01172017Tue
Last updateMon, 16 Jan 2017 3pm

Revisiting the idea of 'smart beta'

In Part I on this topic in my Dec. 21 column, I explained what beta is. Understanding “beta” is integral to understanding the marketing concept known as “smart beta.”

In this column, I will address smart beta and whether it’s worth allocating your investment dollars to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that use it.


Realty site makes 2017 predictions

The 2017 housing market will experience moderate growth in the nation’s housing market but slower gains compared to the last two years, according to forecasts in the “2017 Housing Review” at Realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of Realtors.

Realtors predicted that home prices would increase 3.9 percent and existing home sales would rise 1.9 percent, to 5.46 million homes. Interest rates are expected to reach 4.5 percent, new home sales to grow 10 percent and new home starts to increase 3 percent.

There's nothing smart about 'smart beta' for investors

I’m not a big fan of marketing terms created for the sole purpose of making products sound better than they are. And when investment or insurance companies do this for financial products, it really gets me going.

One term that’s getting a lot of mileage right now is “smart beta,” commonly applied to certain exchange-traded mutual funds (ETFs). When a client asked me what it means, I realized that it was time for someone to set the record straight. There’s nothing especially “smart” about smart beta funds. ETFs purporting to use them are no better or worse than those that don’t.

The election is over, so what will the stock market do now?

Now that the presidential election is behind us, many Hillary Clinton supporters have threatened to pull all of their money out of the U.S. stock market and leave the country. Should we sell all of our stocks now before the mass exodus starts?

This analysis comes under the category of predicting the future, and my readers know very well how I feel about that topic. Nonetheless, you are going to hear a lot about this in the media, so – just for fun – let’s emulate those technical analysts who make a living by reviewing historical patterns to see what actions to take.

Are your cognitive abilities declining with age?

There is increasing evidence that as we age, cognitive decline is natural and inevitable. The brain, like the rest of the body, loses its ability to respond quickly and precisely over time.

Michael Finke and Sandra Huston of Texas Tech University and John Howe of the University of Missouri recently updated a study titled “Old Age and the Decline in Financial Literacy.”


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