The 50 Best Investing Insights of 2015

December 24, 2015

for anyone that wants some god reading over the holidays below is a great reference for 50 articles that were written in 2015. They are divided into categories for you to select the topic you wish to read up on. All articles titles are links for you to read the full posting.

This is list courtesy of Michael Johnston over at Fund Reference.

With each passing year, the quality of investing-related content seems to increase (though there’s a lot of garbage out there as well). During the past year I came across too many great pieces to count. 

Below are 50 posts from 2015 that I especially enjoyed. Most of them are short and relatively straightforward. A few (such as #16) are a bit more complex. The common thread is that all made me a bit smarter, more thoughtful, or better informed (and a few had the added bonus of making me laugh).

This list is broken into eight sections; posts within each section are listed in alphabetical order, by author (or site) first name:

Psychology of Investing

These articles touched on a subject that fascinates me: the role of human emotions in the investing process.

  1. The First Barrier to Becoming Wealthy: The first in a series of excellent posts from Alan Steel on how the brain stands in the way of investing success (others in the series here and here).
  2. We Eat Dollar Weighted Returns: David Merkel (continuing a series) on information lumps, analyst ratings, and the returns that really matter.
  3. Focus on the Addition by the Elimination of Subtraction: Gary Carmell on Paul McCulley, future millennial millionaires, and not losing.
  4. Investment Wisdom May Increase With Age, Dance Skills Don’t: Meredith Jones on Ferris Bueller, surf camp, and truths to guide the investment process.
  5. The Truth About Investing: A post on Holy Grails, human error, and understanding feelings and emotions.
  6. Fooled By Randomness: Shane Parrish (reviewing Nassim Taleb’s book) on probability, fragility, and luck.

Portfolio Management

These articles offered specific thoughts on various aspects of portfolio management, from keeping cash in your portfolio to the outlook for emerging markets.

  1. Some investing lessons from Julius Caesar: Anthony Isola on Rome’s worst nightmares, true allies, and building a financial empire.
  2. Diversification Means Always Having To Say You’re Sorry: Brian Portnoy on modern portfolio theory, the science of regret, and “the investor’s paradox.”
  3. Cheap or expensive? The one thing about equity valuation that few talk about: Cam Hui’s thoughts on valuation, overvaluation, and the next bear market.
  4. Why Retirees Should Never Invest In Annuities: Charles Sizemore on LIFO, lump sums, and (really large) loads.
  5. Investing versus Flipping: Chris Brightman on emerging markets, rental property in Atlanta, and long-term returns.
  6. In Defense of Cash: Elliot Turner on robo-advisor wars and why Warren Buffett “thinks of cash differently than the conventional investors.”
  7. Mean Reversion & Asset Allocation: James Osborne (with the help of a great chart) on REITs, BRICs, and predicting what happens next.
  8. Why Emerging Markets Won’t Crash: Mark Dow on emerging markets’ Original Sin and overstating past parallels.
  9. How Safe Withdrawal Rates Work: A post on average returns, lazy portfolios, and planning for a long retirement.
  10. Market risk; model smash: Salil Mehta on orange stars, brown arrows, and patterns in market crashes.

Keeping Perspective

This group of articles serves as a reminder to not believe everything you hear, and keep a focus on the long term.

  1. Update: Predicting the Next Recession: Bill McBride’s update to a 2013 piece, touching on yellow journalism, stock market forecasts, and causes of the next recession.
  2. There Are no Holy Grails: Cullen Roche on gold, hedge funds, and sticking to your strategy.
  3. Looking for the best market parallel? Try the 40′s: Erik Swarts on Milton Friedman and the market once again making its own distinct path.
  4. The stock market is not the economy: Isaac Presley of Cordant Wealth on growth/return incongruence and the home country bias.
  5. Yesterday’s Stock Market Slide In Historical Context: James Picerno on digging bunkers, gum on New York sidewalks, and keeping the Dow in perspective.
  6. Fact-Checking William D. Cohan; Or, Paul Is Not Dead: Jeff Matthews on Dodd-Frank, Paul McCartney, and not believing everything you hear.

Comic Relief

These pieces were both insightful and hilarious.

  1. Things People Say During a Market Correction: Ben Carlson on barber shops, falling knives, and dealing with downturns (to complement his equally entertaining Things People Say During a Bull Market).
  2. and now, a brief rant about historic valuation: Josh Brown on horse dentists, Google, and historical context.

Avoiding Mistakes

These articles touched on some of the common mistakes many investors make, and how they might be avoided.

  1. Everybody Plays the Fool (Sometimes): Bob Searwight on Cuba Gooding, Sr., April Fools, and the ways many of us are foolish with our finances.
  2. The Worst Investment Strategy Ever: Michael Batnick on risk, loss, and waiting for clarity.
  3. The Overconfidence Gap: Michael James on coaching baseball, flipping coins, and keeping confidence in check.
  4. Simple Is Better: Roger Nusbaum on avoiding catastrophes, earnings peaks, and human factors in retirement planning.

