Search results for: Shopmas

Shopmas Gifts for Your Favorite Wall Streeter 2017

Holiday Gifts for the Financier in Your Life
A few ideas for what to give your favorite alpha- and beta-generators.
Bloomberg December 18, 2017

 

We have only a week of Shopmas left, and if your list is anything like mine, you are down to those folks where it’s hard to decide. Choosing just the right bauble for your favorite alpha creator is never easy, but that’s what we are here for.

As in my earlier gift lists, items have been hand selected by yours truly. No compensation is accepted for these recommendations; any revenue this column generates via links to Amazon gets donated to charity.

On to the gifts!

Read: You already have my list of books to read this winter, including my list of books I’ve bought but not yet read. These books are for gifts:

No. 1. “Sinatra: The Photographs” ($33): Who better to celebrate the holiday seasons with than the chairman of the board? He hung with the rat pack in Las Vegas; socialized with Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe; made music with Nelson Riddle, Count Basie and Quincy Jones. Featuring the work of photographers Ted Allan, Bob Willoughby, Ed Thrasher, Sid Avery and Bernie Abramson.

No. 2. “The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs” ($27): Guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of the dog lover on your gift list!

No. 3. “Investor Behavior: The Psychology of Financial Planning and Investing,” by H. Kent Baker and Victor Ricciardi ($87): It’s one of those books whose price tag might put you off from buying it for yourself; don’t let that stand in the way of making this a gift for the trader or fund manager on your list who is curious about the topic or needs a little personal guidance.

Hear: It was an interesting year in music. With the exception of first choice, this is less a list of things to listen than how to listen. 

No. 1. “The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings of John Coltrane” ($53): For the jazz aficionado on your list, this seven CD set includes every note Trane recorded for Atlantic during his most influential and productive period.

No. 2. Go to iTunes (or your favorite music software), select “plays,” then arrange from most to least: You end up with a list of your most-played songs and albums. For me, it was Jack Johnson’s “Better Together off of his disc “In Between Dreams.”

No. 3. The Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices ($169): These are a road warrior’s best friend. When your giftee is on a six-hour cross-country flight with dozens of screaming babies, he will thank you.

Cook: I once made the mistake of asking someone at a party “What’s an airfryer?” The answer was a series of non-oil fried samples that were surprisingly good. Philips created the product category, and its line of Philips Airfryer ($150-199) come in several different sizes.  

Tech: There’s a lot to choose from.

No. 1. Dash cams have become more popular as quality has improved and costs have plummeted. The HiCool is a good example: full HD 1080p, wide angle lens, full HD recorder, built-in WiFi, G-sensor, night vision and 2.7″ LCD parking monitor for less than $100!

No. 2. For more than merely getting about town, the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 ($4,600) bicycle has a 350-watt motor, a 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, and a top speed of 28 mph. At more modest speeds, it has an 80 mile range on a single charge.

No. 3. The latest in security and green tech, Lynx solar home security camera ($169) can run for seven days off of one day of sunshine. Not only is it solar-powered, but it has facial recognition, night vision, two-way audio and 1080p HD video.

Drink: For the European coffee drinker on your list, check out the Siemens EQ. Super Fully Automatic Espresso/Coffee/Capuccino machine ($2,063 here). I would get that for my office, but it’s only available in 220-240 volts! The closest commercial grade machine for U.S. consumers I have found seems to be this Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine ($1,599).

Smoke: I partake much less than I once did, but every now and again I enjoy a good smoke. The Diamond Crown Figurado No. 6 is a smooth smoking handmade Dominican cigar; I prefer the deep, dark brown maduro wrapper leaf ($292 for a box of 15). The pigtail makes easy lighting, but regardless, I use the Lotus 21 Twin Flame Torch Lighter ($49) — a great piece of hardware. 

Art: I love Jud Turner’s sculptures from waste materials and “found objects” — check out “Eduardo” the California CondorMortal Cycle and Paradise Lost. Fascinating stuff, from $1,000 to $10,000 and beyond.

Time: The Devon Star Wars Watch ($28,500) is for the geek on your list who generates alpha. Darth Vader was the inspiration for the watch, which is replete with Vader and TIE fighter touches. For those less comfortable with risk and content with beta, there’s the Combat B39 Phantom ($495). It’s a military-grade, U.S.-assembled watch. It’s water resistant to 200 meters, has a Swiss Ronda 515 movement, and comes with lifetime free battery changes, seal cleaning and pressure testing.

Drive: The Tesla Roadster ($200,000; Founders edition, $250,000). Last month, I mentioned the influence of the quickest production car in the world with record-setting acceleration, range and performance. It was the only possible gift car on my list.​

That’s it for my 2017 list of gift ideas. Have a happy, merry Shopmas!

 

Originally: Holiday Gifts for the Financier in Your Life

 

Retail Theater: Beware of Bad Shopmas Data!

Retail theater: Beware of bad Shopmas data!
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post November 29 2013

 

 

This weekend kicks off the official start of the seasonal gift-buying frenzy I call Shopmas!

When it comes to retail, ’tis the season of artifice and deception. The retailers offer fake discounts via phony markdowns — no one pays full price for that, honey — or ship made-for-outlet-center goods that are not actually sold in the name-brand retail stores. In “The Dirty Secret of Black Friday ‘Discounts’,” the Wall Street Journal called it “retail theater.” It noted that “in many cases, those bargains will be a carefully engineered illusion.”

The news media aren’t any better. They breathlessly cover shopping as if it were an Olympic event. The big-box retailers play right into the coverage. Each year, we are regaled with stock footage of the 6 a.m. crush, a near-riot battle for the heavily discounted electronics doodad of which only a few are for sale. It is ugly and crass. I see a scene from “The Hunger Games” rather than a modern industrialized nation gratefully celebrating the bounty provided us.

Footage of people camped out at Best Buy or elsewhere is not remotely a celebration. Rather, it’s a reminder of just how economically distressed a large percentage of our populace is. It’s a Barbie, for crying out loud — do you really need to LEAVE YOUR FAMILY FOR THREE DAYS TO camp out for that?

The media mindlessly follow a script written by retailers. The footage, the news reports, the surveys, the measures of foot traffic, all serve to create a false impression of a huge shopping orgy. You better join in, or you will get left behind!

Only you won’t. As we first discussed in this space two years ago (and elsewhere almost a decade ago), these reports are meaningless. Don’t fall for the nonsense.

There are several offenders, the most egregious of which is the Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey put out by the National Retail Federation. As we showed previously, these surveys do not measure retail sales — they measure “consumer intentions.” History teaches that you humans are terrible judges of your future behavior. You have no idea what you are going to do tomorrow, let alone next month.

But the NRF survey ignores that simple fact, asking consumers to recall what they spent last year and to anticipate what they will spend this year. The first question is a wild guess as to past behavior; the second question is unreliable speculation about future behavior. Take the net difference between these two wild guesses and — voila! — you get this year’s holiday sales numbers.

Only you don’t. As the numbers show unequivocally, the data have zero correlation with actual retail sales numbers. Some years, it is off by a lot; other years, it is off by even more. The 2009 survey projected an unprecedented collapse in spending by 43 percent; instead, holiday sales rose year over year by 3 percent.

