If there’s one thing investors do to waste a lot of their time, it is comparing the performance of their portfolios to the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. These indexes have little in common with any well balanced and well diversified portfolio. They simply aren’t good proxies for conservative, retired or soon […]
“Meltdown? Absolutely baked into the cake as I write to you, and becoming more of a deep midterm concern for me as time passes,” wrote Dick Young in Intelligence Report back in July 2015. And here we are a short way into 2016 and the speculative NASDAQ index is down over 8%. As Dick notes, “In recent issues, my goal has been to work especially hard at providing you intelligence that will keep you safe and dividend-centric during what I consider the inevitable coming meltdown.”
Safe and dividend-centric—sort of has a ring to it, does it not? It does to me. Those words have been pounded into my head for all the years I’ve worked with my father-in-law, Dick Young, founder, and with my brother-in-law Matt Young, president and CEO of Richard C. Young & Co., Ltd. In addition to our family bond, the three of us studied, at different times, at our shared alma mater, Babson College. But it was Dick who studied charts (much to the dismay of his teachers, I’m guessing) as a student at Shaker Heights High School. As you can see, there’s a lot of history when Dick writes, “I have tweaked my original work on dividends and interest, along with my long-time interest in gold (I have held my original 1982 China Gold Pandas for decades) to produce what I call the ‘Maximizers’.”
The Maximizers is a diversified portfolio, a “Retirement Ark,” if you will, of dividend-paying and dividend-increasing (for 10-consecutive years or more) common stocks, high-grade bonds, and gold. A simple enough sounding strategy for sure, but a strategy that is difficult to follow, especially in times like these when legendary investor Jack Bogle would likely advise the twitching masses to “just don’t do something, stand there.”
And stand there should you, as Yoda might say. Because it is my belief that you might lose a couple battles here and there with a Maximizers styled approach, but you will win the war. An inside baseball look reveals that the speculative NASDAQ beat the Maximizers in 8 of 15 years this century, versus 7 outperformers for the Maximizers. A pitcher with a 7-and-8 Major League Baseball starting record would be banished to the bullpen. But despite a 7 and 8 record, the final results have been incredible over the complete 21st Century.
The Maximizers win by a long shot. At the same time, the Maximizers offer you the peace of mind and comfort you deserve. The maximum deviation between the best and worst year for the Maximizers is a tiny 10 percentage points. For the outgunned and outmanned NASDAQ, the deviation is an unsettling, if not breathtaking, 91 percentage points. And the bone-chilling NASDAQ record includes five down years, four of which were bruisers. No half-sensible retirement investor is going to sign on for that backbreaking volatility. Never forget Dick Young’s cardinal rule of portfolio crafting: Always analyze risk before worrying about potential returns.
The NFL has a lot in common with investing. Both can be rough sports. You can get beaten if you’re not at the top of your game. That’s why a methodical approach is necessary to win both on the field and in the markets. Back in 2002 I wrote about the inspiration former Cleveland Brown’s […]
Vanguard Closes Wellington Advisory, Institutional and Advisory Shares to New Investors No, it is not the end of the world, but if you are a loyal Vanguard investor, as am I, having one of the few mutual funds in the world I advise for purchase close is a “Vanguard Crisis” for me as well as […]
Originally posted August 1, 2016. Vanguard Dividend Growth Closes to New Investors No, it is not the end of the world, but if you are a loyal Vanguard investor, as am I, having one of the few dividend-based funds in the world I advise for purchase close is a “Vanguard Crisis” for me as well […]
Do the old rules no longer apply? Can you live on corporate earnings alone? Is ignoring your margin of safety advisable? It turns out, unsurprisingly that the answer to all these questions is no. Back in November of 1997 I wrote the following (my emphasis added in bold): Ben Graham’s Margin of Safety Graham died in […]
History has a way of repeating itself. In early 1995 I wrote about a math professor named Tom Nicely, who worked at Lynchburg College. Nicely was examining prime numbers using a group of five personal computers. While four of the computers gave Nicely the correct answer to a problem, 1.2126596294086, the fifth turned up a […]
As Americans near retirement, they are always looking for ways to maximize their savings. At the top of the list of options is avoiding punitive taxation at all levels. There isn’t much most people can do about federal taxes (other than vote), but Americans are gifted with a choice of 50 states and a handful […]
“Americans are devoted to the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, research shows that many of us don’t actually know what makes us happy, so we end up pursuing the wrong things,” writes Dr. Shlomo Benartzi, professor and co-head of the behavioral decision-making group at UCLA Anderson School of Management. One way to help your happiness is […]
How quickly things can change. Back in April I wrote to you of Sweden’s all out dash toward creating the world’s first cashless society. Digital currency was the wave of the future, and the Swedes were happy to lead. Now, though, the movement toward a cashless society in Sweden is being challenged. Swedish politicians are […]
When arriving in France and immediately driving away from Charles de Gaulle airport, it’s hard to miss all the warehouses/distribution facilities on your way to Paris. I found this article interesting as companies battle for logistics superiority by building in more affordable Eastern and Central Europe. The WSJ’s Isobel Lee explains: The industrial real-estate market […]