performance

A $1.3 Million Portfolio Report Card for JPG in Maryland

What are the hallmarks of a well-built and financially sound investment portfolio? For some, it’s simply owning the top performing stocks or mutual funds (Nasdaq:AMCPX). For others, it’s owning the funds or ETFs (NYSEARCA:SCHB) with the lowest cost. And yet for many others, their definition of a well-built investment portfolio is to own whatever securities popular …

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(Podcast) How to Predict Fund Performance

The phrase “past performance is not an indicator of future performance” is a frequently written and spoken legal disclaimer for virtually all investments sold by Wall Street. Yet, hardly anyone from individual investors all the way to investment sales people really act like they believe it. Asset flows inevitably gravitate into funds with the hottest historical performance. And …

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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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If You’re Not Preventing Stock Market Losses, You Better Start Now

What’s more important? Making gains in the stock market or preventing losses? Before answering that question, let’s list a few common fallacies about risk: • The full spectrum of market risk can be accurately defined in a single magic formula or statistic • Long-term investing always guarantees success, so go ahead and take all the …

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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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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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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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PRC Calculation

The Long-Term Investing Fallacy

The financial services industry likes to preach the benefits of compounding returns and long-term investing. Have they overstated or even misstated their cause? It’s common for industry types to illustrate unrealistic long-term time horizons of 100 or 200 years of equity returns (NYSEARCA:DIA) to prove that we should be long-term investors. The problem with this …

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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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6 Really Bad and Sad Portfolio Types

We live in a Golden Era of misaligned investment portfolios. These are rogue, poorly designed portfolios (401k, IRA, Roth IRA, UGMA, 529 plans, etc.) that are architecturally unsound. And for whatever reason, the people who own them are intent on self-destruction. The Portfolio Report Card method I invented for analyzing and grading portfolios uncovers most …

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Slow Turtle

Portfolio Report Card: A $408,303 Retirement Account Stuck in First Gear

World-class investment portfolios deliberately minimize taxes and investment costs. Likewise, a well-built portfolio is handcrafted to perfectly match the unique investor personality of the individual. Since May, I’ve already executed Portfolio Report Cards on $10.6 million in investments and too many investors are still coming up short. This time around, my latest Portfolio Report Card is for S.G., …

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What’s the Proper Way to Measure Your Portfolio’s Performance?

Have you ever wondered why mutual funds that have 80% of their exposure to U.S. stocks (NYSEARCA:SCHB) and the other 20% to international stocks (NYSEARCA:EFA) are still measuring their performance versus the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:VOO)? Shouldn’t they be using a blended 80/20 passive benchmark to do a proper apples-to-apples measurement? Why don’t they do this? …

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One Trick Pony

Portfolio Report Card: A $512,000 One-Trick Pony

Diversification means different things to different people. In some cultures, diversification means having large families to diversify so that when mom and dad get old, there will be plenty of children and grandchildren to care for them in their old age. For the individual investor, diversification boils down to spreading your risk across a variety …

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Don’t Make These Widespread Mutual Fund Mistakes!

“People should only buy mutual funds with experienced portfolio managers that have good long-term track records.” “Investing in highly rated mutual funds with at least 4 or 5 stars is a sure-fire way to choose the best fund.” “Our firm screens thousands of mutual funds to help our clients find funds and managers that have …

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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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