April 19, 2016 |
We're getting a crack at new technology: a retirement plan robo-adviser. My colleagues and I at Philadelphia Media Network have a 401(k) administered by Vanguard, the local mutual-fund giant. A few weeks ago, we got letters in the mail saying we're eligible to try out Financial Engines' "Retirement Evaluation" tool free for a few months. If we sign on - and I'm going to road-test it - Vanguard charges 0.40 percent annually, more expensive than just indexing. (Currently, I have my Vanguard savings in one low-cost index fund)
February 14, 2016 |
For seven years in a row, U.S. investors have sent more money to Vanguard Group, the world's largest mutual fund company, than any of its rivals, says fund-tracker Morningstar Inc. The Malvern-based company now controls 5 percent of every stock exchange-listed U.S. company. Yet Vanguard doesn't act like other dominant U.S. companies. Instead of boosting prices, as Apple iPhone users and Comcast Xfinity-watchers suffer most years, Vanguard continues to cut its fees, already among the industry's lowest, according to Morningstar.
April 7, 2015 |
Robo-advisers. They're coming from the future, for your assets. Actually, the term is just slang for low-cost, Internet-only money managers. Start-ups such as WiseBanyan.com and Betterment.com automate investing with few or no humans involved and offer extras such as tax-loss harvesting. Betterment's pitch: Investors pay a fraction of what it would cost at a traditional broker or money manager. Some, like WiseBanyan, offer money management for free. But how? These young robo-advisers generally invest using ETFs, or exchange traded funds, rather than mutual funds.
January 27, 2015 |
A Broomall investment start-up has launched two new exchange-traded funds. Underpinning the investment philosophy: tax efficiency. Tax-aware investing makes a lot of sense now that capital gains taxes are so high - nearly 45 percent on short-term capital gains, when including the new Obamacare tax - and some financial planners consider them more important than estate taxes. Alpha Architect was founded by Wes Gray and Carl Kanner in 2010. As a start-up, they initially ran money privately for a billion-dollar family in 2011.
December 9, 2014 |
When does this stock market rally end? Rick Pitcairn, chief investment officer of Pitcairn, based in Jenkintown, gets that question a lot these days from clients. "I get the sense of trepidation from both institutional and retail investors surrounding the market. They're asking: 'These valuations are extended, and this feels like 1999 - tell me, when's that type of sell-off going to happen?' "In terms of U.S. equities, it's been a stunning rally in magnitude and duration," he says.
November 24, 2014 |
Sell your losers. Gift your winners. It's nearly December, time to evaluate your portfolio and sell off some losers. With the stock market setting records, investors have recorded terrific gains and can "harvest" tax losses to offset those, says Brad Bernstein of UBS. "Take losses now," says Bernstein, a UBS Wealth Management senior vice president in Center City. He has been swapping out under-performing mutual funds, reaping the losses, and swapping into better-performing mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
October 20, 2014 |
The lengthy bull market has helped boost Vanguard Group investors' assets by $1 trillion since the end of 2011. New revenues from the fees investors pay have also been growing. Malvern-based Vanguard now manages $2.7 trillion in U.S. investments, up from $1.6 trillion in 2011. Rising stock values, plus Vanguard's growth at the expense of its rivals - it now controls 18 percent of U.S. mutual fund assets, up from 13 percent before the recession - has generated more than $1 billion in additional annual fees over the last three years.
June 30, 2014 |
After you retire, with the possibility of decades ahead of you, where should you park your nest egg? Experts are divided on how conservatively, or aggressively, you should invest your money. "Great funds to own in retirement," according to this post at Kiplinger.com, should continue to represent a mix of stocks and bonds. "Keep your focus on growth," writes Stacy Rapacon. She cites an expert, Tim Courtney of Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma, who recommends "putting 15 percent to 30 percent of your retirement portfolio in high-quality bonds and 5 percent to 15 percent in riskier bonds.
February 18, 2014 |
You might not want to hear it, but it's a good time to take profits by selling some big gainers in your portfolios - since that's how you make money. Last year's fabulous stock market return is prompting such money managers as Mark Fried to sell some stock positions and wait for a pullback, then redeploy the cash into some favorite names. "In the last month or so, we have increased our cash position to 20 percent from 10 percent in conservative portfolios," the Newtown portfolio manager and president of TFG Wealth Management says in an interview.
January 10, 2014 |
Investing in private equity used to be reserved for the wealthy. Only millionaires who were "accredited" or "qualified" to invest the big bucks had money in private equity - essentially, the One Percenters. Then, some of Wall Street's biggest private equity firms went public, such as Blackstone Group L.P. (symbol: BX), Fortress (FIG) and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR). (Bain Capital L.L.C. remains private, but gained fame when partner Mitt Romney ran as a presidential candidate.)