My favorite piece of mathematical comedy is this line in the NRF methodology: “The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.” That may be the funniest thing any statistician will read this holiday season.

The NRF report is just the frosting on the headless gingerbread man cookie when it comes to bad holiday shopping data. Runner-up is the ShopperTrak Retail Foot Traffic report. It is a squishy head count of shoppers at “retailers, mall developers and entertainment venues.” Its claims about foot traffic hardly correlate with actual sales. Yet it is reported as if it were important or accurate.

The retail kudzu arrives earlier each year. Shopmas now begins on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently, escaping the families you cannot stand to spend another minute with on Thanksgiving Day to go buy them gifts is how some Americans show their affection for one another. Weird.

For those who cannot wait for the official retail data to come out, look at data that actually measure retail sales. I have not found a perfect substitute, but MasterCard SpendingPulse looks pretty good. It is based on the credit card giant’s “near-real-time purchase data” and runs through sophisticated models.

Pardon me for being such a curmudgeon, but this is not what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about. Faux data, ginned-up excitement and consumerism have nothing to do with giving thanks for whatever bounty may have come your way this year.

Instead of getting sucked into the nonsense, you could always wait a month for the December retail sales data. If you do that, however, you might actually have to spend time with your family, giving thanks.

Ritholtz is chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. He is the author of “Bailout Nation” and runs a finance blog, the Big Picture. Twitter: @Ritholtz.

WaPo: Beware Bad Shopmas data!

>

My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at the retail theater that is Black Friday:  Beware of bad Shopmas data!

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

“The news media aren’t any better. They breathlessly cover shopping as if it were an Olympic event. The big-box retailers play right into the coverage. Each year, we are regaled with stock footage of the 6 a.m. crush, a near-riot battle for the heavily discounted electronics doodad of which only a few are for sale. It is ugly and crass. I see a scene from “The Hunger Games” rather than a modern industrialized nation gratefully celebrating the bounty provided us.

Footage of people camped out at Best Buy or elsewhere is not remotely a celebration. Rather, it’s a reminder of just how economically distressed a large percentage of our populace is. It’s a Barbie, for crying out loud — do you really need to LEAVE YOUR FAMILY FOR THREE DAYS TO camp out for that?”

We will start to see some of the “data points” Monday, then get the actual information a few weeks later.  Don’t bet on accuracy in the initial run of numbers.

>

Source:
Retail theater: Beware of bad Shopmas data!
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, December 1 2013  
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/retail-theater-beware-of-bad-shopmas-data/2013/11/29/6baf0d54-562f-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

What I Want For Shopmas: T-Rex

While I am working on my annual Shopmas holiday list — last year’s lists are here and here — I found what you can get me for the holidays:

 

Source: Bonhams

 

Its up fpr auction next week November 14-19 at Bonhams.

A complete list of Dinos up for sale is found here here.

 

 

Full press release after the jump

 

(more…)

More Shopmas Gift Ideas!

Its the second installment of our annual shopping tradition (2012 first edition is here) — these are some of the more interesting and eclectic items I stumble across each year.

Across a broad variety of price points, here is the next Shopmas list for those of you who may have been very, very good this year. The goal is find items that you may not have seen and will make the recipient smile.

Select some items and effectuate your own economic stimulus package:

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Underwater Dogs  $11.33

I mentioned Underwater Dogs a few times this year (see this and this) — and now these hilarious photos are gathered in one delightful book.

The exuberant, exhilarating photographs of dogs underwater that have become a sensation.

More than eighty portraits by award-winning pet photographer Seth Casteel capture new sides of our old friends with vibrant underwater photography that makes it impossible to look away.

A perfect stocking stuffer.

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Nebo 5615 RedLine SE Flashlight $32.69

After last week’s gift post, a few people asked about “that flashlight you mentioned” (discussed here, “My Hero of the Blackout.”)

The power and intensity of this compact tactical light is amazing. The Redline SE is the perfect flashlight for Firefighters, EMTs and Police Officers. You can illuminate an entire room in flood mode, or illuminate objects 175 yards away in spot mode. light. 5 modes include 100-Percent, 50-Percent, 10-Percent and power settings + Strobe & SOS allowing batteries to last up to 72 hours.

