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This week notwithstanding, optimism about the short-term direction of the stock market has been below average for 40 out of 50 weeks this year in our AAII Sentiment Survey. Given this trend, I was curious as to how 2017 compares to the 30 previous years tracked by our survey. So,...

In rock ’n’ roll, turning up the volume is not only welcome, but is often outright called for. While headbangers may want the volume cranked up, investors may prefer to have the volume set on low instead. High volume signifies a large amount of interest among investors. Interest...

As I write this, the full Senate is considering the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). One provision in the Senate’s version of the TCJA impacts the treatment of capital gains. Specifically, the provision would eliminate your ability to specify which lot you sold if you purchased shares...

In his TED Talk, David Steindl-Rast makes the case for happiness being directly tied to gratitude. The monk and interfaith scholar says people who are more grateful tend to also be happier people. I’m referring to it not only because it is a great talk (to be fair, I’m a fan...

I spent yesterday at Schwab’s IMPACT Conference. The annual conference is oriented toward independent financial advisers. Nearly 5,000 people attended this year’s conference. I’ll share some of my notes at the end of this week’s commentary, but first I want to focus on a...

It is admittedly difficult to write a tax guide when tax rates are uncertain. It is even harder to make tax planning decisions when future tax rates are uncertain. Yet with just a little over seven weeks left in 2017, this is the world we live in. As the horse trading is occurring...

A few weeks ago, I offered a list of what assets an individual investor needs to hold in their portfolio. Second in order of importance on my list—behind stocks, bonds and cash—were REITs (real estate investment trusts). These real estate investments offer a dual benefit of...

Thirty years ago today, the Dow Jones industrial average incurred its largest single-day percentage-point drop. The blue-chip average plunged by more than 22%. The losses were not just restricted to stocks either, as the futures market was roiled by traders who incorrectly bet...

William “Bill” Bengen, whose 1994 study introduced the concept of the 4% withdrawal rate for retirees, recently participated in a question and answer session on social media website Reddit. The conversation focused on retirement withdrawal strategies and portfolio allocation....

While working on a new presentation about portfolio strategies, it occurred to me that there is an important question I should address: What investments does an individual investor need in their portfolio? Not specific names, but rather what types of investments. It’s a question...