Do Portfolio Diversifiers Belong In Your Portfolio

My latest for Alpha Baskets is posted and titled Do Portfolio Diversifiers Belong in Client Portfolios? Over the years I have obviously been a proponent of using funds that tend to not look like the stock market but that this needs to a dynamic process. Stocks go up most of the time so most of the time you don’t need a lot of exposure. An excerpt from the post; While no one can know with any certainty when the next large decline is coming we do know that at some point as a function of normal market behavior there will be another very large decline and it will again scare the hell out of clients. And when that occurs, clients will be looking to their advisors to try to protect their portfolios from the full brunt of that large decline. Please click through to read the rest. The picture is from Deep Cove in...

We Were NOT Jacked Up By Obamacare

Just about every year I write a post about the annual increase in our health insurance (my wife and I). We’ve had what I thought was the same HSA plan for many years although we have increased our deductible a couple of times so I was not sure whether we were grandfathered or if our insurance would get canceled, sending us to Obamacare. When I called our insurance company a couple of months ago to find out, they didn’t know. All they could tell me is that my renewal date would be pushed back to March instead of the usual November but they weren’t sure why. Today we got the thick envelope from them and the news was surprisingly good. We were not canceled and our premium only went up 10%. We were braced for far worse. A 10% hike is as low as it has ever been. A couple of times it went up 20% and one time we had to double our deductible to keep the same premium. From Facebook, I saw that quite a few of my self employed friends were indeed getting canceled so maybe we were grandfathered in or we got lucky somehow. That said, yet another 10% increase reveals that there are still serious problems with health related costs. Quite clearly Obamacare is not going to be repealed but the execution continues to be laughably poor. It is widely accepted that there are not enough people in their 20’s who are signing up. Apparently the age at which “children” can stay on their parents’ has gone up from 26 which itself was an...

How To Retire at 30!

That is the title to my latest at Alpha Baskets which you can read here. This came from an article at MarketWatch about a couple who actually retired at 30 nine years ago. While that title certainly has a Money Magazine air about it there are actual lessons in their story that are useful for everyone. MarketWatch had a very thought provoking post about a couple in Colorado who retired when they turned 30 (they are 39 now). In 2011 they took their story to the blogosphere with the very popular blog Mr. Money Moustache. Their story is a combination of a high income when they were young, a very high savings rate, a very low spending rate and time spent becoming financially literate in terms of things like the 4% rule and other crucial building blocks of investment understanding. Please click through to read the rest. The picture is obviously from Fenway...

Currency Crises and Fast Declines

As you probably heard the Argentine peso fell 11% against the USD causing some big moves in other currency pairs and a big reaction in equity markets. The nature of past currency crises (1994, 1997 and 1998) is that they have caused fast declines in equity prices. As we have looked at countless times since the start of this blog, the history of fast declines is that they tend to retrace reasonably quickly. This time could of course be different but there have been currency crises in the past and the market behavior in the past has been similar. This is the type of market event where it makes sense to have a sense of history. The picture is from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I’ve seen a few park entrances here and there but none anywhere near as neat as this...

Currency Crises and Fast Declines

As you probably heard the Argentine peso fell 11% against the USD causing some big moves in other currency pairs and a big reaction in equity markets. The nature of past currency crises (1994, 1997 and 1998) is that they have caused fast declines in equity prices. As we have looked at countless times since the start of this blog, the history of fast declines is that they tend to retrace reasonably quickly. This time could of course be different but there have been currency crises in the past and the market behavior in the past has been similar. This is the type of market event where it makes sense to have a sense of history. The picture is from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I’ve seen a few park entrances here and there but none anywhere near as neat as this...