The 250 Lumen, Nebo 5615 runs $33 (note the 310 Lumen Nebo 5620 is $50 but goes on sale at $39).

~~~

George Carlin: All My Stuff (2007) $122

This 14-disc career retrospective set includes all twelve of George Carlin s HBO concert specials, spanning nearly thirty years. One of the greatest comedians of all time, Carlin performs his most memorable routines (Baseball and Football, A Place for My Stuff, Losing Things, Al Sleet the Hippie-Dippie Weather Man, Hitler, We Like War, It s Not A Sport, Why We Don’t Need Ten Commandments and Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television).

Two bonus discs round out the collection including interviews — Carlin fans will adore this set.

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Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion: The Encyclopedia of Wines, Vineyards and Winemakers  $24

Last time, I mentioned Exploring Wine ($39) and several of you wrote to recommend 2 other wine books:

The less expensive of the two is the sixth edition of Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion.

Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion presents a unique approach to wine and wine producers, combining detailed information with practical advice on how to enjoy wine to the fullest. Color maps and photographs and detailed glossaries of the wines of each region are just two of the additions for this exciting new edition.

Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours $110

This is the other book recommended by readers — described as “an indispensable book for every wine lover, from some of the world’s leading wine experts.

Where do wine grapes come from and how are grape varieties related to one another? What is the historical background of each one? Where are they grown? What sort of wines do they make?

Using cutting-edge DNA analysis and detailing almost 1,400 distinct grape varieties, as well as myriad correct (and incorrect) synonyms, this book examines grapes and wine as never before. This is a serious book for serious oenophiles!
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Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad 2 and 3rd generation) $81.99

For anyone who loves their iPad but is less than thrilled about the typing on glass, these ultra-lite, portable keyboards are the way to go. They turn your tablet into what is essentially a touch screen ultralite laptop.

Clip-and-go design: Magnetic clip instantly attaches keyboard as a cover, which also works as a stand. The same instant on/off that wakes and sleeps your iPad when you open and close the cover.

I never go anywhere without mine.

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Large Navy Zip Top Anchor Tote with Navy Rope Handles (Seabags) $150

I love the idea of this company, which I first found in Anguilla: Take old sailboat canvas (sails) and repurpose them into new products.

I like this Sea Bag anchor as a large tote for the boat or a family day at the beach.

Recycled sail with navy hand spliced rope handles designed for hand carry; zipper top to keep things secure.

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Beatles Box Set (Stereo)  $179

Look, you either know and love the Beatles, or you don’t. Anyone who is a fan and gets this set will be delighted.

Digitally remastered 17 disc box set (16 CDs + DVD), the set contains all of the 14 original Beatles albums released between 1963 and 1970 plus the two CD Past Masters collection of non-album tracks (plus other bonus DVD material and documentaries).

Note which version you order — I suggest stereo, your annoying brother-in-law wants the original mono, and your weird uncle insists on Vinyl.

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Pentax Optio WG-2 underwater camera Kit $222.54

I have the prior version of this camera, and it takes good underwater photos and video. I will be upgrading it for the new Pentax Optio WG-2 Camera, which can take crisper cleaner photos in lower light situations.

Durable, 16-megapixel point-and-shoot camera is waterproof, dustproof, coldproof, shockproof, crushproof, and still capable of professional-level images and full 1080p HD video. 36X combined zoom and macro lens.

Its waterproof down to 40 feet, shockproof to 5 feet, and freezeproof to 14 F degrees.

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Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition) $207.99

The Master of Suspense, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the best thrillers ever made.

The Masterpiece Collection features 15 iconic films including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest and many more.

Over 15 hours of insightful bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate Hitchcock experience.

 

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Clifford Bailey Lithographs $1,000-$3,000

Clifford Bailey paints amongst other things, delightfully whimsical jazz bands in full swing. There is a charming sense to his work, which capture the full energy of improvisation. “The work is playful, intense, funny, twisted, easy to look at and hard to forget. His signature style is original and unique.”

The Miami born artist lives and works in Los Angeles.   Full bio is here.

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McIntosh Manhattan $7,000

True-to-life sound replication belies its diminutive size which is 22.5″ long by 10.6″ tall and only 14.6″ deep.

The system also includes a built in AM/FM/RDS tuner, CD/SACD as well as auxiliary input to playback your favorite source.

This reference quality system will blow you away and is built to last a lifetime. If you have discretionary income to burn,  want something to impress your friends, take a look at this little beatsie.

Black Friday Forecasts Are Here Again

Ignore Those Estimates of Black Friday Spending
The forecast of consumer behavior by the retailers’ trade group relies on faulty methodology and is inaccurate year after year.
Bloomberg, November 14, 2018

 

 

 

‘Tis the season for my “annual temper tantrum,” as the National Retail Federation calls my pre-emptive skepticism about the accuracy of its holiday shopping forecast.

The NRF releases a poorly designed survey each year – the 2018 edition came out last month — and hypes it as if it were fact. When I point out exactly how wrong these projections are, they call me a Grinch. Then events prove me right, and a wonderful holiday season is had by all.

For 2018, the NRF expects consumers to spend 4.1 percent more than they did during the 2017 winter holidays. Overall, the federation is forecasting that holiday sales will increase between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent. 1 For 2017, the group forecast that holiday sales would gain between 3.6 percent and 4 percent and that individuals would increase their spending 3.4 percent. Sales actually rose 5.5 percent.

This year pretty much looks like every year:

1. The trade group, full of biases, randomly surveys shoppers on what they plan to spend this holiday season, and what they spent last year.

2. The NRF projects consumer holiday spending by calculating the net difference between the forecast of future spending behavior for the current year and consumers’ recollection of how much they spent the year before. (Inexplicably, the group relies on consumers’ memory, even though actual previous-year numbers are available.)

3. Headline writers parrot the findings to the public.

4. With stunning regularity, the forecasts turn out to be wrong.

5. When the actual sales data come out in January, everyone but me has already moved on.

6. Wait one year, repeat.

This is problematic because fake news can affect investors, and never for the better.

Here’s why the NRF’s approach is so inherently flawed: The surveys ask people to make what is essentially a prediction of their own spending behavior. The academic literature is rich with examples of how terrible humans are at making specific forecasts of what they will actually do in the future. Look no further than the sale of gym memberships and diet books for proof that we are well-intentioned but clueless as to our own future behavior.

The second half of the forecast equation is similarly faulty. Asking people how much they spent last holiday season is an exercise in the fallibility of human memory. This also has a robust literature of studies and white papers, but I will save you some time: Our memories are full of biases and terribly unreliable.

To accurately answer the question “What did you spend last year on holiday gifts?” most people would need to review their credit card bills and bank statements; they would then need to spend a few hours figuring out what were holiday gifts versus ordinary spending. The alternative is simply making something up off the top of your head, what the behavioral scientists technically describe as “Guessing.” We know how accurate that is.

