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Blog posts from other publications

In the blog section we've brought together the most insightful, and sometimes provocative, articles from eminent publications including the Wall Street Journal, Economist and New York Times.

The topics span a range of issues from international monetary markets, trends in ethical and socially responsible investing, and perspectives on investor behaviour. We also explore more thoughtful issues such as the impact of personality and gender on attitudes to risk, and the economic theory that underpins our philosophy.

We've done the hard work identifying the 'must read' articles of the day, so you don't have to.

Althlete training by running up stadium stairs

"The Simple Dollar" Is Not "The Easy Dollar"

The Simple Dollar, 18/06/19

People often mistake what's simple for what's easy. Knowing you need to eat less and exercise more to lose weight is one thing. Achieving it is another. Likewise, having a savings plan and sticking to it are two different things. So how can you bridge the gap between simple and easy? Here are several ideas. Read more about "The Simple Dollar" is not "The Easy Dollar"

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Math vs. Emotion

HumbleDollar, 16/06/19

When building a long-term portfolio, there are a couple of considerations. One is a purely mathematical analysis of risk and return. But also important is knowing you have a portfolio you can live with. In this article, the writer suggests five things to consider when the maths points one way and your stomach another. Read more about math vs. emotion

Charlie Munger, billionaire business partner of Warren Buffett

Avoiding Stupidity is Easier than Seeking Brilliance

Farnham Street, 27/05/19

One of the most popular quotes from Charlie Munger, the long-term partner of legendary investor Warren Buffett, is that it is remarkable how much advantage they have achieved by trying not to be stupid instead of seeking to be smart. This article from the blog Farnam St explains the difference. Read more about how avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance

Illustration of people running off a cliff edge trying to reach a tropy dangled just out of reach by a giant hand

Emotions and Decision Making: Logic-Beating Biases

Enterprising Investor, 23/05/19

Why does emotion so often outweigh logic in financial decision-making? Our unconscious mind is a major culprit. It filters out unpleasant information as it is received to reduce the sheer volume of data coming in. Here are four common ways these mental short-cuts can lead us astray. Read more about emotions and decision making

Poster containing the names of different investment fads

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Dimensional, 13/05/19

Remember BRIC funds? This strategy, popular about 15 years ago, suggested building portfolios around the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. More recently, it's all about 'FAANG' stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google). This article suggests casting a sceptical eye on investment fads. Read more about déjà vu all over again

Old photo of two men looking up at an enormous hedge

Hedge Funds Keep Failing to Deliver on What They're Selling

Bloomberg, 25/04/19

Coming out of the financial crisis, hedge funds and other alternative investments were supposed to be the answer in guarding against volatility and providing upside. Problem is it hasn't worked out that way. Performance has been poor and even where it hasn't been, high fees have eaten up returns. Barry Ritholtz explains. Read more about hedge funds that keep failing to deliver on what they're selling

Woman leaping in front of an orange striped backdrop

6 Decisions That Separate People Who Reach Success From Those Who Only Dream About It

Inc.com, 24/04/19

It may sound obvious but people who succeed tend to take purposeful, meaningful action; they don't just think about it. The starting point is knowing who you are and what you want. From there, it shifts to setting a plan and learning to deal with the inevitable setbacks. This writer lists six common habits of successful people. Read more about 6 decisions that separate people who reach success from those who only dream about it

Bench seat overlooking a view of hills and a lake

Why Are Stories so Important to Investors?

Behavioural Investment, 23/04/19

Journalism is often referred to as writing history on the run. Every day, the news must be wrapped up into bite-sized stories, with heroes and villains, causes and effects all clearly laid out. But reality is rarely that simple. We can easily underestimate the roles of randomness and chance. This article explains. Read more about Why stories are so important to investors

Multicolored budgie wearing 3-D glasses

To Change the Way You Think, Change the Way You See

Harvard Business Review, 16/04/19

To think differently about the challenges you face, it can pay to change how you see things. In this, we can learn from great innovators who found that unlocking a thorny problem often came down to looking at a familiar situation in an unfamiliar way. The key is grasping the distinction between seeing and observation. Read more about change the way you think, by changing the way you see

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Compounding Knowledge

Farnam Street blog, 08/04/19

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is known to rarely use a computer. He argues that so much of what people feverishly click on is disposable information that offers little long-term value. Instead, his view is that by slowing down and being more reflective, we are more likely to make better decisions. This article explains. Read more about compounding knowledge

