The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has been negative in 13 of the past 28 calendar years while the S&P 500 Index has only been negative 5 of the past 28 years. Which index had a higher rate of return in this 28 year time period? If you’re catching on to the tricky questions we’ve been posing in our last post and the one before that you might guess that, despite the considerably higher...

In our last post, we shared the first in a trio of videos illustrating the important insights we can draw from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Matrix Book of historical returns. When viewed close up, the data points found in the Matrix Book may look like just an endless array of random numbers. But just as random dots of paint can generate a bigger picture when viewed from a distance, so can individual...

Client Site | Issue Briefs JUNE 01, 2016 Index Reconstitution: The Price of Tracking Index funds may be a good option for investors seeking investments with low fees. However, an index fund manager’s strict adherence to an index comes at a cost in the form of reduced discretion around trading. Read More: OPEN PDF  ...

A Fund Isn’t an Index (and Why That Matters) In our last post, we covered how not all indexes are created equally, which means that results may vary, even when they are supposedly tracking the same market. In today’s post, let’s look at how and why a fund’s performance may deviate from its closest benchmark index. Indexes vs. Evidence-Based Funds: Similar But Different Take one more step away from the real-life market,...

In recent posts (part I and part II), we covered some of the ways people try to determine how their investments have been doing, and how mismatched measures can generate misguided views. Determining your portfolio’s Time-Weighted Rate of Return (TWR) is one way to reach a relatively accurate sense of how your portfolio is doing compared to its most appropriate benchmarks during particular periods of time. One good two-part series deserves...

Well, speaking of the devil. Or, in this case, the devilish ways that some financial representatives make investment recommendations that may or may not be in your best interest. It depends on whether they are in a fiduciary relationship with you … or not. No sooner had we wrapped our own post explaining why the term may be as important as it is unfamiliar, Dimensional Fund Advisors published its own handy...

The credentials alone may say it all about Michael Kitces and his Nerd’s Eye View on financial planning. With two master’s degrees in financial services and taxation, a CFP® mark, and five other financial certifications to his name, that’s some serious nerd power. But what’s decidedly cool about Kitces is his passion for sharing his “journey of continuous education” with fellow advisors as well as with investors looking for a...

Part II: Your Portfolio and Its Parts In our last post, we discussed why it’s best to avoid comparing your own investment returns to “the market” or the latest popular portions of it. There’s one more misleading measurement that can trip up an investor: [message_box title="Your Portfolio" color="gray"] = Pursing the market’s expected returns (by investing in asset classes with higher expected returns but higher volatility) + Managing the risks involved (by investing in asset classes with more...

Part I: Coveting Your Neighbors’ Returns It’s ironic. One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves as investors is: “How am I doing?” While the question is a good one, if the answers are off-base, you risk changing course when you should be sitting tight, or sitting tight when you should be considering a change. This is not only frustrating, it can detract from … how you are doing. It’s a...

One of the reasons I read as much as I do is to be inspired by others. There’s nothing I love more than discovering an intriguing new way to frame an old idea, and then sharing what I’ve learned, hoping to inspire others as well. On the flip side, there’s nothing more demoralizing than falsehoods or opinions being spread as facts. They remind me of a shopping channel infomercial. Watch it...