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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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Politics and this board

I believe politics has entered this board because the market is beyond analysis. Compare closing prices this week to Jan 26 2018. Nothing much as happened except that the market has gone on a random walk. CNBC is mostly useless except perhaps for commentary about individual stocks, which I would guess is not a large % of the holdings of people who go on this board. Congrats if you are a great trader. I am not My approach since Dec 2016 is to reinvest dividends in tax sheltered accounts and put dividends from my taxable stocks and funds into money market funds or cd's. I guess I feel the market is getting high but the primary reason for my strategy is the large taxable capital gain distributions which are sharply raising my taxes. Clearly I should have traded out of my actively managed funds in the late spring of 2011 and purchased index funds in the fall of 2011. but I did not do that. Did anyone?As you can see ,this thread is probably not what you expected but I hope it generates discussion.


  • edited July 9
    The market may be beyond analysis, but mutual funds and ETFs aren't. Politics have entered the board because politics are interesting and dovetail with finance in myriad ways. Still, one can just ignore the Off Topic political comments and comment on the fee structures, track records, portfolios, managerial pedigrees of myriad funds/ETFs if you so choose. Those are a lot more certain and measurable than trying to predict the market.
  • edited July 9
    Great thoughts @jerry -

    I agree the markets seem boring. (Be careful what you wish for.) Personally, I come here because I’m intellectually curious about many things financial. I hardly ever trade. I enjoy hearing others’ reasons for buying, selling, holding even if I engage in little of it. I guess it presents an interesting combination of logic, math, history and gut instincts.

    Well, it’s not for me to say. But I’ve seen few political discussions on the internet (largely pursued by anonymous posters) that don’t eventually degenerate into brawling, replete with undocumented claims and assertions - absurd at times. Conspiracy theories abound. Who needs the rancor? Does it change how you’ll vote? And, most important, how does it make you or me a better or wiser investor?

    We still have a rich vibrant press in this country (and abroad) from which to draw our political news and analysis. I’d encourage everyone to subscribe to at least one good national publication and to so educate themselves on the issues. Participate at the local level. Write letters to the editor of your newspapers. Write a big fat check to the party or candidate of your choice. Whatever.

    I scanned David’s board mission statement in hopes of more clarity on this. Appears to have been updated since I last looked. It certainly doesn’t exclude politics (or anything else). But there seems to be an almost unwritten (but tacit) acknowledgement that the board is firstly about funds and more broadly about investing. Just my 10-cents worth. Others may disagree.

    The markets? Who knows? I’ve felt for a long time equities are pretty overvalued. Long conservatively positioned, I’ll generally gain / lose only about one-quarter as much as the S&P moves on any given day - so it’s not enough to keep me awake at night.

    Here’s the MFO Mission Statement:

    Our Mission - Mutual Fund Observer writes for the benefit of intellectually curious, serious investors— managers, advisers, and individuals—who need to go beyond marketing fluff, beyond computer- generated recommendations and beyond Morningstar’s coverage universe. We are non-profit, non-commercial, independent and accessible. Our special focus is on innovative, independent new and smaller funds. MFO’s mission is to provide readers with calm, intelligent arguments and to provide independent fund companies with an opportunity to receive thoughtful attention even though they might not yet have drawn billions in assets. Its coverage universe has been described as “the thousands of funds off Morningstar’s radar,” a description one fund manager echoes as “a Morningstar for the rest of us.”

  • Politics is useful (and informative) if it's civil, informed, and doesn't devolve into ad-hominum, me-versus-you name calling and the typical reactionary related bleating the moment someone takes a view contrary to yours, real or perceived... many forums over at M* went that way in recent months but that seems to have stopped with the new (and controversial) forum software update.

    Political policies/actions certainly can have bearing on investments, obviously ... so definitely worth keeping them in mind, but not fixating on them.
  • I agree with the comments mentioned so far but I also feel that it's fair to say that I don't recall a past president who has called out (positively or negatively) individual companies or their CEO's as much as the current one, not to mention his current musings about the FRB. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • That's a fair assessment, hank - almost as if he thinks everyone/thing in the country 'works' for him and should do his bidding immediately and w/o question. Frankly in 2017 I was tempted to move my equity positions into index funds just to minimize the chances that an errant tweet or tantrum would hit one of my holdings, but I just couldn't bring myself to do that.
    Mark said:

    I agree with the comments mentioned so far but I also feel that it's fair to say that I don't recall a past president who has called out (positively or negatively) individual companies or their CEO's as much as the current one, not to mention his current musings about the FRB. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • edited July 10
    Mark said:

    I agree with the comments mentioned so far but I also feel that it's fair to say that I don't recall a past president who has called out (positively or negatively) individual companies or their CEO's as much as the current one, not to mention his current musings about the FRB. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    @Mark. Spot on you are. I shudder to think of my next visit to London after the increasingly nasty personal attacks flying back and forth from leaders on both sides - though our President, I think, should set the higher standard.

    But one also needs to be true to his principals. Here’s my imperfect use of a perfect analogy used by @Lewis Braham in another recent thread. (It was so effective that I dare say the other party never responded.) Lewis said: “Let's say someone told you cyanide was bad and then proceeded to take cyanide themselves. Somehow I don't think you would take the cyanide just because the person sounding the warning is a hypocrite.”

    OK - the two situations aren’t quite the same. In the referenced discussion the “other” side was at least professing to offer sound advice (and then proceeding to behave contrary to that advice). But the analogy fits if you think of hurling nasty insults at fellow human beings (be it a business tycoon or hotel cleaning woman) beneath your own standard of conduct. By copying that behavior we assign to it a credence it doesn’t deserve and a level of acceptability it doesn’t warrant.

    There may be areas of the internet suitable for political debate (adequate moderation methods, on-site research capabilities, strict accountability by individual participants, etc.). This, IMHO, isn’t one of them. I fear that to open the door to political dialogue is to allow it to serve as a convenient “sounding board” for the most extreme elements of the political spectrum. In the end it would work against our better interests.
  • edited July 10
    johnN said:


    @JohnN - Did you intend to make a comment?

  • edited July 10
    Hi sir @hank... Think my portfolio is doing do well... Keeping very quiet for now
  • @johnN: Give it a rest !
  • the place is quite civil, and there is always easy avoidance, as LB and others have been pointing out for years now

    so if you don't like it, or really think it should be otherwise, you know what to do, k?
  • Howdy folks,

    Yeah, this has been an ongoing battle for years and it's brutal tough for the moderators to continue to allow pertinent [read: marking impacting] discussion while disallowing political discussions.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this seems to be the approach they've used over the years. If it's tied to investing and doesn't devolve into personal attacks - OK but careful.

    My bottom line at this point in history, is that I refuse to allow anyone or anything divide us further than we are. I have service buddies that are so far right it would make most of you wince. That's OK. I will pray for them and hope they see the light - but they're still my friends.

    and so it goes,


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