John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became fluent in Japanese and was trained as a domestic Japanese research analyst and money manager. In 1977 Thomas became the Tokyo correspondent for The Economist magazine and the Financial Times of London. Thomas traveled extensively throughout Asia, interviewing premiers, presidents and prime ministers, writing on macroeconomic trends, and producing countless features about individual companies. Thomas witnessed China’s cultural revolution and was one of the first American correspondents to enter China prior to the U.S. normalization of relations. Thomas authored several books about the Japanese financial system still in use by business schools today. In 1983 Thomas joined a top US investment bank in New York with the mandate to develop an international equity business for the firm. In 1985 he moved to London, England to establish a presence in Japanese equity derivatives for the firm. In 1989 Thomas was appointed a director of one of the big three Swiss Banks with a mandate to design sophisticated hedging strategies for the bank’s considerable holdings of Japanese equity warrants and convertible bonds. With the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, Thomas was drafted by the US Marine Corp to serve as a pilot. In 1990 Thomas became a pioneer in the nascent hedge fund industry by founding the first dedicated Japanese hedge fund. The firm managed segregated accounts for a variety of government agencies, banks, and high net worth individuals in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. After a decade of spectacular absolute and relative performance he sold his firm in 1999 and retired to manage his personal investments in the oil and gas industry. Seeing incredible opportunities in the marketplace and yearning for the adrenaline and satisfaction offered by active management, Thomas launched a new hedge fund in 2007. In his free time Thomas is a commercial aircraft pilot, long distance hiker and mountain climber, wine collector and avid photographer.
I have been an investor since 1982 , following my Dad and Grandfather.. My main interest is contrarian indicators, and long term proven growth stocks in mundane industries.
I am writing a blog here providing more detail on indicators I mention in some comments I post here at SA
Walter Scott is my pen name. I was an IT industry analyst for many years but am finally retired. My work took me all over the world and gave me a close up perspective of many cultures, frames of reference and business values. Today, I look after my own investments with the goal of maintaining the buying power of my assets without taking on more than a moderate risk.
Jesse has been managing money for over 20 years. He began his professional career at Bear, Stearns & Co. and later co-founded a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund firm headquartered in Santa Monica, California. Today he works with a select group of clients at Felder & Company, LLC in Bend, Oregon and publishes The Felder Report.
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 am a retired engineer with a PhD in Engineering Science (mostly exotic math) together with a Masters in Statistics. I currently manage my website www.superchargeretirementincome.com, where I use my math background to select high-return, low-volatility investments. I also love teaching so I also provide a number of tutorials about all aspects of investing. I am an avid reader and have read just about every book I could find on the stock market. I am still learning so I welcome comments and suggestions. Over the years I have learned that there is no “holy grail”; you cannot receive a good return without taking risks. However, you can choose your investments to reduce risks and those are the kind of investments I like to make. Although financial markets are my passion, engineering is my profession. I have spent the last 30+ years as a program manager at a large aerospace company, working on improving defenses for our U.S. Army customers.
Surgeon with a highly varied background. Mixture of buy and hold equities and higher risk securities and LEAP calls.
The picture is James K. Polk; one of our most successful and underrated presidents. Ran for office stating he would accomplish 4 things. Accomplished all four, died shortly after his term completely exhausted.
Dale Roberts is an Investment Funds Associate with Tangerine Investment Funds Limited, a subsidiary of Tangerine Bank wholly owned by Scotiabank. My articles are for information purposes only and do not constitute investment advice or an offer or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities. These articles are my personal opinion and are not those of Tangerine Bank or its subsidiaries. Remember past performance is not guaranteed and may not be repeated. Investment strategies are not suitable for everyone and you should always conduct your own research or speak to a financial advisor.
I am a retired investment adviser. I write a blog that concentrates on dividends and income. In my web/blog I profile dividend stocks that I call Dividend Machines because they are safe and deliver ever increasing income. High Yield Bonds bought at par or below and covered calls on dividend companies are additional sources of income that individual investors should learn to use and that I discuss on my site. My ideas and historical data are free to readers. The Money Madam
I'm the guy that in 1972 did NOT buy even 10 shares Berkshire Hathaway at $180 because it was too expensive for me.... worth $2.2 million + today. I did NOT buy Great Northern Iron Ore in 1973 at $8.50 because I thought it would run out of ore in 10 years and be worthless....it subsequently paid hundreds per share in dividends in the following years. However, I DID buy long term bonds in 1980-83 and cleaned up in the late 80s. And I don't do bad now.
Scott Grannis was Chief Economist from 1989 to 2007 at Western Asset Management Company, a Pasadena-based manager of fixed-income funds for institutional investors around the globe. He was a member of Western's Investment Strategy Committee, was responsible for developing the firm's domestic and international outlook, and provided consultation and advice on investment and asset allocation strategies to CFOs, Treasurers, and pension fund managers. He specialized in analysis of Federal Reserve policy and interest rate forecasting, and spearheaded the firm's research into Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). Prior to joining Western Asset, he was Senior Economist at the Claremont Economics Institute, an economic forecasting and consulting service headed by John Rutledge, from 1980 to 1986. From 1986 to 1989, he was Principal at Leland O'Brien Rubinstein Associates, a financial services firm that specialized in sophisticated hedging strategies for institutional investors.
Visit his blog: Calafia Beach Pundit (http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/)
Atticvs (a pseudonym), has been an active stock market investor since 1980. For the past 10 years he has been managing portfolios full-time for himself as well as for family and a small group of friends. His investment returns have been substantially higher than the overall market averages. He is a strong advocate of fundamental analysis and discounted valuations allied to a clear understanding of current and future economic/business trends and stock market drivers. During a period of 25 years prior to managing investments full-time, he held senior finance, funding and mergers & acquisitions positions with NYSE, Nasdaq and private companies with operations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, as well as in the USA and spent extensive time working and/or living in each of these regions.
