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Tim Maurer’s Top 10 Personal Finance Books

Tim Maurer was assigned a task: put together a list of his five favorite books from the world of personal finance. He came up with 10. In this video, Maurer, director of advisor development for the BAM ALLIANCE, walks us through his wide-ranging library, which includes books that focus on financial planning, behavioral economics, life planning, and a bonus pair that aren’t necessarily about money but can help change the way you look at money.     The Rent Collector,
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The Uncommon Average

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926. But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average? Exhibit 1 shows calendar year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band
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Investing Is Hard — Get Help from a Trusted Advisor

Some things are just too difficult or stressful to do on your own. Like a dietitian or a personal trainer, a financial advisor can help set up the right plan for you, then monitor and motivate you so you end up with the results you want. There are four key benefits to working with an advisor: Competence: Financial advisors provide the critical actions that help drive successful long-term outcomes, including planning, asset allocation, rebalancing and working with other financial professionals. Coaching: An advisor offers education and
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Procrastination

Procrastination. At some point or another, it plagues us all. We put off folding the laundry, returning that library book, starting to compost, and, of course, myriad tasks related to our financial lives. Whether it’s filing your taxes or upping your IRA contribution, many a financial to-do is put off until tomorrow—and there is often a price to pay for procrastinating. Sure, in some cases it’s because the task is unpleasant, but as it turns out, a more cerebral explanation
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Markets (and some premiums) Bounce Back

What a difference a few months can make! A few months at the end of 2018 turned U.S. stock returns negative and made international stocks to decline further for the year. Now, just a few months after that recent low, stocks in the U.S. and abroad have staged a significant recovery. U.S. stocks (represented by the S&P 500 Index) declined -13.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018. After the first two months in 2019, they were up 11.5%. This pattern
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The Index Bogeyman

Over the last several years, index funds have received increased attention from investors and the financial media. Some have even made claims that the increased usage of index funds may be distorting market prices. For many, this argument hinges on the premise that indexing reduces the efficacy of price discovery. If index funds are becoming increasingly popular and investors are “blindly” buying an index’s underlying holdings, sufficient price discovery may not be happening in the market. But should the rise
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Perspective on Premiums

Investors may be tempted to extrapolate recent returns into the future, which can lead them to abandon their investment philosophy at potentially inopportune times. While negative outcomes are disappointing, investors should view them with the proper perspective and stay the course. When you leave your server a tip, do you round it to a whole-dollar amount and often in multiples of $5? Does a 60th birthday seem more significant than a 59th? If you answer yes to these questions, you’re
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2018 Report Card For Hedge Funds

Hedge funds entered 2019 coming off their ninth­ straight year of trailing U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) by significant margins. And for the 10­ year period ending 2017 — one that included the worst bear market in the post­ Depression era — the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index produced a negative return (­0.4%), underperforming every single major equity and bond asset class. So how did hedge funds fare in 2018? The following table shows the returns
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Common Factor Investing Myth

William Sharpe, Jack Treynor, John Lintner and Jan Mossin are typically given most of the credit for introducing the first formal asset pricing model — the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). It was important because it provided the first precise definition of risk and how it drives expected returns. Fama & French Take It Further The CAPM looks at returns through a “one actor” lens, meaning the risk and return of a portfolio is determined only by its exposure to
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Do Surprises Really Move Markets?

French economist Louis Bachelier long ago remarked: “Clearly the price considered most likely by the market is the true current price: if the market judged otherwise, it would not quote this price, but another price higher or lower.” Prices will not change if the expected happens. It is the unexpected that causes prices to move. In an efficient market, any new information the market receives will be random, not in the sense of being good or bad, but in the
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