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.
‘Modern monetary theory’ rests on dangerous, false premises. The U.S. won’t grow its way out of the red.
By: Desmond Lachman
Do deficits matter? Between Republican tax cuts and Democratic spending proposals, U.S. lawmakers act as if the answer is no. Lately, academic economists have echoed the sentiment, advocating large, unfunded infrastructure spending programs—the main thrust of former International Monetary Fund chief economist Olivier Blanchard’s recent presidential address to the American Economic Association. “Put bluntly,” Mr. Blanchard said, “public debt may have no fiscal cost.”
This view, known as modern monetary theory, rests on false premises. One is that the U.S. government will likely be able to borrow at low rates indefinitely. Another is that so long as the U.S. nominal growth rate is greater than the rate at which its government borrows, America can always grow its way out of debt problems.
David Jones Head of Financial Advisor Services, EMEA and Vice President Dimensional Fund Advisors Ltd.
As much as I value the unfettered access to information the internet provides, I recognize the potential harm that too much information can cause.
Take, for example, a friend of mine, who was experiencing some troubling medical symptoms. Typing her symptoms into a search engine led to an evening of research and mounting consternation. By the end of the night, the vast quantity of unfiltered information led her to conclude that something was seriously wrong. One of the key characteristics that distinguishes an expert is their ability to filter information and make increasingly refined distinctions about the situation at hand.
For example, you might describe your troubling symptoms to a doctor simply as a pain in the chest, but a trained physician will be able to ask questions and test several hypotheses before reaching the conclusion that rather than having the cardiac arrest you suspected, you have something completely different. While many of us may have the capacity to elevate our understanding to a high level within a chosen field, reaching this point takes time, dedication, and experience. My friend, having convinced herself that something was seriously wrong, booked an appointment with a physician. The doctor asked several pertinent questions, performed some straightforward tests, and recommended the following treatment plan: reassurance and education.
The names, addresses, contact information and passport numbers of over 300 million people who stayed at a Starwood hotel property may have been accessed in a major data hack, Marriott hotels reported Friday. Marriott's data team confirmed that the Starwood guest reservation database — which contains up to 500 million accounts — had been compromised, and the hacking may have been ongoing since 2014.
Unfortunately, there may not be a lot of individuals can do to completely protect themselves in response. Even a credit freeze may not a comprehensive solution.
“Sellers were out in force on the market today after negative news on the economy.” It’s a common line in TV finance reports. But have you ever wondered who is buying if so many people are selling?
The notion that sellers can outnumber buyers on down days doesn’t make sense. What the newscasters should say, of course, is that prices adjusted lower because would-be buyers weren’t prepared to pay the former price.
It has been more than 50 years since the idea of stock prices containing all relevant information was put forth. Information might come in the form of data from a company’s financial statements, news about a new product, a change in the regulatory environment, or simply a shift of investors’ tastes and preferences toward owning different investments.
Information is incorporated into security prices through the buying and selling process. While fair prices may not depend on a certain level of trading, over $400 billion of stocks traded on average each day in the world equity markets suggests that a great deal of information is incorporated into stock prices.1
To speak with your loved ones about death when it isn’t imminent is crucial, to speak with them when it is, is critical. Though difficult, finding a way to have these conversations can help you find solace and closure in their absence and closer to them while they are still here.
Research shows that those who have discussions about death with those in our lives who know that they are dying – and if those conversations come from a place of honesty and openness – you become closer to those you love who you may be losing as well as feel more hopeful about the future.[i]
When the prices of goods and services increase over time, consumers can buy fewer of them with every dollar they have saved.
This erosion of the real purchasing power of wealth is called inflation. Inflation is an important element of investing. In many cases, the reason for saving today is to support future spending. Therefore, keeping pace with inflation is a crucial goal for many investors. To help understand inflation’s impact on purchasing power, consider the following illustration of the effects of inflation over time. In 1916, nine cents would buy a quart of milk. Fifty years later, nine cents would only buy a small glass of milk. And more than 100 years later, nine cents would only buy about seven tablespoons of milk. How can investors potentially prevent this loss of purchasing power from inflation over time?
Passive investing has been ridiculed by Wall Street for decades. The following list is just a small sample of the criticisms I’ve collected over the years:
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. strategist Inigo Fraser-Jenkins called it worse than Marxism.
David Smith, fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, called passive investors parasites on the financial system.
Tim O’Neill, global co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment management division, warned investors that if passive investing gets too big, the market won't function.
The common theme is that indexing (and passive investing in general) has become such a force that the market’s price discovery function is no longer working properly. Goldman Sachs’ O’Neill has even called passive investing a “potential bubble machine.”
Given the number of questions I get from investors about this issue, one would think that passive investing is now dominating markets. Let’s see if there’s any truth to such beliefs, and whether there’s anything to worry about.