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Portfolio Solutions Blog

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to recognize the market winners and losers. Call it a landslide victory. Research shows index funds outperformed actively managed funds by a far margin in 2014:

  • According to Wharton Research Data Services at the University of Pennsylvania, only 9.3% of mutual funds that invest in large U.S. stocks such as those in the S&P 500 beat the index through September 30.
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Two major unknowns can determine whether or not you outlive your money in retirement.

The first unknown is the effect market conditions have on your investment portfolio. You can reduce their impact and protect your assets by following a prudent investment strategy. A low-cost, broadly diversified portfolio is recommended for all retirement investors.

The second unknown is the cost of treating future health conditions. A 65-...

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Index investing has attracted a growing number of investors because of its ability to provide lower cost and better performance, on average, than active investing over the long run.

Times have changed since the first publicly available index fund was launched by John Bogle and the Vanguard Group in 1976. Back then, critics called it “Bogle’s Folly.” One competitor even circulated a propaganda poster featuring the likeness of Uncle Sam with the slogan: “Help Stamp Out Index Funds – Index Funds Are Un-American!”

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When you participate in a company’s 401(k) plan, you have to play the hand you’re dealt. Your only options are the benefits and investments offered by your employer and the 401(k) provider. The limitations of 401(k) plans prevent many investment advisers from providing guidance, leaving participants to invest on their own.

They could use some help. In a 2014 national survey of 401(k) participants by Charles Schwab & Co...

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Unlike other retirement income sources, such as Social Security and pensions, your investment portfolio doesn’t provide a predictable distribution of money. You must generate a reliable income stream even though markets don’t always want to cooperate.

So, how can you sustainably raise cash in your portfolio for retirement, as you need it? How should you sell assets for cash in a down market to minimize your losses?

Just as you had a strategy to grow your wealth, you need a strategy to use your wealth. In this short video, Mike Palazzolo, Senior Investment Specialist, provides...

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The end of the year tis the season investors usually focus on managing taxes, but you don’t have to scramble for last-minute tax strategies to try to lower your tax bill. The market-tracking structure of index funds can help keep your portfolio tax-efficient throughout the year.

Taxes are one of many possible investment costs that can include fund expenses, management fees, administrative charges and so on.

When you hold a mutual fund in a...

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Variety may be the spice of life, but it can present challenges to the retirement investor. Consider the many different types of investment accounts out there. You have individual taxable accounts, joint taxable accounts and then a long list of tax-advantaged accounts for retirement, including traditional IRAs, rollover IRAs, Roth IRAs and so on. How do you juggle them all in your portfolio to help meet your needs and goals without incurring unnecessary costs and taxes?

Turns out, there are also different approaches to managing your various investment accounts. In this video, Tony...

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