What about this year’s spending? If you ask people how much they will disburse, the only honest answer is “I have no idea.” Omitted from the questions are specifics such as “Did you discuss this with your spouse? Make a budget? Have a shopping list with estimated costs on it?” If not, your respondents are literally making it up.

Given how error-prone last year’s recollection of outlays is and how unlikely it is that this year’s guesstimate will be any more on target, you can deduce exactly how accurate the forecast will be. Spoiler alert: Not very.

That is just the forecast portion. The next bit of madness comes with the Black Friday guesstimates. The day after Thanksgiving, lots of stores run big holiday promotions. Stuffed, bored consumers waddle out to buy morefuture landfill items. On Monday, some insane numbers are promoted to show how fantastic Black Friday was. These estimates eventually are shown to be terribly inaccurate, too.

As always, the problem is the reliance on consumer survey information and not actual sales data. People are not very good at describing their past behavior or estimating their future behavior.

Finally, when you hear anyone say that Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest shopping weekend of the year, don’t believe it. That superlative belongs to the weekend before Christmas. This year, you get not just two non-workweek days of terror, there is a bonus shopping day on Monday — Christmas Eve — to better accumulate more of that useless holiday flotsam.

 

______

1. TheNRF’s holiday forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales. The number includes online and other non-store sales.

 

 

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I originally published this at Bloomberg, November 14, 2018. All of my Bloomberg columns can be found here and here

 

WaPo Columns

 

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  • Apr 30, 2016

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  • Apr 15, 2016

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  • Mar 19, 2016

It’s time to admit to mistakes from last year.

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  • Feb 6, 2016

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  • Jan 23, 2016

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  • Dec 26, 2015

No! So it shouldn’t be hard to ignore the financial forecasters — who can’t see the future any better than you.

  • Nov 28, 2015

They have sophisticated tools, capital and inside information.You won’t win at their game. Here’s how to play your own.

  • Nov 6, 2015

There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially where investments are concerned.

  • Oct 24, 2015

Just saying “no” to buying anything misses out on the best way to make intelligent financial decisions.

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  • Sep 12, 2015

Five things you can do now to get your financial house in order.

  • Aug 28, 2015

That means turn off the talking heads on financial TV and stop chasing the headlines with your money.

  • Aug 14, 2015

Most financial forecasts and predictions online are junk. Intelligent investors, ignore the noise.

  • Aug 1, 2015

Beware the money manager who chases the big headlines with your cash.

  • Jul 18, 2015

As Richard Thaler explains, investors behave against their own interests — but you can outsmart your brain

  • Jun 27, 2015

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  • Jun 5, 2015

The recovery is not evenly distributed, and a few factors have a major influence on whether you feel it.

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The Vermont gas station attendant who quietly accumulated a fortune.

  • Apr 25, 2015

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  • Apr 10, 2015

If a columnist writes about other people’s financial errors, he has to admit his own. Mea culpa.

  • Mar 21, 2015

Are stocks cheap — or overpriced? Knowing can help you know when and how to invest.

  • Mar 7, 2015

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Not just Uber: Tech firms are uniquely poised to topple old, entrenched businesses in many industries

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The media and Wall Street help drive a parade of money-losing tomfoolery that’s all just marketing.

  • Jan 16, 2015

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  • Dec 20, 2014

I have $100,000 that says this is a better portfolio than what Anthony Robbins is pushing.

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  • Nov 21, 2014

These extended financial periods — some of which can last decades — come to define each market era.

  • Nov 7, 2014

This advice can be crucial for investors seeking help

  • Oct 25, 2014

The growth of superstar stocks is always marked by white-knuckled drops. Few have the nerve to hold on.

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It turns out, writing about a subject is a good way to figure out where you stand on the issue.

  • Sep 19, 2014

The greatest market timer and the worst market timer fare about the same as the dollar-cost averager.

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There are factors that can narrow the trader’s disadvantage, but capital gains taxes are still the big issue.

  • Aug 9, 2014

Traders pay a tax of 30 percent or more on short-term capital gains. Passive indexers come out ahead.

  • Jul 26, 2014

Barry Ritholtz offers the worst investing ideas he’s heard this year.

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  • Jun 13, 2014

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  • May 31, 2014

Without knowing when the economic environment has really changed, expensive mistakes are made.

  • May 16, 2014

Look at the motivations of pundits, strategists and fund managers before making investment decisions.

  • May 3, 2014

You might think that after last year’s strong gains, the markets might be due for a breather, but . . .

  • Apr 19, 2014

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  • Mar 22, 2014

You, your employer and your retirement plan’s investment managers have made a hash of it.

  • Mar 7, 2014

Wall Street sells the outcome-oriented approach. But over time, the process-oriented investor wins.

  • Feb 22, 2014

Rather than pretend mistakes never happened, I prefer to “own” them and learn from them.

  • Feb 8, 2014

Tech giant’s actions suggest that it very cognizant of the future — and potential threats to its core business.

  • Jan 24, 2014

The ups and downs of gold over the past 10 years can serve as an objective history lesson.

  • Jan 10, 2014

If you’ve resolved to get your financial life in order, here’s what you should do.

  • Dec 27, 2013

You should limit it to 2 or 3 percent. Otherwise, you are likely to miss the next bull market.

  • Dec 13, 2013

Media shopping reports, surveys, measures of foot traffic are pretty much meaningless.

  • Nov 29, 2013

Drop the forecasters, the wise men and the opinion mongers if you want to add value to the investing process.

  • Nov 15, 2013

Don’t be swayed by the glut of meaningless information that comes your way routinely.

  • Nov 1, 2013

The Nobel committee, in a fix, crafted an elegant solution to the problem posed by Fama’s more-recent work.

  • Oct 18, 2013

Regardless of your views of this law, approach the process objectively if you want to be a successful investor.

  • Oct 4, 2013

Although the collapse of the firm signaled an enduring financial crisis, Lehman didn’t cause the crisis.

  • Sep 21, 2013

Can the firm’s decline be attributed to an uninspired CEO? Is it a victim of its life cycle? Or is it something else?

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Too many investors have portfolios worthy of the derisive term Goldman Sachs employees used for clients.

  • Aug 23, 2013

After a week at Camp Kotok, lessons gleaned on why economists aren’t always on the money.

  • Aug 9, 2013

When Wall Street spins a yarn, its emotional pitch drives sales.

  • Jul 26, 2013

With historically low interest rates starting to rise, United States could miss a golden opportunity to rebuild.

  • Jul 12, 2013

For those who disliked my advice for investors who missed stocks’ historic rally, here’s what I think you missed.

  • Jun 28, 2013

So, you missed the big market rally. How to begin to repair the damage?

  • Jun 14, 2013

Goldman Sachs will let you invest in funds that charge big fees and return relatively little. But why would you?

  • May 24, 2013

Brown and Vitter may have created a blueprint for moving policy forward in a divided Congress.

  • May 10, 2013

Getting more and more news from the social network is having significant repercussions for markets — and your money.

  • Apr 20, 2013

Dollar cost averaging and portfolio rebalancing will improve your returns — assuming you are disciplined.

  • Apr 5, 2013

Barry Ritholtz: Before you let short-term news affect your judgment about a stock, ask yourself these questions.

  • Mar 22, 2013

