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best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 12:16 AM   #1
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best financial advice websites

well, hello all i have been gone for awhile. dumped my financial consultant, found a better one, but also managing much of my money on my own now. what are the best online resources to research stocks, etc. is the motley fool any good, their pay program? any other recs? thanks all...
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: best financial advice websites

Financial advice or financial data?

I think most of the advice is just noise. The three sites that I learned about from this forum that are consistent in message are:
www.fundadvice.com
http://etf.seekingalpha.com/etfguide
and http://investingessentials.blogspot.com/

And the message is: Figure out your asset allocation, invest in index funds or index ETFs to get that allocation, rebalance when your asset allocation is off by 5%. You really need no other advice.

As for financial data, all the sites have pretty much the same data. I like the tools at
http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/home.asp
www.vanguard.com (asset allocation [portfolio analysis] reporting tool)

For news, www.nytimes.com and www.reuters.com will have the news without much hype. For tax info, go to the source: www.irs.gov.

I find the tools lacking at mornginstar.com. I have not bothered with the motley fool for years.

Edit to add: Morningstar has updated their X-ray tool, so I like it now.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 08:00 AM   #3
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Re: best financial advice websites

Hi NewYorkLady,

The Vanguard Diehard forum at morningstar is here:

http://socialize.morningstar.com/New...mId=F100000015

They'll tell you to pick your asset allocation, purchase low cost index funds, rebalance every year or so and stay the course.

-helen

PS - Good to see you back !
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 09:11 AM   #4
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Re: best financial advice websites

When I started out I spent a lot of time reading the articles on www.morningstar.com. I found them very helpful for getting up to speed.

Audrey
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 10:27 AM   #5
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Re: best financial advice websites

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...hp?topic=661.0

For basic research, morningstar, yahoo, and google finance are fine. Unless you're a heavy duty trader I wouldnt spend much money on the pay-services and as mentioned in the book report above...pay-for-play advice/newsletter/recommendation stuff hasnt shown to provide much bang for the buck long term.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: best financial advice websites

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Financial advice or financial data?

I think most of the advice is just noise. The three sites that I learned about from this forum that are consistent in message are:
www.fundadvice.com
http://etf.seekingalpha.com/etfguide
and http://investingessentials.blogspot.com/

And the message is: Figure out your asset allocation, invest in index funds or index ETFs to get that allocation, rebalance when your asset allocation is off by 5%. You really need no other advice.
Interesting the differences. I find findadvice to be just a giant pitch for Merriman. I like seekingalpha but I think it is too advanced for most investors (The site is name is a greek letter, and I can't even keep track of the investment meanings of the various greek letters.)



Quote:

I find the tools lacking at mornginstar.com. I have not bothered with the motley fool for years.
I find M* portfolio tools to be invaluable the X-Ray tool alone is worth the price of membership, and the analyst write-up and additional financial information on stocks, funds, and ETF is very valuable. Also I recommend the M* Dividend Investor newsletter for early retirees. While I think the Motley Fool has gone down hill it sometimes has good articles, and the discussion boards are also worthwhile.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 05:55 PM   #7
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Re: best financial advice websites

I agree on Motley Fool.

I would add www.fundalarm.com to the list.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 06:34 PM   #8
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Re: best financial advice websites

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp
Interesting the differences. I find findadvice to be just a giant pitch for Merriman. I like seekingalpha but I think it is too advanced for most investors (The site is name is a greek letter, and I can't even keep track of the investment meanings of the various greek letters.)



I find M* portfolio tools to be invaluable the X-Ray tool alone is worth the price of membership, and the analyst write-up and additional financial information on stocks, funds, and ETF is very valuable. Also I recommend the M* Dividend Investor newsletter for early retirees. While I think the Motley Fool has gone down hill it sometimes has good articles, and the discussion boards are also worthwhile.
I guess I have to reply since your reply suggests you gave a cursory look at the sites and didn't read any articles on them.

