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Newsletters and Publications

Negative Interest Rates Will Likely Come To The U.S.

SeekingAlpha, 08.26.2019

The Federal Reserve has fewer policy options to combat a possible recession. The U.S. may join many other industrialized countries in reducing interest rates below zero to deal with  the next economic slowdown. 

The Pros and Cons of Leveraged Loans

SeekingAlpha, 05.08.2019

Leveraged loans have become a significant source of financing in the last several years. This article looks at ways to invest in them as well as their risks and rewards. 

The Hedge Fund "Slump" Continues

SeekingAlpha, 03.16.2019

Hedge Funds continue to do poorly. This article compares aggregate measures of hedge fund performance against simple indexed investment strategies. The results are eye opening.

Beware of Pension Buyout Offers

Linkedin, 03.25.2019

This article points out that most pension buyout offers serve the interests of the plan sponsor and not the plan participant. For most people, it's better to keep the pension you were promised.

The UK Crashes out of the EU?

Linkedin, 11.16.2018

This article looks at the consequences of a "hard" Brexit for the UK. Great Britain could not have expected better exit terms than the ones its parliament is currently considering.

Correcting Trump's Absurd Tariff Policy 

Linkedin, 10.29.2018

The Trump administration has taken an aggressive stand on tariff policy with China. However, they are focused on trade deficit outcomes rather than process. Intellectual property theft and coercion of JV partners are the real problem. The WTO is the correct forum to press this case. Instead,  Trump has alienated allies with unilateral tariffs against them. 

Mutual Fund Performance Data Means Less Than You Think 

SeekingAlpha, 05.08.2018

Consolidation in the mutual fund industry effectively eliminates large numbers of unsuccessful funds from the marketplace. This phenomenon biases upward the reported performance of the mutual fund universe.  

The Chinese Stock Market is Going Mainstream 

SeekingAlpha, 06.06.2018

The Chinese stock market has gone from zero to one of the world's largest in 25 years. It is gradually opening to Western investment. This article reviews the structure and recent developments in the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. Passive investors will be exposed to more and more Chinese stocks in the next few years.

How to Build a Large Roth IRA 

Linkedin, 02.05.2018

Many  companies now allow their employees to make after tax contributions to their 401k plan. This article discussed a strategy for using in service distributions to convert after tax contributions to a Roth IRA

Is the World of Indexed Investing Too Big? 

Investopedia, 09.07.2017

Passive investment vehicles have been attracting huge amounts of capital at the expense of active managers. Some argue this is bad for the financial markets. This article contends that there is no evidence that the growth if indexed investing is causing problems. In fact, it continues to outperform active management even as it has grown. 

A Critical Look at the CAPE Ratio 

SeekingAlpha, 05.30.2017

The CAPE ratio derived from US stock market prices and earnings indicates it is moderately overvalued. Of course, the CAPE ratio has exceeded its long term average almost continuously for 30 years. Yet the stock market has delivered fine returns over that period. Perhaps there are better ways to measure relative value. It is fair to point out that foreign stock markets seem to offer better value than our home market based on most conventional measures. 

Learn to Love Indexing in Today's Bond Market 

SeekingAlpha, 09.15.2016

Passive Bond Funds have done well against their actively managed peers. This article discusses the composition of the Aggregate Bond Index and suggests ways for the individual to participate as an indexed fixed income investor.

The Roth Conversion in Early Retirement 

Intelligent Money, 08.16.2016

​The article suggests that individual investors can mazimized the after tax value of Roth IRA conversions by executing them during tax years when their income is low. For many Americans, the early years of retirement offer just such an opportunity.

Preferred Stock is not the Way to Go 

SeekingAlpha, 07.28.2016

Preferred stock is not an essential component of an investment portfolio for a number of reasons. The overalll market capitalization of preferred stock is very small as compared with other core asset classes. The vast majority of preferres stock issue is from financial companies. There is no industry diversification

Brexit: A Cancer that Must Be Contained 

Linkedin, 06.24.2016

Speculates that EU may be able to establish a relationship with Great Britain that is similar to the one it has with associated members of the EU such as Iceland or Norway.