Older woman looking concerned at the contents of her iPad

My 86-Year-Old Mother Is An Inadvertent Market Timer

Forbes, 07/04/19

A common mistake among market forecasters is to be too influenced by the recent past. So if shares have been doing well relative to bonds, they may decide they want to load up on more risk. In this article, blogger Rick Ferri uses the case of his 86-year-old mother to show why that's a bad idea. Read more about my 86-year-old mother is an inadvertent market timer

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When in Doubt

HumbleDollar, 31/03/19

Big financial decisions involve lots of variables – your future income, your savings rate, interest rates, tax changes – you know the score. We can make forecasts, of course, but that means working with incomplete information. So how can we manage this inherent uncertainty? This writer has a couple of ideas from the world of poker. Read more about what to do when in doubt

Woman lovingly holding a piggy bank

Do Your Finances Spark Joy? Applying the 'KonMari' Method to Your Money

The Simple Dollar, 07/03/19

Japanese lifestyle guru Marie Kondo helps people declutter their homes and simplify their lives. The ‘KonMari’ approach involves asking which of your possessions "spark joy". So, if you can declutter your house, why not declutter your finances as well? Read more about applying the 'KonMari' method to your money

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The Psychology Behind Smart People Saying Dumb Things

Zen Investor, 04/03/19

The global financial markets are full of extremely smart people, many of whom believe they have what it takes to get an edge over everybody else. But highly intelligent people often do very dumb things when it comes to investing. Here are six ways even the smartest folk can fool themselves. Read more about the psychology behind smart people saying dumb things

Video screengrab of Warren Buffet being interviewed

Warren Buffett: You do not want to have a political view when investing

CNBC, 25/02/19

Legendary investor Warren Buffett says when it comes to investing he leaves his ideological views at the door. In this candid interview with CNBC, Buffett explains that he's invested under Democrat presidents and Republican presidents. To him, the outcomes make no difference to his strategy. Read more about Warren Buffett: You do not want to have a political view when investing

Bench seat overlooking a view of hills and a lake

Is an Obsession with Outcomes the Most Damaging Investor Bias?

Behavioural Investment, 19/02/19

We tend to judge the quality of a decision by its consequence. After all, results often provide a useful gauge of the value of the actions that led to them. However, once you add a dose of randomness things start to become problematic, as this article explains. Read more about an obsession with outcomes

Paper napkin with uncertainty = reality written on it

Accepting the Uncertainty of Our Financial Life

The New York Times, 08/02/19

Our intolerance of uncertainty can cause havoc in our financial lives. It can lead to rash decisions in response to news events or chasing past returns. The truth is it's virtually impossible to consistently time the market. So, what do we do? The answer is to start by focusing on what you can control, as Carl Richards explains. Read more about accepting the uncertainty of our financial life

Cardo B on Instagram

Budgeting With Cardi B

A Wealth of Common Sense, 07/02/19

Anyone who has witnessed the spending behaviour of wealthy celebrities will know that having more money does not necessarily translate to better financial outcomes. In fact, many people get stuck in a consumption arms race in which every increase in income just gets absorbed by a higher standard of living. Ben Carlson explains. Read more about budgeting With Cardi B

Bench seat overlooking a view of hills and a lake

Why Do We Make Stupid Investment Decisions?

Behavioural Investment, 05/02/19

Although markets are awash with randomness, there are vital and often simple cues that investors choose to ignore. A common one is overlooking signal for noise. In other words, people get distracted by headlines and miss the long-term returns available through discipline. Here are eight reasons stupidity is so common. Read more about why we make stupid investment decisions

Dog collecting darts from the dartboard

Stock-Picking Contests Are No Way to Pick Stocks

Bloomberg, 01/02/19

While some people choose their own favourite stocks, others outsource their investments to champion stock pickers. Part of the problem with this approach is that stock picking discussions typically fail to take account of individual goals. The other issue is that the outcomes are totally random. Barry Ritholtz explains. Read more about stock-picking contests being no way to pick stocks

Dimensional video

Retirement Readiness: Establishing Your Savings Rate

Dimensional Fund Advisors, 31/01/19

How much should you save for retirement? And how much can you spend? Answering these questions can be a lot easier if you do things like determine your savings rate, monitor your progress and make adjustments over time. Dimensional Fund Advisors’ head of research Marlena Lee explains in this short video. Read more about retirement readiness: establishing your savings rate

China's stock market compared with S&P 500

The Single Greatest Error

The Irrelevant Investor, 29/01/19

What makes stock picking so difficult is that identifying a good product or even a great business is only one side of the equation. Even if you had the facts ahead of time, you still wouldn't necessarily know how the market will respond. That's because all the current information is already reflected in the price. Read more about the single greatest error

Jack Bogle

He should be a billionaire, but Jack Bogle chose to make others richer

Sydney Morning Herald, 19/01/19

He could have been a billionaire several times over, but John ('Jack') Bogle chose to focus instead on reinforcing the lessons to people of keeping costs down in investing, not trying to outguess the market and focusing on their goals, not what someone was trying to sell them. This obituary lays out his remarkable achievement. Read more about how he should be a billionaire, but Jack Bogle chose to make others richer

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Narrative or Data? Yes.

