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Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife

Writer/researcher

Joseph Slife has been a news writer for the Associated Press, a college instructor, and a radio host.

From 1990 to 2003, he was a writer/researcher for Larry Burkett at Christian Financial Concepts and Crown Financial Ministries, and he served as the executive producer for CFC/Crown Radio from 2000-2005.

He first joined SMI's writing team in 2008, before going on to serve nearly six years as senior producer/co-host for WORLD Radio. He returned to Sound Mind Investing in 2017.

Joseph and his wife Joye have three grown sons.

Most Recent Articles

Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 11-30-18

We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and our monthly Fund Performance Rankings report to reflect mutual-fund performance data through Nov. 30, 2018.

The online Tracker makes it possible to personalize SMI's mutual-fund rankings to your specific situation. You can take the full universe of 20,000+ mutual funds we track and transform that data into a concise report covering only the specific funds available to you via your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan(s).

Typically, we update the Tracker with month-end data from the research firm Morningstar by the 8th of the new month. However, since the 8th fell on a weekend this month, we are posting this update on the 10th.
 
(Why do we target the 8th? We've learned that month-end numbers in the Morningstar database are subject to change during the first several days of the new month as data comes in and various calculations are made. By the 8th, the database is trustworthy.)

Our Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report is a PDF file containing performance data, along with SMI's momentum rankings, for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included in the FPR have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

Check page 2 of the FPR report to learn how to use it. On page 3, there is an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples." Page 4 has explanations of the various data-column headings.

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Roundup: Getting Around the Deduction Limit for Giving, When Gains Are Hard to Come By, and More

Here's our latest collection of interesting reads on investing, personal finances, and stewardship.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

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What Money-Management System Do You Use?

My wife and I are considering moving to a different system for managing our family finances (i.e., budgeting) in 2019. Perhaps you're thinking along the same lines — a new year, a new approach.

Years ago, we started out with an old-fashioned big green ledger book, then switched in the 1990s to Larry Burkett's Financial Planning Organizer. In the early 2000s, we finally moved from a pencil-and-paper approach to an Excel spreadsheet, and then, a few years ago, to another spreadsheet system using Google Sheets.

Because each of these systems has required "manual" entry (by hand or via typing), I've spent a good bit of my life going through receipts and bank statements, making sure our income and expenditures were recorded and applied to the correct budget categories!

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Your 10 Most Important Financial Moves for 2019

Each December, we offer planning suggestions for the year ahead. But this isn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all list. It’s up to you to take our broad collection of ideas and narrow them down to your personal “Top 10” for the new year. As you read, mark each idea that applies to your financial situation and season of life. Then narrow your checked items to 10 that will be your “action list” for 2019.

The next 12 months can be a season of steady financial progress for you — if you’re willing to plan and act.

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Parking Your Brokerage-Account Cash in a Money-Market Fund

When SMI has written about managing cash, typically it’s been in the context of building a savings reserve via a bank-based savings account. We haven’t focused much on the cash-management options within brokerage accounts because, until somewhat recently, SMI’s specific investing strategies haven’t called for “cash” allocations.

Times are changing. Cash is one of the six asset classes from which we choose in carrying out SMI’s Dynamic Asset Allocation (DAA) strategy, launched in 2013. In addition, the new “2.0” defensive protocols introduced this year to SMI’s Fund Upgrading strategy occasionally will shift some holdings to cash. So it’s a good idea to become familiar with the cash options your brokerage firm has available.

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Money Roundup: More Investor-Friendly News on Fees, Stocks Are Still Beating Other Asset Classes, and More

Here's our Thanksgiving-weekend roundup of recent articles on investing, personal finance, and stewardship.

Enjoy! (And pass the leftovers...)

And from the bloggers and pundits...

Your comments are welcome! "Join the Discussion" below.

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SMI on the Radio: A Retirement “Preflight Checklist” (audio and transcript)

Before you "take off" into your retirement years, it's wise to go through a retirement "preflight checklist" — as SMI executive editor Mark Biller explained yesterday on Moody Radio's MoneyWise Live. Mark also answered caller questions.

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A Thanksgiving Reflection: ‘Therefore I Will Hope in Him’

Of the 195 nations of the world, only a relative handful observe a day set aside annually for giving thanks, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Liberia, and South Korea.

The U.S. observance dates back to the earliest 17th-century settlers. So President George Washington was furthering an existing tradition when he issued the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring November 26, 1789, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer:

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Money Roundup: Rising Investor Optimism, Things You See During Every Market Correction, and More

For your reading pleasure, here's our latest collection of interesting articles related to investing, personal finance, and stewardship:

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Just Released: Personal Portfolio Tracker With New Responsive Interface for Smartphones and Tablets

We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker as well as our monthly Fund Performance Rankings to reflect mutual-fund performance data through Oct. 31, 2018.

But that’s not all. As of today, the Tracker is now “responsive,” making it easily viewable on a smartphone or tablet.

  • For years, the Portfolio Tracker has been our most popular web tool, enabling you to take the full universe of 20,000+ mutual funds we track and transform that data into a concise report covering only the specific funds available via your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan(s).

    Using the Tracker, you can personalize SMI's mutual-fund rankings to your specific situation.
     
  • When we initially designed the Tracker, few (if any) people were using smartphones and tablets. Now, such devices account for a large percentage of web use. So we’ve re-designed the Tracker to accommodate phone/tablet users, while at the same time trying to maintain the basic “look and feel” you’ve grown accustomed to. Still, you will notice a few slight changes in the design.

    We’ve also done a lot of “back end” work, significantly automating (and speeding up) the processing of Morningstar’s voluminous month-end fund-performance data. Our new automated system will ensure that you get the month-end data by the 8th of the new month (unless the 8th falls on a weekend, as it will in December). Formerly, our target date for posting performance data has been as late as the 14th (in the not-too-distant past, it was the 24th!).
     
    Why are we targeting the 8th? We’ve learned from in-house testing that month-end numbers in the Morningstar database are subject to change during the first several days of the new month. Put another way, the numbers remain “preliminary” for about a week after the end of the month. By the 8th, however, the database is trustworthy, so that's when we will release the month-end numbers via both the Tracker and the Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report.
     
  • We're working on several video tutorials that will illustrate the features of the new Tracker. Those videos should be available online within a few weeks.
     

You won’t notice any difference in the Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report — it looks like it has before — but it’ll now be reliably posted by the 8th (except next month, when the 8th falls on a Saturday). The FPR report is a PDF file containing performance data and SMI's momentum rankings for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included in the FPR have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

Check page 2 of the report to learn how to use it. On page 3, there is an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples." Page 4 has explanations of the various data-column headings.

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