Money For the Rest of Us

Money For the Rest of Us

A personal finance and investing podcast on money, how it works, how to invest it and how to live without worrying about it. J. David Stein is a former Chief Investment Strategist and money manager. For close to two decades, he has been teaching individuals and institutions how to invest and handle their finances in ways that are simple to understand. More info at moneyfortherestofus.com

Episodes

February 21, 2024 25 mins

How the ETF market is changing, why ETFs should be your preferred investment vehicle, and how to analyze ETFs to generate better investment performance.

Topics covered include:

  • How large have fund flows been away from active mutual funds into ETFs
  • How big are the largest ETF families and how has their market share grown
  • Why the rise of active ETFs blurs the distinction between active and passive investing
  • Why there doesn't ...
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Stocks that grow their dividends have outperformed non-dividend-paying stocks over the long-term, but not in the past 5, 10, and 20 years. Why are non-dividend paying stocks outperforming dividend growers, and will it continue?

Topics covered include:

  • What message do companies say when they initiate, grow, or cut their dividend
  • What is dividend smoothing
  • How have dividend payers performed relative to non-dividend payers
  • Why...
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Humans are wired to feel regret. Here's how to learn from financial regret to become a better investor.

Topics covered include:

  • What cognitive biases make feelings of financial regret unavoidable
  • We analyze two regret case studies - one from David and one from a Plus member
  • Why do we avoid big regrets but manage through small ones
  • Five cognitive tricks to help manage financial regrets

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Professional investors and other market participants are lousy at forecasting interest rates. Here are three more options to lock in higher yields today.

Topics covered include:

  • The risk of buying long-term bonds and ETFs to benefit from falling yields
  • How volatility drag has impacted a long-term bond ETF like TLT
  • Why interest rates won't go up just because the government issues more bonds
  • How CDs, fixed annuities, and zero...
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With cash yields expected to fall, here's how you can keep your portfolio income elevated by purchasing longer-term individual bonds and bullet ETFs

Topics covered include:

  • How future short-term interest rates, inflation expectations, and term premiums impact long-term interest rates
  • How each of those rate drivers contributed to the close to 1% drop in interest rates in the past three months
  • How yield to maturity is our gu...
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We explore reasons for buying Bitcoin using one of the new Bitcoin ETFs. We also consider the risks.

Topics covered include:

  • Why the SEC finally decided to approve spot Bitcoin ETFs
  • What are the fees and structure of these new Bitcoin ETFs
  • How Bitcoin is similar and different from the fiat money system
  • Where Bitcoin fits in an investment portfolio


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The intricate dance between profession, risk, lifestyle, and luck in determining how net worth grows.

Topics covered include:

  • The various factors that shape the growth of net worth, including professional choices, risk tolerance, and lifestyle decisions.
  • David Stein's personal account of how these elements influenced the trajectory of his financial growth.
  • Insights into the range of net worth increases observed in 2023, dr...
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The pros and cons of investing your retirement assets 100% in equity, including half in international stocks. Why the 4% spending rule is too aggressive.

  • Why historical asset class return studies that use only U.S. data are biased
  • How researchers build a broader database to study retirement outcomes and spending rates
  • How a 100% stock portfolio performed compared to balanced portfolios and target date funds
  • Why investors s...
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December 13, 2023 44 mins

We close out 2023 by answering your questions on active vs passive management, market timing, investing for status, what we learned from Charlie Munger, thoughts on a coming recession, worst investment mistakes, recent books that changed us, and more.  

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Do the impressive returns in public and private markets stem from strategic financial engineering or reflect actual economic growth?

  • How corporate profit growth is linked to economic growth, even though corporate profits are more volatile
  • How interest rates, tax rates, and stock buybacks influence corporate profits and stock returns
  • Why there are fewer publicly traded stocks
  • How the increase in leveraged buyouts has impact...
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One year after the release of ChatGPT, we explore the positive and negative paths AI could take and what individuals can do to assist with a positive outcome.

Topics covered include:

  • How David uses AI to increase his personal productivity
  • The societal and economic impacts of AI, including its potential to enhance corporate profitability and individual productivity
  • Changes at OpenAI's executive level are examined, highlight...
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In this bonus episode, David visits with Bill Yount and Becky Heptig of the Catching Up to Fi podcast in a wide-ranging discussion on investing using a systematic checklist approach.

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What are the economic and cultural benefits of tourism. What are the downsides to too much tourism. How to find the right balance.

Topics covered include:

  • How short-term rentals have changed tourism
  • How cities grapple with too many short-term rentals
  • What is the outlook for short-term rentals
  • How much does tourism contribute to economic output
  • How can tourism be harmful and helpful
  • The example of Cuba


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What are the pros and cons of partially funding retirement expenses with an inflation-indexed bond ladder versus an immediate annuity? There is a big downside to TIPS ladders that many investors don't realize.

Topics covered include:

  • Why the stock market is more risky than many people realize
  • Is it too late to invest in TIPS as one advisor suggests
  • How TIPS and TIPS ladders work
  • How immediate annuities work
  • The pros and cons...
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We discuss ten rules of thumb for individual investors to consider when saving and investing for and in retirement.

  1. Don't use institutional hand-me-downs
  2. Stay close to home base
  3. Beware of dragon risk
  4. Mind your investment seasons
  5. Catch the popping corn
  6. Watch for market swarms
  7. Track the economic winds
  8. Follow the traffic lights
  9. Diversify your baskets
  10. Don't burn your ships


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Interest rates have been sliding for seven centuries. Dive into the historical forces driving this trend and examine whether the recent interest rate spike is just a blip on the radar.

Topics covered include:

  • How the supply of savings and the demand to borrow impact interest rates
  • Why have interest rates been falling for over 700 years, and what might have changed recently to propel rates higher
  • How lower rates have helped...
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Why investing in non-investment grade bonds, leveraged loans, and preferred stocks is potentially more compelling than investing in common stocks at present.

Topics covered include:

  • Why Howard Marks told institutional clients to sell stocks and buy high-yield bonds instead
  • The contractual agreements comprising bonds, leveraged loans, and preferred stock give them an advantage relative to common stocks
  • How preferred equity ...
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Our allocation to risky assets should vary based on the expected return, volatility, risk aversion, and how much we can earn risk-free. That means we should be taking less risk right now. Listen to learn why.

Topics covered include:

  • Why there are so few billionaires
  • Why the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management imploded
  • Why how much to invest is more important than where to invest
  • How the Merton share formula can assist w...
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We explore six impacts of higher interest rates on housing, capital projects, stock buybacks, excess returns for stocks, bonds, and other asset classes, and individual opportunity costs.

Topics covered include:

  • Where current interest rates stand
  • Central banker predictions for how long cash yields will stay this high
  • Why housing is the least affordable since the early 1980s
  • Why new apartment building construction has collaps...
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What are the economic and financial system early warning signs that we should heed rather than get caught up in fearmongering? When should we start to worry about ballooning budget deficits, the national debt, a currency collapse, or the stock market?

Topics covered include:

  • Signals to monitor to see if things are falling apart
  • How much government debt is too much and why interest rates are key
  • Why central banks don't cont...
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