In the past few years, some investors have asked us whether they should replace a portion of their high-quality bonds or bond mutual fund holdings with strategies ranging from high-dividend stocks to oil and gas master limited partnerships because “rates are low.” We have generally counseled investors that every one of these strategies involves substantially …Read More.
Vanguard recently announced that it would be closing its high-yield corporate fund “effective immediately” and that the fund had received “approximately $2 billion” of flows over the past six months. While growth of Vanguard’s assets under management is almost always a good thing, a fund shuttering its doors to new flows makes one wonder just …Read More.
The financial and economic environment of the past few years has been challenging. To name just a few headline-grabbing items, investors have had to stare down a ratings downgrade of U.S. Treasury bonds by Standard & Poor’s, the European debt crisis (see sidebar on this page), high unemployment report after high unemployment report and very low rates of interest on bond investments. With all of these stories, which are incessantly focused on negative developments, it can be easy for investors to miss the good news. With the turbulent financial markets of 2008 and early 2009 now several years past, we can begin to put these developments in context. …Read More.
The Eurozone debt crisis is now in its third year, and we want to share our perspective on recent developments. It now appears more likely than ever that Greece may exit the Euro currency, and you may be wondering how such a development would affect the markets and our approach to investing. If Greece were …Read More.
Last year was challenging for globally diversified stock portfolios. While the S&P 500 Index was up 2.1 percent in 2011, the MSCI EAFE Index, which is basically the international equivalent of the S&P 500, was down 12.1 percent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was down 18.4 percent. …Read More.
Overview: Enrolling in Medicare can be overwhelming. The following looks at enrollment periods for different coverage options. Medicare health insurance is a dense topic. Each of the various options have specific coverage and enrollment periods. To select the best coverage for you, it helps to have a better understanding of the program. This knowledge can …Read More.
A mistake that is often made is to say that risk and reward are related when it comes to investing. But if risk and return were always related, there’d be no risk. It’s risk and expected return that are actually related. The price investors have to pay is the chance that the risk will actually …Read More.
The following addresses the “60 Minutes” segment from Sunday, December 19 on the state of municipal finances. The “60 Minutes” segment did not expose any new problems in the municipal market. Rather, it highlighted some growing concerns surrounding state fiscal problems and their potential effect on local governments. In fact, Meredith Whitney, who appeared in …Read More.
Many people zero in on price when buying insurance. However, that strategy is only safe if you never file a claim. Tom Hopkins of The Delp Company discusses why it’s important to consider more than just the price tag of insurance. A national insurance company has implemented an interesting marketing strategy: Tell us the premium …Read More.
The end of Social Security’s payback option means there is less room for error when devising a strategy to maximize your Social Security benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced December 8 that, effective immediately, the ability to “pay back” Social Security benefits will be allowed only during the first 12 months following the …Read More.
With the current low yields on fixed income securities, the financial media have produced many articles regarding high-dividend strategies. The following discusses two fundamental flaws with using these strategies as alternatives to either high-quality fixed income portfolios or to other equity strategies. While the financial media tout high-dividend strategies as alternatives to other prudent investment …Read More.
Many investors have responded to worries about interest rate risk by keeping their fixed income investments restricted to money market accounts and very short-term fixed income securities. The following discusses the risks of following such a strategy and what should be considered. Over the past year, we have received questions about the potential impact of …Read More.
While it is true that corporate bonds have outperformed Treasuries, we have not and do not recommend owning corporate bonds for two main reasons: 1) they contain some of the same risks that stocks do; and 2) the historical outperformance has been very small. One of the most important concepts of fixed income investing is …Read More.
Currently, rates in the fixed income market are very low. As of September 13, the yield on the five-year Treasury note was close to 1.5 percent. In a low-rate environment in particular, it is critical to understand the differences between and the concepts of coupon rate, yield and expected return on fixed income securities.Coupon Rate …Read More.
Many people are questioning whether they should stay in fixed income or branch out to other strategies with higher expected returns, due to low interest rates. The following discusses viewing expected returns between investment strategies. The low interest rate environment has many people wondering about using their fixed income allocation for other strategies, such as …Read More.