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…

Read More

Historical Market Returns – Part Two

This article is part of a series; click here to read Part One. Moving to bonds, Morningstar data shows that since 1926, the average return from intermediate-term government bonds was 5.2 percent with a standard deviation of 5.6 percent. With the lower volatility, the compounded return is only slightly less at 5.1 percent. For long-term…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

The Yield Curve is Inverted. Don’t Panic.

Wednesday was another “interesting” day in the markets. The S&P 500 Index was down almost 3% on the day – and follows on the heels of last Monday, where the market was also down nearly 3%. It’s been an eventful week and a half. Rather than dissect what’s caused these drops (and annoy one half…

Read More

Can TIPS Help You?

Inflation is one of the most pernicious risks facing retirees. While there are a lot of ways to manage inflation risk, TIPS, or Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, are one of the few investment options that directly hedge against inflation risk. They aren’t perfect, and there are certainly some things to consider when you use them…

Read More

Rebalancing Frequency

Rebalancing Frequency for your Portfolio

The market is going to drag your portfolio through every mud puddle it finds. It’s your job to pick your portfolio up, dust it off, and point it back in the right direction. Rebalancing brings your portfolio back into line, and ensures that you are taking the right amount of risk through time.

Read More

Socially Responsible Investing Doesn’t Make Sense – Except When It Does

Socially Responsible Investing Doesn't Make Sense - Except When it Does

Taking distributions from an investment portfolio amplifies the impacts of portfolio volatility, making retirement income planning particularly tricky as distributions tend to be the primary income source for retirees. We can use Monte Carlo simulations to show the increase of money-weighted investment returns in retirement, which has important implications about the choice for a fixed portfolio return assumption.

Read More

Does Dollar Cost Averaging Make Sense?

The appeal of market timing is obvious. Who wouldn’t want to get in and out of the market at the best time every time? We’ve talked a lot about market timing in the past – timing risk premiums, trying to time the markets on a daily basis, and the importance of staying disciplined even when it seems obvious the markets are going to go down.

Read More