Ian Bezek worked for 3 years as an analyst at a New York-based hedge fund. He's currently living in Mexico, pursuing some entrepreneurial opportunities.
Feel free to contact him regarding investments, writing, or speaking opportunities.
Michael Hooper is a freelance writer and value investor. Hooper was previously business editor of The Topeka Capital-Journal for nearly 10 years, then worked four years as a trust officer. He has been a stock market investor since 1993.
Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for its investors and then Mr. DeMuth writes about them on StW.
Joseph has been an analyst, investor, and student of economic theory; money and banking; and statistical methods for evaluating and implementing risk/reward trading algorithms since 1972. Joseph is also an occasional contributor to financial publications and his essays are frequently cited by other financial websites and publications.
Since the end of the Great Recession, Joseph came to recognize that traditional methodologies for forecasting economic growth and investment asset pricing are no longer of value, and a broader understanding of the post Glass Steagall, financially engineered world that has driven markets and economies since the turn of the century is required today.
He has a good grasp of Shadow Banking, High Frequency Trading, and Dark Pools, and their impact on today’s markets. He has also spent considerable time understanding the new global paradigm of central bank involvement in experimental policy designed to better control economies.
Joseph doesn’t subscribe to a specific school of theory on economics. Rather, his thinking is based on a combination of the Classical School, the Austrian School, and the Keynesian School. He even sees the writings of Karl Marx as particularly instructive.
Joseph is particularly fond of the following quote from Albert Einstein and sees his own work as driven by that same passionate curiosity that Einstein refers to:
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
Coming in a close second in terms of favorite quotes that express his views, Joseph embraces Lord Acton’s views expressed here:
“The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern.
Every class is unfit to govern."
I have been investing since the late '70s and managing individuals money since 1985. Over those 25+ years our composite average has compounded at 13.7% per annum, some 3.5 percentage points better than the S&P 500. Three percentage points might not seem like much, but over 25 years it doubles your money. I am currently not accepting new clients, and this in no way constitutes an advertisement.
Time management is essential to monitoring a 47 position portfolio. My 1st comment concludes with "Rich-unck:xx hrs"; I uncheck from the article to avoid repetitive comments, nonsense, and (most) arguments. I extend another XX hrs when I respond to a question or comment...I also respond to all PMs.
BACKGROUND My journey as a self-directed investor (SDI) began in 1973, and resulted in financial independence at age 52, which also allowed me to retire from corporate life the following year (Feb 1995).
I have no special knowledge not attainable by others who also dedicate themselves to the study of the economy, market, and stocks...I could cease all portfolio management today, and place it with a professional manager; however, I enjoy the psychic and financial rewards. Alternatively, I could become a passive investor via mutual funds and/or index ETFs (those works too! ). With few exceptions, As a rule, Rich only discusses his IRA here--it is only a portion of his and Joyce’s investment assets.
INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY If you ‘lived for today’ over the past 5 or 6 decades, you better invest in lottery tickets. The most probable path to a financially secure retirement is the product of an investment program (either active or passive) started when relatively young; living on less than all your after-tax income (saving means delayed gratification); and either self-directed or via professional management, adopting a sensible strategy suitable to age and comfort zone. There is wisdom in flexibility, diversification, and not being life-long wed to any strategy. It is appropriate to take greater risk for greater rewards (sensible growth stocks) when younger, as those are our lowest earnings years combined with our highest expense years--in the years between early investment and retirement, investments in solid growth companies can double 8 times or more.
There is time to adjust allocations to a more conservative strategy when closer to retirement. Never assume you have an information edge over the professionals. Time-in-the-market is your principle advantage. When/if you become interested in dividend stocks, never forget both price return and dividends compound, and price more so.
Financial independence is achieved when one has sufficient confidence his/her lifestyle will not change significantly, regardless of the potential depth or breadth of decline suffered by their portfolio--including a prolonged series of bear markets such as 1929-37. True, the recent 18-month bear market ending mid-2009, was deep--but also too brief to consider its lack of widespread dividend cuts to be as proof a portfolio of dividend-payers won't suffer income losses in a more prolonged decline (i.e., no portfolio is "dividend bulletproof").
