. That way the goal is structured to allow flexibility (up to a maximum) while still helping you shoot for intermediate goals that help you stay on track. How good is our health if we spend all year at an unhealthy weight, just to try to get a healthy weight in the last month? Setting tolerances helps keep us on track.

    1. Sure let’s sounds good to me. My upper weight limit is 170, after that I feel pretty bad about myself and about my movement. I would ideally like to get below 160 pounds but knowing me it’s just not possible.

      The older I get the more I want to just maintain a 162-165 pound weight range.

      1. Hello,

        I am curious as to your height. A lot of folks use BMI to set their ideal weight, but since everyone is different I am not sure that it is the best way.

        I am 5’9- 190lb and borderline obese according to BMI. I have a medium build and a heavy lower body due to my previous life as an aspiring athlete, but 180 is my goal for 2016.


          1. Man I have some real weight losing to do.

            I played baseball growing up and during my early adult years. I now play basketball to get my cardio in and try to hit the gym 3 times a week. Played a little tennis early on, but it is such a grueling sport. (Still awesome.)

  21. Mr. Frugal In AR

    A couple of ideas/questions:

    1. Have you considered reducing your liquidity risk on the vacation mortgage by creating a goal account at a roboadvisor with a steep glide-path to payoff? When the account equals principal, payoff in full. Consider any negative difference in return/interest rate as liquidity risk insurance.

    2. Have you considered the roboadvisor route for that car goal as well? Just invest conservatively/defensively. Liquidate the assets for car purchase and/or mortgage payoff. If markets are off at the particular time, wait 1yr – 18mo.

  22. Your outlook for 2016 is about par with most analysts. It also fits in with what I see though I’m not a fan of predictions. That is because predictions are seldom accurate but I know there is no fun in saying “I don’t know where we’ll be at the end of the year”. The reason it is dangerous not to play is because many great years have come out of early bearish sentiment. It doesn’t hurt to make moderate adjustments in your investments but don’t mess with the stock market or it’ll bite you. I like to be cautiously optimistic and I like your attitude of making changes in your income seeking efforts with the expectation that things will be bad because if they aren’t then you’ll be even better off.

    1. Most analysts have bullish 2016 predictions. I’m bearish, and have adjusted my investments accordingly and will be much more judicious about investing new money.

      I can easily see a scenario where we’ve gone nowhere but down , and having huge stacks of cash earning 2.5% will feel wonderful.

      1. Where do you get your news all I read is a flat year ahead and more of the same. By the way, I did get my mid-life crisis car a few years back after 4 Honda Civics (2 used) and 1 Toyota Sienna Minivan. Bought a used (3yrs) Porsche Cayman with low miles for $43k. The desire for a sports car came very suddenly out of the blue, never had an interest in a high-end car. It’s mostly out of my system by now. I’d certainly be better off financially without it but I’ll keep it for now since it is fun to drive and I need to live a little.

        1. I’ve updated the post with various Wall Street Strategist predictions for the S&P 500 for 2016. With a 1.4% decline, I’m at 2015. Consensus ranges from 2,100 – 2,300, so much more bullish than me as that is a 2.6% – 12.5% gain from current levels.

          Where are you seeing all the similarly bearish views? Please share your predictions as well. Thanks!

  23. Adam @

    Great list of goals and predictions. I personally hope you are right on the oil front (for somebody in Houston).

    All I know is that I don’t know what is going to happen, so I’ll just keep up my steady index and dividend value investing, keep my expenses and debt low, and keep diversifying and increasing my various income streams.

  24. Trump admires FDR for the Japanese-American internment/concentration camps and may bring those back for religious minorities. I don’t care if I hate the Economics of every other politician, I would never vote for someone who threatens my civil rights.

    1. Like I said, Trump is a little too incendiary in rhetoric at the moment to gain a majority of votes. It will be see if he becomes more of a politician once he wins the Republican ticket.

