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November 10, 2017

Monkeys throwing darts. In the world of investment management there is an oft-discussed idea that blindfolded monkeys throwing darts at pages of stock listings can select portfolios that will do just as well, if not better, than both the market and the average portfolio constructed by professional money managers.

July 14, 2017

When Rates Go Up, Do Stocks Go Down? Research shows that, like stock prices, changes in interest rates and bond prices are largely unpredictable. It follows that an investment strategy based upon attempting to exploit these sorts of changes isn’t likely to be a fruitful endeavor.

April 3, 2017

Why Should You Diversify? [March 2016] Investors can benefit from consistent exposure in their portfolios to both US and non-US equities.

October 10, 2016

Election 2016. Making investment decisions based on the outcome of presidential elections is unlikely to result in reliable excess returns for investors. At best, any positive outcome will likely be the result of random luck. At worst, it can lead to costly mistakes.

July 8, 2016

GDP Growth and Equity Returns. Many investors look to gross domestic product (GDP) as an indicator of future equity returns

April 14, 2016

Free Throws. Dave Butler offers a sports example to help investors apply discipline in a stressful market.

January 11, 2016

The Rise of Short-Term Rates. While many market participants were waiting for the “inevitable” rise inshort-term interest rates  expected when the Federal Reserve tightened its monetary policy, some investors may have missed the increase in short-term rates already underway as a result of market forces.

October 15, 2015

Should Investors Sell After a “Correction”? Financial professionals generally describe any decline of 10% or more from a previous peak as a “correction,” although it is unclear what investors should do with this information. Should they seek to protect themselves from further declines by selling, or should they consider it an opportunity to purchase stocks at more favorable prices?

July 15, 2015

The Seven Roles of an Advisor. What is a financial advisor for? One view is that advisors have unique insights into market direction that give their clients an advantage. But of the many roles a professional advisor should play, soothsayer is not one of them.

April 14, 2015

MasterChef of Investing. In the popular TV program MasterChef, contestants face a series of cooking challenges. From low quality ingredients to inadequate preparation and poor implementation, so many things can, and do, go wrong. It’s a bit like investing.

January 15, 2015

Living with Volatility, Again. Volatility is back. Just as many people were starting to think markets only ever move in one direction, the pendulum has swung the other way. Anxiety is a completely natural response to these events. Acting on those emotions, though, can end up doing us more harm than good.

October 9, 2014

CAPE Fear: Valuation Ratios are Market Timing. As broad market indices such as the S&P 500 have set new record highs in recent weeks, many investors have become apprehensive. They fear another major decline is likely to occur and are eager to find strategies that promise to avoid the pain of an extended downturn while preserving the opportunity to profit in up markets.

July 11, 2014

Connecting the Dots. Human beings love stories. But this innate tendency can lead us to imagine connections between events where none really exist. For financial journalists, this is a virtual job requirement. For investors, it can be a disaster.

April 8, 2014

Seven Ways to Fool Yourself. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said that nothing is as difficult for people as not deceiving themselves. But while most self-delusions are relatively costless, those relating to investment can come with a hefty price tag.

March 27, 2014

Market Beaters – DFA Featured in Barrons. Who says the markets are efficient? Using an investment strategy built around the pioneering work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Eugene Fame, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) has delivered astounding results.

March 12, 2014

Top Anecdotal Signs of a Market Bubble. [By: Jason Voss, CFA | Enterprising Investor, CFA Institute] At the risk of further inflating the bubble in discussion about whether or not global equity markets are in a bubble, I think it is worth discussing the topic from a qualitative point of view. Most of the talk of bubbles is data-driven analysis focusing on things like multiples, profit margins, revenue growth, historic equity market tops, equity risk premiums, and so forth. But having worked as a professional money manager through two market bubbles — dot-com and real estate — I can attest that qualitative signs are often more persuasive than the quantitative signs.

January 15, 2014

Many Happy Returns. It’s that time of the year when the talking heads of television and the prognosticators of print issue their sage outlooks for the coming 12 months. While this crystal ball gazing is always entertaining, it becomes even more so a year later.

October 15, 2013

Riding the Emerging Markets Tiger. Many investors fell for emerging markets in recent years when they delivered sizeable returns. More recently, the associated risk has reasserted itself and the infatuation has faded. What’s the right approach?

July 18, 2013

The Art of Letting Go. In many areas of life, intense activity and constant monitoring of results represent the path to success. In investment, that approach gets turned on its head. Read more HERE.

April 24, 2013

Betting Against the House. Markets have 101 ways to remind us of Nobel laureate Merton Miller’s observation: Diversification is the investor’s best friend. Read more HERE.

