Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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The choice between mutual funds and ETFs


Following is the second in a two-part series on mutual and exchange-traded funds.

In part one of my series, I explained the difference between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The question remains: Which makes a better investment?

Craig Israelsen, associate professor at Utah Valley University, recently attempted to quantify the performance difference between mutual funds and ETFs by creating two portfolios: one using only ETFs, the other containing only mutual funds.

Each portfolio comprised 12 asset classes: large-cap U.S. stocks, mid-cap U.S. stocks, small-cap value U.S. stocks, non-U.S. developed market stocks, non-U.S. emerging market stocks, real estate, natural resources, commodities, U.S. bonds, U.S. inflation-protected bonds, non-U.S. bonds and cash.

Each asset class was weighted equally at 8.33 percent of the total portfolio, and each portfolio was rebalanced at the end of each year over a three-year period.

To make the comparison as objective as possible, Israelsen selected the largest ETF and the largest fund (in terms of total assets) to represent each of the above asset classes in the two portfolios. He did not attempt to identify the best-performing ETF or mutual fund. The returns as measured were net of expense ratios, and there was no attempt to take into account taxes, trading costs or inflation. All data came from Lipper Mutual Fund information.

The results appear on the accompanying chart. Although the ETF portfolio reported slightly higher tax efficiency and a considerably lower aggregate expense ratio (0.22 percent versus 0.63 percent), the two portfolios produced nearly identical returns in the three years from 2010 through 2012 (8.13 percent average annual return for the ETF portfolio and 8.23 percent for the mutual fund portfolio).

Of course, this analysis only covered a three-year period, a very small sample from which to infer longer-term investment performance. And there was a pretty big disparity in some of the individual asset classes, in particular international fixed income, where the mutual funds trounced the ETFs, and in natural resources, where the reverse occurred.

Nonetheless, my conclusion from this analysis is that it’s more important to focus on building a well-diversified portfolio than trying to find the “best” mutual fund or ETF. Other studies have borne this out as well.

Israelsen also discovered that the performance spread among ETFs within each asset class tended to be smaller than that of the mutual funds. This, of course, can be attributed to the fact that most ETFs are index trackers, whereas many mutual funds are actively managed and have much more flexibility.

As to which is better, mutual funds or ETFs, the answer would appear to be neither, as long as you use a sufficient number of asset classes and an appropriate asset allocation model for your investment portfolio.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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