The Mutual Fund Graveyard ... and Its Implications for Investors

Linkedin, 06.24.2016

A large fraction of mutual funds merge or close every year and the trend is accelerating. These eliminated funds typically have poor track records. Many mutual fund indices do not account for this survivorship bias. 

Are the Wheels Coming off the Hedge Fund Bandwagon

Linkedin, 05.12.2016

Hedge Fund returns continue to substantially lag those of core asset classes like stocks and bonds

The Decay of Competition Under Obamacare

Linkedin, 04.26.2016

​Heavy regulation of policy forms on the Obamacare exchanges are forcing health insurers to exit the marketplace. Competition is evaporating. 

The Fed and Easy Money: The Party will go on because the Party Must Go On

SeekingAlpha, 02.15.2016

​IJanuary 9th, 2016: Interviewed in Barron's Magazine on the topic of laddered bond portfolios

Will Low Interest Rates And Longer Lives Reduce Living Standards In Retirement?

SeekingAlpha, 11.25.2015

Reviews recent research in the area of retirement distributions. Suggests a mildly optimisitic view of retirement outcomes based on low inflation and emprirical evidence of low retiree expenses in later life.

Is The Stock Market Too High? Almost No Way To Tell

SeekingAlpha, 11.03.2015

There are no reliable metrics that reliably predict future stock market returns

The Futile Search for Stock Picking Skill

Linkedin, 09.22.2015

The empirical evidence indicates that apparent skill at picking stocks is not persistant. Top quartile performers in one measurement period are no more likely to be top quartile performers in the next period than random chance would suggest. 

The Demise of Retiree Medical Benefits

Intelligent Money, 09.09.2015

There is a movement afoot in corporate America. Companies are dropping retirees from their group medical insurance plans. As of 2013, only 28% of companies with more than 200 people administer their own retiree medical benefit programs. Two thirds did in 1988. Household names such as IBM and GE have shifted some or all of their retirees to private insurance exchanges. The article review this trend and its implications for those approaching retirement.

Your Scholarship is (Probably) a Sham

Intelligent Money, 07.28.2015

Sending a child to college often feels like buying an airline ticket. Everybody is paying a different price. Published tuition rates are merely a starting point from which a game of discounting ensues. Heightened competition for students and massive government subsidies have added significant complexity to the cost of higher education. We explore the problem in this edition of Intelligent Money.

Today's Junk Bond Market

Intelligent Money, 02.25.2015

This edition of Intelligent Money will review the recent innovations in the junk bond market and offer some insights into how they might best be used as an investment tool

Foreign Stocks: How Much is Enough?

Intelligent Money, 08.25.2014

In terms of market capitalization, US stocks comprise just under 50% of the world’s total. An important question for investors to consider is how much of their own portfolios should be deployed in foreign stocks. This edition of Intelligent Money will review some of the key issues surrounding investment overseas.

Does it Really Pay to Go to College?

Intelligent Money, 07.22.2014

The price of a college education and the attendant debt taken on to pay for it has mushroomed. This edition of Intelligent Money will look at some of the factors weighing on the value of higher education.

Corporate Profits and the Stock Market

Intelligent Money, 05.15.2014

The article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Shiller's CAPE model as a predictor of stock market returns.

On Managing Health Savings Accounts

Wall Street Journal, 05.21.2014

Describes the best strategies for exploiting the tax shelter afforded by the Health Savings Account. For those that can afford it, it is preferable to pay medical expenses with funds OUTSIDE the Health Savings acccount so that it can grow tax free as long as possible.

Tax Efficiency Revisited

Intelligent Money, 03.14.2014

This article considers the recent taxable gains of some passively managed portfolios to determine if these strategies are robust in the current financial climate.

How Much DO You Need to Retire?

Intelligent Money, 02.14.2014

The good news is that many practitioners have begun investigating the problem armed with desktop simulation software. They’ve come up with some useful results and this edition of Intelligent Money will summarize them.

The Growing Ranks of the Disabled

Intelligent Money, 09.28.2013

The country’s labor participation rate measures the ratio of employed people to the population over the age of 16. This ratio has been declining steadily for the last 15 years. The process accelerated with the latest recession. In fact, it’s reached its lowest level since 1978, before women were fully integrated into the workforce.

