Are You a Risk-Taker? Don’t Be Fooled by Bull Market

I’ve filled out more than a few risk-profile questionnaires over the years. These forms are supposed to measure how much investment risk you’re comfortable with, such as what percentage of your portfolio should be in risky stocks versus low-risk bonds. Every questionnaire I’ve ever done has pegged me as a living-on-the-edge kind of guy who should have between 70 percent and 91 percent of my money in stocks or stock funds. And that’s the problem. In reality, only 45 percent of my money is in stock and stock funds, …

Getting Real About Fund Fees

So it’s time to get real about mutual fund fees. Sure, they’re lower than ever for many funds, especially those that track an index. In fact, the average fund fee is now 1.25 percent, according to Chicago-based Morningstar. Still, even this amount is too high and needlessly gives away most of your expected future gains. To understand this, consider the following: You have to frame your gains in real, after-inflation returns. In other words, your portfolio must match inflation just to keep your spending power intact. You …

What to Do With Your Money in 2015

As we start the new year, the usual suspects are lining up to forecast market trends and tell us what to do with our money. But rather than sifting through the same old implausible predictions of the short-term future, let me suggest some useful advice, compliments of Wall Street Journal columnist Jonathan Clements. I asked Clements to share his picks of the best advice for those near or in retirement from his new book, Money Guide 2015, and here they are. …

Four Money Resolutions for Building Wealth

It’s been another good year for investing, but only if you’ve been doing it right. U.S. stocks are up 14 percent this year as of Dec. 26, on top of a 33.5 percent gain last year, as measured by the Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund ETF (VTI). If you want to do it right in 2015, and maximize the chances of growing your wealth, now is the perfect time to make some New Year’s resolutions. Repeat after me…. I will stop making …

Will There Be a Santa Claus Market Rally?

Since 1950, December has proven to be the best month for the stock market. According to MoneyChimp.com, the S&P 500 has turned in an average gain for December of 1.62 percent, outpacing any other month. So far this December, Santa has left nothing but coal in the stock market’s stocking, with the S&P 500 losing more than 65 points, or about 3.77 percent, through Dec. 15. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a rally. >> 5 Bad Investment Moves No need …

Should You Sell When Your Fund Manager Quits?

So, the star manager of your mutual fund leaves. Should you bail, too? It’s a question on many investors’ minds now after famed bond manager Bill Gross announced Friday he was leaving the company he founded, Pacific Investment Management Co., to start another fund at rival Janus. The Wall Street Journal reported today that investors so far have pulled $10 billion out of Pimco —  and $90 billion more may follow. “You have to be careful not to have a knee-jerk …