The balance of this profile is lengthy, and likely not helpful to passive investors who simply go along for the ride, their portfolios bobbing up and down like flotsam in the ocean; their course always subject to the whims of winds, waves, and trends...THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!
PORTFOLIO GOALS Now in my 70s, it’s no longer appropriate to engage in the growth strategies applied in wealth accumulation. As a more conservative investor, 100% of his portfolio consists of dividend-payers. 95% of positions have investment grade credit ratings (the lone exception is a REIT).This combination, along with having companies in 10 of the 11 S&P GICS sectors (none in Materials at this time) provide a measure of diversification. This IRA portfolio holds no bonds, though bonds and other investments are held elsewhere.
Maximizing total return and wealth preservation are mutually exclusive. A key observation: Having the capacity for risk is not the same as having the tolerance for it!
Rich’s objective is now a ‘smoother-ride’ that levels out the market’s peaks and valleys (limit losses, trim notable excess valuation). That smoother ride in an all-equity portfolio cannot be achieved without active management and continuous monitoring of positions--therefore TIME is an essential input to his portfolio management. Active management does not’ means frequent changes, as it is not unusual for a quarter or more to pass between a trimming or sale (nonetheless, when a company fundamentals change, or a mistake is made, corrective action is taken.)
STRATEGY SINCE 2008 Rich targets both legs of TOTAL RETURN (distributions + price change). His Growth & Income strategy often focuses on VALUE investing tactics applied to dividend-payers. Value investors seek out unpopular, companies most investors are avoiding (i.e., fundamentals have declined but credit rating is strong, BoD has implemented a rational recovery plan, and the dividend not in danger). Value investors seek to be paid to wait for other investors to recognize the stock’s value and assign it a greater share price. In any event, value stock or growth stock, Rich always seeks a ‘margin of safety’--no shares are bought at prices >FV, and his margin of safety is derived from dividends paid, price appreciation, and rising FV over time.
In all cases, value or growth, Rich selects well-established dividend-paying companies having a high-probability of growing earnings (growth of earnings is ESSENTIAL to growth of price and dividends). He tends to be flexible, forward looking, reactive to changing fundamentals, and willing to admit a mistake so action follows.
SDI is not easy, success is not assured, and in recent decades, advice from academics, and investment coaches, almost universally recommend index funds. Those NOT having the prerequisite time and interest are unlikely to develop the requisite skills for stock investing--thus the probability strongly suggests most newbies would be better served by indexing (Ben Graham wrote favorably of indexing). However, when done successfully, self-directed stock investing can offer rich psychic and financial rewards.
CORE PORTFOLIO Presently, +/-30 equities. Core holdings dominate at about 65% of total portfolio positions. Favored are traditional, large- and mid-cap, low-beta, best/near-best in class, institutional-owned, moaty, dividend-paying, value and growth stocks, having investment-grade debt ratings, and representing the consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, and telecom sectors.
OPPORTUNISTIC PORTFOLIO The remaining 15+ positions consist of equally well-known dividend-payers found among widely-owned cyclicals, such as financial, industrials, consumer discretionary, technology, real estate, and energy sectors are sensitive to the economy. In an expanding economy, cyclicals typically grow their earnings (and dividends) faster than do the typically slower-growing core companies. But because the reverse is also true, in a contracting economy, these positions are intended to be heavily trimmed to preserve gains as the economy peaks and shows evidence of decline. Some are susceptible to quite significant price declines when Mr. Market assumes their will suffer reduced earnings, and sometimes dividend-freezes/cuts, in anticipation of those events.
Rich is sometimes fully-invested, but unlike some, observes no such rule. Building a large cash cushion at the front-end of a correction/bear market (-20%) provides the dry powder required to both cushion the market's decline, and also creates the cash required to purchase excellent companies at below FV prices (without having to sell a position he wants to keep!).