Profits and valuations are what matter to your investments, not Republicans and Democrats.

  • Mar 8, 2013

COLUMN | Self-deception is especially costly when it comes to investing.

  • Feb 23, 2013

COLUMN | My goal every year is to make a whole new set of errors, rather than repeating the same mistakes.

  • Feb 9, 2013

These 10 enlightening strategies could keep you from making some common investing errors.

  • Jan 25, 2013

Huge shifts have already taken place, and understanding what they are will help your financial planning.

  • Jan 12, 2013

COLUMN | Many debunked theories and policies still have a vice grip on amateurs and professionals alike.

  • Dec 15, 2012

COLUMN | Other factors are weighing much more on equity markets than the ‘fiscal cliff’ talks.

  • Dec 1, 2012

COLUMN | Whenever there is a momentous event with winners and losers, you can take away lessons.

  • Nov 10, 2012

COLUMN: Knowing yourself and admitting your mistakes can help you avoid becoming your own worst enemy.

  • Oct 12, 2012

COLUMN | Sometimes you have an embarrassment of riches to select from; other times you are choosing the “least-worst“ option.

  • Sep 28, 2012

COLUMN | Ten inviolable rules for dealing with the sharks on the Street.

  • Aug 31, 2012

Lots of folks are wondering what happened to the Main Street mom and pop, retail investor. They seem to have taken their ball and gone home. It might be instructive to figure out why.

  • Aug 17, 2012

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 didn’t cause the financial crisis, but that and the push for deregulation made it worse.

  • Aug 4, 2012

Given recent low, low yields, perhaps it is time to revisit some of the basics about owning bonds, bond funds and ETFs. We can also explore what alternatives exist regarding yield and generating income.

  • Jul 20, 2012

QUARTERLY INVESTMENT REVIEW | Here are the top 10 errors you might be making with your money. Fix your strategy now — before the next storm hits.

  • Jul 11, 2012

COLUMN | Anyone complaining about a lack of certainty reveals how little they understand about the topic.

  • Jul 7, 2012

Bankers have belatedly taken a closer look at internal procedures for handling defaulted mortgages.

  • Jun 23, 2012

Our columnist slips off into the near future in his time machine to find that a simple FDIC rule change took taxpayers off the hook for banks’ risky bets and made the financial system safer.

  • Jun 1, 2012

One thing that makes the JPMorgan trade look especially foolish is that it’s nearly the same sort of recklessness that AIG exhibited: selling derivatives against zero reserves.

  • May 19, 2012

Q&A | The Post’s business editors turned to our investment columnist Barry Ritholtz for some plain talk on the stock sale.

  • May 16, 2012

Policy wonks and closet indexers are among the active fund managers you might do well to steer clear of.

  • May 4, 2012

If you want to grasp why America is not doomed, you must spend some time with its young entrepreneurs.

  • Apr 22, 2012

Stories of a recovery in the real estate market are a rite of spring, but columnist remains skeptical.

  • Apr 7, 2012

Apple’s plan to institute a dividend and buy back stock won’t much dent its cash pile. What should the company do? Buy Twitter.

  • Mar 24, 2012

COLUMN | Nation’s ordeal reveals yet another reason why the policies should be regulated as insurance.

  • Mar 10, 2012

The foreclosure settlement is an epic failure of law and a triumph for bank attorneys.

  • Feb 25, 2012

Far fewer users flock to the social media site than claimed. Its $100B valuation may be just as overstated.

  • Feb 11, 2012

Four years after the great financial collapse, three years after the recovery began and in the last year of President Obama’s term, the president has finally decided to investigate the role of fraud in the great global financial crisis.

  • Jan 28, 2012

Markets do not rally or sell off because one candidate or the other is more likely to win.

  • Jan 14, 2012

What’s an investor to do in 2012? Start by ignoring lists.

  • Dec 30, 2011

It doesn’t seem like any of our holiday wishes have been granted over the past decade.

  • Dec 23, 2011

The most troubling aspect of the firm’s demise? That the activities that led to its collapse were possibly legal.

  • Dec 17, 2011

Surveys of shoppers suggested that holiday retail sales climbed 16 percent from last year. They did not; it was hype.

  • Dec 3, 2011

COLUMN | The best way to dispel the Big Lie about its cause is to see how the data stack up

  • Nov 19, 2011

Rather than admit the error of their ways, those who helped cause the financial crisis are engaged in an active campaign to rewrite history.

  • Nov 5, 2011

If you travel overseas, you can see how disgraceful the U.S. infrastructure is — and one reason for our economic struggles. Here’s what we need to do:

  • Oct 22, 2011

There is an unfocused financial rage finding its voice with Occupy Wall Street. Here’s how the movement can find focus and accomplish important goals.

  • Oct 17, 2011

If your business involves the use of leveraged capital for speculation by your employees, then it is your job to know which, if any, of your people are not competent.

  • Sep 24, 2011

The range of investors’ opinions affects their outlooks about earnings and prices, and what they’re willing to pay in the markets.

  • Sep 10, 2011

COLUMN | Ignored in the avalanche of Steve Jobs coverage is the crushing effect his firm has had on competitors.

  • Sep 3, 2011

COLUMN | Banking system needs more than massive injections of liquidity, which only temporarily help.

  • Aug 27, 2011

Investors smacked by big market swings this past week should remember: The trend is your friend until that nasty bend at the end.

  • Aug 19, 2011

Nation’s central bank painted itself into a corner in its mishandling of interest rates after dot-com crash.

  • Aug 13, 2011

COLUMN | After last week’s tumult, will investors finally be inspired to adjust their risk parameters?

  • Aug 6, 2011

We’ve got some prolonged challenges: ongoing debt issues, unemployment, a housing overhang and economic frailty.

  • Jul 29, 2011

Why have analysts and economists on Wall Street gotten the recovery so wrong? Most are looking at the wrong data set, using the post-WWII recession recoveries as their frame of reference.

  • Jul 16, 2011

Happy birthday, America. But at 235 years old, you’re flabby, creaky and easily led astray. Take some tips from some other countries.

  • Jul 1, 2011

There are surprising insights to be gleaned from the experiences of the very wealthy regarding their investments and experience with wealth.

  • Jun 17, 2011

The Armageddon forecasters are a hardy breed. But they’re never right.

  • Jun 4, 2011

Great investors are savvy generalists, people conversant in about five fields of endeavor that are hugely helpful to asset management.

  • May 21, 2011

This question involves huge sums of money. Ninety million individuals in the United States have $12 trillion invested in mutual funds. In terms of saving for retirement, mutual funds holdings account for 54 percent of 401(k)s and 47 percent of IRAs (in dollar terms).

  • May 8, 2011

To help you wrap your head around the value of a dollar, it helps to look at five factors.

  • Apr 23, 2011

Anticipating (versus reacting to) the next black swan: What you should know and what do before the next financial disruption.

  • Apr 2, 2011

We need to make the executives personally liable for their own reckless bets if we really want to remove the risk for taxpayers. And that means giving shareholders, boards of directors and regulators the ability to “clawback” past gains when new speculations go horribly wrong.

  • Mar 12, 2011

Stick with the guy who will keep you from acting on your insane and harebrained investing schemes

  • May 27, 2016

He reportedly died without one — an expensive and avoidable oversight, even if you are not a superstar.

  • Apr 30, 2016

What all investors can learn from Ronald Wayne, a lesser-known co-founder.

  • Apr 15, 2016

Enjoy the economic expansion. It will end — just not as soon as the doomsayers believe.

  • Apr 2, 2016

The investor’s best interests should come before those of the adviser. Wall Street wants to tell you otherwise.

  • Mar 19, 2016

It’s time to admit to mistakes from last year.

  • Feb 19, 2016

A list of favorite books from 2015, curated with the curious investor in mind.

  • Feb 6, 2016

Like sports fans, too many investors are Monday morning quarterbacks. Get a better game plan.

  • Jan 23, 2016

This is what markets do — they go up and down, sometimes violently. Don’t panic. Stick with a long-term strategy.

  • Jan 8, 2016

My holiday gift to you: Ideas to make you a better investor. (No stock picks, predictions or economic analysis!)

  • Dec 26, 2015

No! So it shouldn’t be hard to ignore the financial forecasters — who can’t see the future any better than you.