Getting (Good) Financial Advice

The following articles give some excellent ideas for seeking out good, unbiased financial advice.

  1. The Perfect Financial Advisor: Jim Dahle on fiduciaries, the many roads to Dublin, and the financial advisors he recommends.
  2. The Unreliable Experts: getting in the way of outstanding performance: Jim O’Shaughnessy on H.L Mencken, the 1972 presidential campaign, and seeing the long term.
  3. The Characteristics of Good Financial Advice: Kris Venne on toothbrushes, Google searches, and finding good financial advice.
  4. Moving Beyond Sound-Bite Investing Wisdom: Mike Piper on diversification, costs, and asking the wrong questions.
  5. Confessions of a Jaded Hedge Fund Manager: Robin Powell (and Andrew Feinberg) on insider trading, active management, and money managers’ insecurity.
  6. Three Ways Advisors Hurt Their Clients: Sam Lee on kickbacks, pensions, and how advisors sometimes subtract value.

Quality of Life

These pieces made me stop and think about the way we spend our days and the trade-offs we always make.

  1. The remarkable life and lessons of the $8 million janitor: Barry Ritholtz on patience, taxes, and a remarkable road to becoming a millionaire.
  2. The Last Thing I Would Want to Do: Gunnar Peterson on miner’s helmets, Mac and Cheese, and quality of life.
  3. A Letter to My Unborn Grandchildren: Jason Zweig on simpler times, Roy Rogers, and investments in real estate.
  4. When Did You Know You Were Rich?: A short piece from Meb Faber about Buffett and a new pair of blue jeans at Christmas.
  5. Financial Advice for My New Son: Morgan Housel on fancy watches, being poor, and how much we spend.
  6. Ideal self vs. financial self: Tadas Viskanta on financial plans, the long term, and a life full of trade-offs.
  7. Slowing down: Long-term investing and lessons from a Stovetop coffee maker: A post from The Thought Factory on walking more, talking less, and bringing clarity to the investment process.

Random Bits

Finally, these articles weren’t easily categorized but offered up some great lessons and thought experiments.

  1. Measure Investment Success Like a Golfer: Brendan Mullooly on quadruple bogeys, the NBA playoffs, and the impact of negative numbers.
  2. Let’s Try this Market Metaphor: The always entertaining Eddy Elfenbein on a stock price committee, outliers, and fear premiums.
  3. It’s A New Information Age in Financial Markets: Jeff Carter on Eugene Fama, hog futures, and access to information.
  4. Big Raises And Lifestyle Creep – Why It’s Crucial To Establish Good Spending Habits Early: Michael Kitces on career trajectories, new cars, and financial planning for 50-year olds.
  5. What do we ‘know’ about investing – but can’t prove with stats?: Michael Santoli (with a bit of help) on acceptance of elitism, mom & pop investors, and 21-sigma events.
  6. Lessons from Market Extremes: Patrick O’Shaughnessy on glamour stocks, lottery tickets, and the case for value investing.
  7. 10 Non-Investing Quotes With Great Investing Lessons: Todd Wenning with words of wisdom from Ecclesiastes, Albert Einstein, and Roger Sterling.
  8. look in the fridge: Tom Brakke on asking the questions others don’t and evaluating asset managers.
  9. Top 10 most questionable Wall Street sayings: Peter Boockvar on David Letterman, buyers vs. sellers, and questioning conventional wisdom.
    Dec 24, 2015 24:11 AM

    Geez…. is anyone interested in this… bout a couple recipes instead…?!

      Dec 24, 2015 24:56 AM

      ‘Tis the season to be merry Agatha. Remember KER never sleeps and we should always be grateful for that! Happy Christmas everybody, or Hanukkah or whatever else grabs you. , Andrew

        Dec 24, 2015 24:45 PM

        Merry Christmas to you Reverend.

        Dec 24, 2015 24:03 PM

        Reverend, on December the 18th Al had a post called prospects for energy with Jay Taylor and Chen Lin, nobody posted on the comments but Chen Lin is a very clever trader in my opinion and he lists two stock buys and the reasons he likes them, spend ten minutes listening to see if you like what he say’s. DT

          Dec 24, 2015 24:11 PM

          Thanks DT. Very best to you as well, Andrew

          Dec 25, 2015 25:48 PM

          I too have a very high regard for Chen.

      Dec 25, 2015 25:18 AM

      lol . . and Agatha calls me unpleasant!! lol

      Happy Holidays to all!!

        Dec 25, 2015 25:41 PM

        Just read your material on gold. Thanks, I did enjoy it.

