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Roger Nusbaum  

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  • Success Through Stupidity Avoidance
    Jul. 17, 2014 SPY, QQQ, DIA 16 Comments

    Summary

    • Being a successful active investor requires a massive amount of time and work. If you don't enjoy it, why do it?
    • The definition of active investing can include owning anything beyond a total stock market fund and total bond market fund.
    • Generally, tracking an equity index for the equity portion of the portfolio is not going to be suitable for every market participant.
  • Downsizing = Empowerment
    Jul. 3, 2014 34 Comments

    Summary

    • With the right planning, downsizing no longer has to mean an ugly one-bedroom condo someplace that no one wants want to live.
    • Done with some thought and real planning, downsizing can be very empowering.
    • Smart downsizing can be a total game-changer for an iffy portfolio.
  • Alternative Investments: The Right Expectations
    Jul. 1, 2014 6 Comments

    Summary

    • The media and blogosphere are both picking up on the drag created by too much exposure to alternatives.
    • The Journal reports that the average endowment had 16% allocated to domestic stocks, 18% to foreign stocks and 53% to alternatives in the three years ending June of 2013.
    • The realistic hope for alternatives, when used in moderation, is that they will smooth out the ride in terms of reducing volatility at the times when clients need it most.
  • Why Do People Have Such Different Ideas About Retirement?
    Jun. 27, 2014 52 Comments

    Summary

    • Friend A is the one exactly my age, wants to retire at 50, but doesn't think he will be able to.
    • Friend B who is four years older than me wants to retire in general terms, but he says it will be a while.
    • The point of this post is to try to create some context for disparate views that exist regarding financial matters.
  • Gundlach Likes Gold
    Jun. 26, 2014 GLD, IAU, SGOL 23 Comments

    Summary

    • The purchasing power of $1 from the time the Federal Reserve was established in 1913.
    • How much longer will the U.S. Dollar remain the reserve currency of the world?
    • The U.S. dollar is well within the time frame where something could change.
  • Self-Sufficiency And Resourcefulness Over Complaining
    Jun. 24, 2014 32 Comments

    Summary

    • Salon author Olen notes that the US is "on the verge of a retirement crisis," as living standards appear to be declining such that people won't have it better than their parents.
    • Olen talks of blame pointed at individuals for not saving enough, but makes the argument that saving money has become too difficult for people on an economic basis.
    • The opportunity to overcome all the obstacles cited by Olen exists, but requires the resourcefulness to learn how, stick to it and adapt to any surprises that come.
  • Your Portfolio Does Not Have To Be Perfect
    Jun. 19, 2014 16 Comments

    Summary

    • He gets broad global equity exposure through minimum volatility funds, some REIT exposure, commodity exposure through a natural resources fund, three bond market segments and cash.
    • Brett’s portfolio is of course similar to any portfolios we’ve looked at over the years; not unreasonably complex, can be constructed with ETFs and is unlikely to be ruinous.
    • Whatever you end up with is obviously a combination of savings and growth of those savings from investing (the amount saved is far more within your control).
  • Nothing New Under The Sun
    Jun. 17, 2014 9 Comments

    Summary

    • A reader left a long comment on one of our posts.
    • You reasonably cite the current list of issues confronting the world and its capital markets, but from 30,000 feet none of these are new.
    • Worrying about China is certain not new, before they were going to stop buying our debt, now it is some islands near Japan.
  • Is Generation X Really Up A Creek?
    Jun. 11, 2014 15 Comments

    Summary

    • The pursuit of digging out from under has many paths, none of which should be expected to be easy but this is a challenge to solve individually.
    • The solutions are endless and Gen X-ers are struggling, but fortunately they have the time to find the right answer for themselves.
    • The industry might struggle if there is a gap between boomers and Gen Y that the X-ers do not fill.
  • Why The Glass Must Be Half Empty In Financial Planning
    Jun. 10, 2014 4 Comments

    Summary

    • When planning for the positives you can oftentimes forget to plan for the unforeseen.
    • The difference doesn’t mean financial plan failure versus financial plan success.
    • If equities double over the next five years, or if equities go sideways was your financial plan successful in both outcomes?.
  • It's Never Time To Flee A Valid Strategy
    Jun. 3, 2014 VIG, SDY, SPLV Comment!

    Summary

    • Jason Zweig noted that after several years of outperforming, dividend funds in general lagged behind the cap-weighted S&P 500 by 400bps in 2013, and are lagging a little bit behind this year.
    • One crucial point is that there is no investment strategy that can be the best for all times.
    • Once you and your clients accept that no strategy can be the best for all times, it becomes a little easier to remain disciplined.
  • Get The Beta Right
    May. 29, 2014 6 Comments

    Summary

    • Equity beta, or equity volatility, is great on the way up, it’s on the way down that it is “bad”.
    • Often the word patience is ascribed to the task of investing and that is relevant here. To chase yield is to be impatient.
    • The task evolves into finding yield while still maintaining something close to fixed income beta.
  • Alts Probably, Moderation Definitely!
    May. 15, 2014 3 Comments

    Summary

    • I have long been a believer in using alts in moderation as a way to manage a portfolio’s volatility.
    • Dividing a small allocation to alts among several generally unrelated strategies will obviously insulate against a failure to execute in one part of the alts universe.
    • And while I still would probably not go 20%, I would go from small to less-small as part of getting more defensive.
  • Hire Someone Or Go It Alone? Yes!
    May. 7, 2014 Comment!

