Articles (1,537)

8,951,251 views

Featured Article


Differing Types of Retirement Annuity Payouts

5,659
by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors
Friday, November 15, 2013

At Index Fund Advisors, we have assisted many clients in making the crucial decision of how to take a payout at retirement—as an annuity or a lump sum. Of course, every client is different, and there is no right or wrong answer. For many investors, taking (or buying) ...Read More

Archive

  • A Summary of the Risks Facing Retirees

    4,949
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, November 14, 2013

    1)      Inflation Risk—the loss of purchasing power over time. As Moshe Milevsky points out, every person has his or her own unique inflation rate that is determined by the ...Read More

  • Chuck Talks to Us about Retirement Planning

    4,812
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    OK, so maybe it wasn’t Charles Schwab himself, but Walter Bettinger is the President and CEO of Charles Schwab, and he certainly has the authority to speak to us on Chuck’s behalf. On November ...Read More

  • The Tax Man Cometh

    7,047
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, November 11, 2013

    As fiduciaries for wealth, we at Index Fund Advisors are obligated to do everything we can to maximize our client’s after-tax returns. Please note that this is not always the same thing as minimizing ...Read More

  • The Value of a Second Opinion

    4,809
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, November 8, 2013

    When it comes to our physical health, most of us believe that is our right (and perhaps duty) to get a second opinion when diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, as discussed in this article on WebMD.com. Of ...Read More

  • A Guilty Plea and a Record Fine for SAC Capital

    4,828
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Three months ago, we wrote about the unprecedented indictment of SAC Capital, and a few months before that, we wrote about SAC’s record-setting $616 million settlement for insider trading. Today’s ...Read More

  • The Active Voice is Alive and Well

    6,173
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Recently, we have seen many articles such as this one stating that the passive vs. active debate is over not because passive won but because the indexing advocates have drowned out the proponents of active ...Read More

  • If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

    12,235
    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

  • When As Good As It Gets Isn't Good Enough

    4,712
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, November 1, 2013

    One of the accusations constantly levied against 2013 Nobel Laureate Eugene Fama is that he uses his Efficient Market Hypothesis as a justification to denigrate all forms of financial regulation, including ...Read More

  • Understanding Your IFA Index Portfolio Return

    4,498
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, November 1, 2013

    If you are a client of Index Fund Advisors, you may have recently received a quarterly performance report. The intent of this article is to help you better understand the numbers on that report. The first ...Read More

  • No Logical Reason for Active Management

    4,291
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, October 28, 2013

    “The conclusion is inescapable: Active managers as a group, simply don’t add value…In short, there is truly no reason for a self-directed investor to own actively managed funds over index ...Read More

  • There Are Indexes, and There Are Indexes

    6,067
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Last Thursday (10/17/2013), we saw something that we don’t see very often—The S&P 500 Index gained 0.7% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow) remained essentially flat. As its name ...Read More

  • Fama’s Win: Made Sweeter Through Time

    5,130
    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Eugene F. Fama was interviewed on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this past Friday about the recent financial crisis and financial regulatory reform.   Q. Are u ever surprised that certain things in the past we ...Read More

  • What Do Brokerage Clients and Mushrooms Have in Common?

    4,734
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    In the interest of decorum, we will only mention the first part of the punch line of this old joke—that they are both kept in the dark, although we certainly think that the second part (what they are ...Read More

  • Active vs. Passive—The View from Up North

    4,712
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, October 17, 2013

    A few weeks ago, we published our semi-annual summary of the Standard and Poor’s Index Versus Active (SPIVA®) Scorecard. There were no surprises. Over the last five years, passive beat active in the ...Read More

  • Much Ado about Nothing

    8,068
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    As we noted in our review of the third quarter, the market essentially shrugged off the government shutdown that began on midnight of September 30th. The far bigger issue appeared to be the looming October ...Read More

  • SBBI: The Almanac of Returns Data

    8,703
    by Ian Liew — Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation (SBBI) is often characterized as the Almanac of returns data. This magisterial work originally produced by Roger Ibbotson and Rex Sinquefield is considered the go to place ...Read More

  • Interesting Times in the Mutual Fund World

    4,987
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, October 14, 2013

    Morningstar, Inc. just released its reported estimated U.S. mutual fund asset flows for September 2013. The results are summarized in this press release. Below, we will explain why we found it more interesting ...Read More

  • Eugene Fama Wins the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics

    6,948
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, October 14, 2013

    At Index Fund Advisors, we were absolutely thrilled to hear the announcement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2013 is ...Read More

  • Time Diversification: A Bizarre Discovery? Not to Us!