The Big Picture, 18/01/19

Financial media often recommend companies as investments because of their 'superior management' or 'excellent business plan'. The problem is none of these statements are data dependent. They are just stories that the market already knows and has already priced in. Barry Ritholtz suggests a different approach. Read more about narrative or data

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What I Learned From Jack Bogle

A Wealth of Common Sense, 17/01/19

A frequent message to investors from Jack Bogle was the folly of speculation. He talked about speculation as the "expectations" market and contrasted it with the real market of investing. In this article, professional fund manager Ben Carlson lists this among a dozen key principles he learnt from Bogle. Read more about what I learned from Jack Bogle

Video about Jack Bogle

Thank You, Jack Bogle

Dimensional, 16/01/19

According to David Booth, founder of asset manager Dimensional, the lessons from Jack Bogle's sizeable contribution to investing go beyond indexing. Significantly, his focus was on improving the lives of individual investors by pointing to the folly of high-fee speculation where the bulk of the benefits went to fund managers. Read more about thank you, Jack Bogle

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How to survive a volatile market

Morningstar, 15/01/19

Market commentators seek to make headlines by making bold predictions about the year ahead. However, the truth is that no-one has a reliable crystal ball and it pays to be sceptical of stories that neatly fit recent market movements into a forecast. Analysts at Morningstar share some practical tips on coping with volatility. Read more about how to survive a volatile market

Share prices as a rollercoaster

How To Invest For The Long Term In A Volatile Market

Forbes, 15/01/19

Among the behavioural factors that investors are prone to, a common one is "recency bias". This is the tendency for people to put undue weight on recent events and extrapolate them into the future. But with the right structure, a long-term investment process and a behavioural checklist, it's easier to deal with volatility. Read more about how to invest for the long term in a volatile market

David Booth video

David Booth on Forecasting

Dimensional, 14/01/19

So much media commentary around markets is just noise. For example, at the start of every year you'll see articles saying it's now "a climate for stock pickers" or that "the rules have changed". Veteran investor and fund manager David Booth has heard it all and provides a refreshing perspective on market forecasting. Read more about David Booth on Forecasting

Bench seat overlooking a view of hills and a lake

Can More Information Lead to Worse Investment Decisions?

Behavioural Investment, 09/01/19

While we’re deluged with information these days, the fact is more information does not necessarily lead to better decisions. What’s often overlooked is how relevant the information is to your circumstances and whether it is actionable. This article argues that a better approach is to focus on what matters. Read more about more information leading to worse investment decisions

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Good companies often make bad investments, study shows

CNBC, 08/01/19

A good reputation, strong competitive advantage and popular brand may not only be the hallmark of a healthy company, but also a sign of a poor investment idea, according to new research. The Morningstar study found securities with desirable traits generated lower expected returns than less popular companies. Read more about how good companies often make bad investments

Past is not prologue

2017 vs. 2018 in the Stock Market

A Wealth of Common Sense, 03/01/19

While the financial media might try to make it seem otherwise, the fact is one year in the stock market should have no bearing on what happens in the next year. Just look at the differences in performance between 2017 and 2018. According to Ben Carlson, those two varying results show that anything is possible in 2019. Read more about 2017 vs. 2018 in the Stock Market

New Year's Eve firework display

Not apocalypse now: why it is safe to ignore gloomy forecasts for 2019

The National, 29/12/18

Have you noticed how much media commentary about the market outlook is gloomy? We're told to brace for everything from meltdowns to depression. Part of this is economic, as research shows human beings are wired to give greater weight to bad news than good. This means there's an in-built market for fear. Read more about not apocalypse now

1950s couple visiting a fortune-teller

2019 Forecast: Predictions Will Be Wrong, Random or Worse

Bloomberg, 08/12/18

Everywhere you look at this time of the year, someone is telling you what stocks to buy in 2019, the chances of a recession, the likely path of interest rates and what will happen to currencies. These forecasts are really guesses and are often just a pitch to get you to trade. In fact, Barry Ritholtz sees forecasting as an exercise in futility. Read more about 2019 Forecast

Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix - the Sacking of Constantinople painting

