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buy and hold investing

Investing in Index Mutual Funds: Pitfalls of Buy and Hold

Are you overwhelmed by the options when it comes to buying (and selling) mutual funds? With over 10,000 funds out there, there are more funds than stocks listed on the stock exchanges. How do we sort through this morass to find a good selection of funds, and how do we know when it’s time to sell?

One popular choice that gets a lot of attention is investing in index funds. But even this simple solution can be confusing. Do you buy just one stock index fund and one bond index fund? If you buy more than one?

Fundamentally Weighted ETF’s

We are constantly on the lookout for ways to both diversify our portfolios, while simultaneously improving the risk adjusted return. ETF’s have many advantages over traditional mutual funds, e.g. the ability to trade interday, no early redemption fees, low cost structures, and are not typically tied to the track record of an individual fund manager. This last advantage is a result of the fact that ETF’s are typically set up to track some type of passive index, limiting the ability of a fund manager to add (or subtract) value with his stock picking abilities.

Fund Correlation Calculator to Build a Truly Diversified Portfolio

In another article we discussed measuring risk using standard deviation. Here we will spend just a little more time to introduce the magic of statistics and how understanding standard deviation and other simple statistical measures can reduce your portfolio risk.

What is correlation? Simply put, it’s a measure of how closely two investments track one another. The unit of measure is the correlation coefficient, which can vary in magnitude from 0 (not correlated at all) to 1 (exactly tracking).

Investing Like Buffett - What’s it Like to Invest Like Buffett

Originally published in 2006, investing like Buffett BRK has fared better over the last 3 years, as in the 3 years 2006-2008 BRK was up about 8% total (still a little worse than a money market fund) the S&P 500 did a lot worse, losing about 29% in that same period of time.

One of the most common pieces of investment advice is to find a good investment and to simply hold on to it. Known sometimes as buy and hold investing, it doesn’t seem to be working as well as it once did. A common response of buy and hold advocates is to point to the success of some of the famous value investors. The most famous of the contemporary value investor is Warren Buffett.

Hedge Mutual Funds - Making Sure Your Mutual Fund Hedge is Working

In volatile market times like those we have had recently, there is a natural increase in interest in hedge mutual funds as a way to protect capital in turbulent times. We surveyed a sample of hedge mutual funds in the past, highlighting a sample of funds that use a variety of techniques to mitigate market risk as part of a hedging strategy. Recently ING has introduced another variant of hedge mutual funds, the ING 130/30 Fundamental Research fund.

Stocks vs Bonds - How Much Should You Invest in Stocks vs Bonds

In a previous article we examined whether stocks are riskier than bonds, concluding that they are, but it is also a function of how you hold bonds, whether individual bonds or bond funds. Given that there is a tradeoff of risk between stocks and bonds, the natural question to ask next is how much you should invest in stocks versus bonds. For example, the conventional wisdom is that it should be a function of your age, as we expect your appetite for risk to diminish over time.

ETF Correlation Calculator - Properly Diversify Your Portfolio

One of the things we cover in our discussion of building a low risk portfolio is the need to find investments that have a low correlation to one another and the overall market. This is probably the most powerful tool for reducing risk in your portfolio without the need to suffer a reduction in overall return. The problem is finding those high return but low correlation funds or ETF’s.

Stocks vs Bonds - Are Stocks Riskier than Bonds?

One of the most common issues that you will have to deal with when building your investment portfolio is the tradeoff of stocks vs bonds in your investment mix. The conventional wisdom regarding stocks vs bonds is that stocks are riskier than bonds. Let’s take a look at the background information that supports that conclusion, and see if it applies to your investment portfolio.

The primary advantage to bonds is that they have a fixed maturity and, ignoring the potential for the company going bankrupt, you know exactly how much money you will be getting and when. But this is only true if you hold the bonds to maturity. For a 30 year bond, that’s quite a commitment. But this is the basic assumption that is underlying the ideal that stocks are riskier than bonds.

New Market High - So Buy and Hold Works?

Today the market as measured by the S&P500 made an all time high. It finally eclipsed the high set in March of 2000. We are happy to see that, as all our systems are either at new all time highs or withing 1% of it as well.

Of course, what that means is that over the last 7 years, if you were invested in the grandaddy of all index funds, the Vanguard 500, even reinvesting the dividends the total return was just slightly less than the return of Fidelity’s money market fund FDRXX, but included a much more exciting drawdown of almost 50%. So what have the markets done over the last 10 years?