Portfolio Talk

The Right Context for Active Management

Actively managed portfolios are not a device of nefarious origin. And neither is it a “dead exercise” as the vox populi has declared. Nevertheless, to be successful at active investing, there are some big time hurdles. Before we discuss these obstacles, let’s first clarify the term “active investor.” An “active investor” is somebody who is …

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What to Do About Fading Stock Market Momentum

Wall Street has been so busy with one all-time high after another, many have already long-forgotten that it’s  been over one-year since the stock market corrected by 10% or more. But as the great poets say, “we don’t remember the days, we only remember the moments.” (Audio) Are ETFs turning people into day traders?  At this …

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Tough Financial Questions that Require Honest Answers

With 2016 now officially history, a new year is upon us. And the great part about each new year is the opportunity for a fresh start. But before completely ignoring or forgetting what happened in 2016, the beginnings of a brand new year offer more than just a clean slate, but an opportunity for all …

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Are You Still Investing Without a Margin of Safety?

In retrospect, Brexit turned out to be more meaningful than Grexit. And while the immediate reaction of global financial markets (NYSEARCA:VT) to the England’s decisive vote to leave the European Union (EU) was negative, it’s a stark reminder of why investing without a margin of safety is negligent. With the exception of precious metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR), mining …

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Lagging Small Cap Warning Sign For Stock Market?

The Performance of Active Managers Keeps Getting Worse

Years ago John Bogle once quipped, “If the data do not prove that indexing wins, well, the data are wrong. ” Here’s the latest: There’s no need to second guess Bogle on this particular matter because a) the data proves indexing wins, and b) the data is completely right. The table below shows the 1, 3, …

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Retirement Plan

Is “Saving More Money” Always the Cure?

Wall Street’s remedy for fixing whatever problems that afflict your investment portfolio is simple: “Save more money.” And if you happen to be among the godforsaken group that always manages to have unsatisfactory investment results, regardless of whether the pesky stock market is up or down, Wall Street’s solution is invariably the same: You need to “save …

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The Proper Context of Hedge Fund Money

In case you missed it, Wall Street’s rich and famous are having their worst yearly performance since 2011. Big bets by hedge funds on energy (NYSEARCA:XLE), healthcare (NYSEARCA:XLV), and commodities (NYSEARCA:DBC) have nuclear bombed shareholders’ money. Here’s just a small sample of the multi-billion dollar meltdown: • David Einhorn’s large stake in Consol Energy (NYSE:CNX), the …

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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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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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Binocular Man Searching

Q&A: How Many ETFs Do You Need for a Well-Rounded Portfolio?

Q. How many ETFs do I need to own to have a balanced and diversified portfolio? – C.L. in Plano, TX A. One of the common investing fallacies is that the number of holdings within your investment portfolio should increase as your portfolio’s value increases. This is wrong. Why? Because having a well-rounded investment portfolio is never …

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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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