Fed Policy and Interest Rates

Intelligent Money, 08.15.2013

This edition of Intelligent Money will review major Federal Reserve actions since the subprime crisis and speculate a bit on what it is likely to do in today’s environment.

Hedge Funds, Fact and Fiction

Intelligent Money, 05.10.2013

Once the province of wealthy individuals, Hedge funds now draw two thirds of their money from institutional investors, up from 20% in 2000. Consequently, the financial health of many Americans is directly affected by their fortunes. Hedge funds collectively exert considerable financial influence. This edition of Intelligent Money will take a critical look at it.

The Great Bull Market in Bonds

Intelligent Money, 12.10.2012

The great bull market in fixed income coincided with a substantial increase in public sector debt. How did we get here and what are the implications for investors?

The Fiscal Cliff and the Individual Investor

Intelligent Money, 08.28.2012

At the end of this calendar year, substantial changes in Federal taxation and spending are scheduled to become law. These changes promise several hundred billion dollars in reduced federal spending and increased taxation. In short, they are austerity measures often referred to as the “fiscal cliff”. Investors should be aware of the implications of the new tax regime that may prevail in 2013.

Health Insurance Mandates

Intelligent Money, 06.21.2012

the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (aka “Obamacare”) would enact several federal requirements such as the one compelling individuals to purchase health insurance. The regulation of health insurance is most intense at the state level, however. This article will focus on primarily on state insurance mandates.

Bond Funds with Fixed Maturity Dates

Intelligent Money, 10.25.2011

Last year, Guggenheim and Ishares began offering target date exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in an effort to address investors with shorter term investment horizons. The unique element about each fund is that they have a preset expiration date. All the bonds in each fund either mature or are callable in the same calendar year.

The National Debt

Intelligent Money, 09.02.2011

The articles discusses the growth of the national debt and its possible impact on the financial markets

Investing in China

Intelligent Money, 07.15.2011

The article reviews the development of Chinese Financial Markets and talks about ways for foreign investors to participate in the country's public markets.

How Much DO People Spend in Retirement

Intelligent Money, 08.16.2010

Addresses the spending patterns among retirees and will provide some guidance based on survey data.

The Role of the New Health Care Exchanges

Intelligent Money, 05.25.2010

This timely newsletter focuses on the creation of new statewide health care exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Trends in Corporate Earnings

Intelligent Money, 02.04.2010

Several years ago, Intelligent Money undertook a review of corporate earnings using source data compiled by Standard & Poors. We focused then on trends in the quality of earnings. This article updates the data since 2003 and reviews similar topics in the aftermath of the global economic crisis.

Roth IRA Conversions

Intelligent Money, 12/09/2009

Considerable attention has been paid to the window opening for Roth IRA conversions in 2010. Scheduled in a tax law enacted in May 2006, the rules on conversions opened up in 2010. Popular inquiry on the topic has increased. This article addresses many of the opportunities and problems raised by expanded Roth IRA conversion options.

Home Price Indices

Intelligent Money, 09.23.2009

Discusses the evolution and construction of home price indicia. Some attention paid to the Case-Shiller Index

Fiscal Crisis in California

Intelligent Money, 07.30.2009

What is the impact on California’s crisis on the rest of the nation? What about the state’s municipal bondholders? Will Washington DC have to bail out the nation’s largest state? This edition of the newsletter examines these questions.

Medicare Enrollment Options

Intelligent Money, 03.27.2007

For most prospective retirees, there are two major channels of Medicare coverage. The first is the Original Medicare and the second is Medicare Advantage (formerly known as Medicare+Choice). While there are special programs designed for people with chronic ailments, this article will focus on these two major options. 

Pension Protection Act

Intelligent Money, 11.15.2006

This article reviews some of the salient features of the (PPA) as they affect the employee and small business owner.

Anatomy of an Earnings Season

Intelligent Money, 08.10.2006

The article examines a typical earnings season and how corporate guidance and reported earnings mesh to describe a larger economic picture.

Risk Aversion

Intelligent Money, 05.31.2006

The article reviews possible measures of investor risk aversion in the aftermath of the dotcom bubble at the turn of the century.

