100 Level

Move Out of Actively Managed Mutual Funds – NOW!

Whether you are holding actively managed mutual funds as a result of your own decisions or are locked it through your companies saving plan, do everything possible to extricate yourself from these funds and move into non-managed index funds or non-managed ETFs.  If you are not sure why I pass on this advice, you only need to read Richard A. Ferri's book, The Power of Passive … [Read More...]

Preparing for Retirement: Avoid the Dunning-Kruger Effect

A few days ago I came across an article on the psychology of investing over on the Portfolioist blog.  The article is written by Daniel R. Solin, author of "The Smartest Portfolio You'll Ever Own." Readers will recall that I analyzed some of the portfolios from the Solin book here on ITA Wealth Management.  When I read articles of how our brains can get in the way of … [Read More...]

300 Level

Avoid Losses

There is nothing quite so painful to the long-term investor as watching their portfolio experience a long and precipitous decline. Most of us experienced this in 2000 through 2002 and again in 2008 and early 2009. Diversification did not help all that much in the recent severe bear market. Asset allocation, no matter how carefully designed, did not perform as we expected. All asset classes seemed … [Read More...]

Abbott Laboratories (ABT): Supercharge Your ETF Portfolio

Abbott Labs is one of the stocks I used as an example of how one might supercharge a portfolio made up of non-managed index ETFs.  What is the outlook for ABT when analyzed in isolation?  Platinum members will find such an analysis below.  I am using Better Investing's Stock Selection Guide for this analysis and the data comes from the American Association of Individual Investors … [Read More...]

200 Level

Active vs. Passive Investing: Part 7

Section Seven of the "Active vs. Passive Investing" article is sumarized the following paragraph. "Some indexers never claim passive investing gives superior returns. They claim only that active investors do better than the benchmark some of the time, and worse some of the time, while passive investing gets rid of that risk by equaling the benchmark every time. They admit some … [Read More...]

Optimizing a Basic Portfolio: 3 and 5 Year Analysis

The sample portfolio shown below consists of 16 ETFs that cover all major markets found in the eleven portfolios tracked here at ITA Wealth Management.  VTI covers all of the "Big Nine" asset classes.  We add VIG for added dividends and IWN for any possible push toward small-cap value, or where Fama and French find added alpha. VEU is our developed international market and VWO is the ETF used … [Read More...]

400 Level

Portfolio Risk: How To Manage It With Care

Managing Portfolio Risk* Risk is one of the least understood concepts when it comes to investing, so it is time we insert some discussions into the mix of portfolio construction. I am going to quote Mark Hebner and link to his outstanding web site frequently as he does an excellent job of describing and defining risk. Let us first begin with a definition of Standard Deviation (SD) as it is … [Read More...]

Risk Defined

Portfolio Risk Risk is a messy word as it carries so many different meanings in the investing world.  In the most general sense, it means we don't know what is going to happen.  Here are several specific meanings of the term.  We will begin by defining "systematic" and "specific" risk. 1.  "Systematic" risk is risk we cannot avoid if we seek returns higher than the interest rates from a money … [Read More...]