2011 Dalbar Study Finds That Investors are Still Their Own Worst Enemy

This is a powerful article.  I have been watching this for about 8 years and the results are consistent.

I hope you find it valuable.



Going back to the early 2000′s, our friends at Dalbar have been conducting a study to determine whether investors’ investment decisions impacts their investment performance. Unfortunately, it does. In a BIG way. As with every year’s study so far, the results illustrate a big difference in what the S&P 500 gained versus the average equity mutual fund investor. The results of the twenty year numbers ending 12/31/10:

S&P 500 – 9.14%

Average Equity Mutual Fund Investor – 3.27%

The problem is, the 5.87% ‘behavior gap’ is actually an improvement over many years’ results. Additionally, now that many people have gone through the “Dot Com” and “Mortgage Crisis” bubbles, people are learning to avoid some of the behaviors that result from the greed and fear we experienced during those periods. In reality though, we see these harmful behaviors more often than not when working with investors. If we simply remember that human nature can often tell us to do the wrong thing at the wrong time, we can help ourselves and our portfolios.

via 2011 Dalbar Study Finds That Investors are Still Their Own Worst Enemy.

This 4×6 index card has all the financial advice you’ll ever need

Think managing your finances has to be complicated? Wonkblog contributor and UC Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack doesn’t. After a talk with personal finance expert Helaine Olen, Pollack managed to write down pretty much everything you need to know on a 4×6 index card. And it would probably fit on a 3×5 index card if you really crammed that last point, for instance, is probably not strictly necessary for managing your money.

He explains: The card came out of an RBC chat I had with Helaine Olen regarding what I view as the financial industry’s basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter, Alex M, asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter’s note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history. Here’s the picture and post.

via This 4×6 index card has all the financial advice you’ll ever need.

Start Early to Learn About Health Care Exchanges

If this impacts you, this is worth reading.



The opening date is October 1. By then, the competition will be lined up and ready to go after bronze, silver, gold, and even platinum.

These competitors aren’t athletes, but insurance providers. The field they are entering is the new health insurance exchanges mandated by Obamacare.

Beginning January 1, 2014, nearly everyone in the US will need to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Those not insured through their employers can apply for coverage through these health insurance exchanges, also called “marketplaces.” Enrollment begins October 1 for coverage starting in January.

These exchanges are intended to make it easier to find insurance providers and compare their coverage and costs. Each state’s exchange website will list all the policies available in that state, with prices and policy provisions. So far, over half of the states including South Dakota have opted to use exchanges managed by the federal government instead of setting up their own.

Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum describe the four basic categories of policies that will be available through the exchanges at different costs. Here is a very brief summary of each category.

via Start Early to Learn About Health Care Exchanges.

Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions

Charitable contributions made to qualified organizations may help lower your tax bill. The IRS has put together the following eight tips to help ensure your contributions pay off on your tax return.

1. If your goal is a legitimate tax deduction, then you must be giving to a qualified organization. Also, you cannot deduct contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations and candidates. See IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, for rules on what constitutes a qualified organization.

2. To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

3. If you receive a benefit because of your contribution such as merchandise, tickets to a ball game or other goods and services, then you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received.

4. Donations of stock or other non-cash property are usually valued at the fair market value of the property. Clothing and household items must generally be in good used condition or better to be deductible. Special rules apply to vehicle donations.

via Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions.

Thirsty? Fine wine funds growing again after weak vintages

Some wine investment funds have taken a hit in recent years as top-tier Burgundies and Bordeaux have slid down in value but wine funds aimed at middle-tier labels are raising a glass to the rosy returns on their investments and continue to attract investors.

As an investment strategy though, investing in wine is not for the faint of heart.

Wine funds began grabbing headlines in around 2009 as prices of the most sought-after labels began to spike in value. Pricing data tracked by Liv-Ex.com shows the top 100 labels gained 75% from the start of that year through mid-2011. Since then, prices have fallen, dropping by 25% through August.

Despite the slump, funds focusing on wines that are a few rungs down the top-label ladder remain confident about the earnings they are generating for investors.

“In wine, what happens in downturns is that the big names fall the hardest,” said Brian Mota, co-founder of TWT Investment Partners LP. “We like to be positioned in names that are not the tip of the iceberg.

”The Oracle Paradis Wine Fund was launched six months ago in the United Kingdom, according to director David Nathan-Maister. This month, the fund announced it had purchased one of the oldest bottles of white wines from the Jura vineyards in France, a 1781 Chateau Chalon valued at about $50,000.

via Thirsty? Fine wine funds growing again after weak vintages.