The Stock Market Plunge: What You Should Do, or Not Do

The headlines are brutal: Wall Street’s Rout Market Meltdown Global Financial Markets Going Crazy It’s enough to get anyone to panic and sell. And that, in my opinion, would be the exact wrong thing to do. It’s not that I have a clue whether the current market plunge is a minor setback for stocks or the beginning of the third half-off sale this century. Rather, I know that it’s our fair weather human nature to embrace risk in boom markets …

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. …

Gold Investing — Learning the Hard Way

Gold is now down 43 percent since its peak in 2011. If you think that’s bad, gold-mining stocks are down more than 70 percent in the past five years. As tends to happen, people have been dumping gold. Many owned gold in the form of an exchange traded fund (ETF) called SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), which was the largest ETF on the planet back in 2011. As also tends to happen, investors bought the fund as it went up only …

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 …

Financial Adviser Exposes Own Portfolio

People are often surprised when I describe my personal portfolio to them. Using an analyzing tool from Chicago-based Morningstar, I’ve put together a brief description of my own daringly dull portfolio and, far more important, why it looks like it does. Most of my investments are in mutual funds with an average expense ratio of 0.16 percent annually. I don’t have enough money to diversify by buying individual stocks, so I buy low-cost index funds that track the overall market. …

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 …