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Blog | The Portfolio Doctor

The Portfolio Doctor

My blog provides valuable insights into Nobel Prize-winning financial strategies for investors. By utilizing decades of worldwide peer-reviewed capital markets research and analysis, I demonstrate how to build better investment portfolios with lower risks. I also examine common financial media misinformation and how investors can make better financial decisions.

Scams Abound Amid Pandemic Panic

Computer Code

Sadly, as is the case in any crisis, there are those among us who are looking to capitalize on cruelty and take advantage of heightened vulnerabilities. Hackers are trying to lure victims to click on COVID-19 related hyperlinks that contain malicious software and other computer viruses. In some cases, these scams look like official messages from the government and they send people to fake websites where their sensitive information can be stolen.

The following guidelines can help you protect yourself from these digital scams and stay clear of suspicious links you may come across in your internet travels.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Phishing is a practice in which scammers send emails that appear to be from legitimate organizations. In the case of COVID-19, they may promise to share important information about the coronavirus or how to keep your family safe. In short, they prey on a public fearful of a dangerous virus.

Phishing emails may ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, actions that may download malicious software, called malware, onto your computer. Malware is often used by cybercriminals to log your keystrokes and learn your passwords, especially to your bank accounts or other financial data. Their goal is typically identity theft.

In the case of coronavirus, there are already two types of phishing emails being used by criminals:
  1. CDC Alerts – In a time when Americans are looking daily for advice and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, criminals are leveraging emails that appear to be from the CDC. The messages might include links that claim to take you to a list of confirmed coronavirus cases in your area. For example, one phishing email currently circulating reads, “You are immediately advised to go through the cases above for safety hazard.”
  2. Health Advice Emails – Cybercriminals are also sending phishing emails that claim to offer medical advice that will protect you from coronavirus. They often claim to be from medical experts in China, where the outbreak began. One example email, cited on the U.S. Department of Health and Services website, says, “This little measure can save you.”

There are other clues besides subject matter that may help you identify phishing emails, too. Grammatical and spelling errors, generic greetings like “Dear Sir or Madam,” requests for personal information and messaging about “acting now” are all suspect.

If you suspect you’ve received a phishing email, delete it without opening it or clicking on links or attachments. Doing so will help you avoid possible attempts at fraud or identity theft.

How to Avoid Fake Ads

Scammers also try to entice unknowing consumers with advertisements for products claiming to treat or cure coronavirus. They usually appear with bright, bold text and attempt to create a sense of urgency by mentioning limited supplies or a one-time offer.

Clicking on ads like these can accidentally download malware onto your computer, just as with phishing emails. Other times, you may be taken to a product website that looks legitimate, where you pay for a product you never receive. By the time you realize what has happened, it’s too late; you’ve already shared personal information, usually including your credit card number.

To remain safe, avoid clicking on any advertisements related to coronavirus products.

How to Find Legitimate Coronavirus Information

With so much suspicious information on the internet, it’s important to know where you can access reliable sources to learn about coronavirus. In general, it’s best to go directly to sources you know and trust, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health,the National Institutes of Health, government offices and health care agencies.

What to Do if You Think You Have COVID-19

At times, it’s best to abandon internet search efforts altogether. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms consistent with coronavirus, or you have been exposed to someone with this illness, contact your doctor or local health authority for guidance.

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CARES Act Signed into Law –Brings Relief to Millions of Americans

On March 27 the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis related to COVID-19.

This $2 trillion bill is meant to impact both individuals and businesses and contains significant tax-savings measures. It could affect prior tax years while also creating immediate cash-flow.

Impact on Individuals

Stimulus Checks

Perhaps the most impactful provision for American citizens is the CARES Act’s promise of cash payments of up to $1,200 per single individual and $2,400 for a married couple. Parents will also receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. Payments are phased-out for individuals with incomes greater than $75,000 and for married couples filing jointly with income greater than $150,000.

Provisions are such that payments will be based on 2018 tax returns, though, like the Affordable Care Act’s tax premium credit, there is a true-up related to the amount for which you are eligible for the 2020 tax return. Nonresident aliens, dependents and estates and trusts are not eligible for a stimulus check.

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There Is Hope: All the Reasons to Be Optimistic About the End of the Coronavirus Crisis

With the UK going into a total self-imposed quarantine, several large American cities in lockdown, and distressing scenes coming out of Spain and Italy, life right now feels chaotic and insecure. It's a crisis. The economy has ground to a halt. 

These are the worst of times. 

And yet, there is hope. This is temporary. It will end. Already, there are reasons to be optimistic. 

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10 Ways Investments and Markets Have Evolved

1. Financial science becomes a driving force in well-designed portfolios.
Academic evidence casts light on the challenges with traditional investment approaches, such as security selection and market prediction, and pushes advisors toward more robust, research-informed investment strategies.
 
2. Theoretical and empirical research identifies drivers of investment returns.
Research shows that stocks offering higher expected returns can be identified using company size, relative price, and profitability. For bonds, information in the yield curve and credit spreads reveals higher expected returns.
 
3. Global information and competition further advance the market’s pricing power.
Each day, the global security markets process billions of dollars in trades between buyers and sellers—and their collective wisdom helps drive securities prices toward fair value.

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Living in Fear of a Market Downturn?

Dimensional Fund Advisors’ David Booth on why you should change the way you think about investing.

It’s easy to feel anxious about investing these days. Those who claim they can foresee market moves are out in force, on screen after screen, citing factors such as trade wars or the inverted yield curve as signals that stocks will soon go down.

Maybe we will have a recession, maybe we won’t—but be wary of predictions on how markets will behave. It’s a losing game. The results of those who try to time markets or pick winners have been studied extensively, and there is no compelling evidence they do better than you would expect by chance.

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Hindsight Is 20/20. Foresight Isn’t.

The year 2019 served up many examples of the unpredictability of markets. 

Interest rates that US policymakers expected to rise fell instead. American consumers’ confidence weakened as the year began,1 and news headlines broadcast fears of an economic slowdown. But investors who moved onto the sidelines may have missed the gains in the US stock market. As of the end of October, the S&P 500 was up more than 20% for the year on a total-return basis. That puts it on course for the best showing since 2013 should that gain hold through December.

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Value Judgments: Viewing the Premium’s Performance Through History’s Lens

October 2019
104 dfa

There’s a misconception in the markets: value stocks have lost their vigor.

Value stocks have underperformed growth stocks over the past decade. In the US, the annualized compound return has been 12.9% for value stocks, or those trading at a low price relative to their book value. That contrasts with 16.3% annualized compound return for growth stocks, or those with a high relative price.1

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Opinion: The U.S. Can Slash Health-Care Costs 75% with 2 Fundamental Changes — and Without ‘Medicare for All’

Fund the HSA deductible, as Indiana and Whole Foods do, and put real prices on everything

As the Democratic presidential candidates argue about “Medicare for All” versus a “public option,” two simple policy changes could slash U.S. health-care costs by 75% while increasing access and improving the quality of care.

These policies have been proven to work by ingenious companies like Whole Foods and innovative governments like the state of Indiana and Singapore. If they were rolled out nationally, the United States would save $2.4 trillion per year across individuals, businesses, and the government.

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