Archives May 2021

9 Habits Happy People Use to Make Life Better

Woman listening to music
Look Studio /

C’mon, everyone, get happy! If that sounds too hard, maybe you’ve been going about it all wrong.

It’s time to stop waiting to hit the jackpot, meet Mr. or Ms. Right, or land that sweet job. True happiness doesn’t come from external factors like that.

Instead, take a cue from happy people. Embrace the following habits that help them feel great.

1. Evaluate your bandwidth and set boundaries

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It goes without saying that you won’t be happy if you’re overwhelmed with life. Happy people know their limits and pare back obligations to fit both their energy and time. They also know this is not a one-time evaluation and is something that needs to be reviewed periodically.

Once happy people know their bandwidth — that is, how much time and energy they have to spend on various activities — they set boundaries so other people don’t encroach on it. That means learning to say no … a lot.

2. Schedule regular downtime

A black man relaxes in a hammock next to a pool
Blend Images /

All work and no play is no fun. It can also be a real drain on your happiness. A 2016 survey by found that 49% of respondents consider vacation more vital to their happiness than other big life events, including their own wedding day.

Of course, you don’t need to go on vacation to find happiness. Scheduling regular work breaks and time for leisure activities works just as well for many happy people.

Also, make sleep a priority. The American Psychological Association says chronic sleep deprivation may be “one of the most significant and overlooked public health problems in the U.S.” It’s hard to be happy when you’re dragging through the day, so get those ZZZs.

3. Create realistic goals

Goals Dart Board

Setting goals and creating to-do lists seem to be ingrained in our collective psyche. However, happy people don’t let unrealistic expectations rule them. Instead, they see goals as guides that can be adjusted as needed.

Realistic goals only make you happy if you meet them. In his book “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM),” Hal Elrod says visualization is one key to success. As Elrod describes it, this practice can be as simple as closing your eyes for a few minutes and mentally walking yourself through all the tasks of the day that need to be done to meet goals, create success and enjoy happiness.

4. Listen to music

Teenager listening to music on headphones
pio3 /

A pair of University of Missouri studies published in 2013 found that people who listened to positive or upbeat music, such as that of composer Aaron Copland, reported feeling happier than those who listened to more somber composers, such as Igor Stravinsky.

The catch is that participants also had to be trying to feel happier in order to get a mood boost from music.

5. Volunteer regularly and be generous

By-Africa-Studio /

One way happy people show generosity is by volunteering their time and talents. To maximize the happiness you get out of this habit, volunteer with an eye toward a specific goal. According to a Stanford researcher, having concrete giving goals creates more happiness than vague ones.

So, instead of volunteering with the intent of saving the world (vague), volunteer with the intent of increasing local recycling participation (concrete).

Also, be generous in other ways. A 2017 study out of the University of Zurich found those who planned to share even a small portion of an unexpected windfall reported higher levels of happiness than those who planned to keep the money all to themselves.

6. Spend time outside

A girl relaxes in the grass
Olga Danylenko /

We weren’t made to live in a cubicle, and supremely happy people know this. Instead of staying cooped up indoors all day, they make a beeline for the outside world.

Of course, not all outdoor spaces are the same, and science says spending some time in a natural setting is more likely to improve your happiness level than going for a walk in a busy downtown.

7. Get moving daily

Aerobic exercise class.
vectorfusionart /

By now, you’ve certainly heard that sitting is the new smoking. However, it isn’t just your body that will benefit from a little more movement. Your mind will thank you, too.

Fortunately, you don’t need to clock in long hours at the gym to get a mood boost from exercise. As little as five minutes can have a positive effect on your happiness quotient. To really maximize the experience, spend that five minutes walking outside in a park, and you can check off two happiness habits at once.

8. Connect with good friends regularly

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Humans are social creatures, and happy people make time to connect with others. They may be part of formal clubs, groups and organizations or prefer the company of only a few close compadres.

If you spend all day around people who are negative or demeaning, it’s going to be hard to feel happy. Instead, make it a habit to seek out positive people and limit time around those with toxic personalities.

While connecting with others is good, using social media can be a real downer. Studies have shown that spending time on sites like Facebook can cramp real-life personal relationships and reduce overall life satisfaction. Adopt the happiness habit of limiting your social media check-ins to specific times.

9. Find God — or spirituality — and count your blessings

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There are plenty of studies supporting the notion that spiritual people are happier people. Researchers suggest it may have something to do with religious groups providing a ready-made social network or spirituality supplying a sense of meaning for life. Whatever the reason, you may want to reconsider your Sunday or Saturday morning routine if you’re serious about finding happiness.

Happy people also regularly remind themselves of all the good things going on in their lives. They keep gratitude journals, share personal triumphs during family dinners and mentally tick off their favorite parts of the day before turning in each night.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.


Where the Most (and Fewest) Homes Sell Below Asking Price

Family Home Sold
Andrey_Popov /

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Stessa.

It is no secret at this point that one of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a red-hot housing market. With more people at home, consumer spending in 2020 was down and savings rates were up, while the government pumped money into the economy with low interest rates and direct stimulus to American households. These conditions gave more people the means to save up for a home and brought a stampede of new would-be buyers into the housing market. But with many sellers staying out of the market, prices are at record highs and inventories at record lows.

While the pandemic has created conditions for dramatically accelerated demand for homes over the last year, the reality is that these trends have been ongoing for several years. One key factor is demographics: the millennial generation is now in their late 20s and 30s, and as they settle into their careers and family life, more have been entering the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials represented 38% of homebuyers last year, and a large share of those were first-time buyers.