    Dec 24, 2015 24:37 AM

    Its good stuff for anyone interested.
    Good post Cory, merry christmas

      Dec 24, 2015 24:20 PM


      Dec 25, 2015 25:15 AM

      Cory thanks for the post.

      Merry Christmas to the KER crew.

        Dec 25, 2015 25:45 PM

        And to you Excelsior.

    Dec 24, 2015 24:18 PM

    Nothing wrong with fun stuff. Don’the be a Scrooge Aggy!

    Up 15% on NUGT today with a tight stope.

    Corey. It’s 70 degrees here inow DC today so I cracked out an ol’ favorite t-shirt of mine that would make you homesick. Bright red with the a giant RCMP emblem in the middle.

    Dec 24, 2015 24:19 PM

    I hate spell check on this not so smart phone.

      Dec 24, 2015 24:44 PM

      Almost as frustrating as my kindle!

    Dec 24, 2015 24:45 PM

    The BEST OF 2015……………
    Only 365 more days till Mr. O nothing is committed to pasture…..Happy Holidays….

    Dec 24, 2015 24:48 PM

    A very Happy Christmas to everybody reading this..Have a great one…XXX

    Dec 24, 2015 24:18 PM

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Dec 24, 2015 24:14 PM

    Merry Christmas to all

      Dec 25, 2015 25:47 PM

      And to you also Chris.

    Dec 24, 2015 24:28 PM

    Merry Christmas to all,
    Hope you all enjoy it with family & friends.
    Stay safe over the festive season.

      Dec 25, 2015 25:46 PM

      And to you Skeeta

    Dec 25, 2015 25:36 PM

    And it’s gone…..Its all gone….
    The title of a piece just posted on Zerohedge….Well worth the read for anyone who has the time…..Some people at the Fed might think it’s a waste of time reading an article on a useless relic like Gold, especially when it’s used to rip people off….& to break sanctions imposed by the US Govt…….

    Dec 25, 2015 25:47 PM

    Merry Christmas, Al, Cory, Chris T, Doc, Rick, Gary, and Avi (as well as all the other commenter friends!). Hope you all enjoy your weekends with family and treasuring the eternal Hope that Christ has bought for us! 🙂 God bless all!

      Dec 25, 2015 25:41 PM

      And may God bless you Wiseguy!

    Dec 25, 2015 25:52 PM

    Happy Holidays to The World, may we all live in peace. DT

      Dec 25, 2015 25:40 PM

      Amen, Mr TRACY!

      Dec 25, 2015 25:22 PM

      Not if everyone keeps voting for war there be know peace then . If you or anyone else has supported any of these entanglements in the Midle East , Asia or any other continents that our government has been bullying in then foget peace cause it ain’t happening! It’s nice to talk all that , but most Americans pray for Peace , but vote for war and welfare which causes all these problems

        Dec 25, 2015 25:06 PM

        Sorry Joe M, I don’t believe that most Americans vote for war. That issue has never been on any ballot. If it had been, the world would be a different place regarding our role in it!

          Dec 25, 2015 25:20 PM

          Well, maybe it depends on how ya read the ballot.
          When we had the opportunity to vote Ron Paul it was blatantly obvious, a vote for R Paul was a vote for peace and a vote for anyone else was a vote for war.
          Joe M has a point, we talked peace and voted war.

          The excuse that the American people are too ignorant or too stupid to know it is getting old.

          Merry Christmas and pass the ammunition.

            Dec 25, 2015 25:23 PM

            Well, that might not be fair, a lot of Ron Paul votes didn’t get counted.
            It probly doesn’t matter which way we vote.

            Dec 26, 2015 26:29 AM

            Doesn’t mean we should stop bb

            Dec 26, 2015 26:31 AM

            Yes it is getting old. By the way, I wrote in Dr Paul.

            Dec 26, 2015 26:46 AM

            Al, we know voting is pretty much pointless.
            There really is only one answer to regain what the US and therefore the west was “supposed” to be.
            I just listened to a Jesse Ventura rant, his point was any candidate calling himself either dem or repub, their first allegiance is to the party, not the nation.
            I believe he has a point, another thing, anyone standing for the constitution now risks being branded a traitor.

            Most people are not willing to actually put their life on the line for the constitution or Liberty, therefore what else is there to do but vote?
            Even when it is entirely pointless.

            Maybe the question should be, is false hope better than no hope?
            If a person answers yes, they should vote.

            Good lord, talk about cheery. lol

            Think I might change my priority in life to judging beauty contests.

            Dec 26, 2015 26:52 AM

            BB…I too agree with Joe M.

    Dec 25, 2015 25:08 PM

    Big Al. Your competition down in Sarasota had a live stock market show on Christmas day! So I was able to get my Market fix today!

      Dec 26, 2015 26:32 AM

      A live market show with the marketers closed?

      By the way, Jason thanks for your continued commentary.