Portfolio Report Card

Does Your Portfolio Have a Margin of Safety?

Building an architecturally sound investment portfolio doesn’t happen by chance. A structurally strong and healthy portfolio is organized into three basic parts: 1) the portfolio’s core, 2) the portfolio’s non-core, and 3) the portfolio’s “margin of safety.” All portfolio parts complement each other by deliberating holding non-overlapping assets. (Audio) $1,000 Gold? + a $1.8 Million Portfolio …

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A Risky $1.31 Million Portfolio that Flunks on Cost

A few months ago the NASDAQ Composite Index (Nasdaq:ONEQ) eclipsed 5,000 for the first time since March 2000. Put another way, we are all 15 years older since the NASDAQ’s first dance with all-time highs, but are we smarter? What did we learn from the first meltdown that can help us cope with future meltdowns? …

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Portfolio Chart 1

Portfolio Report Card: A $1.23 Million Portfolio Built on the Wrong Foundation

From an observer’s viewpoint, the individual with a good sized investment portfolio (say above $1 million) doesn’t have much to worry about. They’ve got lots of money and that’s all that matters. Unfortunately, this misinformed view isn’t just dead wrong, but it incorrectly presumes the person with a large portfolio has done everything right. Is it true? (AUDIO) Listen …

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Contrarian Investing

Portfolio School: Put Things Where They Belong

People do the darndest things. For example, they put their investments in places where they don’t belong. This is a common problem suffered not just by retail investors, but by experienced professionals who are hired to advise them. In each case, there’s a poor understanding about the basic elements of a well-built portfolio. (In extreme cases, there may be knowledge of …

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Monster Tax Bills

Portfolio Report Card: Analyzing a Frugal $1.15 Million Account

Today, there is a singular focus by certain investors on minimizing investment cost. In their world, cost is the only thing that matters. Unfortunately, this exceedingly narrow view fails to acknowledge that curtailing your portfolio’s cost is only part of the overall puzzle for obtaining satisfactory investment results. What do I mean? Think about it …

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Retirement Plan

Q&A: Is Buying a Multi-Asset Fund Near Retirement a Good Idea?

Multi-asset class funds and ETFs are designed to invest across various asset classes like stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, and other alternatives. In the ETF marketplace, examples of these types of multi-asset class funds are the Multi-Asset Diversified Income ETF (NYSEARCA:MDIV), iShares Core Growth Allocation ETF (NYSEARCA:AOR), and the iShares Morningstar Multi-Asset Income ETF (NYSEARCA:IYLD). (Audio) Portfolio …

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Portfolio Report Card: A $850,613 Portfolio with Sluggish Results

Your investment portfolio is nothing more than a reflection of who you are. In other words, it’s a personal statement about how you approach financial risk, investment cost, diversification, and taxes. If you’re disorderly when it comes to these aspects of your investment plan, the unwelcome consequences will be a disorderly portfolio with disorderly results. …

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Beware of Skewed Performance Comparisons

Many people and fund companies still use inappropriate benchmarks for measuring investment performance. Instead of getting truthful results, investors are given a distorted perspective of performance which leads to mistaken conclusions. (Audio) Ron does a Portfolio Report Card on a $26.9 Million Investment Account The mutual fund industry’s (NasdaqGS:MORN) widespread use of peer group comparisons is …

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Portfolio Report Card: A $294,439 Retirement Plan with a Tax Threat

Some of us got started late at saving and investing for retirement. And while the financial services industry enjoys browbeating people who lack discipline, got distracted or got into trouble and temporarily paused saving money, I think empathy is due when empathy is warranted. This week’s Portfolio Report Card is for K.E., a 60-year old …

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Stock Market Pit

Should You Make Portfolio Decisions Based Upon Historical Correlations?

Market correlations explain to us the similarity in performance and behavior by different types of assets. For investors,  correlation comparisons might be between two commodities (NYSEARCA:DBC), two stocks, a stock and a commodity, or even a stock and an index. Should correlations be used to make investment decisions? Over the past three years, the Technology Sector SPDR ETF …

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Monster Tax Bills

Portfolio Report Card: Analyzing a Self-Managed $1.45 Million Investment Plan

What are the hallmarks of a well-built investment portfolio? Low cost, broad diversification, tax-efficiency, risk compatibility with the owner, and performance that matches or beats an apples-to-apples yardstick. My latest Portfolio Report Card is for a married couple, C.J. in Orange County, CA. He is 57, she is 58 and they asked me to grade their …

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Portfolio diversification

Portfolio Report Card: A Poorly Designed $863,309 Advisor Managed Account

How can a person tell the difference between a healthy and unhealthy investment portfolio? Naturally, it’s by how well (or poorly) a portfolio does at addressing crucial areas like taxes, cost, diversification, risk, and performance. Here’s the problem: Poorly constructed portfolios are usually ignorant about these first four things, which explain why unsatisfactory performance results …

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Your Investment Portfolio’s Foundation: Where Should it Be Built?

A good investment plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. Unfortunately, most people don’t have either. What about you? Building a healthy portfolio with sustainable and satisfactory performance doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning and having the proper framework. Phase 1 The process of assembling and managing your investments is comparable to the construction of a building. Before …

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Portfolio Report Card: One Doctor’s Sick $503,929 Retirement Plan

Some illnesses can go undetected for many years. Others are accompanied by obvious warning signs like coughing, sniffling, shortness of breath, and other red flags. Similarly, we can distinguish between a healthy investment portfolio versus a sick one by how each deals with important matters like taxes, investment cost, diversification, risk, and performance. My latest …

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Do ETFs Tempt People to Become Daytraders?

ETFs seduce people to become daytraders! That’s the populist claim lodged against ETF investing, but is it supported by facts? What does the data show? To find out, a Vanguard study titled “ETFs: For the Better or Bettor?” examined more than 3.2 million transactions in more than 500,000 positions held in the mutual fund and ETF share classes …

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Portfolio Chart 1

Q&A: How do Foreign ETFs Track their Assets When Markets are Closed?

Q. Trading hours in Asia (NYSEARCA:VPL) and Europe (NYSEARCA:FEZ) don’t coincide with the U.S., so how are ETFs that own foreign securities still able to closely track their indexes even when trading in these securities may be closed? A. Price discovery is an around the clock 24-hour process and capital markets constantly add information that can change the …

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One Trick Pony

Is Your Investment Portfolio a One-Trick Pony?

One-trick investment portfolios are everywhere.  Do you have one? What is a one-trick pony portfolio? It’s the kind of investment mix that is over-weighted or concentrated in one stock, one asset, or just one asset class.  This is a common condition with company founders who have the bulk of their net worth tied up in …

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Married Holding Hands

Can a Marriage of Investing Opposites Produce a Good Outcome?

Most of the almost $20 million in investment portfolios that I’ve analyzed and graded this year have been on individual accounts. But a few, like my latest Portfolio Report Card on a $823,000 portfolio for a couple from Oregon,  are joint accounts. Joint accounts involve multiple people with varying personalities which can be challenging. Ideally, the joint …

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Portfolio Report Card: A $569,742 Retirement Plan with Sluggish Performance

Why do we take unnecessary risk with our investments? Is it because we’re gluttons for punishment or is it because we’re incredibly brave? Often, it’s because we’re simply distracted or unaware. Although the S&P 500 is still hanging on to its year-to-date gain, stock market volatility or “VIX” has advanced more than 30% over the …

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