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  • The 12-Step Recovery Program for Retirement Gamblers

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    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, April 25, 2013

    For the last fourteen years, IFA has been educating investors on the sensible way to invest, based on decades of academic research. Amid all the clamor and din of Wall Street advertising and the talking heads ...Read More

  • John Spence

    A Look At the New Bond ETF Families

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    by John Spence — Friday, November 15, 2002

    After years of development and regulatory hurdles, fixed-income ETFs have finally hit the market. San Francisco-based Barclays Global Investors beat ETF Advisors to the punch with a family of iShares tied to ...Read More

  • The Problem of High 401(k) Costs

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, April 14, 2014

    In December of 2012, Demos, a liberal think tank, published The Retirement Savings Drain—The Hidden and Excessive Costs of 401(k)s. It caused quite a stir and provided much of the source material for the ...Read More

  • Total Domestic ETF Assets Over $100 Billion

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    by IndexFunds.com Staff — Tuesday, November 19, 2002

    There are currently 281 exchange-traded funds listed around the world, with over $140 billion in assets under management, according to a new report by Boston-based indexing giant State Street Global Advisors. ...Read More

  • Brad Steiman

    What's the Significance?

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    by Brad Steiman — Friday, May 6, 2011

    Caution: Technical Discussion to Follow—READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. As the old saying goes, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. It is true data can be tortured with statistical ...Read More

  • An Explanation of IFA's New Tagline

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    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    As you may have noticed, we at Index Funds Advisors have changed our tagline from "matching people with portfolios" to "fiduciaries for wealth." While the former is a fair description of what we do at the ...Read More

  • Forty-Two Years of a Random Walk Down Wall Street

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    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, September 3, 2015

    “If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your personal finances, here’s a suggestion: Instead of picking up one of the scores of new works flooding into bookstores, reread an old ...Read More

  • Small-Cap Face-Off: Russell 2000 vs. S&P 600

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Investors who decide to index the small-cap portion of their portfolios face a bewildering array of choices from index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track indexes from providers such as ...Read More

  • Calculations for t-Statistics

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, December 2, 2013

    In calculating the t-stat, the first step is to determine the excess returns the manager earned above an appropriate ...Read More

  • Rex Sinquefield

    Active vs. Passive Management

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    by Rex Sinquefield — Sunday, October 1, 1995

    Active management is the art of stock picking and market timing. Passive management refers to a buy-and-hold approach to money management. It can be applied to any asset class: big stocks, small stocks, ...Read More

  • IFA FinPlan: A New, Free Technology for IFA Clients [VIDEO]

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, January 5, 2015

    At Index Fund Advisors, we place an extremely high value on being able to see the whole picture of our client’s finances. This goes far beyond just managing their investable assets. Towards that end, ...Read More

  • The Matrix Book: A DFA Tradition [VIDEO]

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, May 6, 2016

    "Data! Data! Data!" he cried impatiently, "I cannot make bricks without clay!" — The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ...Read More

  • The Hebner Model: Why Prices Change

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    by Mark T. Hebner — Saturday, February 21, 2009

    The Hebner model attempts to simplify free market forces into 3 simple variables: Price, Expected Return and Uncertainty. In short, prices move in the opposite direction of uncertainty so that expected returns ...Read More

  • Profitability and a Four-Factor Model

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, August 2, 2013

    When constructing or evaluating a domestic equity portfolio, Index Fund Advisors has traditionally utilized the three-factor asset pricing model that Professors Eugene Fama and Ken French introduced1 in 1993. ...Read More

  • Standard Deviation

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    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    In the field of finance, standard deviation represents the risk associated with a security (stocks or bonds), or the risk of a portfolio of securities (including actively managed mutual funds, index mutual ...Read More

  • The New and Improved IFA Index Portfolios [VIDEO]

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, August 26, 2013

    IFA established the original IFA Index Portfolios back in 2000, based on the DFA Matrix book and several peer-reviewed academic papers describing what I deem to be "Modern Portfolio Theory." We recently ...Read More

  • Comments on Barron's Dimensional Fund Advisors Profile [VIDEO]

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    by Mary Brunson and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 17, 2014

    "Active management is a zero-sum game, and that's before costs. That's not opinion, that's math." --Eugene Fama, 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics, Professor of Finance, Chicago Booth, as quoted in Barron's, ...Read More

  • Barron's Article on Dimensional Fund Advisors

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, January 6, 2014

    Beverly Goodman of Barron’s was accorded the high honor of being the first reporter to attend one of DFA’s Financial Advisor Colleges. The article that she wrote about her experience, A Different ...Read More

  • Some Discouraging Results from Gallup

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, July 31, 2014

    A few months ago, Gallup, Inc. conducted a poll that asked 1,026 Americans to choose the best option for their long-term investments. Here is how they answered: Real ...Read More

  • The Value of a Passive Advisor [VIDEO]

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    By now, you realize the benefits of an indexing strategy, and more importantly, the expensive false promises of active management.  So the next logical question is, “Why should I seek the help of an ...Read More

  • The Persistent Myth of Active Funds in Bear Markets

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, November 22, 2013

    All too often, we hear the refrain that yes, index funds are great for bull markets, but when the next bear market rears its ugly head, you will want to be in active funds because the manager can anticipate ...Read More

  • When Is the Right Time to Take Social Security Benefits?