The increased demand has translated to rapidly increasing rates of homeownership and decreasing rates of homeowner vacancy. Just five years ago, in 2016, homeownership rates were at 63.4% — their lowest level since the 1990s, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. In 2020 that figure was 66.6%, which was a 2 percentage point increase just over the previous year. Vacancy rates, meanwhile, have taken the opposite trajectory. After spiking to nearly 3% when the housing bubble burst in the mid-2000s, vacancy rates have declined sharply and dipped to a low of 1% in 2020.

With higher demand and lower inventory, prices inevitably start to rise. The trend of price increases extends to homes of all sizes. Based on Zillow data dating back to 1996, prices for one, two, three, four and five (or more) bedroom homes have all been creeping steadily upwards since around 2012, when the recovery from the last recession began to pick up steam. Within the last year, the trend lines in each category have moved more steeply upward, an indication that record low inventory is pushing up prices for all home types.

Large metros with the most homes selling below asking price

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While home pricing is usually cyclical — with higher prices and fewer cuts during spring and summer months — 2020 and 2021 have proven to be aberrations. The share of listings with price cuts stayed relatively flat throughout 2020, between 11% and 13%, before turning sharply downward at the end of the year. In February 2021, the share of listings with a price cut was at 8.2%, a decrease of more than half from a recent peak of 17.8% in September 2019.

This is not the reality in every market, however. Some cities where housing is plentiful and easy to build—like Houston—or where demand is lower—Rust Belt metros like Pittsburgh and Dayton—are still seeing substantial price cuts after homes come on the market. In contrast, cuts are almost nonexistent in some other areas where the inverse is true.

To find these locations, our team of researchers used data from Zillow to identify the share of listings with a price cut, the median price cut as a percentage of list price, the median price cut in dollars, and the median home value in all metro areas with available data. These figures all come from data collected from September 2020 through February 2021 to reflect the latest market trends.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the most and fewest homes selling below asking price.

1. Chicago, IL

Homes in Chicago, Illinois
Mark Baldwin /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 17.9%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.4%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $7,350
  • Median home value: $257,400

2. Louisville-Jefferson County, KY

Louisville Kentucky homes
EQRoy /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 16.9%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.7%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,322
  • Median home value: $195,880

3. Indianapolis, IN

winter scene homes in Indianapolis, Indiana
Ted Alexander Somerville /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 16.8%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.5%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,475
  • Median home value: $199,721

4. Pittsburgh, PA

Steve Heap /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 16.4%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 3.3%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $6,344
  • Median home value: $175,315

5. Houston, TX

Houston homes neighborhood
Stephanie A Sellers /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 16.3%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.3%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $7,810
  • Median home value: $229,957

6. Dayton, OH

Dayton Ohio
Alex Balanov /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 16.1%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.9%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,006
  • Median home value: $149,572

7. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City
Henryk Sadura /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 15.5%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.0%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,000
  • Median home value: $168,394

8. Charleston, SC

Houses in Charleston, South Carolina
Sean Pavone /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 15.3%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 1.9%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $6,733
  • Median home value: $292,942

9. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, New Mexico
BrigitteT /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 15.3%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.2%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $6,083
  • Median home value: $234,844

10. Columbus, OH

Historic homes in Columbus, Ohio
Karen and Scott Wightwick /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 15.3%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.4%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,625
  • Median home value: $230,663

Large metros with the fewest homes selling below asking price

decision indecision undecided home buying buy house
By maroke /

Meanwhile, the chances of finding a home selling below its asking price are less likely in these markets.

1. El Paso, TX

El Paso Texas neighborhood
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  • Share of listings with a price cut: 6.0%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.3%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,006
  • Median home value: $147,524

2. Stockton, CA

Stockton California
Terrance Emerson /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 7.2%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.4%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $10,072
  • Median home value: $423,916

3. Urban Honolulu, HI

Honolulu City neighborhood
Real Window Creative /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 7.4%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 3.0%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $14,186
  • Median home value: $739,690

4. Boise City, ID

Boise, Idaho neighborhood
CSNafzger /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 7.5%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.1%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $8,908
  • Median home value: $381,759

5. Ogden, UT

Paul W Thompson /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 7.9%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.3%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $9,994
  • Median home value: $371,978

6. Providence, RI

Providence, Rhode Island houses homes
Joy Brown /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 8.2%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 3.1%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $10,000
  • Median home value: $350,548

7. Madison, WI

Houses in Madison, Wisconsin
MarynaG /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 8.2%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.8%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $10,000
  • Median home value: $305,550

8. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs Neighborhood
Nirmal Bhagat /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 8.6%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.3%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $10,567
  • Median home value: $359,246

9. Riverside, CA

Riverside California neighborhood
Matt Gush /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 8.6%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.5%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $10,228
  • Median home value: $425,713

10. Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, Virginia
JoMo333 /
  • Share of listings with a price cut: 8.7%
  • Median price cut as a percentage of list price: 2.1%
  • Median price cut in dollars: $5,211
  • Median home value: $261,139

Detailed findings & methodology

Realtor in front of large brick home.
SpeedKingz /

The data used in this analysis is from Zillow. Researchers calculated the share of listings with a price cut, the median price cut as a percentage of list price, the median price cut in dollars, and the median home value. All were obtained using data from September 2020 through February 2021. The analysis includes all homes, including single-family, condominium, and co-operative homes with a county record. Metropolitan areas were ranked based on the share of listings with a price cut. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher median price cut percentage was ranked higher. Only the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. with available data from Zillow were included.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.


6 Reasons to Invest in Fixed-Income Securities Such as Bonds

For most, the stock market is synonymous with wealth. Images of fast cars, mansions, yachts, and beautiful people plaster computer screens explaining to beginners what they could have in the fast-money world of investing and trading. Many new investors believe the extravagant story surrounding the stock market and the fast money that lives within it.

But recall Aesop’s fable of “The Hare & the Tortoise.” The story captures the fascination humans have for the flashy, self-assured, charismatic personalities and our tendency to overlook those steady, responsible individuals who surround us each day.

