19 Jan 2021

The Hottest Funds of 2020

The Wall Street Journal last Sunday (that can be found here) about the top stock funds in 2020. They featured the Morgan Stanley Inception fund, which gained 150.6 percent, and pointed out that it surged 19.5 percent in the last few weeks of the year. The manager discussed how they had more than their fair share of investments in e-commerce, people working from home, and streaming entertainment. The top ten… Read More

5 May 2020

Nothing Can Stop America

About one month after Lehman Brothers collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, Warren Buffett penned an opinion piece for the New York Times that I found immensely comforting. You can read the article by clicking here, but the thrust of it was that even if he didn’t know what stock prices would do in the short-run, that stocks would make record profits in the future and he was buying stocks. My… Read More

27 Apr 2020

Stocks or Bonds in a Recession?

Even in today’s economic environment, coming up with topics daily can be a challenge.  So, when a reader asks a question, I am more than happy to answer it in this forum. Last week, I received a question in response to my article, ‘Chance of Recession: 100 percent.’  The reader wanted to know what the recession meant for bonds, especially in the coming months when markets will be volatile. That’s… Read More

22 Apr 2020

Dodging Commodities

One of the best decisions that our Investment Committee made was back in 2008 when we decided not to add commodities to the portfolio. It’s hard to believe now, but there was a lot of pressure back then to add it because stocks were down and commodities were doing well. If you look at the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2008 just before the worst part of the storm,… Read More

15 Apr 2020

Junk Bonds in Today’s Market

Yesterday, I discussed corporate bonds, and how their yield tells us something about investor risk appetite.  You can read the article here. The same thing applies to non-investment grade bonds, which are also called ‘high yield,’ or less pleasantly, ‘junk bonds.’ The first chart below is exactly like the first chart in yesterday’s article, but also includes the yield on junk bonds (in yellow) in addition to Treasury bonds (in blue)… Read More

9 Mar 2020

Markets Testing Your Mettle

As I noted here last week, despite the market turmoil, it is important to remember that we planned for this.  We have prolonged periods of market stress built into our financial plans. It’s also moments like this when we can see whether we’ve accurately assessed your risk tolerance.  Every client has an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that estimates how much an allocation could lose over certain periods. Importantly, we don’t include… Read More

22 Apr 2019

The Secret to Yale’s Success

I’ve written about David Swensen and the Yale Endowment several times over the years (here and here, for example) because i find both fascinating. I first learned about Swensen in 2005, when he was heralded ‘Yale’s $8 Billion Man’ upon the 20th anniversary of taking over the endowment.  The performance during that period was remarkable: 16.1 percent versus the S&P 500, which earned 11.9 percent during the same time frame. … Read More

15 Apr 2019

Why Hire a Financial Advisor?

Over the years, most of the Daily Insights that I’ve written are about investing, financial planning or, less frequently, economics. I don’t think I’ve ever written about the people hire financial advisors – mostly, because I can’t come up with much of an answer other than a generic statement about ‘peace of mind’ or describe why my most recent client hired me. Now, though, I’ll have a better answer, thanks… Read More

8 Oct 2018

What Ever Happened to Bitcoin, Anyway?

Around this time last year and in the months to follow, you’d be hard pressed to find a news site, especially in the financial realm, that did not have an article about bitcoin or some other form of crypto currency or blockchain. Today, you’ll still see an article here or there, but by in large, the hype has subsided. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the publishing of bitcoin’s… Read More

17 Sep 2018

Remembering Lehman Brothers: What Have We Learned?

Five years ago, at the five-year anniversary weekend remembering the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I wasn’t ready to deal with the bad memories of that terrible time. Granted, what happened 10-years ago in financial markets was not like being in a war, a natural disaster, sick with a terrible disease or the victim of a terrible crime, but it was still upsetting to me (no doubt because I live in… Read More