I guess I didn't see any pitch for Merriman in the "must-read" articles at fundadvice.com. I haven't explored much else on the site because those articles are meaty enough.

The seeking alpha home page is too advanced, but it's the place where the ETF guide is now which is the specific link I gave. Did you read the ETF investment guide at all or did you get stuck on the ads or the home page?

Maybe I'm using the M* X-ray tool wrong, but I wanted it to tell me how much domestic large cap, small/mid cap, foreign large cap, foreign small/mid cap, fixed income and cash I have in my portfolio. That is, I want an asset allocation breakdown a la Bernstein and not some analysis of which market sectors I am in. In short, I found the M* X-ray tool useless, but it is very pretty and looks like it supplies nutrition, but it's only junk food. I would certainly not pay for it.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-29-2007, 10:21 PM   #9
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Re: best financial advice websites

Well you are partially right and mostly wrong. I did read the ETF guide on SeekingAlpha several months ago, and while I agree with you it is a good guide, call mecrazy but I happen to think that a
ETF guide that starts off with 57 (yes I counted) hyperlinks can be intimidating. Even the one page summary is a bit much with a bunch of bullet points, for somebody who doesn't appear to be a sophisticated investor.

In contrast the Morningstar primer on ETF is much more user friendly http://news.morningstar.com/article/...PA=Y&dType=etf, and yet M* has plenty of additional data on ETFs.

I subscribe to the SeekingAlpha email digest and generally read 2 to 3 articles a day so I am familiar with it. Don't get me wrong nothing wrong with SeekingAlpha, just IMO a bit much for the novice.

As to M*, it is pretty much the gold standard for mutual fund analysis. I am sorry you didn't find the M* X-ray tool useful. I find it invaluable. It tells me that have 30% of my portfolio in Large Cap growth stocks, 9% in small cap value, 9.9% in foreign stocks, 55% of my portfolio is US stocks 5% European, bonds 33%, 2.5% cash . It doesn't break down Foreign large cap vs Foreign small cap, but I think it does everything else you are looking for. I wish it could automatically import my brokerage statements but other than that.

As for FundAdvice, I looked at found several years ago and found it to be a big ad for Peter Merriman and the DFA Fund family. Just now, I went back and read the must read articles and concluded that it is still a big ad, but even worse following the advice could cause serious trouble to your portfolio.

Lets take a couple of the must read articles.
"The best mutual funds: DFA or Vanguard?"http://www.fundadvice.com/articles/b...vanguard-.html

"I’m going to compare and contrast two great families of low-cost, no-load mutual funds that do a lot of seemingly small things right: Vanguard and Dimensional Fund Advisors.

You’re probably familiar with Vanguard, a very large fund family that specializes in index funds and is legendary in the industry for cutting its expenses to the bone. Vanguard is our favorite fund family for do-it-yourself investors. We often recommend these funds to investors of all ages and all levels of wealth.

Dimensional Fund Advisors funds have some important advantages over Vanguard, as we shall see. I believe those advantages over time could mean an extra two percentage points of annualized return."

Of course he neglects to point out until near the end that the ordinary investors can't invest in DFA fund, they are only available to through a financial advisor. (Of course Peter Merriman firm has lots of them).

Does he present us with lots of data to back up this claim? not a lot except for a 12 month snap shot of DFA vs Vanguard.. His main complaint with Vanguard doesn't offer a microcap fund or a small cap international fund.


His conclusion is this

"If you can afford to hire an advisor and you’re willing to pay for one, I recommend Dimensional funds. I believe that over the long term they will have an advantage of about two percentage points per year as compared to equity funds at Vanguard, even after subtracting a presumed 1 percent annual management fee.

For an investor accumulating assets, two extra percentage points of return can make the difference between retiring when you want to and having to work longer."

Hum so I should fork over 1% to my financial advisor just so I can have the privilege of investing in DFA and pay their slightly higher ER.