January 10, 2013

The Top Ten Money Excuses. Human beings have an astounding facility for self-deception when it comes to our own money. We tend to rationalize our own fears. So instead of just recognizing how we feel and reflecting on the thoughts that creates, we cut out the middle man and construct the facade of a logical-sounding argument over a vague feeling. These arguments are often elaborate, short-term excuses that we use to justify behavior that runs counter to our own long-term interests. Read more HERE.

July 23, 2012

Ignoring the News Could Lead to Higher Returns. Many investors rely on the latest news for their investment strategy. Here’s a recent example: On June 21, 2012, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the credit ratings of 15 large U.S. and European banks. How did the markets react? According to an interesting article by Dimensional Fund Advisors, you may be very surprised by the answer. The shares of most of the banks downgraded closed higher after the announcement of the downgrade. Curiously, the cost of insuring the debt of Morgan Stanley (which suffered a two-notch downgrade) dropped to its lowest level in seven weeks.

April 18, 2012

Should Investors Buy High-Dividend Stocks? With bond yields still hovering around historic lows, some investors may be tempted to consider dividend-paying stocks as a way of generating income from their portfolios, presumably with the benefit of not having to sell from their principal. But before embarking on this strategy, it is important to understand several considerations.

December 11, 2011

The Good Old Days? “The hardest arithmetic for human beings to master,” wrote the great American working man’s philosopher Eric Hoffer, “is that which enables us to count our blessings.” It’s a piece of wisdom worth recalling after another year that has tested the nerve of many investors and prompted questions about what current generations have done to deserve to live in such a tempestuous stage of history.

October 11, 2011

Living with Volatility. The current renewed volatility in financial markets is reviving unwelcome feelings among many investors-feelings of anxiety, fear, and a sense of powerlessness. These are completely natural responses. Acting on those emotions, though, can end up doing us more harm than good

August 15, 2011

The New York Times, The Mutual Fund Merry-Go-Round: Author slams mutual fund fees, performance, and ethics; advocates diversifying with passive index funds. This has long been our view.

August 8, 2011

Sovereign Debt and the Equity Investor. The Debt Downgrade and Your Stocks. Interesting article comparing Indonesia to the US. “A triple-A sovereign debt rating is no guarantee of superior equity market returns, and a “junk” rating is no assurance of failure. A diversified strategy will have exposure to both.”

July 14, 2011

CBS Money Watch, What Are the Odds of an Active Portfolio Outperforming? “…active management is the triumph of hype, hope and marketing over wisdom and experience. Choosing passively managed funds to implement your investment plan is the winning strategy — the one most likely to allow you to achieve your goals.”

July 6, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die. Design Your Death Dossier Soon — or You Could be Setting Up Your Heirs for Frustration and Financial Pain

 

May 12, 2011

The New York Times:  “Why It’s So Difficult for Entrepreneurs to Head for the Exit”. Interesting interview on one business owner’s journey to sell his company. See also Carol Roth’s article for the Highland Columns entitled “6 Things to Do Today to Prepare Your Business for Sale”.

February 10, 2011

What’s “New” about a New Normal? The concept of a new normal is anything but new. In fact, throughout modern history, periods of economic upheaval and market volatility have led people to assume that life had somehow changed and that new economic rules or an expanding government would limit growth. What they could not see was how markets naturally adapt to major social and economic shifts, leading to new wealth creation.

This article looks at other periods when investors had strong reasons to give up on stocks, and considers the parallels to today.

January 18, 2011

BizTimes.com, “Sailing Close to Inflation” by Richard D. Marcus, Ph.D. views inflation and unemployment as two monsters called Scylla and Charybdis, which appear in Homer’s The Odyssey.  Odysseus sailed between these two monsters losing part of his crew, but successfully made it through by staying far away from one monster (the whirlpool Charybdis) and risking danger from the other (Scylla).  This ancient story is used to say that we are also intentionally hanging dangerously close to the monster of inflation, in part because the danger of unemployment is even worse.

January 4, 2011

Be it resolved. While people commonly make New Year’s resolutions to eat less, exercise more, and make other lifestyle changes for improved health, some investors also might consider forming new financial habits to improve their long-term wealth. Brad Steiman proposes ten investment resolutions for 2011.

December 1, 2010

The New York Times:  How To Improve Your Financial Willpower, By Ramit Sethi

November 27, 2010

The New York Times:  A Dying Banker’s Last Instructions, By Ron Lieber. Gordon Murray, a Wall Street veteran, has brain cancer and a desire to show people a better way to invest.

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