Equity securities — or stocks and other instruments that allow you to purchase equity ownership of underlying securities — are the “hares” of the investment world. They draw us to them with the promise of an easy buck — a short ride to quick riches and a future full of mansions, exotic cars, and beautiful people. Life as a hare can be exciting, but it requires a strong stomach to handle the volatility and the frequent gaps between the promises and your results.

The vast majority of investors would be better served by regular investments in fixed-income securities — the “tortoises” of Wall Street. Debt investments are the foundations of great American fortunes. One of the richest people in the United States in his era, financial magnate Andrew Mellon reportedly said, “Gentlemen prefer bonds.”

Despite their lack of popularity with some investors, the global bond market is enormous, with more than $92 trillion of bonds, compared to $70 trillion of equity investments in 2016. Approximately $30 billion of corporate bonds are traded daily in the United States, with average interest rates between 3.66% and 4.71%, the lower rate being charged on corporate bonds with a Moody’s credit rating of Aaa and the higher being charged on bonds with the Baa credit rating.

Chief investment officer for the Gates Foundation and Bill Gates’ personal portfolio, Michael Larson, considers himself “an old-fashioned investor with a macro view,” according to GuruFocus. Larson believes his primary job to be asset allocation, and he maintains a significant percentage of the portfolios in fixed-income securities.

Reasons to Own Fixed-Income Securities

While investors who are seeking a regular monthly income generally rely on fixed-income investments, they are appropriate in nearly every investment portfolio due to the following:

1. Safety of Principal

Is investing in bonds safer than investing in stocks?

Unlike stocks, when you invest in a bond, you’re guaranteed to receive your initial investment back when the bond matures — plus interest — unless the borrower defaults. According to Standard and Poor’s (S&P), the default rate for investment-grade bonds worldwide between 1981 and 2016 averaged 0.06%. Speculative bonds during the same period had an average default rate of less than 5%. As a consequence, the vast majority of bond owners get 100% of their investment returned when the bond is due.

Sometimes what matters is not what you can make, but what you can keep.

Pro tip: Have you considered hiring a financial advisor but don’t want to pay the high fees? Enter Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. When you sign up, you’ll work closely with an advisor to create a custom investment plan that can help you meet your financial goals. Read our Vanguard Personal Advisor Services review.

2. Consistent Income

Bond owners receive a regular, predictable income in both good and bad economies. A legal contract between the business issuing the bonds and the purchasers of the bonds confirms and documents the interest rate and payment schedule, which secures timely and consistent payouts.

While some companies pay regular dividends — and many have a long history of doing so — the interest rate of investment-grade bonds is almost twice as much as the dividend rate for the average S&P 500 company, and can be similar to some high-dividend investments. According to MarketWatch, 82.6% of the S&P 500 companies paid a dividend with an average return of 1.87% in 2017, based on the closing equity price at the end of the year. In the same period, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported an average interest rate of 3.51% for Aaa-rated bonds — the highest grade of long-term bonds. Issuers of lower-quality bonds are required to pay higher rates.

3. Reduced Volatility

The extent to which the price of a security changes over time compared to previous periods is known as volatility. Historically, bond volatility is significantly lower than stock volatility, since changes in a bond price are tied to market interest rates rather than investor emotions.

According to Forbes, the 30-day volatility for stocks over the past five years is 12% versus 2.8% for bonds over the same period. As a consequence, Gregg Fisher of the investment management firm Gerstein Fisher told the New York Times, “You own bonds to reduce volatility, not to earn a return.” Owning less-volatile bonds as a buffer can help you stick to your long-term plans and remain invested when stock prices drop.

4. Identified Return

Equity investment returns are the combined dividends and increase in value during the holding period — neither of which is guaranteed. Prices of common stock are influenced by factors beyond the investors’ control, including economic and sociological trends as well as investor confidence. As a consequence, planning equity investment returns is complicated, and the outcomes are uncertain.

On the other hand, the terms of interest payments for a bond are set by contract between the lender and the borrower with defined legal remedies in the event of a default. Also, a bond’s principal — its face value — is guaranteed to be returned to the bond’s owner at maturity. In other words, as a bondholder you know when and how much cash you will receive during the life of the bond, enabling you to plan for specific events such as retirement.

5. Liquidity

Liquidity is the ability to turn an asset into cash within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price. “Immediacy” is ultra liquidity — a state where there is always an equilibrium between buyers and sellers so that most transactions do not change the price of the asset. Bonds of public corporations and governments are generally liquid because their price is only affected by interest rate changes.

Allan Roth, Founder of the Wealth Logic Advisory Firm, told the New York Times, “Bonds provide liquidity and courage when stocks are falling.” Nevertheless, the American Association of Individual Investors warns that there are many different bond markets and types of investors in the bond market, so some bonds and bond markets may be more liquid than others.

6. Tax Advantages

The interest received from investing in municipal bonds — bonds issued by a state, city, or local government — is exempt from federal income tax. Also, the interest on municipal bonds issued within the owner’s state of residence is usually free from state or local taxes. Moreover, those in higher tax brackets can significantly benefit from investing in municipal bonds.

Although the interest exemption remains intact following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, The Bond Buyer predicts lower volumes in municipal financings due to the elimination of advance refunding and the potential loss of state funds due to lower property tax revenues. The combination of stable demand for municipal bonds and lower supply may stimulate a rise in bond prices and lower yields.

