11 Oct 2021

Before You Invest in Alternatives

Over the past few years, one of the more popular categories of mutual funds has been so-called ‘alternative’ funds. Alternative investments, broadly defined, are strategies that seek returns that are uncorrelated from traditional investments like stocks and bonds. While alternative investments were once largely confined to private partnerships, they are now popular in mutual funds, or what the industry refers to as ’40 Act Funds. Following the 2008 financial crisis, alternative mutual funds… Read More

16 Aug 2021

What Kills a Bond Portfolio

Even if everything goes according to plan, we are probably stuck with zero percent on cash for the next few years. We’ve been in this situation for so long that it almost seems normal, and with some negative interest rates elsewhere around the world, sometimes zero even seems good (actually, it never does, but negative is just so bad). Earning nothing is so lousy that every once and a while,… Read More

2 Aug 2021

Emerging Markets Submerge of Late

In celebration of the Fourth of July, I wrote about how we are fortunate to have the freedom that other countries don’t always enjoy. Specifically, I wrote about China and its recent crackdown on Alibaba after the founder and CEO Jack Ma made comments that the government found unacceptable (you can read the article by clicking here). Little did I know that we were at the beginning of a terrible… Read More

19 Jul 2021

How Many Stocks is Too Many?

Warren Buffett once said that ‘diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you’re doing.’ I’m a Buffett fan, but this quote always bothered me because we know what we’re doing and we’re highly diversified. The question of how many stocks you need to have a diversified portfolio seems less asked today than it was when we got started 20 years ago, perhaps because you… Read More

14 Jun 2021

Drawdowns in Retirement, Part Deux

Last week’s Insight about the risks associated with so-called bond alternatives with higher yields prompted a lot of feedback, which I always appreciate. Here’s the article in case you missed it. One curious reader asked a great question: what if we allocated some of the bond money to a few of these higher-yielding options? That was enough to send me down the rabbit hole, looking at all kinds of higher-yielding… Read More

24 May 2021

Betting Big on the Future

Some of the hottest exchange-traded funds (ETFs) over the past few years come from the ARK family of funds, founded and run by famed investor Cathy Woods. The ARK funds are a series of theme-based ETFs that seek to find the early companies in a variety of emerging fields including robotics, space exploration, genomics, fintech, and 3D printing, among others. I can’t say that I’m very familiar with the ARK… Read More

10 May 2021

Our Yale Education; Remembering David Swenson

David Swenson, the pioneering manager for the Yale Endowment passed away last week, after a long battle with cancer. Swenson is among the few investors that will receive an obituary, along with other legendary investors like Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, Bill Gross, and George Soros (Soros is complicated because he’s one of the most incredible investors of all time, but is mostly known for his political views and activities, which… Read More

3 May 2021

Biden’s Tax Proposal

President Joe Biden outlined his tax proposals in his address to Congress on April 28th and issued an 18-page fact sheet, which can be found by clicking here. There are many proposals, but here are some of the items of note for individual investors: The top tax bracket would increase to 39.6 percent from 37.0 percent. In 2021, the top bracket began at $523,601 for single individuals and $628,301 for… Read More

26 Apr 2021

Derivatives in Your Portfolio

Last week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a gripping article about a mutual fund that blew up due to problems with derivatives in the fund’s portfolio. You can read the whole article by clicking here, but let me start by sparing you of wondering whether you have it: not with us; our portfolio management software doesn’t even recognize the ticker. The thrust of the story is that the fund,… Read More

29 Mar 2021

Having it all with Buffer Funds?

I’m proud to say that Acropolis was an early adopter of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Although they had been around for almost ten years by the time we launched the firm, they were not actively used. In fact, five years before we launched Acropolis, I wanted to buy some in an account that I had with my dad’s broker at A.G. Edwards. I wanted to buy the S&P 500 ‘Spider’ fund… Read More