Who Wins—Active or Passive Investors?

The Investment Race

Many retirees invest passively by buying shares in low-cost index funds that are designed to track selected markets. I have illustrated that approach in previous posts.

Many other retirees, and many younger investors, actively manage their investments. Some retirees do their own research and analyses while others hire brokers, financial planners or other advisers to manage their investments. They hope to achieve superior performance—to beat the market—by relying on extra effort, knowledge and skill.  Continue reading

Has God Changed for You?

Last week I introduced the most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church and pointed out the “definition” of God as being everlasting truth and love. A God of truth and love is nothing like the hard-nosed punisher-God of my youth, so I looked into the history of Catholic notions of God.

Vatican II (the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in four sessions between 1962 and 1965) marks the beginning of a new understanding of God. For hundreds of years before Vatican II, an old God of power and mystery dominated Catholic teaching. Then in the decades after Vatican II, God emerged gradually as a warmer, more reachable deity, coming into an integrated theology in the 1994 catechism. The change is important and as best I can tell, largely underappreciated.  Continue reading

Have You Seen God Lately?

People often grow more spiritual as they move through later life, and especially for men, that growth can be halting, timid, and incomplete.

People enter Twelve-Step programs to rid themselves of addictions, and central to the method is acknowledgement of a “higher power,” which may be God for the religious, but may be something else, something people choose or define for themselves. Continue reading

How Boomers Can Get Along with Their Investments

In midcareer, people need to get along at work, and in retirement people must get along with their investments. At work in middle life, and with investments in retirement, getting along includes people, but it also involves the circumstances, tasks, and procedures in each setting.

Retirees can manage their own investments as they managed their work, but to do so, they should grow familiar with their assets, understand asset allocation and rebalancing, and keep a steady discipline concerning withdrawals.

One good way to gain confidence with managing a retirement portfolio is to work through a model program year-by-year. Continue reading

Rounding Out Your Retirement Portfolio

Last week we added Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to a retirement portfolio, and this week we add international investments. The completed portfolio will now have domestic stocks, domestic bonds, REITs, and international stocks. Just these four investments can carry a retiree a long way into efficient, reasonably stable returns.

Why international investments? Diversification and growth are the best answers. Fifty years ago the United States dominated the world of investment opportunities, but today many countries have growing economies, well-run innovative companies, and good opportunities for investing. Continue reading