Steven Hansen is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations.
Dave Fish is Executive Editor for The Moneypaper and co-manager (since 1999) of the MP 63 Fund (Symbol: DRIPX), a fund that invests exclusively in companies that offer Direct Investment (or Dividend Reinvestment) Plans. He is also the author of the U.S. Dividend Champions spreadsheet (and PDF), which is updated at the end of each month...and lists companies that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years. (Separate tabs list "Contenders" that have increased their payouts for 10-24 years and "Challengers" that have increased their payouts for 5-9 years.) http://dripinvesting.org/Tools/Tools.asp
I am the Chief of Operations at Wolfram Solutions, the consulting arm of the large privately held software company, Wolfram Research. I manage teams of programmers developing custom applications for business and, government, applying advanced analytic methods to practical challenges. I played a major role in the development of many of the financial features of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha. I have been at Wolfram for over 15 years. My academic background is in the social sciences and analytic methods in the social sciences, including finance, economics, statistics, modeling, simulation, and operations research. I studied at the University of Chicago, both undergrad and grad. I am also an individual investor with 30 years experience, mostly using mutual funds and fundamental analysis, plus specific investments in the financial sector. My contributions on Seeking Alpha focus on the financial sector and monetary economics, and what analysis of those areas can tell us about other macro trends. I also discuss portfolio theory, formal methods in finance, modeling and simulation of financial prices and economic time series, government statistical releases, financial regulation, and monetary policy.
Ilene is an editor at Phil's Stock World, Market Shadows and other financial publications. Her educational background is in biology, pathology and law. After working in biochemistry and pathology during her graduate years, she attended Law School at Loyola. She practiced law in a number of different fields before changing focus. Currently, Ilene writes and edits financial articles for prominent financial publications and services.
Retired Financial Analyst with an investment plan derived from Charles D. Ellis' book "Winning The Loser's Game". My portfolio is invested in the global capitalization-weighted equity market through Vanguard tickers VTI, VEA, and VWO. Retirement spending is typically held to the dividends received from the portfolio.
Over fifteen years of investing experience with both long and short-term objectives. Seeking Alpha can be a great space for intelligent and informed discussion, and a useful resource for investors. Generally consider myself a value investor and occasional trader. Preference for fundamental analysis then soft/empirical analysis both for short and long-term trading/investing. My background is in small business management, accounting, and finance.
I am a 55 yr old retired Financial Adviser, I started investing when I was 14 and have been fairly successful. I have been posting much more than I had anticipated, being I have been an active investor/broker for so long I have begun to enjoy immensely adding and helping to educate and clarify.
The above was written in 2011 (I was 50) however today 2016 the market has changed dramatically, the Fed who for 4-5 years said the rate cuts were NOT to increase equity prices but rather to keep the economy liquid, then in Jan 2016 ex Fed Governor Fisher says "The gains we at the Fed graciously provided has ended so be prepared to pay the piper" hhmm, how they become honest once they aren't getting paid to lie any longer. I expect a 25%+ decline from y/e 2015 and expect the TRUE inflation rate to be clearer, closer to 7% than 1.5% and real unemployment to be closer to 12-13% than the 5-6% BS we've been told, in other words, expect very ugly
My name is Vivian Lewis. I was born to immigrant German Jewish refugee parents in New York, so I started out as a multilingual baby and won the American Association of Teachers of French prize for high school grads in my year. I went on to study European history, first at Harvard, where I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and from which I graduated magna cum laude, and then at University of California, Berkeley where I got an master's degree. I married Paul Lewis, a financial journalist then with the Financial Times (of London), and moved to Brussels where I pursued my PhD at the University of London. When my money ran out, I went to work for McGraw-Hill World News Common Market Bureau and never looked back. Journalism turned out to be my forte, not academia. I then went to work for The Economist in Paris followed by The Sunday Times (London).
When we lived in Washington, I took a break from journalism and worked for the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then we returned to Europe, again living in Paris, where I was freelancing as an economic journalist. In this role I covered a half dozen countries in Europe.
We then moved back in the U.S. again, this time back to New York where my husband became U.N. Bureau Chief for The New York Times. I found it hard to get freelance work because my background was mainly European.
So in 1990 I started Global Investing, initially a print newsletter - now it's a blog. We started out covering the expanding market for American Depositary Receipts and Yankee bonds, adding open-end and later exchange-traded funds with an international bent later. Because there were so many ideas you could only buy directly on foreign markets, in 1996 I decided to start what later became Global Investing Pro, for institutional and high-net-worth investors, but it is now dormant.
My husband and I are grandparents to five.
Visit Global Investing at www.global-investing.com.
Five Plus Investor is business owner and an avid follower of the stock market, managing seven different types of portfolios for family and friends. Five Plus Investor invests in multiple types of investments, with the goal of achieving relatively high dividend yield that has a reasonable margin of safety. She enjoys contributing to Seeking Alpha as she has time, with her core audience being new investors and retirees.
Charles Rotblut, CFA is the editor of the AAII Journal, the flagship publication of The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). Charles provides both insight about individual investor sentiment and market analysis. He is also the author of "Better Good than Lucky: How Savvy Investors Create Fortune with the Risk-Reward Ratio" (W&A Publishing/Trader's Press).
Mercenary Trader (www.mercenarytrader.com) was created by traders, for traders. We are aggressive swing traders who routinely combine fundamentals, technicals and sentiment with deep awareness of global macro and rigorous analysis of individual equities.
See all of our content, including free educational materials on the theory and practice of trading, at www.mercenarytrader.com