TRIMMING POSITIONS When positions in either portfolio become significantly overvalued, they are trimmed by 5-10%, and the proceeds applied to fairly valued companies before the (almost always) temporary gift of over-valuation reverts to the price mean. If the position continues to advance, and absent other information, the position will be trimmed again. Added benefits to selective trimming include (1) serves as a more sensible method of rebalancing (as opposed to automatic--professionals do not use such a meat cleaver); (2) reduces the position's remaining Capital at Risk (which may suggest room for additional shares within an otherwise full position), and (3) provides the necessary dry powder to buy other shares at FV or below.
OTHER INTERESTS As we age, the importance of family grows. Rich has long volunteered in his community; over the years has served with distinction as member/chair of a number of advisory committees. Assisting others on SA is also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Finally, having been blessed by years of excellent investment performance, Joyce and Rich have long been avid world travelers, and have visited over 60 countries over a span of 30 years (his SA avatar reflects the Taj Mahal in his sun glasses). They reside in Michigan--for 9 months of beauty, bliss, and family, and thoroughly enjoy wintering in equally beautiful Naples FL--for 3 months of sunny warmth and relaxation.
Life is good--it's been an unbelievably awesome ride!
I have been investing for 40 years. My wife and I retired 24 years ago and currently manage our portfolios. Our sole income is derived from these portfolios and Social Security. I have a BEE from Clarkson University (1958) and a MSEE from University of Arizona (1966).
Elliott Gue knows energy. Since earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of London, Elliott has dedicated himself to learning the ins and outs of this dynamic sector, scouring trade magazines, attending industry conferences, touring facilities and meeting with management teams.
For seven years, Elliott Gue shared his expertise and stock-picking abilities with individual investors through a highly regarded, energy-focused research publication. Elliott Gue’s knowledge of the sector and prescient investment calls prompted the official program of the 2008 G-8 Summit in Tokyo to call him “the world’s leading energy strategist.”
He has also appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg TV and has been quoted in a number of major publications, including Barron’s, Forbes and the Washington Post.
In October 2012, Elliott Gue launched the Energy & Income Advisor (www.EnergyandIncomeAdvisor.com), a semimonthly online newsletter that’s dedicated to uncovering the most profitable opportunities in the energy sector, from growth stocks to high-yielding utilities, royalty trusts and master limited partnerships.
The masthead may have changed, but subscribers can expect the same in-depth analysis and rational assessments of investment opportunities in the energy sector.
TopYields is primarily a dividend investor, trying to find stocks with a high dividend yield and stocks that will increase their dividends.
My primary focus is to invest in companies that pay substantial and growing dividends, with solid balance sheets and strong cash flows, that are trading at or under my calculated intrinsic value for the company. I supplement this with asset allocation, including bonds and options, as well as other investments such as MLPs.
Through my website, dividendmonk.com, I analyze dividend opportunities throughout the market. My individual stock portfolio listing is also available on my site. I'm an electronics engineer by profession.
It’s time for a change!
Worn out after months and months of portfolio-busting volatility… depressed by the still paltry yields offered by U.S. Treasuries and money market funds… the majority of investors are clamoring for above-average income investments right now.
The only problem?
Most investors are going about income investing the wrong way! They’re simply chasing yield, which is a surefire way to undermine their investment returns.
Anyone can find a list of high dividend-paying stocks. But very few people can actually sort through all the choices to identify the most fundamentally fit, reliable dividend payers. And Wall Street’s been none too helpful when it comes to that task.
But that’s precisely why we founded Dividends & Income Daily… To provide a free resource for everyday investors to find safe, yet attractive, income strategies and investments in this zero-percent yield environment.
Not just any income investments, mind you. Ones capable of producing large, reliable and steadily increasing streams of cash. Both now and into the future.
For decades, many of the world’s richest investors have been using income investments as the cornerstones of their portfolios. For good reason, too. Countless studies show that dividends account for a whopping 90% of total returns.
It’s finally time for everyday investors do the same.
Visit us at http://www.dividendsandincomedaily.com/
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