Yearly Archives: 2015

You’re the worst

I had a great conversation with some clients last week about our investment strategy. Some of the discussion centered around why I recommend the mostly passive, long-term, low-cost strategy that I do, and why we don’t do some other things that might work too. I think that a low-cost passive strategy is most people’s best […]

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Be Not Afraid

It seems all but certain that this week the Federal Reserve Board will raise the Fed Funds target rate at their December meeting. This has led to much hand wringing, fretting and scheming among many investors who own bonds or bond mutual funds.  I have been asked several times in the last month what we […]

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All the time, Every time

Most investors, especially those at or near retirement, would give a limb or two for consistent returns. They wouldn’t even have to be staggering, Bernie Madoff 12% consistent returns. 4-5% real returns year in and year out is a pension trustee’s dream. Of course, it’s not surprisng then that so many investment products and strategies […]

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Selling Financial Secrets

A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link that he knew would get me all riled up, and he was right (am I so transparent? It seems so). Want to see? I mean, who wouldn’t love this? 12.5% returns in “safe” municipal bonds and no volatility like the stock market? Every […]

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Fireside Markets Episode 13: Active, Passive and Alpha with Jason Voss

In this episode of Fireside Markets, Jason Voss, content director at the CFA institute, joins me to discuss his recent series on the merits of active vs. passive portfolio management. Voss, CFA charterholder and former portfolio manager of the Davis Appreciation and Income fund had recently written a series titled “Alpha Wounds” in which he […]

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My Dangerously Selective Memory

Lately I have been doing something that you might think is a bit odd. I have been forcing myself to re-live and hold on to painful or unpleasant memories. As an investor, I think you should too, and here’s why. Among the many strange things our brains do is something called the “fading affect bias.” […]

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Things Won’t Stay The Same

My kids keep growing up, and it continues to surprise me. One who was just learning to stay upright is now a constant chatterbox and a daredevil on her Strider bike. The other seems to have grown a foot this year and has gone from quiet and reserved to confident ringleader of her friends. But […]

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Fireside Markets Episode 12: Investing, Writing and Behavior with Jason Zweig

In this episode of Fireside Markets, Loeb award winning journalist Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal joined me for a great discussion about investment writing, strategy and philosophy and controlling our often wrongheaded investing impulses. We also discussed many books (including his newest, The Devil’s Financial Dictionary, affinity fraud and the role of price […]

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What is and isn’t “Risk”

It’s a popular thing to bash on measuring the risk of an investment portfolio with standard deviation, the preferred metric of most academic studies. If you skipped stats in college (congratulations, by the way), standard deviation measures how much movement around an average return you might expect in an asset or portfolio.  So higher standard […]

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No Shortcuts

Yesterday in the mail we got a flyer for some new gym opening near our house. I glanced at it on its way to the recycling bin. The advertisement was promising super-efficient workouts to burn more calories than average, and keep burning calories for days after! What a miracle. I’m a fairly active guy for […]

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Have your cake

I get asked from time to time about being tactical with part of an investment portfolio, and I often see advisors touting such a strategy. Usually the pitch is that the advisor uses a strategic (meaning fixed) asset allocation for the “core” of the portfolio and then makes tactical moves between asset classes or in/out […]

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3Q 2015 In Review

Market Overview Markets across the board were ugly in the third quarter, particularly in September. Diversified investors likely feel there is nowhere to hide, as practically all major asset classes had significant losses for the quarter. Large cap US stocks were down, small cap stocks were down double-digits, emerging markets were crushed, down nearly 20% […]

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