A Portfolio Approach for Fixed-Income Investment

Financial professionals know that the most successful approach to investment success is diversification and balance in a portfolio:

  • A portfolio of equities might produce the greatest return over a period but is extremely volatile. A report in Atlantic magazine notes that 401(k)s and IRAs lost $2.4 trillion in value in the last half of 2008, dropping as much as 25%. Many people planning to retire were forced to keep working or scale back their retirement plans as a consequence.
  • A portfolio consisting solely of fixed-income securities, while avoiding the losses of the market like we experienced in 2008, provides security at the cost of performance. A study by The Balance indicated that equities consistently outperformed bonds over the three-, five-, and 10-year periods ending on September 30, 2014. Christine Benz of Morningstar predicts that equities will earn 8% to 10% and half that amount for bonds over the next 20 to 30 years.

A common way to approach allocation of fixed-income investments is to consider your age. For example, if you are 33 years old, 33% of your investing dollars should be stored in these relatively stable investments, leaving 77% of your investment portfolio available for higher-return investments like traditional stocks.

As you age, your tolerance for risk will reduce due to a shortened time horizon that will allow for less of a recovery should things go wrong. As a result, increasing your allocation to fixed-income investments as you age will help to properly balance exposure to the larger gains provided by investments in stocks with the insurance provided by investments in bonds and other fixed-income securities.

Final Word

The decision to invest in bonds or equities should not be a question of “either/or,” but “both/and.” Each security has its place in a portfolio, ideally reducing risk without significantly affecting returns. When thinking about your portfolio mix, consider the lesson of another Aesop fable, “The Lion and the Boar,” about the two beasts struggling over who was to drink first at the well. During their ferocious battle, they spied a committee of vultures happily anticipating their next meal. The two antagonists subsequently decided that working together was a better outcome for both, since neither knew who might survive the battle.

According to Zacks, the fixed-income market is huge, with more than $40 trillion being owed through fixed-income securities in the United States. There is a fixed-income security for every need with a market of different types, issuers, terms, maturities, securities, and options. For those who might be reluctant to buy bonds in lieu of equities, one outcome is certain — you will sleep much easier in bear markets with at least some bonds in your portfolio.

Do you have bonds in your portfolio? Will you add bonds in the future?


Is Now a Good Time to Invest? Four Ways to Know

Here’s a provocative question: Is this a good time to invest in stocks?

It’s a good question, too. After all, the stock market this year has been shooting up and down like a roller coaster. It’s been volatile. Unpredictable. Wild. We can understand if you might feel reluctant before wading in.

So we asked a certified financial planner for advice. Robin Hartill, a CFP who’s also an editor and financial advice columnist for The Penny Hoarder, weighed in.

Her advice: Take the long view. The stock market will grow your money over time, so you might as well get started sooner rather than later.

“The timing of your investment matters much less than how much time you have to invest,” Hartill says. “The S&P 500 has delivered inflation-adjusted returns of about 7% per year on average for the past 50 years. The cost of waiting for the perfect time to invest is high. You’re missing out on long-term growth.”

Again, you have to take the long view here. That’s what investing is all about.

“If you were hoping to make a quick buck off the stock market, now may not be a great time,” she says. “We’re still in a recession, but the stock market has recovered. But true investing isn’t about making a quick buck. It’s about growing your money over time.”

How to Start Investing — and a CFP’s Recommended Strategy

Not sure how to get started? You could start small.

Investing doesn’t require you to start throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, with an app called Stash, you can get started with as little as $1.*

Stash lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. It makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals.

Plus, you’re investing in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in stocks you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

For instance, Amazon stock has been doing pretty well, but a single share of Amazon stock costs more than $3,000. With Stash, it’s easy to buy a piece of Amazon if you can’t afford a whole share.

Hartill recommends budgeting a certain amount of money to invest each month, no matter what.

“Rather than trying to time investments based on what the market is doing, the best way for most investors to build wealth is to practice dollar-cost averaging,” Hartill says. “Budget a certain amount each month to put in stocks and automatically invest it, regardless of whether the market is up or down.

“Some people may not like this approach because they’re hoping to pinpoint the exact moment the market has bottomed out, but it rarely works out that way. Instead, people miss out on the best days of the market that often follow a crash and often wind up overpaying for stocks. Consistency is a much better strategy than market timing.”

If you sign up for Stash now (it takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your investment account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month.**

*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.


How to Become a Lifeguard and Make $10 to $30 an Hour

“Some of our parks are offering referral bonuses,” Paradise said. “One incentive we have offered at nearly all our parks is to provide four complimentary Basic Season Passes for the team member and immediate family if they applied and completed the hiring process by a certain date.”
It takes around 25 hours of training to be certified in all lifeguard requirements. Some organizations are teaching a combination of in-person and online classes and some are all in-person courses in swimming pools.
Private training schools, non-profit groups such as the American Red Cross and the YMCA, and employers themselves offer lifeguard training classes throughout the summer.
Right now if you want to learn how to be a lifeguard, there’s a good chance it might cost you nothing. For example, the Sandcastle Water Park near Pittsburgh website opens with a page touting it’s raised its wages to an hour and is offering free lifeguard certification. Many other employers including some YMCAs are doing the same.
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Here’s What Some Lifeguard Jobs Are Paying

Waterfront lifeguarding requires additional safety training, skills and abilities. It varies by employers, but most require you to:
Mondick at the YMCA stressed that lifeguarding builds skills such as confidence, leadership and teamwork, which transfer well to any career and look great on a resume. Along with touting the crucial role lifeguards play, YMCAs across the country are trying various incentives such as referral and sign-on bonuses.
Just as restaurant chains are offering cash for interviews and referrals, so are employers looking for lifeguards.
“We have raised wages at all our parks… Both lifeguard training and licence are free to each new and returning team member,” said Nick Paradise, director of corporate communications for Palace Entertainment, which owns 10 water parks across the country. Hourly wages vary by location but are at Sandcastle Water Park near Pittsburgh and an hour at Splish Splash in Long Island, N.Y.
Orange City, Iowa is paying a referral bonus for a lifeguard who gets a friend to join the team at public pools. And the Parks and Recreation Department in Mesquite, Texas will pay for one referral, for two and 0 for three.
Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
Ready to stop worrying about money?
The shortage is largely because lifeguards have to renew their lifeguard certification every two years and thousands haven’t been able to do so.

