The Alternative Investments Channel

Social Security: It’s Healthier Than You Might Think!

Each year, Social Security’s Trustees report to Congress on the financial status of the program. This typically generates a number of anxiety-provoking media headlines about if/when it will run out of money. Gail Buckner, CFP, our personal retirement and financial planning strategist, takes a look at the facts. She says Social Security is actually in pretty good shape overall.

Investing Without People

This memo covers three ways in which securities markets seem to be moving toward reducing the role of people: (a) index investing and other forms of passive investing, (b) quantitative and algorithmic investing, and © artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Will Re-Defaults of Mortgage Modifications Undermine Housing Markets?

Much has been written about residential mortgage modifications, yet hardly anything has been said about the problem of re-defaults on modified mortgages. In large part, this is due to the paucity of accurate data about borrowers re-defaulting. It is time to clearly lay out how extensive this problem really is, what it means for mortgage markets and the dangers it poses for investors.

The Battle of the Passive Strategies

My first book, The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You’ll Ever Need, was first published 20 years ago, in May 1998. With its 20th anniversary in mind, let’s see how my recommendations worked out for investors who followed them.

Lessons from the North Bay Fires

Californians live in fear of a devastating earthquake. But homeowners are far more likely to suffer a loss from a fire or even a sewer backup. The proper insurance protects against those losses. But, according to Brian Trouette, many homeowners lack sufficient coverage.

Take the Long-Term View in a Late-Cycle Market

The U.S. inflation story made further inroads this month, with year-over-year price growth for consumers and producers alike hitting multiyear highs. U.S. consumer prices expanded at their strongest pace in more than six years, climbing to an annual change of 2.8 percent in May. Prices for final demand goods, meanwhile, grew 3.1 percent, their strongest annual surge since December 2011.

Evolutions in Growth, Trade and Geopolitics

PIMCO’s Global Advisory Board discusses the outlook for major economies and geopolitical developments.

June Fomc Meeting: Slow and Steady with Another Rate Increase

In predictable fashion, the Fed increased borrowing costs again today. How long could the central bank stick to its quarterly rate-hiking rhythm?

Cutting-Edge Research from Harvard on Converting Prospects

Harvard University has been the source of many great ideas. A 2012 study revealed the key concept that I have used to help advisors growth their practices. Its findings were expanded by just-released research from the university.

Liquidity: Factor investing's hidden gem

The liquidity factor is a hidden gem waiting to be mined. Target its precious premium.

I Don’t Eat Desserts

As I got into my mid-forties I landed in my own version of a midlife crisis. Instead of getting a 20-year-old girlfriend or a red convertible, I started paying attention to my health.

What “Value” Does Investing Create?

The financial industry can measure up by conveying capital to improve the future of humankind; in short, by creating value.

I’ll Go Along With the Rest of the Boys!

You might think institutions with their large staffs of highly-paid and experienced investment professionals would be a force for stability and reason in financial markets. They are not; stocks heavily owned, and constantly monitored by institutions, have often been among the most inappropriately valued.

Debt Clock Ticking

The entire world went into debt for the equivalent of tropical vacations and, having now enjoyed them, realizes it must pay the bill. The resources to do so do not yet exist. So, in the time-honored tradition of lenders everywhere, we extend and pretend. But with our ability to pretend almost gone, we’re heading to the Great Reset.

Rough Waters for Summer?

U.S. stocks have moved toward the top of the recent range but volatility is likely to rise at times during the summer as investors deal with various global geopolitical headwinds. Further strength in the U.S. dollar would likely exacerbate the volatility—particularly within emerging markets. But limited signs of pending recession risk—at least in the United States—should keep the path of least resistance for the stock market higher. That said, patience and discipline are more important than ever in the face of sometimes ominous-sounding headlines.