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Showing posts from April, 2009

Chicken or Egg

You aren't smarter than the market. It really is that simple.


There have been a few articles recently on the financial meltdown with the same theme. That is that the housing bubble lead to the collapse of the financial markets. The reality is a little different. The financial markets, specifically the creation of derivatives based on real estate loans, created a housing bubble.

Beginning in the late 1990's trillions of dollars poured into the housing market, forcing prices well beyond what people could afford for housing. In most parts of the country, the median price of a home was no longer affordable to someone with a median income. Renting was far cheaper than owning. How did that happen? Where did the money come from.

The answer is that the Wall Street bankers had figured out a way to hedge most of the traditional risk of real estate. Instead of directly investing in real estate themselves, they loaned money to people who were buying a home. Then they took the resulting loa…

Why Cost Averaging Really Does Work

You aren't smarter than the market. It really is that simple.

There are a number of places on the internet and in the media where people have questioned the value of "cost averaging". Cost averaging is investing in regular amounts over time, rather than in one lump sum all at once. It has been standard investment advice, but now some critics are arguing that, since the market in the long run tends to go up, the earlier you invest the better. Cost averaging will reduce your return in the long run.

They are, of course right. On average, you will get a lower return. But cost-averaging is not done to maximize returns. Its used to minimize risk. It is a strategy to make sure you get an "average" return instead of hitting just one peak or one valley.

Think about it this way. Suppose someone offered to flip a coin and pay you $51,000 if it was heads, but you would have to pay them $50,000 if it comes up tails. Would you take that bet? On average, you would come out ahead…