Stocks for the Long Run? Really?

Most of us have heard that stocks have outperformed bonds in the long run. But what is the definition of long run? So far this century, have stocks really outperformed? To answer that question, I decided to look at how three different asset classes have performed in the new millennium. I examined the performance of stocks vs. bonds from Dec. 31, 1999 through June 30, 2015. I compared the total returns of U.S. stocks, international stocks and investment grade U.S. …

When to Sell an Investment

I’m often asked when the right time is to sell an investment. There are actually two answers — a logical one and an emotional one. Let me explain by illustrating through one of the lessons in a course I teach. I teach behavioral finance to CPAs (and confess I am one). I give the class the following situation and then poll them on what they would do: You have been gifted $10,000 and decide to buy two stocks with it. …

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 …