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One Bad Apple Can Indeed Spoil the Whole BunchFormer superstar Michael Jackson has made some blunders in his career. Included on this list would be dangling his child out of an upper-story window, and having sleepovers with inappropriately aged bedmates. But for our purposes, his biggest mistake occurred much earlier in his life, when he, Tito, Jermaine and the other two brothers sang the lyrics “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl!”Poor grammar aside, that statement was patently wrong. A single negative occurrence can wreak havoc on the long term reputation or outcome of anyone or anything. Take Bill Buckner. Most baseball fans will remember Bill Buckner not for his years of great hitting, base-stealing or fielding, but for single-handedly losing the 1986 World Series ala a routine Mookie Wilson grounder between his legs. The same thing happens in the political arena. Bill Clinton’s liaisons with you-know-who tarnished forever the many positive acco...
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Conventional Market WisdumbThe wisdom floating around the investment world is vast. If you doubt that statement, just ask almost any highly paid Wall Street guru and they will confirm just how wise they are. All this pent-up brilliance usually filters down to the average investor as a type of conventional wisdom. Remember, a wise man once said that conventional wisdom is information you overhear at a convention. That unfortunately means that your mentor might be wearing a hat with a tassel or a Star Trek costume. Regrettably, much of Wall Street’s conventional wisdom is dead wrong. Here are three examples:1. Higher Growth Forecasts = Higher Stock ReturnsIt makes sense that countries forecasting higher economic growth rates would have better stock market performance than countries with lower forecasted growth. It makes sense, but it is wrong. Our friends at Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc. performed a study with all investable Emerging Market countries. They ranked those countries ...
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A Coin TossMany investors, both amateur and professional, believe that they can beat common stock market benchmarks, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 Index, etc. All of our country’s top universities offer business degrees in finance, and the top brokers, bankers and mutual fund companies pay their managers top dollar to determine what to buy and sell and when to do it. So naturally, being able to outperform an industry benchmark shouldn’t be too difficult—wouldn’t you agree?Think about how many really good money managers you have heard about in your lifetime. They might be defined as those who have been able to consistently outperform a benchmark for, let’s say, ten years in a row. Well, we all know how great Warren Buffett is supposed to be. Peter Lynch (Fidelity Magellan Fund) was also a well-known money manager for the limited time he was in business (he retired at 43). What about other names? Some less famous but no less impre...
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Indexing Is Not EnoughSometimes when a sophisticated investor first learns about Wealth Advisor Group’s adherence to Modern Portfolio Theory and asset class investing, they will immediately exclaim, “You must be ‘Indexers’”. Translated, that means they think WAG uses all index mutual funds to build our clients’ portfolios. They are wrong. In fact, we are currently using only three index-based fund vehicles to represent three of the 15 specific asset classes our clients can hold in their portfolios. All the other passively managed asset class investment vehicles we use are designed to actually out-perform their index fund counterparts. That is one of the many secrets to our success.You might think that most investors not fortunate enough to have WAG as their advisor would be well counseled to use an index fund approach, as this method has often times out-performed actively managed portfolios. After all, investment legends Peter Lynch (former manager o...
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