21 Feb 2017

The High Cost of Healthcare for Retirees

A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) released in January estimates how much savings people need just to cover out of pocket healthcare expenses.  (You can see the entire study here) Like our retirement planning software, the EBRI conducted Monte Carlo simulations to estimate the effect of varying mortality rates and portfolio returns. The EBRI found that for a 65 year old man to have a 50/50 shot… Read More

27 Jan 2017

2017 Forecasts: Part V

This is the last in a series of forecasts for 2017 and the last few questions are all about politics. What will happen in Washington with taxes?   Corporate tax rate is cut to 25 percent or lower. Top personal rate is reduced to 33 percent or lower. Estate tax is limited. Carried interest loophole is eliminated. None of the Above. Maybe I’m mixed up, but I think that this… Read More

26 Jan 2017

2017 Forecasts: Part IV

So far, you all aren’t getting tired of these forecasts (guesses), but before we start, I want to make a quick note: yesterday’s stock related forecasts made heavy use of Morningstar’s discounted cash flow (DCF) models. I don’t want you to get the impression that we use these models so heavily in our stock selection process since that just isn’t the case.  At some point, I will offer more details… Read More

25 Jan 2017

2017 Forecasts: Part III

The Barron’s predictions continue on today – previous questions and ‘answers’ for 2017 can be seen here and here. Question 5: Which FANG stock will fare best in 2017? Facebook (FB) Amazon (AMZN) Netflix (NFLX) Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) I think that the FANG stock story is a little played out – these were the four hottest stocks of 2015 and none did anything particularly interesting in 2016. Last year, I noted… Read More

24 Jan 2017

2017 Forecasts: Part II

This week, I’m making my predictions for 2017 based on the 16th annual Barron’s forecasting challenge.  I answered the first two questions yesterday, which you can find here. Today, I’m tackling two questions, starting with naming the top performing sector within the S&P 500.  There are 11 sectors and Barron’s is offering five choices, so technically, it’s not the best sector, but the best sector of the choices that Barron’s provides… Read More

23 Jan 2017

2017 Forecast: Part 1

Last year, Barron’s offered their readers a chance to test their forecasting skills by asking a number of multiple choices questions about what might happen in 2017.  I answered some of the questions in Daily Insights last year here and here. I revealed how my answers fared at our First Annual Investor’s Social last week, which I thought was a great success.  I want to thank everyone for coming and said… Read More

3 Jan 2017

2017 Wall Street Forecasts

It’s forecast time on Wall Street and despite the folly of it, individuals and professionals alike pay attention anyway. On average, and according to Bespoke Investment Group, the 15 most prestigious analysts and strategists are calling for a measly five percent gain, which would put the S&P 500 at 2,356 at year end, compared to 2,234 from last week. Collectively, that’s the lowest average forecast since 2005, when the strategists… Read More

19 Dec 2016

Bond Market Fascinations: An Interview

Since the election, interest rates have risen across the curve.  The Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates last week for the first time this year, but perhaps more importantly, longer term rates have also risen, which means falling bond prices. Right now, the Barclays Aggregate Bond index is still positive for the year, but the gains are muted, especially compared to the 5.8 percent gain that they enjoyed just… Read More

12 Dec 2016

Dow 20,000

When I graduated from college in 1995 and started in this industry, I was told that the current saying for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was ‘10,000 by 2000,’ referring to the turn of the century. It seemed impossible to me because, at that point, the DJIA was trading below 4,500.  Just a few months before, one of my finance professors said the market was overvalued. Less than six months… Read More

19 Sep 2016

Is Inflation Creeping Back?

One of the big concerns coming out of the financial crisis was runaway inflation.  Central banks around the world were buying bonds on a massive scale, which is effectively equal to printing money. In 2010, a group of highly respected economists and investors, including Cliff Asness, Richard Bove, Niall Ferguson, James Grant and John Taylor, wrote an open letter to then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, arguing against more quantitative easing… Read More