Hiring Incentives for Lifeguards

“In many parts of the country, there were long periods when people could not train, and staff and potential staff did not feel safe to train due to physical distancing guidance,” said Lindsay Mondick who oversees aquatics and other initiatives for the YMCA of the U.S.A. “Now that the vaccine is more readily available to potential lifeguarding candidates, we may see a slow return.”
The city of Durham, N.C.: an hour
Grab your shades, sunscreen and whistle. A nationwide shortage of lifeguards has water parks, camps and municipalities scrambling to hire thousands to staff swimming pools, lakes and beaches. Some are offering free training, which takes 25 to 40 hours. Other employers are raising hourly pay to to .
“Many YMCAs are also focused on non-traditional lifeguards, and engaging those who have retired, or those who formerly served their country in the military to now serve their community through lifeguarding positions,” she added. in San Francisco: to and hour

Here are the Basics on How To Become A Lifeguard

The city of St. Petersburg, Fla.: .25 to

A lifeguard stands watch over an indoor pool.
Photo courtesy of YMCA

If you are paying the cost varies greatly, but is well worth it. For example the city of Marion, Ohio, charges for lifeguard certification courses. The American Red Cross courses range in price from 0 to 0 depending on the location.

  • Minimum age: 15 years
  • Swim 300 yards continuously
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only your legs
  • Complete a timed mock “rescue” within 1 minute and 40 seconds by starting in the water, swimming 20 yards, making a surface dive to a depth of 7 to 10 feet, retrieving a 10-pound object, returning to the surface and swimming 20 yards on your back to return to the starting point, then exit the water without using steps or a ladder.
  • Applicants must also show they can do CPR on a swimmer, administer first aid and use an automated external defibrillator, also known as CPR AED.

How to Become a Waterfront Lifeguard

Job postings show employers are willing to pay more than previous summers. Check out these wages:

  • Swim 500 meters or 550 yards in 10 minutes or less in open waters.
  • Run a mile in 8 minutes and 30 seconds or less.
  • Master certain swimmer surveillance techniques
  • Use equipment such as all terrain vehicles, rescue boards, buoys, kayaks, paddleboards, masks, fins and snorkels
  • Know water conditions such as rip tides and how to recognize dangerous wildlife

The Cost of Lifeguard Certification

It takes more than superior swimming skills to get a job as a lifeguard, however. Here are the requirements to become a lifeguard, the courses you’ll need and what the current job market looks like.

The city of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: .93 to .33 an hour for waterfront lifeguards
Hyannis Harbor Hotel in Hyannis, Mass.: an hour

Lifeguarding 2021 is no longer a minimum wage job in most cities and towns.

The Cost of Living in San Diego in 2021

San Diego’s gorgeous beaches, luxe dining and exciting attractions are enticing — but they come at a premium.

San Diego offers the best of both worlds: It is a major metropolitan city, but it avoids the hustle and bustle of its northern neighbor, Los Angeles.

The eighth-most populous city in America, San Diego typically ranks around the same tier for its cost of living compared to other major cities in the country. Overall, the city comes in at 60.1 percent above the national average when it comes to the cost of living.

While that may seem steep, it’s important to consider that the minimum wage in San Diego is $14 an hour, which is nearly double the average minimum wage of $7.25. Additionally, the median household income is $79,673, which is $10,990 more than the national average.

Below we break down the costs of living in San Diego to help you discover if “America’s Finest City” is a fit for you.

San Diego.

Housing costs in San Diego

Housing in San Diego doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the uninitiated may experience sticker shock at first glance. Overall, housing costs are a whopping 124 percent higher than the national average.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Diego is about $2,358 per month, and a two-bedroom is around $3,026 per month. Those prices fluctuate depending on the neighborhood and amenities.

Trendy North Park, with its vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, is the most expensive neighborhood in the city, with rental prices running around $4,647 per month on average. But rest assured: There are plenty of areas offering apartments for a fraction of that price.

Case in point: College East, located on the east side of San Diego State University, the least expensive neighborhood in the city, offers apartments for $1,463 per month on average. There is also Bay Park, ranked San Diego’s “most livable neighborhood,” which averages $1,621 a month.

If you are looking to buy a home, the average cost of a single-family home in San Diego is $797,634 — more than 53 percent higher than the national average of $370,902. That price tag is reflective of a highly competitive market. Most homes in San Diego sell within just nine days, so if you have the means, you need to act fast.

San Diego farmers market.

Food costs in San Diego

San Diego is famous for its diverse culinary scene. Whether you’re more inclined to try a pasta dish in Little Italy or some chile rellenos at an authentic Mexican restaurant in Old Town, your bill will range around $13 per person.

Of course, most people don’t eat out for every meal. With dozens of quality supermarkets and plenty of neighborhood farmer’s markets, meal planning is easy.

Keep in mind: Groceries in San Diego run 14.4 percent higher than the national average. You’ll pay extra for certain staples like milk ($2.19 for a half-gallon), eggs ($2.88 for a dozen), bread ($3.67 for a 24-ounce loaf) and ground beef ($4.58 per pound).

Utility costs in San Diego

San Diego is known for its beautiful weather. Locals thrive under these conditions; average temperatures hover at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the year. Still, seasons change and rainy days will happen as well as the occasional cold front.

Some summer days are scorchers, leading locals to crank up the A/C. As a result, overall utility costs are 25.8 percent higher than the national average. Expect your total energy costs of around $247.56 per month.

