Retirement Planning

Falling Bricks

A $725,000 Portfolio on Shaky Ground

Having a six or seven figure sized investment portfolio doesn’t automatically make it smart. Such is the case with a $725,000 investment portfolio that I recently graded. An investment Portfolio Report Card request was made to me by a mid-40s software engineer who described himself as an “aggressive investor.” Software is a pretty aggressive business and …

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2 Times When Diversification Becomes Di-Worsification

Diversifying your investment portfolio: It’s a dull exercise that people repeatedly hear, yet a chore they execute with consistent imprecision. Are there times when diversification can actually become “Di-Worsification”? Variety is the Secret Diversification boils down to spreading your investment risk across multiple asset classes. It works because of something called “covariance,” which basically means …

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Why Do So Many Investors Self-Destruct?

“The investor’s chief problem—and even his worst enemy—is likely to be himself,” once quipped the great Benjamin Graham. The truth of Graham’s observation is seen in the consistent pattern of mutual fund investors to self-destruct. AUDIO: Listen to Ron DeLegge @ The Index Investing Show Over the past 30 years, the typical stock mutual fund investor’s performance has …

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Fearful Lady

Building Your Investment Portfolio Shouldn’t Be Scary

How frightened to invest are people? So frightened, they’d rather die! A poll taken by Harris Interactive for Nationwide Financial found that 62% of surveyed respondents are afraid of investing in the stock market while just 58% are afraid of dying. Building your own investment portfolio from scratch is a fearful task for many people, …

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Financial Geek

Stock Prices Are Cheap! Valuation Geeks Get it Wrong Again

“Stocks are cheap by historical standards” is the latest fiction being promoted by valuation geeks. Is it true? Meb Faber, proprietor of the Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEARCA:GVAL), and a valuation guru tweeted the 5-year CAPE ratio for the usually frothy technology sector (NYSEARCA:XLK) is just 22 today compared to an elevated 96 at the height …

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Should Your Portfolio Own Commodities?

Should your investment portfolio have exposure to commodities? The problem with commodities (NYSEARCA:DBC) is that most of us don’t have storage space in the garage for a herd of cattle or pork bellies. And even if we did, it still wouldn’t give us diversified exposure to other important commodity sectors like agriculture, energy, and metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR). …

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Portfolio diversification

3 Steps to Beating the Retirement Income Shortage

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. This is an apt description of retirement income investors who definitely want and need more dividends, but are going about it in the wrong way. For bond investors (NYSEARCA:BOND), yields on 10-Year U.S. Treasuries (ChicagoOptions:^TNX) have slid almost …

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Beating the Dividend Income Drought

Will dividend yields test 1999 lows? That was the title of my post from a few weeks ago in which I explained to readers how the dividend income drought facing investors continues into 2014. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve’s initiation of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) on Dec. 16, 2008 wasn’t the beginning of the bear …

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3 Big Shortcomings of Target Date Funds

Around 41% of all 401(k) savers have are using target-date mutual funds (TDFs) and the numbers keep rising. Experts in the financial services industry applaud this trend, but are target-date funds really the panacea to a secure retirement income? TDFs attempt to match a person’s age and risk tolerance with a projected retirement date. For …

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