Lets take a look at a second article The ultimate buy-and-hold strategy

Here is the money quote
"If there is a “catch” to this strategy, it’s availability. You can’t buy it in a single mutual fund. You can put it together approximately using Vanguard’s low-cost index funds. But Vanguard doesn’t give investors access to every piece of it.

The “ultimate” way to implement the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is to hire a money manager who has access to the institutional funds offered by Dimensional Fund Advisors. (More about those funds later.) "

Finally lets look at a 3rd article:

This article show how you can withdraw 8% per year with an inflation kicker, as long as at least 60% of the money is invested in the Global Equity Fund and the rest in the Global Bond Fund. Two guess as where you can buy these uber-funds. I am sorry but anybody who shows me an inflation adjusted 8% withdrawal starting in 1970 is either stupid, or being disingenious. I vote for the latter, because the trick for getting this miracle is to restrict the inflation adjustment to 3.5% a year, which may be a reasonable assumption under normal years but not for the 1970s. (But the end of the decade with withdrawals increasing only 3.5% year your purchasing power dropped by almost 30%)

My advice is to stay away Fundadvice.com especially for somebody newyorklady who has smartly dumped her financial advisor.





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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-30-2007, 07:38 AM   #10
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Re: best financial advice websites

Thanks for making me revisit the M* X-ray tool. My broker provides it for free and pre-loads my holding for me. M* has changed it from what I saw a couple years ago. So it now provides some info that I only found with the Vanguard portfolio analysis tool.

Your lengthy diatribe against Merriman makes me wonder. There is so much more info on that site that is not to be discounted. I can only guess that you wish you could purchase DFA funds without an advisor. Indeed, if there were no advisor fees for DFA funds, I imagine many of us here would use them instead of Vanguard.

As for the 57 links comment, I wonder how you view folks who read books. If 57 clicks is onerous, imagine how folks deal with having to turn a page in a book to continue reading. And a table of contents or index must be way beyond them as well.

Thanks again for pushing me back to M*, it gets my thumbs up now!
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 01-30-2007, 10:18 PM   #11
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Re: best financial advice websites

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Thanks for making me revisit the M* X-ray tool. My broker provides it for free and pre-loads my holding for me. M* has changed it from what I saw a couple years ago. So it now provides some info that I only found with the Vanguard portfolio analysis tool.
Glad that you found it valuable.

[quote
Your lengthy diatribe against Merriman makes me wonder. There is so much more info on that site that is not to be discounted. I can only guess that you wish you could purchase DFA funds without an advisor. Indeed, if there were no advisor fees for DFA funds, I imagine many of us here would use them instead of Vanguard.

[/quote]

Ok so I got a bit carried away. Like most of the do it yourselfers I am naturally suspicious of any financial advisor, I am hardly alone in my opinion that the 1% you pay to FA makes it harder to retire early. (This is somewhat ironic since I am taking classes to become a CFP.) Still an 8% withdrawal with an "inflation kicker" is so much higher than any study has shown as prudent withdrawal rate that, I think it is dangerous to direct people to any website advocating it. Hence my strong reaction.

As far as DFA is concerned yes I would consider them using them if the weren't advisor only. I fear we are pretty off topic from the original topic so I'll stop.
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-01-2007, 01:33 PM   #12
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Re: best financial advice websites

thanks so much. i want to be at the point where i know enough not to use a financial advisor. i had a bad experience with my last one, didn't lose money but too low returns, so in effect did lose money i could have made. thanks for all the good starting points. i am on my way...
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-02-2007, 07:39 AM   #13
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Re: best financial advice websites

Welcome Back, NY Lady

I, too, am new to dealing with the world of high finance. I just got the "BogleHead's Guide to Investing" from Amazon for myself at Christmas. Just started digging into it and it seems to be a good place to start. It is not over your head - they take time to explain and don't get too heavy for us newbies (at least so far so good - I'm only at chapter 5 so far).

