Investing — It’s OK to Have Some Fun

In a recent column I exposed my own portfolio and its daring dullness. It is that very dullness which, I believe, is the key to its success. Still, beneath this dull exterior beats the heart of “The Gambler.” Even yours truly gets the occasional urge to buy that risky stock, offering the possibility of a 1,000 percent return, and sometimes I just can’t resist acting on that thrill-seeking urge. That’s why I carve out a small piece of my portfolio …

3 Reasons to Consider a ‘Robo-Adviser’

I’m a fan of the so-called “robo-advisers.” These are online wealth management services that provide automated software-based portfolio management advice without the use of human advisers. Two of the larger robo-advisers are Betterment and Wealthfront. In addition, Schwab recently launched its version, branded Intelligent Portfolios, and Vanguard has a product called Personal Advisor Services. Here are three reasons I’m a fan of these adviser services: Lower fees Fees matter. And because they do, I encourage people to get real when …

Can Indexing Become Too Big?

For some time now, actively managed mutual funds have been underperforming index funds that essentially own shares of all the stocks in the market. That’s because the lower costs of index funds give them huge advantages over the high-priced active funds. Though I’ve been investing in index funds for decades, I’m rather surprised by their more recent popularity. My indexing approach was once rare, but now a full 37 percent of the money in U.S. stock funds is in index …

3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

6 Lessons From the 6-Year-Old Bull Market

Six years ago today, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at 676.5, which represented a 56 percent decline in less than 18 months. Many a shell-shocked pundit predicted then that the bloodbath was not over, such as this article warning that it would take eight years to recover, possibly longer. Harry Dent’s book The Great Depression Ahead was a best-seller, GM was flirting with bankruptcy, and cash was viewed as the only safe haven. It was a very scary …

Are ‘Lazy Portfolios’ Right for You?

If you think investing has to be complex and require constant monitoring, then think again. As it happens, the best strategy for growing one’s nest egg over the past decade may have come down to being lazy. Let me explain. About a decade ago, Paul Farrell wrote the book The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing (Business Plus, 2004). He’s been tracking the performance of these portfolios ever since, which can be viewed live at the MarketWatch Lazy Portfolio page. Eight of the portfolios …