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Media anoints investment gurus, should you pay attention?

Some high profile investors are good at what they do, while others might just be lucky. Often it is hard to differentiate between the two groups, as both can boast of high returns. The media, meanwhile, quick to jump in and snap up a headline, sings the praises of these winning investors, without identifying who among them made strategic moves and who was just lucky — giving the impression that they are all people to watch. …Read More.

The Sad Truth About Hedge Funds

There are many well-documented problems with investing in hedge funds, and it’s hard to know where to start in pointing them out.

Among them are: lack of liquidity; lack of transparency; loss of control over the asset allocation and thus risk of the portfolio; non-normal distribution of returns (they exhibit excess kurtosis and negative skewness); and they have a high risk of dying (12.3 percent per year from 1994 through 2008). …Read More.

Five Ways to Navigate the Index Fund

As a proponent of passive or evidence-based investing, I am heartened by the growing number of people investing in index funds. According to a Morningstar article, “A Bull Market in Passive Investing,” only 12 percent of U.S. open-end mutual fund and exchange-traded fund assets were invested in passively managed funds as of Nov. 1, 2003. That percentage has risen to 27 percent, and it continues to grow. …Read More.

Lessons From 2013: Part I

Every year the markets provide us with lessons on the prudent investment strategy. Many times markets provide remedial courses covering lessons it had provided in prior years. That’s why one of my favorite statements is that there’s nothing new in investing, only the investment history you don’t know. …Read More.

The Five Deadly Sins of Investing

If you invested dispassionately, using an objective analysis of the historical data, you would invest in a globally diversified portfolio of index funds with low management fees. It’s not that you can’t beat the market by investing in actively managed funds. Every year, some mutual funds outperform their benchmark. However, their probability of doing so over the …Read More.

Why We Buy in a Marked-Up Market

When dividends are included, 2013 was the fifth consecutive year of positive performance in the stock market (as measured by the annualized Standard & Poor’s 500 return). The stock market is now up more than 200 percent from the bottom of the financial crisis in March 2009. Returns since those dark days have been unbelievable, …Read More.