Guest Author

Dan Solin

The New York Times' best-selling author of the Smartest series of books

Dan is a best-selling author and a sales coach to advisory firms throughout the World. He gives presentations to large groups, conducts workshops and engages in one-on-one coaching.
Dan is a best-selling author and a sales coach to advisory firms throughout the World. He gives presentations to large groups, conducts workshops and engages in one-on-one coaching.
Personal Wealth
Your Investing Confuses Academics

Your Investing Confuses Academics

Academics are fascinated by the way you invest. You shouldn’t be flattered by their interest. They engage in sophisticated analysis in an effort to explain why you invest in a way that so irrational. The underlying premise of their studies is that your investing behavior makes no sense.

Personal Wealth
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Bitcoin in Perspective

The rapid rise in price of Bitcoin has generated intense speculation about the future of cryptocurrencies. It’s instructive to take a closer look at some of the commentary about the future price of Bitcoin, because it tells you a lot about speculation, investing and financial journalism.

Behavioural Finance
Hidden Danger

A Hidden Danger Few Investors Understand

Over the years, I’ve written extensively on how to invest intelligently and responsibly, based on sound, peer-reviewed evidence. Together with many others, I’ve extolled the virtues of low management fee index funds, global diversification, keeping costs and fees as low as possible and avoiding or deferring taxes.

Personal Wealth
Financial Advisor

Things Great Advisors Say

Do you want to know if your advisor is “great”? One way to tell is to evaluate what’s being said to you. Advisors have conflicts of interest. If your advisor is charging you a fee based on assets under management, advice that reduces those assets will reduce your advisory fee.

Personal Wealth
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Canadian Banks Don’t Return Your Love

You can’t spend meaningful time in Canada without hearing how much Canadians love their banks. There are five large banks in Canada that dominate the banking industry. Their activities pervade all aspects of the financial lives of Canadians, including investing.

Personal Wealth
Male Financial Advisor Explaining Clients Listening

A Test For Your Broker

Brokers are a friendly lot. They’re also supremely confident of their ability to manage your money. They’re rarely challenged, which is too bad. Many brokers tout their ability to “beat the market”, by market timing, stock picking or selecting the next “hot mutual fund manager.

Market Research
Legendary Advisor

The Two Most Dangerous Words For Investors

I won’t keep you in suspense. The two most dangerous words for investors are “legendary investor.” This description is bandied about by the media to describe an assortment of stock market “gurus”, billionaires and wannabes who’ve made a fortune by managing other people’s money.

Market Research
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An Open Letter To Brokers

I have been hard on you in the past. At times, I was insensitive to the fact that you are husbands, wives, Moms and Dads. You have mortgages to pay and children to educate. You’re under pressure to generate revenue for your employer, and they’re not exactly a charitable group.

Behavioural Finance
Behavioural Biases

A Hidden Bias Is Killing Your Returns

Until recently, it was frustrating trying to convince you to become an evidence-based investor. Part of the problem was persuading you that brokers and self-appointed stock market gurus are emperors with no clothes. There’s no credible evidence anyone has the expertise to reliably and consistently pick outperforming stocks, tell you when to get in and out of the market or pick the next “hot” mutual fund manager.

Living in Retirement
Mature Man Watching Pots Cooking and Opening Lids

Hot Tips For A Cool Retirement

It’s all about fees. There are many fees that eat into your retirement nest egg. The most significant ones are the management fees charged by mutual funds (called “expense ratios”), advisory fees and commissions. Here are some hot tips for dealing with these fees.

Uncategorized
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Don’t Be Left Behind

The financial media likes to talk about the “smart money”. When doing so, they rely on pundits who often tell you what hedge funds and billionaires are doing. Here’s what they don’t report.

Uncategorized
Frequently Asked Questions

A Massive Bargain in Stocks

The financial media encourages you to buy individual stocks that a self-professed “guru” believes are underpriced. These entreaties appeal to the understandable desire of investors to make “a killing” by uncovering the next Facebook or Microsoft.

Uncategorized
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A $2 Trillion Mistake

If you’re like most investors, your primary goal is to maximize your returns for a given level of risk. A new report from Morningstar is bad news for investors who tried to accomplish this goal in actively managed funds holding over $2 trillion in assets.

Uncategorized

Bad Advice From A (Very) Good Economist

On February 17, 2017, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 20,624. It is up 4.36 percent for so far in 2017. In 2016, when adjusted for dividend reinvestment, the DJIA returned 16.47 percent. Given these extraordinary gains, it’s not surprising that investors are nervous about a bubble that might soon burst.

Uncategorized
Legendary Advisor

Why You Believe Lies

Here’s a subject of endless fascination for me. The securities industry is premised on a series of lies. The most pernicious one is that it can help you plan for retirement by “managing” your money.

Uncategorized
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Mindless

Recently, Art Cashin, the UBS Director of floor operations, told CNBC that “…the market can’t make up its mind whether it wants to make one more try” for the DJIA to reach 20,000.

Uncategorized
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Resolve to Abolish Terrible Investment Advice

This is the time of year when you will likely compile a list of goals for 2017. Here’s one I hope you will put at the top of your list: Don’t be a sucker for terrible, conflicted investment advice. Unlike many other New Year’s resolutions, this one is very easy to implement.

Uncategorized
Advisor Checking Graph Paper Writing

The Oppenheimer Way

On its web site, Oppenheimer sets forth its purported goal of helping investors. Here’s what it asserts: “We strive to help individuals maximize returns through an investment approach that’s rooted in four key principles.