Try vanguard.com - they have a library for researching subjects as well as info on their various funds - they give good breakdowns on the funds with expenses, dividends, asset allocations, and lots of other stuff. Check it out.

NOTE: Have heard that the "free" advice counselors who will give you a plan for asset allocations is iffy (I think you have to call in for this service and it's free if you have enough money in assets to invest).

diehards.org also has articles and a forum (not as easy to use as ours here, tho) that is run by a group who follow Jack Bogle (Bogleheads) who founded the Vanguard company. Excellent group of people on board there.

Hope this helps! Good Luck!

Jane
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-02-2007, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: best financial advice websites

Good to see you back NYL (and increase the board's participation of our age group ).

Two other sites I'll add:

www.etfconnect.com It gives you excellent current/historical returns, dividends and other info on ETFs and CEFs.

www.quantumonline.com While you may not be interested in it immediately, it's the only resource I use for info on preferred stocks.

I've toyed with the idea of signing up for Motley Fool's stock newsletter, the AAII's letter, and a few others (but haven't actually gotten around to it). I've shifted my risk focus to take on relatively more risk (while changing my user ID to MooreBonds. Doesn't make sense, I know ), but we have to remember that if we're at the cusp of being FI/entering RE, we don't need to waste our time and money trying to hit the triples and home runs. The consistent singles (and occasional double) from funds like Wellesley and a handful of others will perform fairly well.

I'm hoping that I'll one day be able to conquer these testosterone-induced stock buying sprees. In the meantime, I can only daydream of achieving UncleMick's level of intestinal fortitude when it comes to stock picking.

A few publications that I've subscribed to in the past have been Money, Smart Money, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance. They're of questionable value, and I'd only recommend signing up if they send you a $10 annual subscription offer (usually only get those if you're a past subscriber and let your subscription expire). You can also read them for free at your local library. While I don't follow the financial porn commentary magazines blindly, they are a second opinion to see how they analyze the stocks (albeit often in a limited view).
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Old 02-03-2007, 02:09 AM   #15
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Re: best financial advice websites

i love Harry Dent , but he is overly exhuberant (sp) but good reading and theories... i am an econ major!!
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-03-2007, 12:13 PM   #16
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Re: best financial advice websites

I like some of Merriman's content very much. He does show Vanguard as an option and runs the numbers.

I want to do it myself, so I am not interested in DFA.

Since I don't have faith in market timing, I didn't read his market timing stuff.

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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-04-2007, 10:07 AM   #17
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Re: best financial advice websites

What follows are just opinions, even if those of someone jaded, who has been reading this stuff for nearly 30 years.

In general, newsletters or their more modern brethren, web sites, that tout a specific trading strategy, stock picks, etc. will disappoint you long term. Or even not so long term. Avoid them.

Virtually the entire financial press -- especially magazines and TV shows -- is "Financial Porn" as somebody said. Avoid them, except possibly for the entertainment value.

My heros: Books!!! Of course, you can still get burned here, but this may be the best source of wisdom (other than "hard knocks" !!!)

Here are some recommendals:

The Motley Fool early books: "Investment Guide," "You Have More than You Think", and "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers." These are from the early, golden era (1990s) of TMF, before they became a pay service, with their own pay services, etc.

Andrew Tobias, The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need

Contradicting myself: if you have time, it's still ok to read financial porn, you may even get some investing ideas or see what "the masses" are being led to believe. Point is to become educated, but also keep some skepticism. A current favorite of mine (still reading ) is:

"The Only Three Questions That Count" by Ken Fisher. I don't agree with much of his arguments, but very much do with his assertions (to question your own beliefs, see what others may overlook, and beware the built-in short-circuits our brains are prone to.)
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Re: best financial advice websites
Old 02-04-2007, 05:48 PM   #18
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Ah, yes. Andy Tobias, also author of "The Only Other Investment Guide You Will Ever Need." Buy tuna fish on sale and store it under your bed.

A good place to start.
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