San Diego hosts a variety of internet providers, so your bill will change depending on which you choose for your household. For example, if you’re a Spectrum customer, you can expect to pay a median price of $73.50 a month for a median download speed of 65 megabits per second (Mbps). Meanwhile, AT&T customers pay a median price of $60 per month for a median speed of 24 Mbps.

San Diego transportation.

Transportation costs in San Diego

One of the many luxuries about life in San Diego is that the freeways are much calmer than those of Los Angeles. Many people choose to live in San Diego because of this factor alone.

Traffic is tame during most hours of the day, although it gets a bit congested around common commute times. Still, prices are slightly higher than those in Los Angeles and 36.1 percent higher than the national average.

Drivers can expect to pay about $3.24 per gallon of regular unleaded at the pump. Parking typically costs $70 per month or $2 per day.

For those who choose to forgo driving altogether, San Diego offers an accessible public transportation system. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System provides bus and trolley services across San Diego County. Bus and trolley fare are equal; one way will cost $2.50 for able-bodied adults/youth and $1.25 for disabled people/seniors.

The trolley and bus services cover a majority of San Diego County. Routes begin right by the border near Tijuana and extend to the northernmost or easternmost parts of San Diego County. The city’s public transportation services have earned a score of 44.

San Diego’s layout makes it ideal for those who enjoy walks — it’s also convenient for bike enthusiasts. The city has a walk score of 71 and a bike score of 54.

San Diego skyline.

Healthcare costs in San Diego

Healthcare is a primary concern in most people’s minds, and in San Diego, you can expect to pay slightly more in this category — about 8.3 percent above the national average.

A visit to a doctor will cost you about $125 while a dental checkup will run you around $107.18. You can also expect to pay a bit more for medications. A bottle of Ibuprofen costs about $11.90, more than $2 above the average cost nationwide.

Calculating average healthcare costs for everyone is difficult. Everybody has different needs for their body and healthcare routines vary drastically. As a result, you should consider your typical healthcare routines when creating your budget, factoring in your medicine regimens and insurance coverage.

Goods and services costs in San Diego

As important as it is to factor in everything covered above into your budget, you must also consider goods and services.

This category includes things like a session at a yoga studio ($22), movie tickets ($14.42 each), dry cleaning ($14.55) and a trip to the beauty salon ($64.57).

Overall, goods and services in San Diego cost 10.4 percent more than the national average.

San Diego.

Taxes in San Diego

Since taxes vary by location, it’s easy to get confused when it comes time to budget accordingly. Sales tax in San Diego is 7.75 percent with the state tax rate landing at 6 percent and the San Diego County rate landing at 0.25 percent.

If you spend $1,000 on a brand-new computer, you will pay $77.50 on sales tax — totaling $1,077.50.

If you drink soda frequently, expect to pay a CRV (California Refund Value) fee on your cans and bottles.

How much do I need to earn to live in San Diego?

Earlier, we discussed the fact that housing costs quite a bit more in San Diego than in other locations.

Experts generally recommend you allocate at least 30 percent of your budget towards your monthly rent. Renting a standard one-bedroom apartment would cost $28,296 per year, which would require an income of $94,320 by these standards. A standard two-bedroom apartment would cost you $36,312 per year, so your household would need to make $121,040 per year collectively to live comfortably.

Our rent calculator can show you exactly how much you can afford.

Living in San Diego

San Diego is a wonderful place to live if you love warm beaches, temperate climates, great food and a lively club scene. It’s no wonder 35 million people visit each year. Whether those people choose to plant roots depends a lot on budget.

If you have the financial wherewithal, there are plenty of great San Diego apartments and homes just waiting for you.

Cost of living information comes from The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.


The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City

One of the most family-friendly cities in the west, Salt Lake City has more to offer than many might think. While it’s not an extremely large city, it’s definitely not small — and it’s growing. A lot.

It’s slowly becoming a new hub for tech companies, creating an abundance of jobs and drawing in the crowds from out of state. Although people are coming in droves, rent prices went down last year and you can typically find a one-bedroom apartment for between $1,200 and $1,300.

With prices like that, there’s no better time than now to find the perfect neighborhood for you in Salt Lake City.

Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City. Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / 21 and View

Sugarhouse offers the best of everything — a quaint suburban feel, lots of fun, independently-owned restaurants and it radiates an eclectic feeling. Not to mention that it’s near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, making it easy to find hikes nearby or hitting the slopes in Park City.

It’s also a really safe area, which is why there are so many people always looking to move to Sugarhouse. There are many parks, notably Sugarhouse park, which has plenty of wide-open grass fields, pavilions for public use, basketball courts and a pond.

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The Avenues in Salt Lake City. The Avenues in Salt Lake City.

The Avenues is a fairly affluent area — home to lots of historic buildings and houses built in the 1920s and 1930s. Although it’s a little more expensive here, it’s for good reason.

It has the old charm, but with new, vibrant residents that have given new life to the neighborhood over the last decade or so.

The neighborhood is safe and beautiful and it’s easy to walk to restaurants and shops in the area.

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Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City.

Downtown is right in the middle of everything — it’s truly the heart of Salt Lake City. There’s a good mix of the old and the new, with historical sites and beautiful architecture.

There’s also lots to see and do, whether you’re wanting to try a great restaurant or shop at the massive City Creek shopping center.

You can walk most places, but you’ve also got the TRAX and FrontRunner trains that not only will get you around downtown but will get you to other outlying parts of the valley quickly (and you don’t have to deal with the traffic).

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Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City. Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

The area surrounding the state capitol building, fittingly named Capitol Hill, is one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Not too far from downtown, you are in close proximity to endless entertainment.

As noted by the name, it’s right on top of a hill, which overlooks the entire Salt Lake valley for some of the best views you can get. Furthermore, one of the favorite local activities every year is strolling through the cherry blossom trees that line the capitol building.