Uncategorized
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Self-Reliance Has New Importance

As I indicated in my blog post last week, most of the investing advice featured in the financial media about how to react to the new administration is wrong-headed. Efforts to select stocks or sectors likely to benefit from new policies are unlikely to be successful.

Uncategorized
Senior Couple Doing Finance Calculating Expenses

401(k) Hijinks

If there’s one thing almost all financial experts agree on, it’s that low costs favorably impact returns. In this article, Morningstar concludes: “firms with high fees are unlikely to offer above-average performance. Low-fee funds give investors the best chance of success over the long term.”

Uncategorized
Two People Racing One Person Winning Finish Line

An Investing Group You Don’t Want to Join

I get depressed whenever I read an article about advisors who lose a large amount of money belonging to athletes. This one is typical. An ex-financial adviser apologized for losing $43 million of his clients’ money. All of his clients were NFL players.

Uncategorized
Bank Signage Wall Near Street

A Silver Lining in the Wells Fargo Mess

Like many of you, I was sickened (but not surprised) by the latest banking scandal. This one involved Wells Fargo. It was fined a record $185 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over illegal practices relating to account openings.

Uncategorized

Yale Gets Educated In Retirement Plans

The educational community was rocked by the recent filing of class action complaints against Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Yale University, Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Johns Hopkins University.

Uncategorized
Resources

Double-Check FINRA’s BrokerCheck

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) describes itself in glowing terms as “an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.”

Behavioural Finance
Black Car Accident Side Wreck Road

Buy a Car to Become a Better Investor

Recently, I went shopping for a new car. I now understand why a survey from Edmunds.com found that a significant percentage of Americans consider the process of new car buying so distasteful they would give up sex, Facebook and their smartphones to avoid it.

Advanced Investing
Holidays

A Free Lunch for Investors

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman is generally credited with stating, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Actually, if you know what you are doing, you can get a free lunch in investing. Unfortunately, most investors get stuck with very expensive meals.

Advanced Investing
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An IRA With No Fees and No Risk

According to a recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, two-thirds of Americans earning between $50,000 and $100,000 would find it difficult to come up with $1,000 to cover an emergency.

Advanced Investing
Male Putting Money In Wallet Camera Around His Neck

Rip-offs on a Massive Scale

Why settle for ruining the retirement dreams of one individual investor at a time when doing so on a massive scale is far more lucrative? That seems to be the strategy of some retirement plan sponsors, consultants, endowments and their advisors.

Advanced Investing
Road Car Tires Skid Marks

A Plan to Stop the Pension Plan Rip-Off

It’s small consolation that your broker is only harming one client at a time by claiming the ability to “beat the market.” Recommending actively managed funds, private equity, individual stocks and alternative investments is the tried-and-true Wall Street way of transferring wealth from you to them.

Advanced Investing
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January Returns Mean Nothing

The first two weeks of January returns for the S&P 500 index were the worst in history. That statement is true. The index returned -7.93 percent for the period from Jan. 4-15, which was its worst ever start to the year. How many times have you read or heard some variation of this in a headline?

Advanced Investing
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The Biggest Market Myth

Particularly in times of extreme volatility, pundits come out of the woodwork to “explain” to the rest of us the reasons underlying the rise or fall of the stock market. For example, how many times have you seen articles attributing recent market declines to a drop in oil prices?

Advanced Investing

The Deceptive Returns of Active Managers

A colleague related this sad story about the death of his elderly mother. Nearing the end of her life, she was in a coma in the hospital and it was clear to him she would not survive. He had always promised her she would not have to endure extraordinary measures to prolong her life if there was no realistic chance of recovery.

Advanced Investing
Strange Behaviour

Terrible Advice in Tough Times

It’s sad that terrible advice is so freely dispensed in tough times. Investors are at their most vulnerable, reeling from the market selloff. Many in the financial media see this as an opportunity to boost ratings and generate revenue for the big brokerage firms that support them with huge advertising budgets.

Advanced Investing
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The Core of Wall Street Is Rotten

I remember feeling repulsed when I first read that Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of its proprietary drug, Daraprim, by 5,000 percent. This increase caused the price of each pill to go from $13.50 to $750.

Behavioural Finance

Compelling Employees to Make Bad Choices

I don’t want to rehash all the reasons for my view that investors should avoid actively managed funds, expensive, complex investment products and “alternative investments” like hedge funds and private equity. If you find these investments suitable, you have every right to buy them.

Advanced Investing
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Your ‘Wealth Advisor’ Probably Isn’t One

Last week, I wrote about an experience I had with a broker who took offense at the use of the term “broker” in a talk I gave to a group of investors. I found that odd because he is employed by a large brokerage firm. So I asked what he wanted to be called, and he said “wealth advisor.”

Advanced Investing
Black Car Accident Side Wreck Road

A Hidden Risk You Never Saw Coming

Ken Griffin is a hedge fund manager with an enviable net worth of $7 billion. According to published reports, he recently settled a contentious divorce dispute with his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial.

Advanced Investing
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Don’t Call Your Broker

The market has been experiencing gut-wrenching volatility recently. Monday, Aug. 24 was a particularly unsettling day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 1,089 points before rallying to close down 588.

Advanced Investing
Advisor Checking Graph Paper Writing

Hedge Fund Myths and Misdeeds

If anyone could demonstrate expertise in “beating the market,” you would think it would be hedge fund managers. They get paid hefty fees (often 2 percent of assets under management plus 20 percent of profits) to generate “alpha.”

Personal Wealth

What CNBC Won’t Tell You

In May 2009, during an appearance on CNBC, I suggested that the network could do a major service to investors by abandoning its slogan “In Cramer we Trust” and substituting “In Bogle we Trust.”