Ben Carlson

The Lump Sum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging Decision

Investors often assume the markets are working against them. For those with a large slug of cash to put to work in the markets, the fear is they will put all of their money to work right before the market takes a dive and completely mistime things. There is no perfect time to invest but the…

Do Long-Term Investors Need Bonds?

A reader asks: If the goal is long-term investing (let us say I will not look at this money for the next 15 years), then does it still make sense to invest in bonds since equities outperform bonds over a long period of time?  Before getting into the mushy psychological stuff, let’s run the numbers…

Thinking Outside the Box

This piece from Chief Investment Officer is so avocados I almost did a spit-take when I read it: The legislative representative to the League of California Cities urged the CalPERS Investment Committee Monday to think “out of the box” in finding a way to exceed its 7% investment return projections, saying that cities won’t be…

Young Retirement Savers Scorned

Ali Malito at MarketWatch kicked a hornet’s nest this week with her piece on how much money people in their 30s should have saved for retirement. This tweet and headline went viral (if you have a sense of humor or are a glutton for Internet punishment, check out the comments and replies to this one): The…

Animal Spirits Episode 29: The Podcast Boot Camp

On this week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben we discuss: Are ETFs causing a market bubble? How the millionaire secretary became a multi-millionaire (and it wasn’t through stock picks). The pros & cons of the lack of visibility in private investment market values. The massive business that is airline credit cards. Worldly wisdom from Jim…

What The 200 Day Moving Average Does & Does Not Tell You

Trend-following is a strategy that got a lot of attention following the financial crisis. It’s something my views have evolved on over the years. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what the typical trend-following signals actually mean. There’s much more nuance involved than simply looking at the moving average of the price…

Just Half a Percent

Compound interest may be considered the 8th wonder of the world, but it’s the kind of sight that’s going to take a long time to see in person. The problem for most people is the majority of the gains from compounding come at the end and very few have the patience necessary to get to…

4 Good Charts From This Week

I do a lot of reading and research during the week which brings me into contact with lots of graphs, charts and tables. Here are four that stood out this week along with some comments. This chart from Goldman Sachs (h/t Sam Ro) shows how ownership of the U.S. stock market has evolved over the…

When Intelligence Fails Miserably

In 2001, Enron was the 7th largest company by revenue (close to $50 billion) before declaring the largest bankruptcy in the U.S. (at that time). Fortune magazine named it “the most innovative company” six years running from 1995-2000, right before they blew up. They were also named the 7th “most admired” company in 2001, the…

Animal Spirits Episode 28: Tesla Hathaway

On this week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben we discuss: Community-adjusted EBITDA. Elon Musk trolling Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger. Berkshire Hathaway underperforming the S&P 500 over the past 10 years. Why David Swensen thinks Buffett is wrong about college endowments. Why don’t more college endowments invest in index funds? Why owning a home is…