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  • Not Even Apple Can Save This Market [View article]
    Sometimes I think that the average American doesn't know what to do with the extra savings. Surveys show increasing consumer confidence, but it hasn't shown up anywhere. Now I think the surveys are too optimistic. I do think that the majority of Americans keep any extra cash they have in a bank account. If their company offers a 401k -- they do that. But they don't do IRAs or they do it minimally. Also, I think many people don't expect to earn higher future salaries or higher wages. They're used to getting hammered with taxes and healthcare insurance (in the past month, I've witnessed two Target pharmacy customers lose it at the counter because they have no idea that their insurance was switched to a high deductible HSA-like plan). Parents are getting hit with higher public school fees for their kids to play sports or take part in any after school activity. Many public schools no longer offer pencils and paper -- a parent gets a list of things to buy for their child, which grows each year. There elementary schools asking parents to send their child with an iPad. Those that can't afford one, share with one does have one. How does that make the iPad-less kid feel and the parent? So there are energy savings, but then your municipality raises taxes to pay for utility improvements (look at Wake County - Raleigh NC). My generation invested extra savings into their homes thinking that you will always get it back. Now they have bank accounts and CDs that pay zero -- how does that increase confidence in the average consumer? So I suppose at the bottom of this is wage growth. We need wage growth. I have stepped into a few real estate oriented equities (following your recommendations into TPC, UCP and BZH) as I do think something has to change here, and when it begins to change, we'll see it in housing first. But it may be a long hold. Thanks for writing.
    Jan 29, 2015. 09:07 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ARCP: Take Some REIT Risk And Always Double-Down On A Soft 16 [View article]
    For awhile I've been trying to understand why ARCP would focus on shorter term leases and fewer tenants. If the economy was smoking and the leases rolled into higher rents etc that would be one thing, but trying to forecast something like that is like an attempt at market timing (at least to me). So I suppose that's why I own ARCT and NNN despite the lower yields. I guess I sleep better. Great article as usual. Thanks for publishing.
    Aug 7, 2012. 09:41 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • If You Own Utility Stocks, Consider Selling The Overvalued Ones - Part 1 [View article]
    I currently own seven names which I believed were all under-valued when purchased: AEP, APU, AT, BRPFF, PPL, EGAS, YORW. I also attempted to diversify the holdings. At one time, I had owned DUK, SO, D, PNY and OKE but sold off as they got to crazy valuations. I hold utilities as part of my 'diversified fixed income' bucket. I like price appreciation but I really don't expect very much in utilities -- although I expect a fairly stable dividend with consistent payouts. I thought about holding the over-valued names (vs selling) because of sustained dividends, but the capital gain gave me 2 years, and even 3 years on one case, worth of dividends. I'm very anxious to read the rest of the series. I have a feeling I'm going to come away with new thoughts.
    Jul 28, 2012. 10:12 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lexington Realty Trust: Score Nothing But Net With A Sharp Shooting Triple-Net REIT [View article]

    I just wanted to comment on your prolific ability to write some of the most well-presented articles on SA. I have learned a great deal about REITs through them, and as such, I believe I have smartly diversified my fixed income portion of my portfolio with WRE, NNN and ARCT on price dips over the past months. Greatly appreciated and please keep writing!
    Jul 23, 2012. 01:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Bond Allocation For Your Dividend Growth Portfolio [View article]
    Enjoyed your article. I'm currently very heavy dividend stocks and alternatives (MLP, REIT, BDC). I'm about 10% bond (by the book I should be about 35%) and my plan is to carefully build into bond funds. So far I've chosen open-ended mutuals over ETFs because mutuals seem to have less volatility and offer active management (which I think is important right now). ETFs seem more cost efficient, offer similar yields, and are more flexible. Do you have an opinion on ETF vs mutual funds for bonds? I do think actively managed bond funds (with the right manager) are the way to go.
    Jun 12, 2012. 08:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Model Changes With Today's Federal Reserve Actions [View article]
    Good piece Todd. Will look close at EFC. Everyone is counting on QE3 but I have strong doubts that we'll see it anytime soon despite what Bernanke's underling's say.
    Jun 7, 2012. 11:40 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dividend Investors' Guide To Successful Investing [View article]
    Very good article. However, as you follow up with additional parts to this Part I, I'd like to know how you manage your portfolio. Do you use a benchmark -- like the MSCI World Index? Do you allocate to specific sectors and rebalance? There have been several dividend investing strategies posted on SA -- many with similar rules as your's -- but all seem pointed towards chasing the heat of the yield without discussing overall portfolio management and sector diversification. Looking forward to the next article.
    May 22, 2012. 10:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Individuals Have No Business Picking Stocks? Really? [View article]
    I think indexing (and sticking with that plan) is better than sitting in all cash -- which unfortunately, I know many previous investors who have been doing just that since 2009 as they wait for total global collapse (these are fairly high worth individuals). However, if an investor plans on picking his own investments -- stocks, ETFs or CEFs -- they must have the inclination and the interest to spend at least an hour or two each week to stay abreast of market developments. And of course that weekly time is after they've spent a considerable amount of time reading and learning about how to invest and what actually matters, and then figuring out what kind of investor they are, and then learning all the behavioral booby traps they'll need to recognize and avoid. I think Rattner speaks to the vast majority of investors who don't have the inclination or desire to spend that much time, and he represents the reason many of my friends have been sitting on the sidelines.

    I am a fairly recent passive turned active investor. Before I made the transition, I did think about finding a financial advisor (and went through some early investigation). But in the end, I decided to go about it on my own. Not because I thought I could do it better, but that maybe I could do the same.

    I've set up a stock portfolio benchmarked to the MSCI ACWI and I pick US and European stocks (I have 40 right now--mostly dividend payers), while buying ETFs for China, Japan, Latin America, and the rest. I'm fairly benchmarked to business sectors and countries. I also have an income portfolio that holds muni-CEFs, a couple pipeline MLPs and a BDC.

    I think the hardest thing to learn is sticking it out once you have your strategy and implemented your plan. When I begin to feel a little angst, I turn to one of my Ken Fisher books and read a chapter and then I feel better.
    May 12, 2012. 02:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment