The Most Informative Posts on Important Financial Topics

The financial blogosphere has become a tremendous resource for anyone who has an interest in investing.  The information available is close to infinite, and much of it is free.  Being a beneficiary of this resource, I have long felt that the major improvement to be made would be an index of sorts, in which the best posts were categorized by topic.  Unfortunately, that is a herculean task, so I am going to attempt what i consider to be the next best thing:  a decent-sized selection of the posts from 2016 that I have found to be the most useful in both my practice as a financial advisor, and in my avocation as an investor.

I should note that this is, at best, a work in progress, so I will try to update it periodically, either as older posts resurface, or as new, more relevant ones are published.  If you, the reader, has any suggestions for what I should include, please feel free to email me the links.

As noted in my most recent post, stock buybacks have been controversial, and are, unfortunately, the victims of much misinformation on the part of the financial media, as well as tremendous misunderstanding on the part of the investing public.  Here are three great links that explain stock buybacks in terms of why corporations do them, and also their practical implications for investors:

Stock Buybacks Demystified by Jake via EconomPic Data

Are Buybacks Affecting Stock Valuations?  by Danny Jassy, CFA via SPYderCrusher Market Research

Here’s a great 2015 post by Urban Carmel on the myths surrounding buybacks (via The Fat Pitch):

Stock Buybacks:  A Global Perspective by myself

Cash Cows of the Dow by Meb Faber

Diversification is always something that advisors preach, and all too often investors confuse owning a bunch of different things with true diversification.  Here several great posts on what true portfolio diversification is, and how investors need to be disciplined to reap the benefits of diversification:

Six Types of Diversification to Include in Your Portfolio by Isaac Presley, CFA, via Cordant Wealth

Diversification Is No Fun by Ben Carlson, CFA, via A Wealth of Common Sense

Demographics and the Stock Market

Will Aging Baby Boomers Destroy the Stock Market?  by me

Why Should Changes in Population Structure Affect Valuations?  By Matthew Klein, via FT Alphaville

Yes, Demographics and Economic Growth Do Matter for Equity Returns, by Jake via EconomPic Data

With the stock market currently at all-time nominal highs, and valuations something less than cheap, many people might wonder whether now is a good time to invest.  Here are a couple posts that address this very question:

What If You Bought Only At Below-Average P/E Ratios?  by Ben Carlson, CFA, via A Wealth of Common Sense

What If You Invested Only at Market Peaks?  by Ben Carlson, CFA, via A Wealth of Common Sense

How the Market Behaves at All-Time Highs by Eddy Elfenbein, via Crossing Wall Street

The shrinking number of publicy-traded companies first came to my attention in the spring of 2013 when USA Today published an article about the decline in public companies since the late 1990s.  Since then, it has become a widely-discussed issue, and there have been many articles on the topic the last few years.  Here are a couple posts, includng one from me, on both the nature and the extent of the decline:

Your Industry Guide to the Shrinking Stock Market by me

The Bad Side of a Good Idea by Morgan Housel, via The Collaborative Fund

Think Globally To Avoid Shrinking U.S. Stock Market by Ben Carlson, CFA, via A Wealth of Common Sense

Clearing Up Some Misconceptions About How the Stock Market Works by Matthew Klein via FT Alphaville

One popular ‘myth,’ if you will, about investing, is that the risk an investor takes is directly linked to the gains he stands to receive.  By a variety of different metrics, this is demonstrably false, and here are a few great posts on the nature of investment risk and reward:

Risk vs Return — The Dirty Secret by David Merkel, CFA, via The Aleph Blog

and here’s a post co-written by myself and Daniel Sotiroff on historical performance vs volatility by sector:

Mastery or Ignorance Part III via The Personal Finance Engineer

For a related discussion on risk and reward, see also this post of mine, Most of What You Probably Think About Investing Is Wrong.

