The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » Six Years at the Aleph Blog!

Six Years at the Aleph Blog!

Thanks to all of my readers, whether you read me via RSS, e-mail, twitter, or natively at the website.  But I have a favor to ask… if you read me elsewhere, drop by the site every now and then, because not all of my commentary gets republished by those that reprint my work.  Also, not that we get a ton of comments at Aleph Blog, but I appreciate the quality of almost all of the comments we get here, even if I may disagree with some of them.  If you read me elsewhere and want to comment, come to Aleph Blog and do so, or, just e-mail me.

Now for a few housekeeping items.  1) People sometimes ask me for books to help explain insurance stocks, and in the past I have pointed to my own writings, especially this one.  My flavors of insurance series helps also.  I’ve also pointed to works from the Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, LOMA, CPCU, and others.  But now, I think this piece could be useful to some readers.  It’s relatively comprehensive, and not that long.  It’s not the way I do it, but it is well thought out.  It suffers from the same problem as one using the models of Aswath Damodaran; it’s too detailed.  I can’t think of anyone that uses such a model — it is overkill.  But maybe readers could what I would do with such a model: boil it down into something simpler.

That is what I am trying to do with my current series on analyzing insurance stocks.  There are three or so more parts left to write, and I should get them out in coming months.

2) Some people ask me how they can read the articles in my Major Article List, and I wish I could read them too.  Trouble is, has lost them.  They are there, maybe, somewhere in their computer systems, but since they changed the way that they named files, the links to most pre-2008 posts has been lost.

Now, if any of you think you have a way to find those posts, let me know.  There are pieces on that list that are gold, silver, and bronze.  I would at least like to get the gold ones back.

3) Sometime soon, I will create a small website for my business.  It will explain what I do for a living for those that might want me to manage money for them.  I will not link to it here; I try to keep a separation between the blog and my business.

4) I write about a lot of topics, and I tend to go in streaks on given topics.  It’s not what I intended when I started this, but I can understand why I have readers follow me and leave me.  My blog is consistent over a long period, but over intermediate periods it concentrates on one area, then another.

5) I’m not out of things to write about.  Here’s what I am planning for the future:

  • Completion of my work on a new asset pricing model
  • Completion of my “On Insurance Investing” series
  • More posts on the idiocy of US & Global macroeconomic policy
  • Buffett’s Shareholder Letter and Annual Report.  (Note: the letter gets more press, but the Annual Report has more substance.)
  • Commentary on new ideas from the CFA Institute… some good, some bad…
  • More commentary on investments that rip people off.
  • And more, I have a long list of ideas to write about, and many book reviews to publish

6) I would have never expected  it, but February 2013 was my highest readership level at the blog directly, despite the short month.  Thanks to all who read what I wrote.  I try to write good stuff; I do not aim to be controversial, though I know that some of my views are controversial.

7) When I started this six years ago, I would have never dreamed how much I would end up writing.  I thought I wrote a lot for RealMoney.  If anything, I have written four times as much per unit time, which means that as prolific as I was at RealMoney, I have written 4-10x as much here.  And it all started with an extended conversation with readers on Jim Cramer’s “blog,” which led me to do what I had resisted for two years — start my own blog.

As I have developed this blog, I now earn more than I did writing for RealMoney.  That’s not much, but every little bit helps.

8 ) You can’t believe how many people write me asking to do a guest post at my blog.  It happens about 15 times per month.  Then there are the scummy advertisers, who don’t want their advertisements to be labeled as such.  I have a strict policy that all advertising should be identified as such.  Why?  Because I never want to scam my readers.  When you come here, I want you to be comfortable that I am saying what I say for reasons of truth, not profit.  Profit is incidental here.  Truth is paramount.  I know how I could make this place more profitable, and I reject it because I would compromise my message.

9) I began with thanks to readers; I end there as well.  Truth, I treasure all of the emails giving me praise, but my internal response is “Wow, you’ve all been so great to me over the years.  It really gets to me, you know.  I hope I always make you proud.  That’s all.”  (What the Flash said to the citizens of Center City… yeah I know, a little dumb, but you had to see it.  Start it at 8 minutes.)

My main focus is on ethics in investing, and secondarily explaining how things work.  I hate seeing people ripped off by investment firms, or their dishonest governments.

I have no idea how long I will continue this blog, but I would love to do it as long as I live.

Sincerely your friend,


Blog News, Ethics, Insurance | RSS 2.0 |

9 Responses to Six Years at the Aleph Blog!

  1. Crocodile Chuck says:

    Congratulations and thank you, David, for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us.

  2. woolybear1 says:

    yours is the one completely sane and honest blog I will always want to read. many thanks and all the best to you and your family.

  3. Pacioli says:

    Please keep up the good work.

    Of the 250+ blogs I track in my reader, yours easily in the top 5.

    Thanks for your work.

  4. UbuTranscendent says:

    The Aleph Blog is in my top 5.

    Many thanks for the generous sharing of your time and insight.

  5. [...] Congrats to my pal David Merkel on six years of the Aleph Blog! One of the best, most consistent financial blogs of all time, way to go brother!  (AlephBlog) [...]

  6. cfischer says:

    Congrats David. I enjoy reading your blog and learning from you. Thank you.

  7. [...] of the best investment blog out there, Aleph Blog got six years old. Congratulations. If you don’t follow this blog, it’s your own [...]

  8. microcap says:

    Congrats David– you remain one of the few must reads for serious investors.

    Here’s a potential question/topic: What’s your take on the Managed Futures industry? I am curious.

    Best regards as always.

    • If you are running a fund of funds, it is one of the few types of funds that truly diversifies in a crisis. Most follow trends, so they react better to crises and booms than most. But in choppy markets, they don’t amount to much.


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.

Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of.

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