Friday, January 30, 2015

Seriously: Don't Use Brokers

Even before Wolf of Wall Street and now the Furman memo (first at Bloomberg but more fun read is Taibbi's). It was obvious to anyone who paid any attention that managed funds were a bad idea.  Tons of fees and most do worse than the market average (deducting fees even more are worse).  Yesterday's golden boy is tomorrow's goat--past success does not predict future success in finance.

Your best option is and has been to park your money in a couple low cost index funds (exchange traded or not) and then leave it there.  For balance split between total stocks and total bonds.  You can add REIT and international if you feel like it and the ratio of the split(s) should relate to your risk tolerance (more simply: to your age).  That's it.  Anyone who tells you differently is trying to take money from you and pocket it himself (well, maybe herself, but let's be honest: it's probably gonna be a dude).

Yes some people (and maybe you!) can get lucky and pick the right blend of stocks at the right times and make a killing: doing way better than the market.  But 00 may also come up on the roulette wheel, the dealer may not be sitting on 20 with that face card showing, and 7 could get rolled 3x in a row.  If you want to gamble, that's fine, and the stock market is as good a place to do it as any (and more respectable for some odd reason).  If you are just trying to save for retirement the best way possible, on the other hand, gambling isn't the wise choice.  You may hit the financial jackpot, but probably, you're going to be a lot poorer than you would be if you had just stuck with the simple, cheap option.

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