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Yalecrest in Salt Lake City. Yalecrest in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / the New Broadmoore

Safe, diverse and historic are three words that perfectly describe Yalecrest. Here, you’ll find incredible homes — many larger Tudor-style homes that make you feel like you’re in another century.

You’re right by many trendy restaurants and food markets, not to mention you’ve got both Sugar House Park and Liberty Park nearby.

A simple neighborhood walk through Yalecrest is a treat — the mature landscaping and exposed wood beams on homes never grow boring.

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Wasatch Hollow salt lake cityWasatch Hollow salt lake city

Photo source: Redfin / 1838 E Kensington Ave

Wasatch Hollow feels like many other city suburbs. It’s quiet and fairly safe but has a diverse crowd of residents to set it apart from other neighborhoods.

Many young families are settling down in the area since it’s close to grocery stores and good schools. While it’s not quite Yalecrest, full of beautiful Tudor-style homes — it’s pretty close to it with fully matured tree-lined streets and well-kept homes.

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Central City in Salt Lake City. Central City in Salt Lake City.

In Central City, you’re about as close to Downtown as you can get without actually being downtown. The age of the area is easily noticed — but in a good way.

Expect a mixture of old historic homes from different times and architectural periods and lots of restaurants with decades of history, along with newer bars and coffee shops.

The area attracts lots of young professionals who work downtown and don’t mind having a little less square footage to live in. Even with the smaller living quarters, the distinct indie vibe of Central City is well worth it if you’re looking for an interesting day-to-day life.

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Rose Park in Salt Lake. Rose Park in Salt Lake.

While it didn’t always have a great reputation, Rose Park is now an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s a fairly peaceful and quiet area that’s seeing a revival — more and more people are flocking to it.

Couples and young families are turning Rose Park into a more youthful area. More restaurants are opening up to accommodate the crowds.

Soon, it’s expected that the area will be one of the most lively in the valley.

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East Bench in Salt Lake City. East Bench in Salt Lake City.

Settled into the hills of the mountains to the east of the Salt Lake valley, you’ll find East Bench. This neighborhood is full of single-family homes and well-established, older residents.

Most of the homes are large and spacious here — unlike many other neighborhoods in the lower valley with smaller and tightly packed streets.

There are no grocery stores or shopping centers in the actual East Bench neighborhood, but there’s plenty nearby, — so you’re not missing out on anything important.

Despite being further from local amenities, the view from the neighborhood is an exceptional one.

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Poplar Grove in Salt Lake City. Poplar Grove in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Cornell Street Apartments

One of the larger neighborhoods within Salt Lake City, Poplar Grove lies just east of downtown. And like some of the other neighborhoods, it’s been given new life in recent years.

It’s maintained a diverse demographic throughout the years, which is part of what makes the neighborhood great. Being so close to downtown means there’s no shortage of things to do, restaurants to eat at and shopping spots to explore!

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In People’s Freeway, you’ll find it’s full of laid-back restaurants and activities. Smith’s Ballpark is in the neighborhood, where you can catch Salt Lake’s minor league baseball team, the Bees.

Most residents in this area live in apartments or condos, which have drawn in more young professionals and young couples, rather than full families. And the neighborhood caters to those young professionals and couples — with plenty of chill bars and affordable restaurants around, it’s easy to meet new people in the same stage of life.

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Fairpark in Salt Lake City. Fairpark in Salt Lake City.

Fairpark, given its name for the fairgrounds in this neighborhood, is a truly eclectic area of Salt Lake.

Full of great ethnic cuisine, Fairpark offers up some of the best Mexican and Asian restaurants in the city. Furthermore, if you’re one who likes to cook cultural foods at home — there is a surplus of ethnic markets so you can buy anything you need for authentic dishes.

Fairpark is close to downtown, but a bit quieter. You still feel like you’re in the city but in a lesser-known part. You’re far from the hustle and bustle of the big city and can explore this hidden gem of a neighborhood in peace.

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Liberty Wells in Salt Lake City. Liberty Wells in Salt Lake City.

Full of restaurants, coffee shops and bars — the Liberty Wells neighborhood attracts some of the most interesting, eccentric people in the valley. Most are young professionals, so it’s no wonder the area maintains a vibrant atmosphere.

There’s not too much traffic and you can walk most places in Liberty Wells. Local businesses offer everything from handmade postcards to imported cheese — you’re always bound to find something interesting and unexpected around every corner.

If you’re wanting to meet new people, this is one of the friendliest neighborhoods where you can grab a drink and chat with almost anyone.

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Bonneville Hills in Salt Lake City.Bonneville Hills in Salt Lake City.

Bonneville Hills is your typical suburb — quiet, safe and beautiful in its own right.

With great K-12 schools in the area and the University of Utah close by, lots of families, college students and young professionals enjoy living in the neighborhood.

There are parks around every corner and you’re minutes away from many hikes and canyons, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities right outside your front door.

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Glendale in Salt Lake City. Glendale in Salt Lake City.

Established during World War II, Glendale is one of the friendliest neighborhoods you’ll find. Its close sense of community attracts families and couples looking to settle down for a while.

With such an engaging community, Glendale brings in plenty of diversity, blending together Hispanic, Polynesian and Native American cultures — along with many others.

Plus, it’s one of the more affordable areas close to downtown, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

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Which Salt Lake City neighborhood is best for you?

There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, it’s hard to choose where to live. No matter which neighborhood draws you in, you’re sure to find that Salt Lake is a wonderful, diverse city that you’ll fit into quickly.

So check out Salt Lake City apartments to rent or homes to buy to get started with your move!




Ariel’s John W. Rogers Jr.: Value and Small Stocks Will Lead

John W. Rogers Jr. is chairman, co-CEO and chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, which he founded in 1983. He is the lead manager of Ariel Fund (ARGFX) and comanager of several others, including Ariel Appreciation. Read on as we ask Rogers about value, small companies and risks facing the market.

