Global Stock and Bond Diversification With Just 2 ETFs

This fall, individual investors could be able to use just two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to diversify both globally and by asset class. The annual expense of such a portfolio will be about one-tenth of a penny per dollar invested, exclusive of any transaction costs. Vanguard filed a preliminary registration statement with the U.S. Securities and…

 

The Yield Curve Is Getting Flatter

The stock market endured a mini tantrum on Tuesday in response to a rise in bond yields. The Wall Street Journal described the 10-year Treasury note’s yield as experiencing its largest one-day increase since March 2017. The rise was big enough to cause the benchmark note to end the day with its highest yield in…

 

Midterm Elections and the Worst Six Months

May has historically marked the start of the “worst six months” for stocks. Returns for the major stock indexes over the period of May through October have historically lagged those of the “best six months” (November through April). Worst shouldn’t be confused with terrible, as the S&P 500 index averaged a 1.5% gain for May…

 

Coming Out Ahead by Doing Less

It’s easy to adhere to an investment strategy when you don’t have to do very much. Such is the case with the approach I use to manage my 403(b) account, which is similar to a 401(k) account. When I recently looked at my account, there was nothing for me to do. No changes were required….

 

A Checklist Can Make You a Better Investor

In discussing how his company responded to last week’s engine failure on flight 1380, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying, “Everybody has a checklist.” Checklists have been shown to work across a variety of fields, including aviation, health care, construction and, yes, investing. Value investors Guy Spier…

 

Guidelines for Projecting Retirement Savings

One of the challenges of retirement planning is projecting how much money you will have in the future. For those of us who are many years away from retirement, this a big uncertainty. We can use various tools and calculators, but they often rely on us making assumptions. The assumptions largely focus on three things:…

 

How Much Is a Lottery Ticket Worth?

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 a…

 

Keep Calm and Ignore the Market’s Volatility

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. I suspect many people still view a 200-point…

 

An Argument for Favoring the Loser Over the Winner Funds

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 to looking for the hot hand. Such behavior often leads to worse outcomes than better ones….

 

The Different Types of Risk

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 willingness to incur a drop in a…