10 Sep 2018

How Much Will Retirement Cost? The WSJ May be Wrong

One of my favorite writers and thinkers is a behavioral economist named Dan Ariely. I heard him speak at a conference years ago, read his first book Predictably Irrational and am about half way through his most recent book, Dollars and Sense. It may be a little hard to tell from the photo, but if you look closely, you can see that his face is disfigured from a third-degree burn… Read More

27 Aug 2018

Just How Rich Are You?

According to a Gallup poll last year, almost two-thirds of Americans identify themselves as middle class.  Despite identifying as such, most Americans can’t define ‘middle class,’ which isn’t too surprising because the definition varies so broadly. I found a nice calculator on The Washington Post’s website that allows you to type in your income and your location to find out where you stand. Before going any further, I should note that I… Read More

20 Aug 2018

Performance Like You’ve Never Seen

When I graduated from college and started working for Mark Twain Bank’s brokerage unit, there was an older gentleman who occupied one of the offices in the branch.  I’m not sure he was actually employed by the bank at that point, but I was told that he had been an important executive at one time. He came in around nine, read the newspaper (we all did in those days), made… Read More

13 Aug 2018

Turkey: Contained or Contagion?

Market risks often come from the most unexpected places. Last week, a possible economic meltdown in Turkey rattled global markets. I wouldn’t have guessed that as recently as a week ago, and while I still think that Turkey won’t affect US markets too much more than they did Friday, I also wouldn’t have thought that problems in Greece would have created an existential crisis for the euro. I am not… Read More

6 Aug 2018

More Tax Cuts to Come?

There’s apparently plan floating around Washington that would dramatically change capital gains taxes, in my opinion, for the better. I try to be impartial about political matters (not always successfully, according to some readers), so for now, I want to leave aside the debates about whether the plan only benefits the rich, inappropriately adds to the deficit or whether it should be an act of Congress or a rule change… Read More

30 Jul 2018

Trade Wars and Interest Rates

Every day brings another headline (or Presidential tweet) about escalating trade tensions between the US and the rest of the world. What impact could these tariffs have on the bond market? The most popular narrative is that prices may increase due to tariffs being passed through to US consumers. Higher inflation should lead to higher long-term rates and the potential of a more hawkish Fed. This “cost-push” view of inflation… Read More

23 Jul 2018

Whither Value? Ask Warren Buffett

I feel as though I’ve written this article a few too many times: value investing is struggling. Pioneered by Warren Buffett’s mentor Benjamin Graham, value investing is the method of buying stocks inexpensively, with the hope that the current problems that’s causing the cheapness pass, and the stock will rebound sharply. Decades into Buffett’s illustrious career, finance academics found that the process of buying cheap stocks led to higher than… Read More

16 Jul 2018

What’s Your China Exposure Amid the Trade Skirmish?

One of the interesting things about the current trade skirmish (I’m not willing to call it a war yet), is that we are fighting on multiple fronts. Even though we have tariffs on aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, we all know that the primary combatant in this altercation is China. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that we have more exposure to China than ever before,… Read More

10 Jul 2018

Portfolio Insights

We are pleased to provide a digital copy of Portfolio Insights, our quarterly newsletter. Table of Contents: Stock Market Summary Bond Market Review Changes Coming to the S&P 500 The Risk of Recession The Big Picture & Fast Facts Click here to read the issue:  Q2 2018 Portfolio Insights

9 Jul 2018

Bond Yields: Still Crazy After All These Years

To my surprise, it’s been more than three years since I wrote about negative yields on bonds throughout the world.  In my article, which can be found here, I wrote that bond yields could go a lot lower than I ever thought since I thought that they were ‘zero-bound.’ A year later, I returned to the topic when the yield on 50-year Swiss bonds had a negative yield.  The article… Read More