Skip to content

Dollar Cost Averaging Revisited. Federer’s devilish squash shot. Critical issues — like hearing aids — solved. The simplest best software.

This is Mike Zordan, the best stucco man in the entire world.

He just re-did all the stucco on our house. He did a fabulous job.

He’s 53 and curious about his next 20 years. I freaked him out with stories about my 70+ year old friends who now have medical issues and concerns about paying for the procedures they’d like.

Half the young-ens at the local coffee shop are also concerned. I look at their life-styles. They’re busier than one-armed paper hangers. They have no interest in sitting in front of screens figuring which stock is going to make them richer than Croesus.

So, here goes with the ultra-simple, brainless method of investing. It’s called Dollar Cost Averaging with a Wrinkle.

Open an account at any online broker. The easiest is Fidelity or Vanguard. They’re free.

Take $10,000 (or whatever you have) and buy as much VGT as you can. VGT is Vanguard’s tech ETF.

Then, every month, deposit a fixed amount, say $1,000 into your account and buy more ETF. Don’t look at the price — which may be higher or lower than last month. That’s why it’s called dollar cost averaging. You keep putting more money in every month. It averages up or down.

Here’s the wrinkle. As go about your day-to-day life, watch what you and and your friends spend money on.

Let’s say you build houses for a living. Everyone up here seems to. You’ll notice that everybody and their uncle is buying a Generac emergency generator. So buy some Generac stock, symbol GNRC.

You buy stuff through Amazon. So, buy some Amazon stock. You just go the Moderna vaccine. So buy some MRNA. I’m wearing Nike sneakers. I like them. Buy some NKE. I really like what Tesla and Ford are doing in electric cars. So buy some F and TSLA. If you use Windows, buy Microsoft. If you have an iPhone, buy some Apple.

The key to this wrinkle is to buy stocks of companies which give you great service and who impress you. Don’t go crazy finding them. Just keep your eyes open and keep dollar cost averaging into one or two ETFs, but especially VGT.

Here’s a ten-year chart of VGT. You can see it’s done better than the SPX — the S&P500 — the lowest line on the chart. But it hasn’t done as well as Generac or Amazon.

Why VGT? Three reasons:

+ It’s a no brainer.

+ It’s tech and it does better than the S&P500.

+ It’s cheap. Expenses are very very low. One tenth of one percent — 0.10%. That’s low.

I like these buttons

Running a business that deals with the public? These are great buttons for your people to wear. Makes you customers feel protected. They’ll come back.

Get your buttons from here.

Roger Federer’s Gift to Tennis: A Shot That Players Love to Hit

The squash shot may be a last-resort play, but it’s fun to unleash and spectacular to watch. Federer made it his own, but many other players, especially women, are adopting it.

WIMBLEDON, England — “Times have changed,” Roger Federer said this week as he looked back on his early days at Wimbledon.

 Serve-and-volley was the rule then for the men, not the exception. Points were shorter, but the shots often slower. Modern string and racket technology and modern training methods have helped all professional players generate more pace and spin from extreme positions, and no shot better exemplifies the shift than the one the 39-year-old Federer has popularized over the course of his 23-year professional career.

It is best known as the squash shot, in part because Federer played squash in his youth, and it is a lunging forehand slash, typically from an open stance.

It is a spectacular shot to watch and, as Federer once told me, “a very fun shot to hit.”

But it is not typically good news when you have to use it.

“Honestly, it’s your last-resort play,” said Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old American. “Maybe your only option.”

But in tennis, players adjust to the challenge and the risk. As pro tennis has accelerated, they have created new ways of defending, and the squash shot has become a staple through the years, perhaps even more in the women’s game than in the men’s.

“For me, that’s a sign of the influence of Fed across the whole sport,” said Brad Gilbert, the ESPN analyst and former top-five player, referring to Federer.

It is also a tribute to Kim Clijsters, the powerful and elastic Belgian star whose trademark was her sliding forehand slice, often hit out of a near split.

I love this shot. I’m learning it. It’ s very hard. But when it works, your opponent has no chance.

The above story comes from the New York Times. For the full piece, click here.

Favorite software

+ Windows 10 has Hello Face. More fun than typing a PIN. Go to Settings and search for Hello.

+ My Apple phone has Captio. Type or dictate notes onto its blank screen  Hit Send. Two seconds later my notes arrive as an email.

+ The wheel on your mouse scrolls your page up and down.

Issues solved (sort of)

+ My $99.99 hearing aids are too loud for some. For me, they’re perfect. But I also don’t wear them all the time. I also use my Apple AirPods and m Sennheiser heaphones (for typ watching). I’m thinking hearing devices are tools. You choose whichever makes sense for the task at hand. There is non universal one. You get the $99.99 ones here.

+ My new Lenovo X1 Carbon Ninth Generation sucks — for me. Everything about it is faster, better, smaller, crisper display, better battery… except some idiot made the keyboard narrower by about half an inch, making much harder for me to type fast and accurately. I’m going back to the seventh generation X1 Carbon.

+ Apple Pay on my iPhone is the greatest and fastest. No more credit cards. No more wallet. Salvation.

+ Zoom works best with a great external webcam, namely the $76 Logitech C925-e (catchy name?) and  a pair of corded headphones — doesn’t matter which ones.

Get yours here.

+ High speed Internet make a huge difference. Get the fastest you can. This is what I’m getting on this laptop. It can go faster but I’ve got to swap out the old router. I should be able to get twice as much.

Personal philosophy for this weekend

+ Perseverance works. Keep pushing. Keep mulling. There’s always a solution. And it’s always better.

+ When God closes a door, she always opens a window. When you get outbid on your “perfect” property, you’ll find an even more perfect one the next day.

+ Health is all that counts. Less food. More exercise. Napping.

+ Encourage the family to follow their dreams — even if they’re different to yours. In fact they will be different (and better).

The travails of Triboulet

Triboulet, a lively court jester in 16th-century France, once slapped King Francis I on the bum.

He told the furious monarch: “I’m so sorry, your majesty, I mistook you for the queen.”

Francis sentenced him to death, but allowed him to choose how he wanted to go.

Triboulet replied: “Good sire, I choose to die from old age.”

The king was so amused he let him off the hook.

A great weekend coming up

All four grandkids are coming. My job is to provide ice cream and clean up the mess. Here’s Eleanor with a preview.

I bet the guy who invented tofu did not invent ice cream.

I updated my list of stocks on the  web site. Click here. I was so impressed with Cramer’s rave last night on DOCS (Doximity) I bought some this morning. It’s up, so far. I used my squash shot on the tennis court this morning. Sometimes, it works. I like tennis’ daily challenges.

See you  Monday. — Harry Newton