I have on ongoing deal with my buddy. (He's co-worker #1 from my prior post.) We joke that we so suck at sports betting and investments, that we'll tell each other about our next bet/investment. For example, if I give my bookie $100 for the Lakers to win the next game, I need to warn him. Based upon my horrendous track record of ALWAYS betting on the wrong horse, he'll just "know" that the Magic will win.
Similarly, if I buy a stock, I need to tell him so he can AVOID that investment since more likely than not, it'll sink like a rock. (Conversely, if I sell, he'll buy since it'll suddenly sky-rocket for no reason.)
I consider today's post as a sort of public service because I bought 7 shares of TIP in my Roth IRA for $101.47/share (ACB $717.29, including $7 trading fee) yesterday. And sure to form, I've already lost money since it's currently worth $708.75.) But I'm not really concerned about the actual value of this ETF. I bought it because it pays out a monthly dividend.... usually.
TIP is the ticker symbol for the iShares ETF "that seeks results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the inflation-protected sector of the United States Treasury market as defined by the Barclays Capital U.S. TIPS index. The fund invests at least 90% of the assets in the inflation-protected bonds of its underlying index and at least 95% if the assets in U.S. government bonds. It may also invest up to 10% of assets in U.S. government bonds not included in the underlying index. The fund invests up to 5% of assets in repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government obligations and in cash and cash equivalents."
In March 2008, I bought 3 shares of this ETF in my taxable account at $110.31 (ACB $331.23 since no trading fee incurred). Although the ETF value is down 8.2%, it's paid out $18.83 in dividends. This reduced my loss to -2.61%.
Since March 2008, the ETF paid dividends of anywhere between $.33/share to $.93/share. (Note: It didn't pay any dividends during November '08 to March '09, during the whole market crash turmoil, though.) Had I researched this ETF more carefully, I would NOT have purchased it in my taxable account since the monthly dividends make this a tax inefficient investment. So now I've purchased 7 more shares in my Roth.
I don't expect this ETF will be volatile nor do I think it will have much of a downside or an upside. I think it will continue to trade within the narrow price channel of where it is now ($99-$102/share).
So why did I buy it?
1. I'm obsessed with finding an income stream in retirement just in case Social Security goes BK. (I know, I know. Some of you have already commented that some form of Social Security may still be there when I'm over 60. But I'm just hedging my bets. And you know how bad my bets are!) If I accrue TIP and other high-dividend yielding funds in my Roth over the years, I may have some tax-free monthly income that I can supplement my 401k.
2. My spidey senses tell me that inflation is on its way. Maybe not this year and maybe not even next. My private student loan APR has already creeped upwards slightly (3.451% in January to 3.598% in March). The loan rate will be re-setting in July and I'm guessing it'll be higher. Owning TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) is one way to hedge against inflation since it pays interest adjusted for inflation, similar to the I-Bond. Unlike purchasing TIPS directly from the Treasury, TIP may not be the perfect way to hedge against inflation, but this is the only way that I know of that I can own TIPS in my Scottrade Roth.
I ask you: Do you think inflation is on its way? What are you doing to protect yourself?