You’re a celebrated value investor. How do you define value? We think of it as buying stocks that are selling at a discount to their private-market value. For us, an undervalued security is selling at more than a 40% discount to what we think the value of the company is.

Value investing struggled for a long time but came back in a big way after last year’s bear market, and your funds have done very well. What accounts for value’s comeback? We’ve been out in the wilderness for far too long. The valuation discrepancies between growth-oriented and value stocks were at historic highs, and that gap can’t persist for the long term.

The second thing is that as inflation has started to come back, people understand it will cause higher interest rates. As interest rates rise, the future earnings of growth stocks become worth less and less.

Value stocks are often generating their cash in the here and now, and also are often cyclical, meaning that as the economy comes roaring back, value stocks are going to be able to generate a lot of earnings. And those earnings will be much more valuable in a higher-interest-rate environment than the earnings of growth stocks that will be coming years and years in the future.

How long does this new value cycle have to run? It’s just getting going. I’d say we’re in only the second inning of a nine-inning game. I think the wind will be at our backs for at least a three- to four-year horizon. Our stocks are just so, so cheap relative to the broader market right now. It’ll take a long time for that gap to close.

Where can investors find value in the market today? What have you been buying recently? We have a couple of sectors we think are very cheap.

Our favorite over the past several years has been fee-generating financial services companies. Lazard (LAZ) is the largest position in Ariel Fund. Lazard gets paid for advice on mergers and acquisitions and financial transactions. It also has a large global investment management division that’s extraordinarily successful and a business that helps companies through restructuring.

A second favorite of ours is KKR & Co. (KKR), one of the preeminent private-equity firms in the world.

As the economic recovery strengthens, we have some names that are primed to benefit from pent-up demand from the COVID crisis.

Our favorite there is Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSGE). Not only does it own the world’s most famous arena, it also owns the land around the arena – very valuable midtown New York real estate. We think that as inflation comes back, real estate values will come back. And of course, as the economy comes back and COVID ends, people will be back in the Garden watching concerts and games.

The company also has an exciting project in Las Vegas called the Sphere, an innovative venue with a new way of thinking about how to entertain people. The company hopes to be able to franchise it around the world. Analysts are skeptical, but we believe the Sphere is going to be terrific.

Another favorite of ours has been doing well throughout the COVID crisis but will also do well in the recovery: Mattel (MAT).

It has iconic brands we all know – Hot Wheels, Barbie, American Girl. Kids have been stuck at home, needing things to play with, and the company has learned through this period how to benefit by selling their products over the internet. The best is still to come because Mattel has all these great brands and intellectual property that can be put into movies and other exciting opportunities down the line.

Small-company stocks have had a good run. Do you think there’s more to come? I do. We’ve been fishing in this pond of small and mid-cap value for 38 years now. Research analysts have neglected a lot of these smaller companies, especially if they are not part of the major indexes – we talk about them being “orphaned” companies. There are a lot of opportunities to find bargains in these smaller, undervalued parts of the marketplace.

One of our favorites is Kennametal (KMT), which makes metal-cutting tools. We think it’ll be a beneficiary of infrastructure spending.

Small media companies have also been neglected. Our favorite is Tegna (TGNA).

It owns television stations throughout the U.S. It’s dependent on advertising, so it’s kind of a perfect world right now as more people are trying to promote their products as the economy comes back. At the same time, with all the controversy in our country now, advertising from political campaigns and single-issue campaigns has been an enormous tailwind for the television industry.

What risks do you see building in the market today? One of our board members is Chris Kennedy. His grandfather was Joe Kennedy, who famously said that right before the Depression when he was getting stock tips from the shoeshine boy, he knew it was time to get out of the market.

When you had that much euphoria and that much enthusiasm and everyone thought you could get rich quick, that was the time for caution.

Today, everywhere I go, people want to talk about cryptocurrencies. I haven’t seen anything like it since the internet bubble – and this might even be worse. I’d tell people right now to be careful about chasing the “hot dot” of the moment.

I would just be very cautious and remember that the best way to invest is to think long term and to invest in great businesses you can own for a long time. That’s why our logo is the turtle, and we say slow and steady wins the race. Patience wins.

What else are you worried about? Another risk is the one caused by people falling in love with the FANG stocks. As we know, Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL), Google’s parent company, have become so well known and such extraordinary winners; they’ve boomed. They also dominate the S&P 500. But they’re not going to have the same type of performance over the next 10 years that they’ve had over the past 10 years.

None of the largest companies 20 years ago are still at the top today. It’s just amazing how what seems like a true winner for the long term ultimately gets tripped up along the way. So, I worry for investors. I’d tell them, Don’t chase the FANG stocks, and be cautious around the S&P 500.

Do you expect more market turbulence, or a significant correction, between now and the end of the year? We think we’ll be reminded of what happened when the internet bubble burst around the turn of the century. We believe the S&P 500 will have a very difficult time in the second half of the year, as higher interest rates make these fast-growing companies appear more expensive.

At the same time, value-oriented, smaller companies will do fine. They’re not expensive. They have more cyclicality associated with them, so they’ll benefit from this extraordinarily strong economic recovery. You’re basically going to have a tale of two cities, with large-cap growth struggling and smaller, value-oriented indexes doing exceedingly well.

One final stock goes along with a lot of the themes we talked about.

Indexes have been booming forever, and everyone believes that indexing is the wave of the future. One of our favorite companies now is Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), which takes the contrary perspective. It’s a well-diversified conglomerate of money managers. We think if active management starts to outperform in this environment, people will start to pull away from indexing and come back to active managers. Affiliated Managers will benefit from that phenomenon.