    2. I think the media has very much overplayed Trumps position on civil rights. Trump suggested we do what Jimmy Carter did in the 70s with Iran. FDR literally rounded up US citizens and confiscated their property and held them against their will. A lot of people believe all civil rights of the US government extend to non-citizens but that is not the case, especially ones not already in the US. Not to mention, in order to get things passed, even if Trump was that way, he’d need 51% of congress, 60% of the senate, and at least 5 USSC justices simultaneously to side with him which is to say it will never happen.

      1. Last time I checked, the US constitution applies to US citizens…FYI, most of the people FDR put in those camps were US citizens. The fact that Trump thinks highly of these actions should terrify any American. A threat to civil rights for one group is a threat to all. And if Congress and the Supreme Court let FDR imprison US citizens in the 1940s, it could easily let it happen again. Justice Scalia was asked during a speech in Hawaii a few years go if any law on the books could prevent future internment and he said no.

        1. I don’t want to get too off-topic here but 1) I believe you are miss-representing Trump’s comment about FDR 2) Why vote for any politician then? The patriot act, Guantanamo, nearly every crazy drug law we have on the books, imminent domain, etc that both parties strongly support (or at least now that both a R and a D have been president with them) I’ll posit are far worse for civil liberties than temporarily banning a small portion of the population of non-citizens from coming to the USA. Wikileaks and Julian Assange I think have provided us unequivocal proof that both parties care nothing about civil liberties. Democrats somewhat stood up to Bush at first on them but now that a Democrat is in power there has been nary a peep at repealing them (in fact, most have been expanded).

  25. Gen Y Finance Guy

    The predictions I have are:

    1 – There will still be plenty of opportunities for the Hustler to increase income and Net Worth.

    2 – CASH will reign as King once again. As I write this my brokerage accounts are sitting in about 80% cash and are up 4% with the S&P 500 down -0.6%, my accounts in total are up 4.6% for a 5.2% out performance.

    3 – Volatility will come visit and say longer than most would like…kind of like a mother in-law that over stays her visit. I will embrace this with open arms, because this is where my preferred method of selling options shines.

    4 – I will earn a VP title by the end of 2016.

    5 – We will see 0% fed funds rate before we see 1%.

    6 – We will officially enter a recession sometime in 2016.

    7 – Oil dips below $30/bbl before reversing trend.


      1. Gen Y Finance Guy

        Steak dinner and alcohol just for taking the other side and being right is good as is.

        If you want the appetizer you will need to have a prediction of where the federal funds rate end by year end and get that one right.

        1. To me, the Fed Funds rate matters less than the 10-year government bond yield, as that drives mortgage borrowing costs. I predicted under 2.75% for the year, while so many Wall St. economists are calling for over 3%. Does that count?

          If not, then I will predict a cumulative total rate hike of 0.75% in the Fed Funds for 2016 to 1%.

  26. Any other emerging market funds you recommend other than Brazil for a recovery? As for the US market I’m semi moderate on the returns for next year due to this year being slightly down. Definitely don’t think we will see double digit returns for a long time. But I am expecting other up coming markets to be bullish. I mean the money is going some where, the money is there and it will shift to other areas and asset classes. I suppose we don’t really know. I am going to focus on increasing my p2p investments. Sam, what do you think about the real estate crowd funding platforms? Such names as realtyshares, realty mogul, fundrise, patch of land and quite a few others that offer debt and equity investments for as low as 5k a deal. If your in Thailand ever let me know as I am usually there 2-3 months out of the year. Have a great 2016, I will be on the look out for more. The only mild stone I hit this year was reaching over 500k in net worth by age 30. If I can increase my net worth another 100k plus for 2016 I would be very pleased. With new money in and even a flat market I see this as a possibility. Either way I am in it for the long haul!

    1. Given I think there will be a drastic slowdown in real estate returns in the US in 2016, I say why bother with real estate crowd funding platforms. The beauty of real estate is in having a real asset with tax benefits and control over rents. Buying REITs and investing money in a RE crowd funding platform loses a lot of the RE investing benefits.

      I need to be sold on these platforms. And right now, I’m not.

      What do you do and what are you doing in Thailand 2-3 months a year? Sounds pretty sweet!

