It has taken me nearly two decades to unlearn what I thought I had learned during my first two decades of investing. I started studying business cycles about 15 years ago which helps me determine how aggressive or defensive I want to be based on risks and trends in the economy and investment environment. This month, I describe how to create a Ranking System that requires about one or two hours per month to update and evaluate funds. The May results and composition of the Model Portfolios can be found in Continue reading →
Wow! What a year it has been so far! Coronavirus is at the top of the list. For me personally, there was a diagnosis, uncertainty, denial, surgery, and then recovery. After recovery, I took an assignment involving significant travel with less time to spend researching and investing for a couple of months followed by lots of free time. These two life events did not impact how I invest as much as the last rule, to “Develop a Simple Investment Process Based on Rules and Guidelines”. First, I wanted portfolios that were stable enough that I would be comfortable holding them unattended for months at a time during a bear market. For this reason, I created three relatively simple model portfolios that I follow with Continue reading →
Matthew Kenigsberg, Vice President of Investment & Tax Solutions at Fidelity Investments, summarizes the benefits of managing the impact of taxes on investments well in “Are you invested in the right kind of accounts?”
“You can’t control market returns, and you can’t control tax law, but you can control how you use accounts that offer tax advantages—and good decisions about their use can add significantly to your bottom line…” Continue reading →
I put some thought into the following paragraph. It is not gloom and doom, nor does it paint a rosy picture.
New cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have stabilized at 25 thousand cases and 2,000 deaths on a daily basis which, if not improved soon, are terrifying numbers.
Worldwide, 81% of the closed cases are due Continue reading →
In this fourth of a six-part series on the Six Rules of Investing, I look at investing according to the business cycle. This article is divided into four sections: 1) The Investment Environment, 2) Assets that do well in stages of the business cycle, 3) February Fund Performance, and 4) My Target Portfolios.
How has your portfolio compared to the market or other portfolios? Does it offer sufficient reward for the risk that you are taking? Chart #1 contains the Continue reading →
In this third of a six part series on the Six Rules of Investing, I look at risks and the ability of the investment environment to withstand shocks. This article is divided into four sections: 1) The Investment Environment, 2) Looking for the “Known Unknown” Risks, 3) Investment Strategy For Uncertain Times, and 4) Funds for Uncertain Times.
In February 2002, Donald Rumsfeld, the then US Secretary of State for Defense, stated at a Defense Department briefing: “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.”
While writing this article, I am reminded of Alan Greenspan’s comment about “irrational exuberance” in 1996 and Ben Bernanke coining the phrase “global savings glut” in 2005. Roughly three years later we had the bursting of the Technology Bubble and the Housing Crisis. We now have inflated asset prices due to nearly of decade of “Quantitative Easing”. The CNN Fear and Greed Index is a Continue reading →
Ah, Rules Based Investing, the magic elixir to investing success! It is the answer to the gloomy conclusions of both behavioral finance scholars and Pogo. Guys with PhDs have taken reams of paper and thousands of hours of computing time to document what Continue reading →
The mere fact that a belief is common and comfortable does not make it true. Accepting such beliefs makes you part of “the herd,” which is good only when the herd is thriving. But when the herd faces serious threats from hostile changes in their environment, whether it’s drought or wolves, the last thing you want is to have your survival tied tightly to the herd’s.
That holds true in investing, as well as in pastures.
Two such errors animate this month’s essay. First, there appears to be Continue reading →
Oddly enough, the most time-consuming part of investing for me is limiting my choices. To simplify and streamline the process, I looked at fund families with top performing mutual funds that are available as no-load funds with low minimum investments through Charles Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard.
Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, in our Continue reading →
Every strategy should be evaluated not just on a “benefit of being right”, but at least as importantly, on a “cost of being wrong”, basis…
– The Little Book of Sideways Markets, Vitaliy N. Katsenelson
I just finished The Little Book of Sideways Markets (2010) by Vitaliy N. Katsenelson. Mr. Katsenelson is a value investor, an author and CEO of a small but classy Colorado investment advisor; he offers a singularly engaging personal bio on his well-read Contrarian Edge blog. His two books cover the same ground, but are written for different audiences: professional (Active Value Investing) and lay (The Little Book of Sideways Markets). His concern here is with markets that can go up and down for 10 or 20 years and end up near where they started. In this article, I look at investing in a turbulent market which I believe will occur over the Continue reading →
I appreciate the opportunity to write for Mutual Fund Observer. I am a great fan of MFO, and it is my primary investment tool. I am a small investor, an engineer with a MBA nearing retirement. I spent the majority of the past dozen years working overseas and used my spare time reading about history, economics, forecasting, and investing.
The data used in this article is current as of July 2019. As of August 24th, the S&P 500 has lost 5% bringing the 12 month return down to 1.5%. Meanwhile the Vanguard Total Bond Market (BND) is up 10% over the same period. In this article, I look at risks to the financial markets and economy, how funds with varying allocations to stocks have done over the past 20 years, identify 36 top low risk funds with high risk adjusted returns, and create three hypothetical million dollar portfolios based on the current environment. Continue reading →