Change almost always comes as a surprise

The Financial Bodyguard blog, 20/11/18

Did you know that New Zealand was the world's second best performing developed share market in three of the past seven years? Yet in 2017, it was the worst. Who's it going to be in 2019? The truth is no-one knows which countries, sectors or stocks will do well from year-to-year. And that's why you diversify, as this article explains. Read more about change almost always comes as a surprise

Kid falling off an inner tube into the water

Behavioural problems in the heat of summer are a reminder of common paths to losing money

Business Insider, 19/11/18

There's evidence that people are more likely to lose their equanimity in hot weather. Road rage is common at this time of the year, as are blow-ups in the supermarket as the Christmas season descends. As with the heat, market volatility can cause people to make bad money decisions. Here are some of the ways we fool ourselves. Read more about behavioural problems in the heat of summer

Rolling up one's trousers when ankle-deep in water

The Market's Been Falling. I'm Putting My Money in Stocks Anyway.

The New York Times, 16/11/18

Emotional reactions to falling markets are understandable. But the greater damage often comes from people's response to these events. This particular investor says he's sticking with stocks precisely because he has no idea where the market is headed and because the record shows that mistiming market rallies is costly. Read more about the market's been falling

Nest eggs decorated with world maps

Should investors diversify away from America?

The Economist, 15/11/18

We all love the comfort of home. In investing it's no different. This tendency to favour local shares is called 'home bias'. But while there are reasons for this bias (like imputation credits), many investors in Australia, NZ or even the US are too anchored to home. The Economist magazine makes this case for spreading your wings. Read more about should investors diversify away from America

Sustainable investing

The global rise of sustainable investing

Schroders, 12/11/18

The evidence of investor awareness of sustainability is growing. In a study of 22,000 people in 30 countries, a global asset management firm found nearly 90% of respondents had some idea of what sustainable investing is. And nearly 80% said it had become more important to them over the previous five years. Read more about the global rise of sustainable investing

RIAA graphic

Responsible Investment Benchmark Reports

Responsible Investment Association Australasia, 12/11/18

People in Australia and New Zealand are among the most enthusiastic adopters of sustainable or responsible investing. A 2018 survey by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia found core responsible investment rose by 188% last year in Australia and by 100% in New Zealand. Read more about Responsible Investment Benchmark Reports

A suggested approach ro sustainability investing

Common Sense Investing and Sustainability

Dimensional, 12/11/18

Investors often ask whether investing well and incorporating their values around sustainability can be compatible. For instance, how can they reduce their portfolio's carbon footprint while still achieving their investment objectives? This article from asset manager Dimensional suggests how you might approach this. Read more about common sense investing and sustainability

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Investing based on how you vote is still a terrible idea

The Big Picture, 10/10/18

Politics, by nature, engages our emotions. We often can feel strongly in favour of our tribe and strongly against the other. But this red team-blue team thinking is not a good framework for making investing decisions. In fact, it can be totally counter-productive, as financial blogger Barry Ritholtz explains. Read more about how investing based on how you vote is still a terrible idea

Man using a futuristic giant touch screen

Why economic forecasting has always been a flawed science

The Guardian, 02/09/17

A challenge with forecasting is that a small change in a few variables can make predictions fiendishly complex. For instance, a call that coal stocks will rally may rest on assumptions about Chinese growth or demand for alternative energy sources. This article shows why it's so hard to make market or economic forecasts. Read more about why economic forecasting has always been a flawed science

Bull sculpture on Wall Street

Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes With Their Money: Part 1

Psychology Today, 12/07/16

Feelings and hunches are usually not a good guide to long-term investment decisions. We tend to over-rate our own competence and give too much weight to recent events. This blog post from Psychology Today lists eight common behavioural biases behind dumb money decisions. Read more about why smart people make dumb mistakes with their money

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Asking the Right Questions

The Big Picture, 18/07/13

Has the Australian dollar reached bottom yet? What will happen to interest rates next year? Will China and the US resolve their trade war? These are the questions that keep financial journalists in business. But for long-term investors, there are better ones to ask. Blogger Barry Ritholtz suggests four basic questions. Read more about asking the right questions

A Wealth of Common Sense logo

Less is More: Keep Investing Simple

A Wealth of Common Sense, 11/02/13

The choices we face in our lives often involve complex and difficult trade-offs. So why make investment any more complicated than it needs to be? There are some common-sense principles around investing that are worth considering. In this article, Ben Carlson suggests 15 rules to keep it simple. Read more about less is more

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A Survival Guide for Beating Information Addiction

Zen Habits, 09/03/12

Are you suffering from information addiction? It’s a growing problem as people spend more and more of their time online — and while online tools are amazing, being addicted to checking them can steal most of your day. This article has some useful tips on limiting the noise coming at you every second of the day. Read more about a survival guide for beating information addiction

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