Ben Carlson

Saving for Retirement 101

“I have always believed there are no shortcuts to greater understanding.  You simply have to work through the basics.” – Robert Hagstrom Someone recently asked me to put together a simple, easy to understand presentation about saving for retirement that they could share with their work colleagues to go over the basics. Since I champion…

Where is the Stock Market Heading?

“We have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.  Even now, Charlie (Munger) and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like…

8 Things I Learned From Your Money & Your Brain

“The best investors make a habit of putting procedures in place, in advance, that help inhibit the hot reactions of the emotional brain.” – Jason Zweig Neuroeconomics is the study of how we make decisions using brain activity (neuroscience), economics and psychology. Think of it as the behavioral finance of our intuition and reactions. In…

Am I Diversified Enough?

“It may seem counterintuitive, but if you have something in your portfolio that you’re complaining about, it’s a good sign you’ve built a diversified portfolio.” – Carl Richards Common sense reader mailbag: I live in Canada and currently have about 20-25% of my portfolio invested in Canada with the rest spread over other global markets. Do…

You Could Win the Lottery or…

“Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it.  If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.” – Will Rogers “He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.” – Leonardo da Vinci As a country, we…

Resetting Bond Return Expectations

“If you understand that the role of fixed income is to be the boring part of your portfolio, then you’re buying short- to intermediate-term bonds and you’re holding on to them. That’s always been the role of fixed income and that’ll always be the role of fixed income.” – Carl Richards Bond investors have had…

What’s Your Best Investment Option?

“Whether you take a risk depends not just on the probability that you are right but also on the consequences if you are wrong.” – Peter Bernstein Common sense reader mailbag: You write a lot about investing in index funds. Are these truly the best investment option or are there alternatives that I should be…

How to Create a Common Sense Investment Plan

Goals-based financial planning within your investment plan is a topic I have been wanting to write about for a while now. It’s very difficult to come up with a comprehensive investment plan if you don’t know why you are saving or what your long-term goals are.

Where Do Stocks Go From Here?

“I skate to where the puck is going not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretsky I just wanted to share a few pieces of interesting data I came across this week to put the current state of the markets into context.

Index Funds and the Paradox of Skill

“Gifted, determined, ambitious professionals have come into investment management in such large numbers during the past 30 years that it may no longer be feasible for any of them to profit from the errors of all the other sufficiently often and by sufficient magnitude to beat market averages.” – Charles Ellis, 1975 Photo Credit: MLBreports.com…