Wide Your World, Part II: Listen Up!

Mainstream radio is pretty much music, news, sports, and some comedy. The music is mainly the same 10 songs over and over again, with each station having its own slight variation on what those 10 songs are. The news is either mainstream headlines and soundbites or political pundits ranting, usually spewing inaccurate information that is not based on actual research. Sports coverage is 90% NFL football, even when it’s basketball and baseball season. How much are your really getting out of this stuff? It seems more and more like they are just trying to keep you busy between commercials. Most of what is on the radio is the same old noise over and over again.

It’s time to listen up! Upgrade the value of the material you listen to every day. Continue reading “Wide Your World, Part II: Listen Up!”

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Widen Your World, Part I: Read a Book!

I have recently been reading The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business by Steve Mariotti. It is a great resource that I am using as the textbook for the Intro to Entrepreneurship class I am teaching this year. In chapter 2, there is a little section called “Widen Your World,” and throughout the book, Mariotti encourages readers to feed their imagination, read more books, and take an active approach to life. Inspired by Mariotti, this post is the first of a series I will be doing on this blog called “Widen Your World.” I am starting with my favorite source of inspiration, books! Continue reading “Widen Your World, Part I: Read a Book!”

Book Review: Security Analysis

security analysisDavid Abrams sums up Security Analysis the best in his introduction to Part VII of the 6th edition, where he calls it “the value investors’ equivalent to Deuteronomy” . SA is an extremely thorough explanation of how to evaluate stocks and bonds, primarily focusing on a company’s income statement and balance sheet. It is not an ideal starting point for young investors, but it is essential reading for any serious investor.

Graham and Dodd discuss the philosophy of value investing eloquently. They provide detailed analysis of dozens of companies’ finance statements to support their arguments about how investors should analyze securities. It is an excellent reality check for anyone who thinks he knows a thing or two about investing.

The examples given by Graham and Dodd are a bit dated (1930s), but most of the principles are still relevant today. The organization of the book is a bit awkward, but I don’t presume that I could organize such a massive quantity and variety of material any better.

It took me a long time to get through this, and I will probably explore many parts of it again over the next few years. It is a valuable addition to any business library and a resource that you can use for a lifetime of investing.

Entrepreneurs: The New Adventurers

I am 3 days into the new Intro to Entrepreneurship class that I am teaching to 24 high school students this year. I am already having a blast, as the students—mostly freshmen—are very enthusiastic, despite several of them not being quite sure what entrepreneurship was 3 days ago. We started off by analyzing the etymology of the word entrepreneurship. Etymology is underrated as a tool for studying concepts like this. You get a peak into the cultural perspective of the time and place where the word was first invented. How cool is that?! Continue reading “Entrepreneurs: The New Adventurers”

Robinhood to the Rescue

An app that let’s you quickly and easily trade stocks with no transaction fees? It sounds too good to be true. There has to be a catch, right?

robinhood iconThis was my reaction when I heard about Robinhood, the app you can download for free and use to start trading stocks with no transaction fees. At the time, most of my retirement savings was in a 403(b) and a state pension. These accounts have limited options, mostly made up of index funds. I am not crazy about index fund investing for several reasons, which I will elaborate on at another time. I had finally opened a Roth IRA with an online broker to invest in individual stocks, but I was frustrated with the fee situation. I investigated Robinhood as an alternative, and here is what happened. Continue reading “Robinhood to the Rescue”

Book Review: All About Asset Allocation

All About Asset AllocationAll About Asset Allocation is worth a read by every investor, even if you don’t buy into efficient-markets theory (EMT) or modern portfolio theory (MPT) and focus your investing on alternative strategies.

Richard A. Ferri uses tons of charts to help demonstrate the effectiveness of various kinds of diversification of the portfolio. He identifies the roles of various kinds of securities in the modern portfolio. He makes excellent cases for the importance of real estate exposure and international equities. He points out the weakness in the simplistic approach that many financial advisors take to investing in bonds.

Ferri demonstrates various strategies for hedging against inflation, interest rates, and other risks. He creates suggested allocation plans for investors at 4 different age levels and 3 different risk profiles. While I do not agree with all of Ferri’s theories and strategies, everything he advocates is research-based. His approach is appropriate for investors at any level, young or old, advanced or beginner. This is a great resource for anyone committed to meticulous portfolio management.

These 3 Charts About Student Loans Should Scare Everyone

Rick Rieder, Chief Investment Officer of Global Fixed Income at BlackRock, wrote a startling article on “the economic side effects of the student loan crisis.”

1. Homeownership is on the Decline

chart1-homeownership

2. More Student Loan Debt Among Older Age Groups

chart2-studentloan

3. College Education is Still Key to Employment and Earnings

chart3-earnings

So you have to have a college education to earn decent income and steady employment, but the cost of that degree makes it nearly impossible to purchase a home, save for retirement, etc.

Rieder offers some excellent perspective on why this is some seriously alarming data for the economy.