Constructing a broadly diversified, low-cost portfolio is straight forward. But human beings continue to struggle to wrap their heads around this idea of the nonmechanical aspect of investing–what’s between our ears. The financial media is of NO HELP what-so-ever! First off, the well-known financial pundits imply that you can beat the averages by constructing an “exciting” portfolio. On the other side of the argument based on Jack Bogle and his author followers including this writer is to construct a “boring” portfolio. A boring portfolio is defined as a broadly diversified plan that performs close to the market averages, not too high (speculative) and not too low (managers making bad choices and charging the investor too much). My portfolio is boring because it neither exceeds or falls below the averages. It’s just right. That’s what I call genuine excitement. This excitement is the reasonable and sane returns I earned this past year. Nothing wrong with my 5.9% return for a conservatively constructed portfolio and the fun I have spending it supporting my values.
I have updated my data to include the 2016 returns of my portfolio. You can see for yourself. The enclosed graph shows an exciting portfolio during the 1990s and a boring portfolio since 2003. My graph will help you answer the question: Do you want to construct an exciting or a boring portfolio?
Lots to discuss. Pictures of my latest travel adventure to Cuba, dissecting and evaluating my 5.9% portfolio return for the calendar year 2016, and explaining the power of simplicity.read more
What do you do in the wake of a personal devastation? How would you heal from the shock, pain, fear, and anger of a sudden loss? In this blog post, I hope you will find a sense of security, or even inspiration as you walk with me on my path this past year. Sudden misfortune creates strong emotions, and opportunities. Preparing for the death of a loved one overlaps with preparing for a loss after a divorce, a close family member, relationship, or a significant financial loss of any kind through litigation, job loss, or from a stock market crash. Emotional preparation has limitations, but not all is impossible. Know how you might react and plan ahead of time to begin the healing process.
I know what it’s like to lose the love of my life for 40 years. I can confidently say that it was how I reacted to my shocking tragedy that made the difference. When tragedy strikes isn’t it always how we respond over the long term that counts? Will I be bitter and angry forever, or will I grow into a better human being with more compassion and kindness than ever before.
On April 22, 2014, was an exciting day for Dan and I. We picked up our brand new Tesla 2014 Model S. As you know, this car is very expensive. Almost a year had passed before we decided to purchase one. When it comes to supporting our values of buying American made products, supporting American ingenuity, American workers, sustainable energy movement, and a clean environment, money should not be an obstacle, especially when we could afford the price tag.read more
Welcome New York Times Readers to my Blog. My name is Steve Schullo, a retired Los Angeles Unified School teacher and an advocate for cheaper 403(b) plans for over 20 years. Please follow up on these fantastic (and rare) print media articles by a fantastic New York Times editorial staff, and their superb reporter Tara Siegel-Bernard.
She has been working on these articles since the beginning of the year. The educational professional and its institutions are reticent to talk about the 403(b). The rationale is easy. We educators hardly ever talk about the 403(b) publically or in any organized manner. Why? Nothing wrong with talking about how to best invest our retirement money that supplements our pension plan. After all, the 403(b) is 100% of our money.read more
The Stock and Bond Markets are up again in the third quarter of 2016. Read how my portfolio has returned 6.7% after nine months. It’s really not complicated because my portfolio is straightforward. It’s constructed to gain when the core asset classes increase and loses value when the market goes down.
Losing is an important part of investing process, if not the most important part. The majority of people don’t understand it because they sell when their investment declines. Never sell, unless it is part of your plan, not because of bear market conditions. Have a plan and stick with it during ups and downs.
I reviewed another investment book. I tell why self-published authors connect better with investing beginners than most of the traditionally published personal finance books found in bookstores. The author follows the sage advice of portfolio construction of Jack Bogle and the investment company he founded in 1974, Vanguard Group. I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy read and gets right to the point.read more
Many financial planning professionals are trying to scare people into “doing something” with your bonds. Ignore the warnings from the pundits on the financial news mania that you should now buy gold or precious metals. Even my favorite radio political pundit, former Senator Tom Harkin, warns people to buy gold. With all due respect, the former good Senator doesn’t know what he is talking about by telling people in his commercials to put all of their money in gold, because he has been predicting a stock market crash for over a year. That is despicable advice and he should stick to what he does best, discuss progressive ideas.
Be mindful that these articles and the pundits have an agenda. The articles are written by authors who usually work for a firm that happens to sell “what you need” and the reporters or radio hosts want views or website clicks. Scare tactics work every time, but not to readers here. Have a balanced plan with stocks and bonds approximately equal to your age. The post discusses in more detail why I have half of my portfolio in one bond fund, Vanguard’s Total Bond Market Index. I will NEVER buy gold!
How has last year’s marriage equality law passed by the Supreme Court affected the hundreds of benefits here-to-fore only afforded to straight married couples? I have compiled four published articles that address some of these benefits. I have one in depth response to one of the articles whose author is an LGBTQ adviser who also wants to be your “friend” of the community, only because he is gay. The primary competency you need to look for when hiring your LGBTQ adviser is to make sure he or she is a genuine fiduciary.read more
Ten years ago a brilliant benefits administrator, George Tischler (now retired), launched Los Angeles Unified District’s 457(b) plan. Since then, our advisory committee has lowered costs and selected more index funds with broad diversification. It is the model which all employer-sponsored retirement plans should follow because the plan and the advisory committee follows the fiduciary standard. My free eBook, Fighting Powerful Interests, is about the history, development and the reasons why the Award Winning 457(b) became an option in 2006. Since I have been on the advisory committee, we have followed the fiduciary standard since day one for good reason–to look out for your best financial interests.
This blog post is for all public educators who want to discover how to use the 403(b) or the 457(b). It is specifically for my LAUSD colleagues. I will discuss fiduciary standard, a little history of our complicated relationship of LAUSD, its employees, insurance industry’s 403(b), and why the 457(b) came into fruition to fix and clarify the historical and often corrupted 403(b).