Can Student Loans Fairly Be Labeled “Good Debt”?

Last week’s Astute Angle post explained some fallacies related to mortgage borrowing and how the free pass treatment of home mortgages as "good debt" leads to poor financial decision-making.  In response to that post, I received a few questions related to the "good debt" label of student loans that prompted another debt-centric post.  Three of [...]

The Mortgage Myths We Naïvely Believe

Baseball, apple pie, mom, Chevrolet, hot dogs, and home ownership.  Americana.  To question any of these things is un-American.  And so it becomes a largely unquestioned truth that borrowing money to buy a home is "good debt."  Home ownership, after all, is just living the American dream. But as a result of accepting this good debt [...]

Snowfall in Finland Is Above Average This Winter So Why Do The Knicks Keep Losing

You may have heard the news.  Between October 1st and December 31st, the stock market delivered its worst quarter since 2008 to culminate its worst year since 2008.  It was the stock market's worst December since 1931.  What caused the stock market selloff?   As we say often, there is rarely ever a definitive answer [...]

The Rewards of Fear

26 days into my professional career, something that had never happened before, happened.  And it was not an unprecedented event that largely went unnoticed – like the time, early in my career, when I inadvertently wore different dress shoes on my left and right feet.  While that remains memorable to at least one person, the [...]

Underwhelmed, Most of the Time

Investing in the stock market probably does not feel boring in December 2018.  Scary, volatile, unsettling, and capricious are terms that might be used to describe investing over the past few weeks.  But not boring. Yet successful investing is boring.  Beautifully boring.  Famous hedge fund investor George Soros summed it up well: "If investing is [...]

Three Myths of Bonds

The two most important reasons to own high quality bonds in a portfolio are to provide diversification and to provide capital preservation.  A catchy opening line, if there ever was one.  Several big finance words (like diversification and preservation), an unexciting topic (bonds), and a subjective statement that may not seem to have actionable implications [...]

Control the Controllables

Paul Azinger is described by many as the best Ryder Cup captain ever.  In 2008, he led what was arguably the least accomplished, least experienced, and least talented team of American golfers in the history of the Ryder Cup event – a 12-person team, missing the injured Tiger Woods and lacking a single player with [...]

Outcomes and Probabilities

German, Brazilian, English, Argentine, and Spanish football fans, take heart.  Football (or in American vernacular - soccer) is quantifiably the least predictable major sport.  In no other sport is luck such a critical determinant of the outcome.  So you have that going for you the next time you sit down with a Frenchman to discuss [...]

A Story of Correlation and The Greatest Team Ever Assembled

A respected portfolio manager presented recently at an investment symposium where she explained an investment strategy that has consistently maintained zero correlation to stocks.  Several times during her presentation, she described why the strategy should be expected to maintain a near-zero correlation to stock markets in the future.  During the break that followed, financial advisors [...]