December Stats

Super quick post, since it is late and I am tired and have to work tomorrow.

INTEREST RATE REMAINING BASE PAYMENT EXTRA PAYMENTS
Student Loans 3.80% $22,373.53 $183.54 $0.00
Mortgage 3.50% $300,991.22 $2,259.03 $0.00
Total $323,364.75 $2,442.57 $0.00

Happy holidays!  Can you believe it was about this time last year that I started this blog?

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Dad’s Latkas

This is actually my interpretation of Dad’s recipe, as I’ve modified it a bit over the years.

Latkas

Ingredients

1 very large onion (or 2 medium onions), peeled
5 lb russet potatoes, peeled
3 eggs
Salt
1/3 lb matzah meal (or unseasoned breadcrumbs)
Olive oil

Directions

In a large bowl, grate the onion and the potatoes.  Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together, then add to the potato mixture.  Salt to taste.  (Though, don’t actually taste it.. I mean, there’s raw egg in there.)

Add the matzah meal and mix together.  There shouldn’t be a lot of liquid left at this point.

Place a paper towel on a plate and prepare a stack of additional paper towels.

Cover the bottom of a large pan with oil and heat over medium.  Give the oil a minute or two to come up to temperature, then add a heaping tablespoon of mixture to the oil.  Use the back of the spoon to flatten out the mixture.  Fry until you can see the sides browning, then flip over and fry for another minute or so.  This is your taster – make sure you have enough salt.

Making sure to mix to reincorporate the liquid before each batch of latkas, continue frying latkas until you are out of mixture.  You will need to add oil between every couple batches.  Place the latkas on the plate when done, adding a new paper towel between each layer.  (This allows the oil to drain into the paper towels rather than pool on the plate.)

Enjoy warm with sour cream or applesauce.

Notes:
Use a grater with large holes.
If the mixture is too liquidy, add more matzah meal.
Place the mixture against the sides of the pan to make oval latkas.

Bonus:  Sufganiyot!

Recipe here (though I didn’t know that at the time I made them and just rewound the video a bunch).  A note to make this easier, though:  the dough is super sticky, so make sure to flour everything thoroughly:  your hands, your counter, your rolling pin.  This also makes it a lot easier to pick the sufganiyot rounds up once they’ve risen; if they stick to the counter, they’ll become misshapen and not rise much during the frying part.

Also, I wasn’t able to get my deep fryer up to 350 for some reason, but they turned out perfectly around 310, so don’t stress too much.

Value Averaging

I introduced the concept of value averaging in my how to invest post at the beginning of July, and we started investing a few days later.  Today is our monthly investment day, and I want to delve into value averaging a bit more with you, now that I have some actual experience with it.

So, first, let’s take a look at what our actual investments have looked like over the past five months:

 MONTH CURRENT TARGET VALUE INVESTMENT
July $0.00 $3,000.00 $3,000.00
August $3,122.04 $6,017.50 $2,895.46
September $6,065.26 $9,052.60 $2,987.34
October $8,895.42 $12,105.41 $3,209.99
November $11,690.20 $15,176.02 $3,485.82
December $16,024.37 $18,264.55 $2,240.18

These numbers target a $3,000 pcm investment with a 7% pa return (spread out over 12 months, so ~0.57% pcm).  You can see that the actual investment we put in has varied fairly significantly, and that’s just with the small numbers we have right now.  However, the target investment out of pocket so far has been $17,818.79, which is less than the $18,000 that we were targeting to invest.

For comparison, let’s take a look at what the numbers would be if we had just done standard dollar-cost averaging.  Since we’re 100% in VTSAX (originally VTSMX), we can easily calculate the monthly gain/loss percentages:

MONTH PREVIOUS CURRENT CHANGE
August $3,000.00 $3,122.04 4.068%
September $6,017.50 $6,065.26 0.794%
October $9,052.60 $8,895.42 -1.736%
November $12,105.41 $11,690.20 -3.430%
December $15,176.02 $16,024.37 5.590%

Applying these percentages to the what-if scenario, we get these numbers:

MONTH CURRENT INVESTMENT FINAL
July $0.00 $3,000.00 $3,000.00
August $3,122.04 $3,000.00 $6,122.04
September $6,608.13 $3,000.00 $9,608.13
October $9,441.33 $3,000.00 $12,441.33
November $12,014.60 $3,000.00 $15,014.60
December $15,853.91 $3,000.00 $18,853.91

Let’s take a look at the progress side to side:

MONTH CHANGE VA VALUE DCA VALUE VA INVEST DCA INVEST
July $3,000.00 $3,000.00 $3,000.00 $3,000.00
August 4.068% $6,017.50 $6,122.04 $5,895.46 $6,000.00
September 0.794% $9,052.60 $9,608.13 $8,882.80 $9,000.00
October -1.736% $12,105.41 $12,441.33 $12,092.79 $12,000.00
November -3.430% $15,176.02 $15,014.60 $15,578.61 $15,000.00
December 5.590% $18,264.55 $18,853.91 $17,818.79 $18,000.00

So, what do we see so far?

  1. DCA has almost $200 more invested but has almost $600 in additional value.
  2. VA is investing less when prices go up and more when prices go down, as promised.

This is obviously not enough data to draw real conclusions, but it doesn’t seem super promising on its own.  I’m wondering if VA really shines in comparison to DCA when heading through a recession.  I think I will look for VTSAX values in the 2007 to 2010 period and create a similar comparison.

Stay tuned.