  • Nov 28, 2015

They have sophisticated tools, capital and inside information.You won’t win at their game. Here’s how to play your own.

  • Nov 6, 2015

There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially where investments are concerned.

  • Oct 24, 2015

Just saying “no” to buying anything misses out on the best way to make intelligent financial decisions.

  • Sep 26, 2015

Everything you need to know about setting yourself up for epic failure could fit on a 4X6 index card.

  • Sep 12, 2015

Five things you can do now to get your financial house in order.

  • Aug 28, 2015

That means turn off the talking heads on financial TV and stop chasing the headlines with your money.

  • Aug 14, 2015

Most financial forecasts and predictions online are junk. Intelligent investors, ignore the noise.

  • Aug 1, 2015

Beware the money manager who chases the big headlines with your cash.

  • Jul 18, 2015

As Richard Thaler explains, investors behave against their own interests — but you can outsmart your brain

  • Jun 27, 2015

This isn’t a market call, but the best time to start planning is before markets become more stormy.

  • Jun 5, 2015

The recovery is not evenly distributed, and a few factors have a major influence on whether you feel it.

  • May 15, 2015

The Vermont gas station attendant who quietly accumulated a fortune.

  • Apr 25, 2015

It is impossible to make yourself hack-proof, but you can make yourself less vulnerable.

  • Apr 10, 2015

If a columnist writes about other people’s financial errors, he has to admit his own. Mea culpa.

  • Mar 21, 2015

Are stocks cheap — or overpriced? Knowing can help you know when and how to invest.

  • Mar 7, 2015

The immediate impact is negative, but the longer-term effects are more positive.

  • Feb 14, 2015

Not just Uber: Tech firms are uniquely poised to topple old, entrenched businesses in many industries

  • Jan 29, 2015

The media and Wall Street help drive a parade of money-losing tomfoolery that’s all just marketing.

  • Jan 16, 2015

Knowing when to seek help, and adhering to the old tenets of patience and discipline, can lead to success.

  • Dec 20, 2014

I have $100,000 that says this is a better portfolio than what Anthony Robbins is pushing.

  • Dec 6, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton’s baseball deal isn’t as much as it sounds like, and he still needs to budget and plan ahead.

  • Nov 21, 2014

These extended financial periods — some of which can last decades — come to define each market era.

  • Nov 7, 2014

This advice can be crucial for investors seeking help

  • Oct 25, 2014

The growth of superstar stocks is always marked by white-knuckled drops. Few have the nerve to hold on.

  • Oct 4, 2014

It turns out, writing about a subject is a good way to figure out where you stand on the issue.

  • Sep 19, 2014

The greatest market timer and the worst market timer fare about the same as the dollar-cost averager.

  • Aug 23, 2014

There are factors that can narrow the trader’s disadvantage, but capital gains taxes are still the big issue.

  • Aug 9, 2014

Traders pay a tax of 30 percent or more on short-term capital gains. Passive indexers come out ahead.

  • Jul 26, 2014

Barry Ritholtz offers the worst investing ideas he’s heard this year.

  • Jul 5, 2014

Here’s an easy way to figure out which talking heads know what they’re talking about.

  • Jun 13, 2014

Financial stress and bankruptcy are startlingly common for athletes once their playing careers come to an end.

  • May 31, 2014

Without knowing when the economic environment has really changed, expensive mistakes are made.

  • May 16, 2014

Look at the motivations of pundits, strategists and fund managers before making investment decisions.

  • May 3, 2014

You might think that after last year’s strong gains, the markets might be due for a breather, but . . .

  • Apr 19, 2014

Valuation is a tougher question than many realize, and analysts’ estimates are at best an informed guess.

  • Mar 22, 2014

You, your employer and your retirement plan’s investment managers have made a hash of it.

  • Mar 7, 2014

Wall Street sells the outcome-oriented approach. But over time, the process-oriented investor wins.

  • Feb 22, 2014

Rather than pretend mistakes never happened, I prefer to “own” them and learn from them.

  • Feb 8, 2014

Tech giant’s actions suggest that it very cognizant of the future — and potential threats to its core business.

  • Jan 24, 2014

The ups and downs of gold over the past 10 years can serve as an objective history lesson.

  • Jan 10, 2014

If you’ve resolved to get your financial life in order, here’s what you should do.

  • Dec 27, 2013

You should limit it to 2 or 3 percent. Otherwise, you are likely to miss the next bull market.

  • Dec 13, 2013

Media shopping reports, surveys, measures of foot traffic are pretty much meaningless.

  • Nov 29, 2013

Drop the forecasters, the wise men and the opinion mongers if you want to add value to the investing process.

  • Nov 15, 2013

Don’t be swayed by the glut of meaningless information that comes your way routinely.

  • Nov 1, 2013

The Nobel committee, in a fix, crafted an elegant solution to the problem posed by Fama’s more-recent work.

  • Oct 18, 2013

Regardless of your views of this law, approach the process objectively if you want to be a successful investor.

  • Oct 4, 2013

Although the collapse of the firm signaled an enduring financial crisis, Lehman didn’t cause the crisis.

  • Sep 21, 2013

Can the firm’s decline be attributed to an uninspired CEO? Is it a victim of its life cycle? Or is it something else?

  • Sep 6, 2013

Too many investors have portfolios worthy of the derisive term Goldman Sachs employees used for clients.

  • Aug 23, 2013

After a week at Camp Kotok, lessons gleaned on why economists aren’t always on the money.

  • Aug 9, 2013

When Wall Street spins a yarn, its emotional pitch drives sales.

  • Jul 26, 2013

With historically low interest rates starting to rise, United States could miss a golden opportunity to rebuild.

  • Jul 12, 2013

For those who disliked my advice for investors who missed stocks’ historic rally, here’s what I think you missed.

  • Jun 28, 2013

So, you missed the big market rally. How to begin to repair the damage?

  • Jun 14, 2013

Goldman Sachs will let you invest in funds that charge big fees and return relatively little. But why would you?

  • May 24, 2013

Brown and Vitter may have created a blueprint for moving policy forward in a divided Congress.

  • May 10, 2013

Getting more and more news from the social network is having significant repercussions for markets — and your money.

  • Apr 20, 2013

Dollar cost averaging and portfolio rebalancing will improve your returns — assuming you are disciplined.

  • Apr 5, 2013

Barry Ritholtz: Before you let short-term news affect your judgment about a stock, ask yourself these questions.

  • Mar 22, 2013

Profits and valuations are what matter to your investments, not Republicans and Democrats.

  • Mar 8, 2013

COLUMN | Self-deception is especially costly when it comes to investing.

  • Feb 23, 2013

COLUMN | My goal every year is to make a whole new set of errors, rather than repeating the same mistakes.

  • Feb 9, 2013

These 10 enlightening strategies could keep you from making some common investing errors.

  • Jan 25, 2013

Huge shifts have already taken place, and understanding what they are will help your financial planning.

  • Jan 12, 2013

COLUMN | Many debunked theories and policies still have a vice grip on amateurs and professionals alike.

  • Dec 15, 2012

COLUMN | Other factors are weighing much more on equity markets than the ‘fiscal cliff’ talks.

  • Dec 1, 2012

COLUMN | Whenever there is a momentous event with winners and losers, you can take away lessons.

  • Nov 10, 2012

COLUMN: Knowing yourself and admitting your mistakes can help you avoid becoming your own worst enemy.

  • Oct 12, 2012

COLUMN | Sometimes you have an embarrassment of riches to select from; other times you are choosing the “least-worst“ option.

  • Sep 28, 2012

COLUMN | Ten inviolable rules for dealing with the sharks on the Street.

  • Aug 31, 2012

Lots of folks are wondering what happened to the Main Street mom and pop, retail investor. They seem to have taken their ball and gone home. It might be instructive to figure out why.

  • Aug 17, 2012

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 didn’t cause the financial crisis, but that and the push for deregulation made it worse.

  • Aug 4, 2012

Given recent low, low yields, perhaps it is time to revisit some of the basics about owning bonds, bond funds and ETFs. We can also explore what alternatives exist regarding yield and generating income.

  • Jul 20, 2012

QUARTERLY INVESTMENT REVIEW | Here are the top 10 errors you might be making with your money. Fix your strategy now — before the next storm hits.

  • Jul 11, 2012