Credit Derivatives

Intelligent Money, 03.25.2006

Credit derivatives can be viewed against insurance policies against a default on a loan or a bond. They are only about ten years old - spawned as a result of a brainstorming session at a retreat for JP Morgan derivatives specialists in 1995. Credit derivatives now insure over $12 trillion in fixed income product today..

Tax Saving Opportunities for 2006

Intelligent Money, 11.25.2005

This timely article discusses a new tax saving option to employees with the introduction of the Roth 401k option

Hurricane Katrina and Shipping

Intelligent Money, 09.15.2005

The events on America’s gulf coast in the past two weeks have caused many of us to focus on the region’s role within the global economy. It is quite substantial. The Port of Southern Louisiana (which includes the port of New Orleans) is the fifth-largest port in the world in terms of tonnage, and the largest port in the United States. 

Credit Scores

Intelligent Money, 07.05.2005

Home and auto insurers have long utilized information from credit reports to underwrite policies without permission from the customer. Insurance companies are given this authority under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The GM Downgrade and High Yield Debt

Intelligent Money, 05.25.2005

Relegation to junk bond status is a significant event in corporate finance. Investors demand more than 1% in extra return from the highest junk rating (BB+) relative to that required of the lowest investment grade bond (BBB-).

The Oil Market

Intelligent Money, 03.31.2005

This article considers the implications of new competition for energy resources on the American economy and its investors. 

Credit Card Debt

Intelligent Money, 05.15.2009

There are numerous consumer issues related to credit cards. This article discusses the existing rights of cardholders as well as enhancements being considered by congress and federal regulators. There are also important financial planning issues related to the effective management of credit card debt.

Long Term Care Issues

Intelligent Money, 02.27.2009

With political discourse focused on the economy in the past six months, a key issue has been pushed to the background. Health care remains our number one fiscal and public policy problem. One area of health care, long term care for seniors, is poised to require exponentially more financial resources 

Stock Market Volatility

Intelligent Money, 12.05.2008

An increase in stock market volatility may have some implications for portfolio managers. This article examines this issue.

Capital Gains Taxes

Intelligent Money, 08.15.2008

Often discussed in the 2008 presidential campaign. this article reviews the capital gains tax and the role in plays in investment portfolios

Prediction Markets and the Recession

Intelligent Money, 05.20.2008

The article reviews new trading exchanges known as Prediction Markets that assign likelihoods to individual events. 

Mortgage Refinancing

Intelligent Money, 03.25.2008

This article focuses on the financial considerations that are relevant to a mortgage refinancing. It looks at how closing costs, interest savings and lifestyle impact the decision.

Emerging Economies Recycle Dollars

Intelligent Money, 01.05.2008

Sovereign wealth funds have emerged as one of the new pillars in the global economic system. Countries generate investable funds by running a current account surplus and thereby accumulating foreign exchange reserves. Sovereign funds manage those "extra" resources. Already they have accumulated more cash than the hedge fund industry.

Inflation Pressures and Expectations

Intelligent Money, 10.01.2007

On September 18, global stock markets reacted favorably to an unexpected half percent cut in the Fed Funds rate by the Federal Reserve Board. In times of high market volatility, the Fed gets a lot of attention in the popular press. In light of the high profile of the nation’s central bank, this article will review inflation pressures and expectations. 

Subprime Mortgage Lending

Intelligent Money, 08.15.2007

The article reviews recent disturbing trends in mortgage finance. As we now know, a major recession lay just ahead. 

Life Insurance Needs and Pricing

Intelligent Money, 05.21.2007

Term life insurance has become commoditized.  The internet has greatly facilitated comparison shopping and information flow. Individuals are also living longer thereby driving down the overall cost of life insurance. It’s a buyer’s market but a market that is still fraught with pitfalls. 

Foreign Investing

Intelligent Money, 01.25.2005

The costs of overseas investment remain high but are getting lower. Foreign companies and securities exchanges have been subject to regulation that is less transparent that their North American counterparts. However, foreign exchanges have adopted electronic trading systems that have reduced the cost of transacting shares.

Mutual Fund Costs

Intelligent Money, 12.16.2004

The average mutual fund retains a bloated cost structure. Yet there is a wide divergence of expenses among mutual fund options – with a decided advantage going to index funds. This article will identify and explain the cost components of fund management.