Poor behavior is the main reason many investors either underperform the major benchmarks, or fail at investing altogether.  Here a few great reads on that topic:

Saving Investors from Themselves by Jason Zweig, via The Wall Street Journal

Just Leave it Alone by Morgan Housel, via The Motley Fool

A Call for Kintsugi Portfolios by Bob Seawright, via Above the Market


Here are a few other topics and posts:

On Social Security strategies:

Social Security Optimization by Isaac Presley, CFA via Cordant Wealth

Index Valuation:

The Case for Harmonic P/E Calculations by Jake via EconomPic Data

Taxes and Investments:

The Impact of Taxes on Investor Returns by ‘Jesse Livermore,’ via Philosophical Economics

Why Active ETFs are More Tax-efficient Than Active Mutual Funds by Wes Gray, Ph. D., via Alpha Architect

Mean Reversion:

Capturing Mean Reversion via Momentum by Jake via EconomPic Data

The Limits of Mean Reversion by myself

The Meanest Reversion:  BABIP and CAPE by Brendan Mullooly via Mullooly Asset Management

Optimal Portfolio Construction

Alpha or Assets by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CFA, via The Investor’s Field Guide

Excessive Diversification is Pointless & Damages Returns by Sean Stannard-Stockton, CFA, via Intrinsic Investing

On the ‘abundance’ of cheap or free things in our economy

Abundance by Josh Brown, via The Reformed Broker

And Gavin Jackson’s response, also titled Abundance, via Medium

Active vs. Passive

Active vs. Passive Investing and the “Suckers at the Poker Table Fallacy” by Druce Vertes, CFA, via CFA Institute

and Jesse Livermore’s series on indexing, via Philosophical Economics

Index Investing Makes Markets and Economies More Efficient


Sell Vol, Don’t Buy Vol by Meb Faber

When Volatility is Risk by Isaac Presley, CFA via Cordant Wealth

Equity Investors as Lenders

Asset Markets as Banks via Philosophical Economics

Credit Analysis and Relative Equity Valuations by myself

Personal Growth

Growth Without Goals by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CFA, via The Investor’s Field Guide

And my follow-up post to Patrick’s, The Price of Prestige

Efficient Market Hypothesis

Losing My Religion by Sam Lee, via Morningstar

Equities Aren’t Always the Place to Be

When to be Scared of the Stock Market by Sam Lee, v ia Severian Asset Management

Stocks for the Long Run?  – myself

Investment Strategies

Waiting For A Crash Is A Terrible Investment Strategy by Sam Lee via Severian

How Do You Know If Your Investment Plan Has Stopped Working by Isaac Presley, CFA via Cordant Wealth

ReSolve Asset Management on Evidence-Based Investing Part 1 and Part 2

The Lie of Averages by Corey Hoffstein via Think New Found

Saving vs Investing by Nick Maggiulli via Of Dollars and Data

Historical Bull / Bear Markets

Anatomy of a Bull Market – Think New Found

Identifying Good Companies

Howard Marks:  7 Principles for Identifying Investment Opportunities by Johnny Hopkins va The Acquirer’s Multiple

The Value of Lasting Moats by myself

How Moats Make A Difference by Sean Stannard-Stockton, CFA via Intrinsic Investing

Buying Companies With Economics Moats an interview of Pat Dorsey by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CFA va Investor Field Guide

Comparing Domestic vs International Equity Valuations

A Case Against Overweighting International Equities by Corey Hoffstein via Think New Found

The Correct Way to Frame Relative Valuations by myself

Individual Stock Performance vs Market Performance

Diversification, Adaptation, and Stock Market Valuation by Philosophical Economics

Reconciling Individual Stock Returns and Factor Portfolio Returns by Jack Vogel,  Ph.D. via Alpha Architect

Learning the Wrong Lessons by myself

The Magic of Compounding

The Constant Reminder by Nick Maggiulli via Of Dollars and Data

Faith in Compounding Is Not Enough by myself


Factor Zoo or Unicorn Ranch?  by Gary Antonacci via Dual Momentum

Social Media As An Investment Resource

There’s An @ For That by Phil Huber, CFA via BPS & Pieces

Why You’ll Find Me On Twitter by Justin Castellia via All About Your Benjamins

Fixed-Income Investing

Indexing bonds is inferior to active by Phil Huber, CFA via BPS & Pieces

Alpha Architect has tackled just about every topic, so rather than list all their posts, just refer to their indexed archives found here:

Similarly, Cliff Asness at AQR has a great searchable archive his firm’s research here: