21 Aug 2017

Is Volatility Too High? Goldilocks Says it’s Just Right

Well, I am fresh back from vacation in Northern Michigan.  I had the pleasure of driving over the Upper Peninsula twice during this trip to pick up one of my daughter’s from camp.  That’s three trips over the UP this summer, but, sadly, only one pasty. From my perch up north, the big story for me was seeing volatility spike up for the first time in what seems like forever…. Read More

14 Aug 2017

Getting to Know Your Volatility

After a summer of historically low and realized volatility in the market, we finally saw a sharp spike in volatility as tensions rose between North Korea and the US last week. While the exact cause and timing behind the volatility could not have been predicted, we did know that the low levels of volatility would not continue forever. Whether or not volatility is back for a while, it is always… Read More

2 Aug 2017

The End of LIBOR

LIBOR’s reign as “The World’s Most Important Number” is almost over and the banking world is in for a period of transition as a result. The problem isn’t because of dwindling usage, but because of issues in the way it has been calculated and manipulated over time. While LIBOR is used as a reference rate in a wide range of lending products, it is actually calculated from a survey of… Read More

31 Jul 2017

Could the Inherited IRA Be Eliminated?

While it’s always unclear what will come out of Washington, it appears that the inherited IRA (also known as a ‘stretch’ IRA) may be on the chopping block. To incentivize retirement saving, the government allows people to make pretax contributions to IRAs and allows the funds to grow without annual tax bills. Ultimately, though, IRAs are tax-deferred, as opposed to tax-free and the government taxes the money when it comes… Read More

24 Jul 2017

The Most Remarkable Investor that You’ve Never Heard Of

Last weekend, I took an extended drive through the Great Lakes region to drop my kids off at their respective camps. We stayed in Michigan the first two nights – first in Holland and then Munising, right on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.  After a drop off in Minocqua, Wisconsin, we stayed in downtown Madison.  All told, we traveled about 2,300 miles. While my wife and kids were hooked… Read More

17 Jul 2017

Retirement Spending Rules of Thumb

I suspect that, at some point, everyone has heard the old rule of thumb that retirees need to replace 80 percent of their income in retirement to continue to maintain their lifestyle. Although I think that the rule is conceptually reasonable, it’s imperfect and can be improved upon.  At the very least, spending in retirement isn’t fixed – it tends to decline over time as people age (for more on… Read More

10 Jul 2017

It’s Not an Index Fund

Precision in language matters, though you wouldn’t know it from reading newspaper headlines (Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts).  It may seem like distinction without a difference, but I want to make a distinction today between passively managed funds and index funds. One of the biggest debates amongst investors is the old ‘active/passive’ debate.  I’ve spilled plenty of digital ink on this subject already (click here, here and here), but the basic… Read More

26 Jun 2017

Buying China

Quick – name the country with the second largest stock market in the world! Obviously, we know that the US has the largest stock market in the world.  But did you guess Japan, Great Britain or France?  Those are good guesses since they are the three largest developed markets in the world. Maybe you guess China, which is the fourth largest market in the world as measured by the weight… Read More