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 …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Chameleons change colors by enlarging or contracting small crystals in their skin that reflect different hues. (Learn more at USA Today) 2. It’s only human to buy high and sell low, especially in the stock market. (Learn more at AARP) 3. After menopause, female killer whales provide key information that is critical to their pod’s survival. (Learn more at National Geographic) 4. Jimi Hendrix recorded with a group called Curtis Knight & the Squires. (Learn more …

Schwab Starts No-Fee Investment Service

The investing world has been all atwitter — or a tweeter — over the coming of Charles Schwab’s Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which opened to the public today. The new service from the San Francisco-based money manager is the latest in the growing world of “robo-advisers,” or investment advisory solutions that rely on computer algorithms to build, monitor and rebalance portfolios based on your stated goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Online competitors include Betterment, Wealthfront, SigFig and others, which have …

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 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, …