Q4 2016 Investment Commentary: Planning vs. Prognosticating

Last Friday here in Atlanta, local businesses closed, restaurants shut their doors by late afternoon, school activities were cancelled, and the Atlanta metro region went under a State of Emergency in anticipation of a debilitating storm.  Meteorologists unanimously predicted 2-5 inches of snowfall later that evening – an obviously dire amount of snowfall by southern [...]

The Dow is a Bad Accident of History

I was a recent college graduate and there I was on the trading desk of a large institutional investment manager, entrusted with a role well beyond the pay grade of a newly minted liberal arts history major.  Like many people in their first job out of college, my primary objective was not to make a [...]

Luck and Skill in Baseball and Investing

The following is our quarterly investment letter that was recently sent to clients. 75 years ago this month, a thrilling World Series concluded what many baseball historians decidedly describe as the best baseball season ever.  That season is notably remembered for two historic accomplishments: Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams finishing the season with [...]

Asset Location: The High Cost Mistakes People Make

Earlier this month, we published an article explaining why investors would be well served to organize their portfolios like their kitchens.  This process, one that the finance industry calls ‘asset location’, is simply intended to make the most of the existing tax code.  The IRS sets the rules with different tax treatment for different account types [...]

Asset Location: Organize Your Portfolio Like Your Kitchen

My family’s kitchen will not be profiled on HGTV as a model of organization.  We face the practical limitations of 25-year old builder-grade cabinets and constrained space.  We also face the reality confronted by many parents of young children.  That is, the focus of children emptying a clean dishwasher is on getting it done quickly [...]

Simple and Effective Investing

“It might be the simplest play in all of sports, and the most effective.  Give the ball to Michael Jordan, and everyone else get out of the way.” These two sentences began an Associated Press article on May 28, 1989.  The day prior, the Chicago Bulls had the ball in the closing seconds of a [...]

Best and Worst Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

There should be natural skepticism when a financial advisor creates a list of the best and worst questions to ask a financial advisor.  It sounds a little like game show fixing of the 1950s where some contestants knew the questions before they were asked.  However, experience provides a unique advantage.  We have heard insightful questions and we have [...]

Amazon Prime and Mutual Fund Investing

There are an estimated 50 million Amazon Prime members in the United States which means that a household in this country is more likely to have an Amazon Prime membership than to have a dog.  It actually seems to be more challenging to find a Gen X or Millennial family who does not use Amazon [...]

Investing Scared

Most investors like the idea of waiting for a period of calm to invest.  Our brains tell us it is better to wait until there is clarity and risks have subsided before investing.  And our brains have good reason to work this way.  For our ancestors, waiting until things calmed down was necessary for survival.  [...]

IRA Rollover or Leave Assets in a 401k?

In a country founded on the idea of individual freedom, Americans value the idea of choice.  We inherently believe that maximizing individual freedom increases our individual welfare or happiness and that the best way to maximize individual freedom is to maximize choice.  A bar with 120 beers on tap is perceived better than a bar [...]