Were the Tax Cuts Fair?

Intelligent Money, 08.25.2004

Congress passed two tax reduction measures in George Bush's first term. A central campaign issue that has emerged is the fairness of these tax cuts. This column will address that issue with the data now available from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Urban Institute.

Restricted Stock as a Compensation Tool

Intelligent Money, 06.15.2004

More than 60% of companies surveyed by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in April 2003 said they were either introducing restricted stock or expanding their current program. There is a sea change in compensation afoot … and much to learn about it.

Volatility in the Stock and Bond Markets

Intelligent Money, 04.18.2004

Domestic stock and bond markets are considered to be the fundamental investment assets for investors. There is a general (and correct) perception that stocks generate higher long term returns than bonds at a cost of higher volatility. However, the risk and return relationship between stocks and bonds has evolved through time and has implications for modern portfolio construction. 

Funding Health Care

Intelligent Money, 02.25.2004

The article reviews different ways that individuals can set aside money for health care with pretax dollars. Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts are considered. 

Keep Taxes in Mind When Managing Investments

Austin Business Journal, 01.11.2004

Short article on how to use tax sheltered investments in conjunction with a passive investment strategy to minimize tax exposure. 

Social Security Benefits

Intelligent Money, 12.25.2003

The article reviews different ways that individuals can set aside money for health care with pretax dollars. Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts are considered. 

Commodities

Intelligent Money, 10.05.2003

The article reviews different ways that individuals can set aside money for health care with pretax dollars. Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts are considered. 

The Importance of Small Cap Stocks

Intelligent Money, 10.05.2003

Which assets should be included in a portfolio to achieve the best return for the desired amount of risk? This article will address a subset of that problem: How does one achieve efficient returns from domestic equities? 

Tax Efficient Portfolios

Intelligent Money, 08.05.2003

investment products within the same asset class offer significant differences to the investor in terms of how effectively they manage tax liability.

Hedges Against Inflation

Intelligent Money, 06.05.2003

Conventional financial planning dictates that clients  reduce the volatility of their investments as they approach retirement. The focus turns to inflation as a key risk. Corporate pensions are usually not indexed for inflation. What does can the individual do?

Lies, Damn Lies, and Corporate Earnings

Intelligent Money, 04.20.2003

One emerging news story from the wreckage of the new economy is the growing disparity between reported or GAAP earnings and “pro forma” or operating earnings results.

Retirement in the Shadow of Medicare Reform

Intelligent Money, 02.20.2003

Discusses some of the issues surrounding a Prescription Drug Benefit.

Municipal Bonds

Intelligent Money, 01.20.2003

In the 1990s, the 10-year treasury note on average yielded 0.94% more than a like maturity AAA-rated municipal bond. That spread collapsed to 0.21% by January 17th, 2003. Even Texas investors might benefit from municipal bonds.

ETFs Offer Yet Another Approach to Investing

Austin Business Journal, 01.12.2003

Details some of the key advantages of the exchange-traded fund structure to the retail investor. The exchange-traded fund typically offers diversification, tax efficiency, portability, and low management fees.  

Your Rights under COBRA

Intelligent Money, 12.15.2002

65% of working age adults enjoy employer - provided medical coverage. In an uncertain economic climate, it is important to understand one’s rights and options when employment is interrupted.

Employer Stock Options

Intelligent Money, 10.15.2002

The article discusses best practices for employees to handle both qualified and non-qualified stock options. 

Homeowners Insurance

Intelligent Money, 09.15.2002

Discusses some of the factors, including toxic mold, that affect the price of homeowners insurance.

Variable Annuities

Intelligent Money, 08.15.2002

The vast majority of variable annuities are sold with sales loads that directly compensate the agent up front. Moreover, ongoing expenses of annuity account management are half again as large as those of conventional mutual funds. For many, the costs outweigh the potential benefits.

Investable Real Estate Assets

Intelligent Money, 07.15.2002

Real estate has historically offered returns well in excess of fixed income assets with minimal correlation to the broad market. Most recently, the value of real estate assets has increased in the face of the largest stock market selloff in the last 30 years

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