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Americans who are near or in retirement are faced with the vexing question of when to take Social Security benefits. For a married couple, the complexity is multiplied by consideration of spousal benefits and ...Read More

  • Lord Abbett Funds: A Deeper Look at Their Performance

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, June 20, 2014

    On a few occasions, we have been asked by prospective clients about Lord Abbett funds. Like American Funds, they have been around since the Great Depression and are fully dedicated to active management. As of ...Read More

  • Cash Withdrawal Considerations

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, December 2, 2013

    IFA is often in the position of accommodating regular cash withdrawal by its clients. The question is how to best generate cash for ...Read More

  • The Glide Path

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, September 8, 2014

    IFA recommends a Glide Path strategy for all clients. This strategy reduces one index portfolio per year (1% less in asset allocation to stock indexes), based on the 100 Index Portfolio ...Read More

  • If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

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    by Mary Brunson and Mark Hebner — Monday, November 4, 2013

    "The current understanding of asset prices relies in part on rational investors and their concerns about risk and in part on psychology and behavioral finance." 2013 Nobel Prize Committee Announcement, October ...Read More

  • Morningstar's Manager of the Year: Luck or Skill?

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    by IFA Contributors — Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Unfortunately for them, investors are constantly bombarded with advertisements, market commentaries, and screaming magazine covers telling them what they should do with their money. Contributing to all the ...Read More

  • State Pension Plans - A Deeper Look at Performance

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Index Fund Advisors expended a large amount of time and effort in putting together the data that reveals the failure of active management for state pension systems. As of now, there is no central repository of ...Read More

  • John Spence

    How the S&P 500 Rebalance Affects Index Funds

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    by John Spence — Thursday, August 1, 2002

    Standard & Poor's index committee decided in July to replace seven foreign stocks in the S&P 500 with domestic ones, and the shift affects countless index investors. For example, the Vanguard 500 fund was the ...Read More

  • Thrivent Financial: A Deeper Look at Their Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 15, 2015

    Thrivent Financial is a wonderful story about a non-profit that has done a tremendous job formulating a successful financial planning process. Focusing on the niche clientele of Christians, Thrivent provides a ...Read More

  • Fiduciary Duty

    Who is Your Fiduciary?

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    by Mark Hebner — Sunday, December 15, 2013

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A fiduciary (from Latin fiduciarius, meaning "[holding] in trust"; from fides, meaning "faith", and fiducia, meaning "trust") is a legal or ethical relationship of trust ...Read More

  • Part 1: Fidelity Funds - A Deeper Look at the Performance [VIDEO]

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    It is not uncommon for us to receive questions from clients and prospects about a particular family of mutual funds. The financial media is always quick to highlight top performing managers (here is an example ...Read More

  • John Spence

    How the ETF Arbitrage Pricing Mechanism Works

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    by John Spence — Monday, June 3, 2002

    Research indicates that most buy-and-hold investors are primarily drawn to exchange-traded funds for their lower expense ratios and potential tax efficiency. Most passive investors are not interested in ...Read More

  • The Art of Letting Go

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    by Jim Parker — Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    In many areas of life, intense activity and constant monitoring of results represent the path to success. In investment, that approach gets turned on its head. The Chinese philosophy of Taoism has a word for ...Read More

  • Quantifying the Value of Tax Loss Harvesting

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Tax loss harvesting is one service provided by most financial advisory firms and is one of the hardest to quantify in terms of value added. The professional opinion on this topic ranges from the “do it ...Read More

  • Papers Cited in IFA's Investment Policy Statement

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    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, February 28, 2013

    While any Wall Street firm can publish a "research report" that makes an unsubstantiated claim (e.g., Apple's share price will hit $1,000 by the end of the year), academic research is held to a completely ...Read More

  • Active Investors are Gamblers

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, June 24, 2013

    New studies in the field of neuroeconomics confirm the release of dopamine when presented with the opportunity of a surging ...Read More

  • Asset Location

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    by Mark Hebner — Friday, January 10, 2014

    An additional way that a passive advisor can add value is not just asset allocation but asset location. Specifically, for a client that has a mixture of taxable accounts, traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs, it is ...Read More