  27. I’ll bet against Hillary winning (I think the anti-DC sentiment is pretty strong among the middle 35% of the country and Hillary just isn’t very likable anyway) and oil rebounding (at least for the first 9 months of the year) but otherwise lean towards your predictions.

      1. That’s the problem. I also think Hillary has a lot to prove before most Americans (me included) would vote for her — but who else is there? (I’m not a big Trump fan.)
        Ted Cruz, maybe…just not sure.

        1. All are too far off the reservation to win a national election. At least you know what you get with Hilary will be the mindset. People seem to forget that a national election with its huge democratic lean and higher than average turnout (which gives more of the US actual preferences, which are decidedly more liberal) are very much at odds with the current republican candidate system. They have to be so polarized to win their primaries and nomination, and then stick to it to not seem fake that they almost assure they have a small chance of winning nationally.

          Just because the narrative we hear all the time is more balanced and conservative, doesnt mean that actually represents the populations views. The only real issue in favor of a R now is that its usual for americans to vote the opposite than the last two terms, but then you’d have R in control of everything and that could be a disaster.

  28. Great post, it will be interesting to see what 2016 has in store for us… Specially looking forward for your roboadviser play, however, it would be more interesting if you could open accounts in a few of them and compare them. I understand that it might be a bit too much, but for the sake of knowledge! I am sure that you know all the roboadvisers in the space, but I would like to see your thoughts in Sigfig, Betterment, Wealthfront, Wisebanyan, and maybe some internationals such as Nutmeg, or Swanest. Last thing… Is there any reasoning behind the three long plays (Gold, Oil, and Brazil), or you just feel that these are cheap levels? Gold, I think, is one of the hardest financial assets to forecast, Brazil too dependent in uncertain developments (and oil), and finally the oil market looks rather bearish taking into account the actions that Saudi Arabia is performing at the moment in order to allow the price to be even lower for a long period of time without going bust. Iran is also joining the oversupply. Not only this, the cash cost of most oil producers sits well below 30, so there is more room for lower prices. I would like to know what are those catalysts that you see that will put upward pressure in oil while we are not only having oversupply, but the onshore storage is starting to get quite full… Thank you for this high quality blog!

    1. For the roboadvisors, you might as well go with the largest, most funded, and oldest one. I’m sure Betterment is equally good too, but they are based in NYC and I’m in SF.

      There is a commoditization of the product offering now, and some firms are white labeling their product to financial advisors e.g. let others use their technology, and let others brand the offering as their own. I think it’s smart for business.

      The key differentiator will be SERVICE in the form of updates, suggestions, and intellectually savvy content around each platform. When I receive an enlightening article about the markets, investment trends, key risks, etc, as a client, I feel the service and quality rises. Then of course there’s the performance. But performance is dictated on how you fill out the respective questionnaires to identify your investment goals and risk tolerance.

      Roboadvisors are great for those who want to make sure their capital is getting deployed, while allowing time to focus on doing what one really loves to potentially make a higher return elsewhere.

      The money being unlocked from CDs in a couple years needs to find a home. I’ve got ideas already, and farming out some to a roboadvisor like Wealthfront is a good possibility if my experience is good.

      1. I understand, however, in terms of performance, you are right if we talk about performance by itself. I think it’s quite tricky doing this. You should always use measurements that take as inputs both risk (with 3rd and 4th moments even better) and return.

        The white labelling of products is great, and smart as you said, but this means they are selling out… If one of their main flags is to democratise finance, selling the product to financial advisers is not the “ethical” way to go… I believe in a better system and in a better financial market. At least Roboadvisers have been able to get Vanguard et al to revise their commissions and minimum amounts to open accounts.

        1. I believe every business has a right to make money, just like every person is free to choose where they want to spend their money and time. I don’t blame Betterment for tying up with Fidelity advisors to try and increase their reach and revenue.

          If the roboadvisors, who have drastically simplified investing and made investing cheaper for everybody can’t make money, then they will not exist. And when they don’t exist, then there is no value-added to consumers.

          Ask yourself this question: do you work for free at your current job? If not, are you being ethical when so many people could use your help?

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