Written by Max & John Osbon

The Umbrellas Made It Rain

April 18, 2018 - John Osbon

Can a candidate buy an election? Or can a super PAC make the purchase for him? With mid-term elections on the horizon, the effect of campaign spending on election outcomes will be big news again. It makes me wonder if running for office is a voting process or simply an auction. Does spending by candidates and PACs actually predict success? And what does this have to do with investing? Here’s what I’ve learned.

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Bigger Gifts and Lower Taxes in 2017

December 6, 2017 - Max Osbon

2017 has been another big year in a long-running bull market. Your portfolio is probably full of holdings with significant capital gains. To avoid paying the tax on those gains, you may be holding onto securities you’re ready to sell. What to do? Well, if you have any charitable giving goals, consider giving away your capital gains bill in the process.

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Busting The Correlation Myth

April 10, 2018 - Max Osbon

When securities move in the same direction at the same time, that’s called correlation. If all stocks are highly correlated it doesn’t really matter what you own; all stocks rise or fall on the same fickle tide. “Everything moves together,” many complain. This is a common perception these days, but is it supported by the facts? Has too much correlation killed the markets?

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The Heart Behind The Writing

April 4, 2018 - John Osbon

I put a lot of energy into the articles and blog posts written for Talk may be cheap and fleeting, but writing lasts. A well-written article can inform, clarify, educate, motivate, entertain and help you see familiar facts or ideas in a new light.

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How Often Do You Check Your Portfolio?

March 28, 2018 - Max Osbon

The answer to this question can tell you a lot about a person. For many, it is “Always!”  Constant market checkers mentally recalculate their net worth every few hours and look for minute-by-minute trends to inform their next trades. For others, it is “Never!” Hoping to find bliss in ignorance, never-checkers leave their assets to fend for themselves. I suggest you find a strategy somewhere between these two extremes.

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4 Signs of Skin In The Game

March 21, 2018 - John Osbon

Nassim Taleb, the author and scholar best known for The Black Swan (2007), predicted an extraordinary market event would happen because too many players had no skin in the game. They suffered no personal consequences for bad advice, mistakes and greed. His new book, Skin in the Game, drills down on this idea and helps us consider whether your advisor is really on your side.

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One Month to Tax Day – 4 Questions

March 14, 2018 - Max Osbon

Many of the missteps people make related to taxes are errors of omission — simple oversights that lead to higher tax bills than necessary, or even penalties and interest. As we head into the last thirty days of the tax season here are four reminder questions to ask yourself before April 15th.

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Why Do Allocations Change?

March 7, 2018 - John Osbon

Good question and one asked frequently by experts and clients alike.  When should asset allocations change in a portfolio?  The when, why and how of allocation changes should be as transparent as indexing itself, and it is.

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Warren Buffett’s 53rd Annual Letter

February 27, 2018 - John Osbon

Warren Buffett released his 53rd annual Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) shareholder letter last Saturday. The letter is widely read by investors for insight into how to invest better and how to avoid investment mistakes. After 52 letters can Warren say anything new? Yes, he can. Read on for our highlights.

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Six Ways To Handle Inflation

February 21, 2018 - Max Osbon

Inflation popped its head up in December for the first time in years. Is it a big deal or a big non-event? A little inflation at 2% is generally seen as a healthy metric for the US economy — far better than deflation — but what does it mean for your investments and spending? With inflation back on the radar, what can and should you do about it?

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A Micro-Bubble Is Popped

February 14, 2018 - John Osbon

It’s been 20 days since the Dow peaked at 26, 400.  After a wild ride, the index is back within a few percentage points of that level. While very little has changed in the diversified portfolio of long-term investors, some casualties of the market flip-flops have floated to the surface. One is LJMIX. Here’s the story of a fund that took a few bad days and turned them into bona fide disasters.  What can we learn from its mistakes?

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Three Ways to Protect a Windfall

February 7, 2018 - Max Osbon

The sudden arrival of a large sum of money can be exciting and disorienting at the same time. The big dollar amount may short-circuit some of your normal financial decision rules and patterns. With that in mind, we offer you three solid ways to protect a windfall and prevent future regrets about how you spend and invest it.

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The Road Ahead for the Almighty Dollar

January 31, 2018 - John Osbon

Big changes in dollar strength can have big economic effects at home and around the world. The strong dollar was called into question last week in Davos and emerged unchanged.  What will investors be looking for the dollar to do in 2018?  Here’s our checklist.

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How Yields Have Changed – 2018

January 24, 2018 - Max Osbon

It’s week four of the investing year. This week the government reopened. The president and eight cabinet members are in Davos. The news for stocks has been all positive so far this year, but what about bonds? What kind of cash flow can investors expect from fixed-income investments in 2018? 

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Set Your Anti-Goals for 2018

January 17, 2018 - Max Osbon

While your neighbors are trying to keep their resolutions for the new year, we suggest you take a slightly different path. Think about the financial behaviors you want AVOID in 2018. By resolving to NOT do a few things you can reduce your financial stress and improve your investment results. Here are some suggestions as the year begins.

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An Old School Melt-Up

January 10, 2018 - John Osbon

Jeremy Grantham is well known as a value investor and a permabear. He buys only cheap value investments. He has been famous for talking down US investments for years. However, on January 3rd of this year, he wrote “a very personal” view of a possible near-term melt-up. Jeremy is well worth listening, especially when he changes his mind.

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