Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 21

These articles appeared between February 2012 and April 2012:

We Eat Dollar Weighted Returns — III

What did a buy-and-hold investor get owning SPY?  7%/year.  What did the average holder get? 0%.  A warning against over-trading.

Against Risk Parity

Against Risk Parity, Redux

Expressing skepticism over a strategy using leverage to extract returns out of lower-yielding asset classes.  Why not but subordinated asset-backed securities instead, and how did they do in the crisis?

Individual Investing Can Be Tough

Individual Investing Can Be Tough, Redux

The investment game is competitive, and I give a few tips on how to avoid the risks.

Musings on the “400% Man”

Understanding small asset managers, and why you might want to invest with them.

Thinking about the Insurance Industry

I take a tour through the insurance industry after the carnage of the credit crisis.

Notes on the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, Part 3 (On Acquisitions)

Lists all of the notable acquisitions of Berkshire Hathaway from 1977 to 2011.  Analyzes Buffett’s strategy, which has been remarkably consistent over 40 years.

Notes on the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, Part 4 (10K Issues)

Goes through the main risks of Berkshire Hathaway.

Replacing Defined Contributions

I propose a hybrid plan that would replace 401(k)s, and other participant-directed DC plans.

The Rules, Part XXXI

The offering of liquidity through limit orders is a real service to the market, and on average gets rewarded in lower overall execution costs.  In choppy markets, it can really add value.

Buy-and-Hold Can’t Die

Buy-and-Hold Can’t Die, Redux

Explains how every investor (even speculators) has the option of holding on  for a long time, and why that can be valuable.

The Anti-Consultancy Consultancy

Call me, and I will tell you to fire the consultant, and listen to your middle managers.

Easy in, Hard out

It is always easier to loosen monetary policy than to tighten it.  The next tightening cycle will be particularly rough, should the Fed ever choose to do it.

Gold does Nothing

This post got a lot of play over the internet.  I was really surprised at how much response it received.  Gold has few industrial uses, but is pretty; that’s why it is so interesting.

Misunderstanding the Tax Debate

Misunderstanding the Tax Debate (II)

The debate should be about what income is, and not about what the rates should be.  Wealthy people have clever advisers that minimize “income.”  Doesn’t matter what the tax rate is.  The debate should focus on income.

Simple Retirement Calculator

Gives a simple way of analyzing whether you have saved enough or not.  Quick answer: you haven’t saved enough, particularly for the wretched investment environment that we are in now.

 

 

 

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