Investment Principles

Be Wary of Election Year Narratives

Clearly election season is upon us. How do we know that? Well, of course the Democrats are debating and campaigning in order to secure a presidential nominee. Also, President Trump’s rallies are occurring more frequently in swing states. These are the obvious cues. There are also less obvious cues.

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What’s not important now? What is?

Market volatility has once again made headlines. What's important to know and understand?

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Is the market just like a casino?

With the market enjoying a significant rally for the past two months following a big downturn in the market at the beginning of the year, I’m reminded of a statement made to me years ago by a worried investor: “The market is just a big gamble, like a casino.” It is true that the market can gyrate up and down, and it is true that the movements can appear to be random, and it is also true...

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Let’s talk about this correction…

As I write this on January 19, 2016, the stock market ended 2015 and began 2016 on a dreary note, declining 10-12% in value. This is a market correction, the type of market condition that I’ve written about in several recent newsletters and in my 2013 book, The Serious Money Train (from which I will take the liberty of quoting freely).  At this point in the cycle, we don’t yet know if this...

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A (Fake) Market Update for Serious Money Investors

Many of us have wondered how and why the news media attributes daily market performance to some relatively ephemeral news event (e.g., “the Dow was down 250 points today on news of a poor employment report…”) when common sense tells us that millions of investors nationwide could not possibly have responded to the same report in the same way. Those of you who have asked me this question...

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2015 Fund Distributions and Your Taxes

It is that time of the year when your mutual fund companies are notifying us of their expected capital gains distributions for 2015. Many of the distributions are expected to be significant, which will have implications for the tax return you will be filing in 2016. With this in mind, let’s spend a little time to make sure we understand why these distributions occur and how they will impact all...

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The Platform of Confidence

We often talk about the Platform of Confidence that we try to construct for our clients at The Planner’ Edge.  By way of review for some readers and a fresh explanation for others, I am going to provide an overview of the elements that (hopefully) comprise your personal Platform of Confidence. Three Fundamental Conditions Let’s begin with an understanding that building and maintaining...

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Oil: Supply and Demand 101

Courtesy of my long-time mentor, Nick Murray, I received a refresher course in the most basic of economic subjects: supply and demand. What made the topic interesting was its focus on oil and gas prices, whose recent decline has allowed us all to keep more money in our pocket when visiting the gas pump. It was just this past June that oil prices were over $100 per barrel and gas was $4.00 per...

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“Bonus” Points with Institutional Shares

“Bonus” Points with Institutional Shares

As we approach the third anniversary of our firm’s transition to a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser, investment accounts are beginning to accumulate what I think of as bonus points. These bonus points derive from using the institutional-class shares we now recommend instead of the retail-class shares we used to recommend. By way of background, remember that when we transitioned accounts...

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