    4,368
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Time diversification of risk refers to the idea of a risky portfolio becoming less risky when held over a long investment period. For example, for IFA's Index Portfolio 100 on glide path, the range of rolling ...Read More

  • The Endowment Model: Beating a Dead Horse

    5,248
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    “Those institutions [state pension plans and endowments of state universities] are placing risky bets on private equity and similar funds, to some degree at the taxpayer’s expense. They are relying ...Read More

  • The Active vs. Passive Debate Plays Out in the L.A. Times

    5,270
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Over the weekend, this article by Tom Petruno caught our attention. Overall, we commend him for penning a good summary of the current status of the ongoing battle between active and passive for the minds (and ...Read More

  • 3Q/2013: The Quarter in Review

    6,836
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, October 7, 2013

    In the third quarter of 2013, risk was nicely rewarded for all classes of equities except REITs, and fixed income staged a small comeback from a difficult second quarter. Once again, there was a lot of ...Read More

  • All the Way from India Comes a Voice of Reason

    3,879
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, October 4, 2013

    At Index Fund Advisors, one of the things that we like to keep an eye on is the emergence of indexing in other countries. As the second most populous of the four “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, ...Read More

  • Passive vs. Active — The Scorecard as of 6/30/2013

    5,925
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, September 30, 2013

    At Index Fund Advisors, one of our favorite pieces of research is the semi-annual Standard and Poor’s Index Versus Active Funds (SPIVA®) Scorecard put out by S&P Dow Jones Indices. The ...Read More

  • From Rags to Riches to Rags

    3,948
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, September 26, 2013

    “What is a Financial Advisor? That is a term that means almost nothing. It is somebody who might be a financial planner, or it could be a broker who is really a salesperson. The vast majority of ...Read More

  • Thinking About a Private Placement? Think Again! [VIDEO]

    4,457
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    So says the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in a recent press release and investor alert. A private placement is an offering of a company’s securities that is not registered with the ...Read More

  • So Just How Much Should You Be Spending in Retirement?

    5,092
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    A couple of months ago, we published an article addressing the question of how much you should be saving for retirement. Today, we will examine the other side of the coin, once again utilizing research ...Read More

  • American Funds: When Silence is Golden

    5,319
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    The corporate parent of American Funds, the Capital Group Companies, recently broke its silence to defend its long-held practice of active management. As we noted in a prior article, they have been suffering ...Read More

  • Yet another 401(k) Lawsuit

    6,369
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, September 19, 2013

    A few months ago, we published this article discussing lawsuits filed against financial services companies (Cigna and Ameriprise Financial) by their own employees for breaching their fiduciary duties by ...Read More

  • Mutual Fund Distributions

    5,276
    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Once you are invested and relaxed, an understanding of distributions of dividends and capital gains is important for taxable ...Read More

  • The Value of a Passive Advisor [VIDEO]

    14,388
    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

  • Dimensional Fund Advisors

    8,541
    by Mark Hebner — Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) makes their low cost, institutional index funds available to individual investors through DFA approved registered financial ...Read More

  • A Practical Example of Direct Profitability

    8,354
    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Friday, September 13, 2013

    In recent weeks, we have published two articles (here and here) on direct profitability and its potential use as a dimension of expected returns. Since these articles were somewhat abstract in nature and ...Read More

  • Capacity Adjusted Risk

    5,990
    by Mark Hebner — Friday, September 13, 2013

    Capacity adjusted risk is an entirely new way for investors to look at the uncertainty of their ...Read More

  • The Investment Meter

    7,536
    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, September 12, 2013

    The investment meter is a device that shows the scores of the five dimensions as percentages of the maximum possible for each ...Read More

  • Rebalancing Portfolios

    8,695
    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, September 12, 2013

    It is important for investors to rebalance their portfolio to achieve risk control and maintain long-term investing ...Read More

  • Risk Capacity

    8,274
    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Each person has a unique Risk Capacity™.  The question is, how do we measure this capacity and find the right "bull" for you to ...Read More

  • Private Equity and Venture Capital

    5,137
    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Some investors may wonder if they would be better off in private equity or venture capital, two asset classes that have nowhere near the amount of quality data that we have with public ...Read More

  • How IFA Keeps You Up to Date on Your Portfolio [VIDEO]

    8,885
    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    As an investment fiduciary, Index Fund Advisors has an obligation to always act in the best interests of our clients. This would include regular monitoring of their portfolios for rebalancing and tax loss ...Read More

  • Homemade Dividends [VIDEO]

    6,670
    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    At Index Fund Advisors, we often encounter investors who religiously adhere to the commandment, “Thou shalt not invade thy principal.” Whether the investor is a retiree who is living out of his ...Read More

  • Long-Term History Characterizes Risk and Return

    5,149
    by Mark Hebner — Friday, August 30, 2013

    Looking over the long term, David Booth, one of the two co-founders of Dimensional Fund Advisors, reviews the history of the stock market and highlights the importance of time, not timing, in the achieving ...Read More

  • Taking Stock in Pot? Beware!

    5,162
    by IFA Contributors — Thursday, August 29, 2013

    With medical marijuana now legal in twenty states and recreational marijuana approved in two states, some people may sniff an investment opportunity. Not so fast says the Financial Industry Regulatory ...Read More

  • A Deeper Dive into the Value Factor

    4,333
    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, August 29, 2013

    The third risk factor in the Fama/French model is the amount of exposure to low priced stocks, which is measured by a book-to-market (BtM) value ...Read More