Thu, June 18, 2009
Yesterday I noted that the Treasury Department has posted the Obama administration's proposals for financial regulatory reform. In the midst of all the information that's there, I missed an important detail. The administration's white paper, Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation, calls for the fiduciary standard to be applied to broker-dealers. This would be a landmark change from current practice.
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Sat, May 09, 2009
At last I’ve gotten to the question I promised to address last month: how do different kinds of investments perform in inflationary environments versus deflationary ones, and is there any way to protect yourself against both risks? Read the full article
Thu, February 05, 2009
Last year, one of my clients asked me this question. He was well-educated, but had simply never had an occasion to learn how investments work. It struck me at that moment that if he didn't know, then plenty of other people probably don't, so I decided to prepare a short introduction to the topic. Read the full article
Tue, November 11, 2008
Last week, financial journalist and author Jane Bryant Quinn polled several members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) for our opinions on whether it's still a good idea to have stocks in a retirement portfolio. The consensus? In a word, "yes." Read the full article
Thu, October 02, 2008
Dimensional Financial Advisors is a passive-investment-oriented investment firm closely associated with Eugene Fama, 2003 Economics Nobel Laureate and father of the efficient market hypothesis. Today they sent me a link to a very nice presentation by their vice president, Weston Wellington.
The presentation, “Is It Different This Time?” runs about 18 minutes long and puts the present stock market gyrations into a historical perspective by reviewing some of the “bear markets” of the last 50 years. It’s not overly jargon-filled and should be pretty accessible.
The present market downturn reflects concerns about the non-availability of credit, the extent and duration of the housing market downturn, and the fact that we are probably in a recession. But in the end, if you’re investing for the long term, the question you must to ask is whether you think the economy is going to completely collapse. If not, you should hang on, assuming you’re holding a diversified portfolio that fits your tolerance for risk.
The presentation is marked for general use, so I don’t think I’m breaking any rules by sharing it.
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Wed, August 06, 2008
Today’s post continuues Part 1 with a further explanation of this rapidly-growing alternative to the mutual fund.
In my initial post I explained that ETFs
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- are created by financial institutions in large blocks that can be freely converted into underlying securities
- are transparent, meaning that the underlying securities are publicly disclosed on a continuous basis
- trade continuously on financial exchanges at prices that generally move closely with the underlying securities
- are generally liquid, reflecting the liquidity of the underlying securities
- are usually (but not necessarily) linked to a securities index
- tend to have low management costs
Tue, July 29, 2008
In the last four years or so, there has been explosion of newly created exchange traded funds (ETFs) in the financial marketplace. What are these investment products, and how are they different from the more familiar mutual funds? Read the full article
Sat, June 28, 2008
Wall Street is licking its wounds this weekend, no doubt, after being pretty badly clawed by what is almost certainly a bear market. In the coming days you’ll see all sorts of articles offering you free advice, e.g. identifying “Bear Market Stocks You Should Buy Now,” providing lists of the mutual funds into which you should put all your money, and so forth. What should you do? Read the full article
Fri, May 16, 2008
When I meet with a prospective client for the first time, I try to explain a little about my approach to investments. On a couple of occasions when I’ve mentioned “index mutual funds,” someone has asked me, “what’s an index?” I’m always happy to get this kind of question; such questions help me remember that not everyone on the planet is a personal finance geek (and that’s a good thing). Read the full article
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