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

6 Jul 2021

Happy Birthday America!

Over the last few months, I’ve been bothered by what’s happening to Jack Ma, the co-founder of the Chinese version of Amazon, Alibaba, and Ant Financial, the massive digital payments company that boasts the largest money-market fund in the world. I genuinely don’t understand how a Communist country has billionaires, but Jack Ma’s fortune is estimated to be almost $50 billion. Last October, Ma gave a speech that criticized Chinese… 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

7 Jun 2021

Drawdowns in Retirement

This past week, I was meeting with a client and the discussion turned to the low yield bond environment. The client has a pretty common question – isn’t there something that yields more? The answer is yes, there are a lot of things that yield more than the investment-grade bond market. We could buy junk bonds, emerging markets bonds, or other questionable issuers. These kinds of bonds aren’t inherently bad,… 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

17 May 2021

Inflation Data Spooks Market

Markets were caught off guard last week by several inflation data points last week, and the biggest surprise came from the core inflation rate which was expected to come in at 0.3 percent for the month but was 0.9 percent instead. Most of the time stocks and bonds move independently of each other, but stock and bond prices fell on the inflation news because it could prompt the Federal Reserve… 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

15 Apr 2021

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 Sensational Small-Caps The Gift that Keeps On Giving Pandemic Volatility Subsides The Big Picture Click here to read the issue: Q1 2021 Portfolio Insights

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

15 Mar 2021

Sensational Small-Caps

Over the last six months or so, small-cap stocks have enjoyed one of their strongest periods of relative performance in history. In the five months that ended in February, the S&P 500 is up 14.1 percent, which is a terrific return, but the S&P 600 Small-Cap index, is up 50.3 percent, which is tremendous. This month isn’t over, so it’s too soon to say for sure, but as of Friday,… Read More