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The Fading Benefits of Low Volatility Strategies

Low-volatility strategies have quickly become the darling of many investors, thanks largely to trauma caused by the bear market that arose from the 2008-2009 financial crisis combined with academic research showing that the low-volatility anomaly exists in equity markets around the globe. Earlier this week, we took a detailed look at a 2016 study from David Blitz,…

The Top 10 Places Your Next Dollar Should Go

There is no shortage of receptacles clamoring for your money each day. No matter how much money you have or make, it could never keep up with all the seemingly urgent invitations to part with it. Separating true financial priorities from flash impulses is an increasing challenge, even when you’re trying to do the right…

Choosing Between Roth and Traditional IRAs

Among the most important decisions investors make is their choice of location for assets within the various alternatives available for retirement (tax-advantaged) accounts. Allocating between a traditional IRA (a pretax, tax-deferred account) and a Roth IRA (a post-tax, tax-free account) can have a pronounced impact on retirement outcomes, given the $14 trillion in tax-advantaged retirement…

The Costs of Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing (SRI) aligns ethical and financial concerns for investors. SRI has gradually developed over time to include the consideration of firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Of note is that, while SRI has evolved, the original practice of negative screening for the stocks of companies involved in harmful or controversial activities (so-called…

Mispricing Drives the Value Premium

There’s extensive literature documenting that value stocks (the stocks of companies with low prices relative to a valuation metric, such as earnings, book value, cash flow or sales) possess a strong, persistent and pervasive tendency to outperform growth stocks. While there’s no debate about the existence of the value premium, there’s a major debate about…

Is Your Attitude Toward Work Killing Your Retirement Dreams?

Do you have a generally positive or negative impression of the word “retirement”? I ask because it dovetails nicely with a series of questions (inspired by Rick Kahler) that I use to begin most speaking engagements. These questions are designed to incite self-awareness, offering us clues about how our life experiences have shaped the (often unarticulated…

Value and Momentum Are a Powerful Combo

Two of the most powerful explanatory factors in finance are value and momentum. Research on both has been published for more than 20 years. However, it was not until recently that the two have been studied in combination and across markets. The study “Value and Momentum Everywhere” by Clifford Asness, Tobias Moskowitz and Lasse Pedersen,…

A Free Lunch for Investors

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman is generally credited with stating, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Actually, if you know what you are doing, you can get a free lunch in investing. Unfortunately, most investors get stuck with very expensive meals. Diversification is a free lunch Diversification is a free lunch. It basically refers to the…

2016’s ‘Best City In The World’ Goes To…

Charleston, South Carolina.  According to Travel + Leisure magazine, “Charleston is a remarkably dynamic place, so it’s no surprise that it has achieved its highest ranking ever in our survey as the year’s best city in the world.” It’s the first time a U.S. city has received the top honor, but Charleston ranked No. 2 last year and…

Virtues of Do It Yourself Bond Laddering

Bond ladders are frequently criticized in the financial media and even among some professional advisors (who, I would point out, are often able to use only bond mutual funds or ETFs). Earlier this week, we corrected some common misperceptions regarding individually tailored laddered municipal bond portfolios. Today we’ll move on to the many advantages of owning…

The Top 10 Myths About 401(k) Plans

Regular pre-tax deductions toward a retirement plan balance figure into a lot of employees’ paychecks, but many people don’t fully understand how the fund they’re contributing to works. Tim Maurer debunks ten common myths about 401(k) plans. Find it on CNBC.com By clicking on any of the links above, you acknowledge that they are solely…

No Really: Just Ignore Day-To-Day Stock Market Fluctuations

Early Friday morning, a friend texted me. Here’s what he said: “Will you come talk to my co-workers?! They are talking about stopping their 401(k) contributions because of what’s going on! Driving me nuts!” Still not quite awake, I replied, “What?” Within seconds, he replied, “Stock market fell 500 points this morning, Carl! It’s all…

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