How Much Should We Depend On The Stock Market?

Simple analyses, which look to historical returns as estimates for what retirees should expect in the future, tend to provide an incomplete picture that may overstate the potential for stocks relative to other strategies. We will investigate some of the adjustments that should be made to historical returns to obtain a better idea about the…

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Inflation, Deflation, Confiscation & Devastation- The Four Horsemen Of Risk

Noted financial advisor and historian William Bernstein makes a compelling case for stocks in his e-book Deep Risk: How History Informs Portfolio Design. In the introduction, Bernstein begins by offering an operational definition of risk. Risk is the size of real capital loss times the duration of real capital loss. This gets at the idea…

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The Case for Stocks

The case for using an aggressive investment portfolio with a high stock allocation to fund retirement expenses rests on the idea that it will probably work. Stocks are expected to outperform bonds, and if and when that happens, a retiree will be able to spend more from their asset base in retirement. For example, in…

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Modern Portfolio Theory – Part Two

This article is part of a series; click here to read Part One. Efficient frontier diagrams do not actually show the asset allocations of portfolios on the efficient frontier, but this information is also available. Exhibit 1.3 provides an example of ten portfolios on the efficient frontier shown in Exhibit 1.2. These range from the…

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Modern Portfolio Theory

Before shifting into further discussion about whether these historical numbers provide the most appropriate assumptions for future market performance, it is worth understanding how to choose an asset allocation and put together an investment portfolio while assuming that these historical numbers are the right ones to use. The more basic point is that any assumptions…

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Historical Market Returns – Part One

The primary subject of my book is comparing the risk premium with risk pooling as a source of funding for retirement goals. An important step is to first make clear what the risk premium is and how it relates to an investment portfolio. Fundamentally, investors prefer certainty to uncertainty. A bond provides a known yield…

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Overview of Stocks and the Stock Market

Stocks provide an ownership stake in a company. They provide access to company earnings based on its future performance. Companies can pay dividends to their stockholders to return profits to the owners, or they could reinvest profits into the firm to lay the foundation for better performance and even larger dividends to owners in the…

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Two Philosophies for Retirement Income Planning Part One: Probability-Based

Within the world of retirement income planning, the siloed nature of financial services between investments and insurance leads to two opposing philosophies about how to build a retirement plan. There is an old saying that if the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. This tendency is…

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