COLUMN | Anyone complaining about a lack of certainty reveals how little they understand about the topic.

  • Jul 7, 2012

Bankers have belatedly taken a closer look at internal procedures for handling defaulted mortgages.

  • Jun 23, 2012

Our columnist slips off into the near future in his time machine to find that a simple FDIC rule change took taxpayers off the hook for banks’ risky bets and made the financial system safer.

  • Jun 1, 2012

One thing that makes the JPMorgan trade look especially foolish is that it’s nearly the same sort of recklessness that AIG exhibited: selling derivatives against zero reserves.

  • May 19, 2012

Q&A | The Post’s business editors turned to our investment columnist Barry Ritholtz for some plain talk on the stock sale.

  • May 16, 2012

Policy wonks and closet indexers are among the active fund managers you might do well to steer clear of.

  • May 4, 2012

If you want to grasp why America is not doomed, you must spend some time with its young entrepreneurs.

  • Apr 22, 2012

Stories of a recovery in the real estate market are a rite of spring, but columnist remains skeptical.

  • Apr 7, 2012

Apple’s plan to institute a dividend and buy back stock won’t much dent its cash pile. What should the company do? Buy Twitter.

  • Mar 24, 2012

COLUMN | Nation’s ordeal reveals yet another reason why the policies should be regulated as insurance.

  • Mar 10, 2012

The foreclosure settlement is an epic failure of law and a triumph for bank attorneys.

  • Feb 25, 2012

Far fewer users flock to the social media site than claimed. Its $100B valuation may be just as overstated.

  • Feb 11, 2012

Four years after the great financial collapse, three years after the recovery began and in the last year of President Obama’s term, the president has finally decided to investigate the role of fraud in the great global financial crisis.

  • Jan 28, 2012

Markets do not rally or sell off because one candidate or the other is more likely to win.

  • Jan 14, 2012

What’s an investor to do in 2012? Start by ignoring lists.

  • Dec 30, 2011

It doesn’t seem like any of our holiday wishes have been granted over the past decade.

  • Dec 23, 2011

The most troubling aspect of the firm’s demise? That the activities that led to its collapse were possibly legal.

  • Dec 17, 2011

Surveys of shoppers suggested that holiday retail sales climbed 16 percent from last year. They did not; it was hype.

  • Dec 3, 2011

COLUMN | The best way to dispel the Big Lie about its cause is to see how the data stack up

  • Nov 19, 2011

Rather than admit the error of their ways, those who helped cause the financial crisis are engaged in an active campaign to rewrite history.

  • Nov 5, 2011

If you travel overseas, you can see how disgraceful the U.S. infrastructure is — and one reason for our economic struggles. Here’s what we need to do:

  • Oct 22, 2011

There is an unfocused financial rage finding its voice with Occupy Wall Street. Here’s how the movement can find focus and accomplish important goals.

  • Oct 17, 2011

If your business involves the use of leveraged capital for speculation by your employees, then it is your job to know which, if any, of your people are not competent.

  • Sep 24, 2011

The range of investors’ opinions affects their outlooks about earnings and prices, and what they’re willing to pay in the markets.

  • Sep 10, 2011

COLUMN | Ignored in the avalanche of Steve Jobs coverage is the crushing effect his firm has had on competitors.

  • Sep 3, 2011

COLUMN | Banking system needs more than massive injections of liquidity, which only temporarily help.

  • Aug 27, 2011

Investors smacked by big market swings this past week should remember: The trend is your friend until that nasty bend at the end.

  • Aug 19, 2011

Nation’s central bank painted itself into a corner in its mishandling of interest rates after dot-com crash.

  • Aug 13, 2011

COLUMN | After last week’s tumult, will investors finally be inspired to adjust their risk parameters?

  • Aug 6, 2011

We’ve got some prolonged challenges: ongoing debt issues, unemployment, a housing overhang and economic frailty.

  • Jul 29, 2011

Why have analysts and economists on Wall Street gotten the recovery so wrong? Most are looking at the wrong data set, using the post-WWII recession recoveries as their frame of reference.

  • Jul 16, 2011

Happy birthday, America. But at 235 years old, you’re flabby, creaky and easily led astray. Take some tips from some other countries.

  • Jul 1, 2011

There are surprising insights to be gleaned from the experiences of the very wealthy regarding their investments and experience with wealth.

  • Jun 17, 2011

The Armageddon forecasters are a hardy breed. But they’re never right.

  • Jun 4, 2011

Great investors are savvy generalists, people conversant in about five fields of endeavor that are hugely helpful to asset management.

  • May 21, 2011

This question involves huge sums of money. Ninety million individuals in the United States have $12 trillion invested in mutual funds. In terms of saving for retirement, mutual funds holdings account for 54 percent of 401(k)s and 47 percent of IRAs (in dollar terms).

  • May 8, 2011

To help you wrap your head around the value of a dollar, it helps to look at five factors.

  • Apr 23, 2011

Anticipating (versus reacting to) the next black swan: What you should know and what do before the next financial disruption.

  • Apr 2, 2011

We need to make the executives personally liable for their own reckless bets if we really want to remove the risk for taxpayers. And that means giving shareholders, boards of directors and regulators the ability to “clawback” past gains when new speculations go horribly wrong.

  • Mar 12, 2011

Stick with the guy who will keep you from acting on your insane and harebrained investing schemes

  • May 27, 2016

He reportedly died without one — an expensive and avoidable oversight, even if you are not a superstar.

  • Apr 30, 2016

What all investors can learn from Ronald Wayne, a lesser-known co-founder.

  • Apr 15, 2016

Enjoy the economic expansion. It will end — just not as soon as the doomsayers believe.

  • Apr 2, 2016

The investor’s best interests should come before those of the adviser. Wall Street wants to tell you otherwise.

  • Mar 19, 2016

It’s time to admit to mistakes from last year.

  • Feb 19, 2016

A list of favorite books from 2015, curated with the curious investor in mind.

  • Feb 6, 2016

Like sports fans, too many investors are Monday morning quarterbacks. Get a better game plan.

  • Jan 23, 2016

This is what markets do — they go up and down, sometimes violently. Don’t panic. Stick with a long-term strategy.

  • Jan 8, 2016

My holiday gift to you: Ideas to make you a better investor. (No stock picks, predictions or economic analysis!)

  • Dec 26, 2015

No! So it shouldn’t be hard to ignore the financial forecasters — who can’t see the future any better than you.

  • Nov 28, 2015

They have sophisticated tools, capital and inside information.You won’t win at their game. Here’s how to play your own.

  • Nov 6, 2015

There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially where investments are concerned.

  • Oct 24, 2015

Just saying “no” to buying anything misses out on the best way to make intelligent financial decisions.

  • Sep 26, 2015

Everything you need to know about setting yourself up for epic failure could fit on a 4X6 index card.

  • Sep 12, 2015

Five things you can do now to get your financial house in order.

  • Aug 28, 2015

That means turn off the talking heads on financial TV and stop chasing the headlines with your money.

  • Aug 14, 2015

Most financial forecasts and predictions online are junk. Intelligent investors, ignore the noise.

  • Aug 1, 2015

Beware the money manager who chases the big headlines with your cash.

  • Jul 18, 2015

As Richard Thaler explains, investors behave against their own interests — but you can outsmart your brain

  • Jun 27, 2015

This isn’t a market call, but the best time to start planning is before markets become more stormy.

  • Jun 5, 2015

The recovery is not evenly distributed, and a few factors have a major influence on whether you feel it.

  • May 15, 2015

The Vermont gas station attendant who quietly accumulated a fortune.

  • Apr 25, 2015

It is impossible to make yourself hack-proof, but you can make yourself less vulnerable.

  • Apr 10, 2015

If a columnist writes about other people’s financial errors, he has to admit his own. Mea culpa.

  • Mar 21, 2015

Are stocks cheap — or overpriced? Knowing can help you know when and how to invest.

  • Mar 7, 2015

The immediate impact is negative, but the longer-term effects are more positive.

  • Feb 14, 2015

Not just Uber: Tech firms are uniquely poised to topple old, entrenched businesses in many industries

  • Jan 29, 2015

The media and Wall Street help drive a parade of money-losing tomfoolery that’s all just marketing.

  • Jan 16, 2015