    Summary

    • Do investors need an "ETF Strategist?".
    • Should you manage your own money?
    • An active manager will typically offer some sort of expectation, like trying to generate alpha.
  • No, Your Portfolio Should Not Have 20% In Gold And 30% In Cash
    Apr. 30, 2014 IAU, IVV 27 Comments

    Summary

    • James Rickards apparently believes that the end is nigh for the financial system.
    • Suggestions for 20% allocations to gold sound great/look good when gold is going up and hurt on the way down, as was the case in 2013.
    • As the stock market goes up most of the time, it makes sense for the portfolio to look at least similar to the stock market, more often than not.
  • Robo Advisors And Behavioral Finance
    Apr. 21, 2014 Comment!

    Summary

    • Behavioral finance is always interesting because our emotions are regularly a bigger impediment to long-term investing success than stock and/or fund selection.
    • No guarantees with any strategy, but a systematic reduction of exposure while the market is minimally down will likely reduce the likelihood of panic after the market has dropped substantially.
    • A huge part of what an advisor does is helping clients avoid or reduce behavioral mistakes that are so detrimental to long-term success.
  • Time To Get Real About Income Investing
    Apr. 15, 2014 17 Comments

    Summary

    • Buying a bunch of long-dated treasuries is no longer a favorable one-way trade.
    • The “innovative solution” theme is fascinating for hearing about what other people have done and because this forces people to learn more about themselves.
    • As Altucher notes sometimes things go along as planned and hoped for but that when they don’t, you need a plan B.
  • Tiny Houses Can Help Grow A Huge Portfolio
    Apr. 11, 2014 7 Comments

    Summary

    • The financial planning implication considers that a simpler lifestyle will in most instances be a less expensive lifestyle.
    • Financial simplicity is also included on the list.
    • A simple ETF portfolio diversified across the major asset classes can get the job done in terms of sustaining a long retirement.
  • What Wildland Firefighting Teaches About Investing
    Apr. 8, 2014 SPY, DIA, QQQ Comment!

    Summary

    • Just as it is important to refresh on wildland firefighting, it is also important to refresh on investing, more specifically, your chosen investment approach.
    • There will be investors who do not take the time to learn how income investing will evolve; invariably, these folks will get torched.
    • You have to be willing to be contrarian and underperform for periods of time -- sometimes years.
  • The Media's Incomplete Coverage Of The Active/Passive Debate
    Mar. 27, 2014 3 Comments

    Summary

    • The debate between active and passive portfolio management.
    • Holding on to market cap weighted index funds no matter what may not be ideal for certain clients.
    • There are no wrong answers, but to the extent some investors are concerned with volatility, wealth preservation and income, one solution cannot be right for everyone.
  • The Minefields Of Stock Market Content
    Mar. 26, 2014 TST 7 Comments

    Summary

    • Reports say authors may have been paid to write favorable articles about micro/small cap biotechs.
    • Plenty of people contribute content who clearly don’t know what they are doing.
    • The writing world has gotten flatter.
  • The 4% Rule Is More Complicated Than You Think
    Jan. 6, 2014 17 Comments
  • Roger Nusbaum Positions For 2014: Starting To Take Defensive Action
    Editors' Pick • Jan. 5, 2014 HDGE, GLD, QAI 33 Comments
  • The Market Is Scandalous And We Have To Deal With It
    Dec. 19, 2013 SPY, DIA, QQQ 6 Comments
  • Why Doesn't The Dividend Growth ETF Grow Its Dividends?
    Dec. 16, 2013 SDY 34 Comments
  • The WSJ Says Invest Your Emergency Cash, What?!?
    Dec. 5, 2013 134 Comments
  • Cliff Asness' 10 Peeves
    Dec. 3, 2013 ITB, SPY 2 Comments
  • Bitcoin Going Off The Rails On A Crazy Train
    Dec. 1, 2013 COIN 29 Comments
  • Habits Of The Mentally Strong
    Nov. 22, 2013 14 Comments
  • Allowing For The Possibility Of Risk
    Nov. 11, 2013 64 Comments
  • The Dude Who Came Up With 4% Rule Tells Barron's It Might Not Work
    Nov. 10, 2013 48 Comments
  • 'What The Hell Happened To The World Of Finance?'
    Nov. 5, 2013 11 Comments