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Ask most people how much a lottery ticket is worth and the most probable answers will be the price of the ticket, the value of the jackpot or simply: “Is it a winning ticket?” The value of a ticket for a forthcoming drawing is none of these. The reason for this is related to...

Lately, friends and acquaintances have been bringing up the stock market’s volatility in conversation. While it’s always possible for me to be an outlier, I suspect in this case that I’m not. The magnitude of the moves is one reason market volatility is a topic of conversation....

Performance chasing is common in investing. Not investing based on momentum strategies per se, but choosing funds, money managers and newsletters based on recent performance. Institutional investors (pensions, endowments, etc.) are as guilty as individual investors when it comes...

Last week’s commentary about how tolerance for risk changes with age prompted a few readers to respond. Most of the emails I received focused on defining what risk is. In the world of finance, risk has more than one definition. Risk questionnaires often try to assess a person’s...

An investor’s willingness to invest in stocks varies with the level of the S&P 500 index and other major indexes. Similarly, in aggregate, older investors tend to be more conservative than younger investors. Neither statement should be a surprise to those of you who have been...

As the bull market nears its ninth anniversary, the backdrop is evolving. This year has already seen more days with the S&P 500 index closing up or down by 1% or more than we saw during all of last year. Deflation—a concern not so long ago—has been replaced by worries about...

On my must-read list is Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) shareholders. Even if you are not a Berkshire shareholder (like I am), the observations on the financial markets and investing are often priceless. This is year was no different. Though Buffett’s...

One driver of stock price returns debated among research papers is the size premium. The size premium—also known as small minus big (SMB)—is the historical outperformance of small-company stocks relative to large-company stocks. The continued existence of this so-called anomaly...

The new tax law provides a few incentives for taking advantage of Roth IRAs and similar types of retirement accounts. It also preserves the contribution limits in effect prior to this year for both tax-deferred and aftertax accounts. Roth IRA conversions, however, can no longer...

The return of downside volatility has exposed problems with perception and with certain exchange-traded products. On Tuesday, the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times declared, “Dow’s Historic Drop: 1,175-point plunge—its biggest one-day loss in history—puts the once-roaring...