Knowing when to seek help, and adhering to the old tenets of patience and discipline, can lead to success.

  • Dec 20, 2014

I have $100,000 that says this is a better portfolio than what Anthony Robbins is pushing.

  • Dec 6, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton’s baseball deal isn’t as much as it sounds like, and he still needs to budget and plan ahead.

  • Nov 21, 2014

These extended financial periods — some of which can last decades — come to define each market era.

  • Nov 7, 2014

This advice can be crucial for investors seeking help

  • Oct 25, 2014

The growth of superstar stocks is always marked by white-knuckled drops. Few have the nerve to hold on.

  • Oct 4, 2014

It turns out, writing about a subject is a good way to figure out where you stand on the issue.

  • Sep 19, 2014

The greatest market timer and the worst market timer fare about the same as the dollar-cost averager.

  • Aug 23, 2014

There are factors that can narrow the trader’s disadvantage, but capital gains taxes are still the big issue.

  • Aug 9, 2014

Traders pay a tax of 30 percent or more on short-term capital gains. Passive indexers come out ahead.

  • Jul 26, 2014

Barry Ritholtz offers the worst investing ideas he’s heard this year.

  • Jul 5, 2014

Here’s an easy way to figure out which talking heads know what they’re talking about.

  • Jun 13, 2014

Financial stress and bankruptcy are startlingly common for athletes once their playing careers come to an end.

  • May 31, 2014

Without knowing when the economic environment has really changed, expensive mistakes are made.

  • May 16, 2014

Look at the motivations of pundits, strategists and fund managers before making investment decisions.

  • May 3, 2014

You might think that after last year’s strong gains, the markets might be due for a breather, but . . .

  • Apr 19, 2014

Valuation is a tougher question than many realize, and analysts’ estimates are at best an informed guess.

  • Mar 22, 2014

You, your employer and your retirement plan’s investment managers have made a hash of it.

  • Mar 7, 2014

Wall Street sells the outcome-oriented approach. But over time, the process-oriented investor wins.

  • Feb 22, 2014

Rather than pretend mistakes never happened, I prefer to “own” them and learn from them.

  • Feb 8, 2014

Tech giant’s actions suggest that it very cognizant of the future — and potential threats to its core business.

  • Jan 24, 2014

 

Black Friday Forecasts Still Suck

Holiday Sales Forecasts Still Stink
Just say no to unreliable methodologies.
Bloomberg, November 22, 2017

 

 

It’s that time of year when we all gather to give thanks for our blessings, overindulge in various foodstuffs, and, of course, go shopping.

Shopmas is also the time of the year when I call out the National Retail Federation for their bogus retail forecasts; they return the favor by calling me a Grinch. Sales forecasts drawn from the NRF’s annual survey have been consistently bad — rarely even coming close to actual holiday retail sales numbers as reported by the Census Bureau — and the methodology is unreliable.

Our annual dance looks something like this:

1. An NRF survey of shoppers asks them what they plan to spend this holiday season and what they spent last year;

2. The net difference between those two numbers gets shared by the media as the gain (or loss) for the upcoming holiday shopping season;

3. Headline writers will get it totally wrong, as much of the media reports the surveys as if they were hard sales data;

4. The forecasts inevitably are proven wrong; and

5. Almost no one recalls this when the actually sales data comes out in January.

 

The NRF did make a minor adjustment to their approach this year, now forecasting a range for holiday sales gains. And so:

The National Retail Federation announced today that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year.

Predicting a range instead of a single specific number, while not an improvement on the underlying methodology, does increase the likelihood that the NRF’s prediction will be correct. It is much easier to hit a range of almost half a percent than to nail an exact number.

Well played, NRF. You are a worthy opponent.

As it turns out, the way the NRF forecasts seasonal sales results is pretty awful. Relying on a survey of shoppers instead of using real sales data is deeply problematic.

Why? Well, there are quite a few reasons:

• People’s memories are surprisingly unreliable. The way to learn what you spent last year during the holidays is to look at your bank accounts and credit card statements. Guessing that number is simply untrustworthy. 1

• As individuals, we really do not know what we are going to do in the future. People are simply terrible at predicting their own behaviors. This has been repeatedly validated by academic literature2

• When we survey people, we learn how they are feeling at that very moment — and little else. Trying to forecast future behavior this way is an inherently problematic methodology. Incidentally, this also helps to explain why “things” tend to not make us all that much happier. People often expect that a shiny new house/car/boat/gadget/bauble will increase their total life satisfaction; instead, their predictions fail, because they eventually become used to it.

• The last way we know that this survey methodology is unreliable is to look at its track record. It has been uniformly awful.

Note it is not just this one retail trade group that relies on a flawed methodology, but others as well. Even Gallup, which should know better, does the same thing.

Why make a big deal about this? Well, facts matter, especially to investors. Relying on overly optimistic (or excessively pessimistic) forecasts spells trouble for people who put capital at risk.

We can make an educated guess as to what sales data for 2017 will look like, but not much more than that. Despite what you might have read, we barely have any idea of what holiday sales will be like, or what the Black Friday retail numbers will be.

Happy Shopmas, everybody. Grinch out.

 

___________

1. How good is your memory? It is neither precise nor accurate — a polite way of saying it is not all that good. Quick, what did you spend last year on holiday gifts? Unless you have an uncanny sense of recall, or you actually tallied up last year’s spending, “I don’t know” is the only accurate answer. My pet thesis is that you’ve been trained to respond with an answer — any answer — other than “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Most of us suffer from the erroneous belief that admitting we don’t know the answer to a question is somehow a sign of ignorance or stupidity. So most people instead make up a ballpark number that sounds somewhat reasonable.

2. Not only is it not peer-reviewed by other statisticians, this year, the details of the methodology are not in the press release, and seem to not be publicly available on the NRF website.

 

Originally: Holiday Sales Forecasts Still Stink

My WaPo Articles, 2011-17

I have been writing about investing, market policy and personal finance for the Sunday Washington Post Business Section since 2011.

Thanks to a recent reorganization that has the Post more focused on governance, policy and all things DC-related, the Sunday section has been revamped, with less investing/finance related content.

Like all good things in life, this too must end: My run with the Washington Post has officially reached its end. I appreciate all the wonderful people I worked with there. Jeff Bezos and the 2016 campaign has breathed new life into it.

The Washington Post is a great paper; I very much liked being part of an old school print operation, as it gave me a front seat onto the challenges of that sort of business.

Here is the archive of all of my WaPo columns over the past 6 years:

 

 

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2017

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2016

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2015

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2014

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2013

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2012

Articles by Barry Ritholtz : 2011

10 Friday AM Read

Last two days of Shopmas! Kick off your holidays with our morning train plane reads:

• Investing When It Doesn’t Make Any Sense (Wealth of Common Sense)
• Jack Bogle: ‘Main Street hasn’t been taking its fair share’ (Business Insider)
• The Pot-Belly of Ignorance (Medium)
• Big flops. Waning studio profits. What Hollywood’s record box office doesn’t tell you (LA Times)
• Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian, Innovator, Micromanager (Harvard Business Review)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Bruce Tuchman, who brought numerous US cable channels — Nickelodeon, AMC Global, MGM, Sundance, etc to a global audience.

Continues here

 

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