Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right - Pension Insurance

Pension insurer shifted to stocks - The Boston Globe
Posted using ShareThis

The article above gives me a pit in my stomach on a number of levels, but one in particular. I think most people would get sick thinking of the money already "lost" . . . I get sick thinking about the money that might not be gained.

I'd like to think that the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp would operate under some pretty standard advice: if you need money in the next 5 years, maybe you shouldn't have it in stocks. I do think they need to be proactive and estimate if they'll have an onslaught of pensions to back and see if that changes their time horizon, but they also need to be able to face reality. With valuations where they are, it might very well make sense to "stay put" and not have Congress reallocate your portfolio.

As we say here: "Two wrongs don't make a right." From this observer's point of view, it seems like shift back to the old strategy right now might be wrong #2.

Note: The author recognizes that he does not possess the right mix of qualifications, connections, and unconfessed past sins that is required to work for the PBGC, the Government Accountability Office, or the Congressional Budget Office. Therefore, his opinions are merely that and should not be applied to your investment strategy or the government's investment strategy for that matter and frankly he's surprised you're reading this fine print.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feeling Like the Dryer Ate My Socks AND My Stocks

[UPDATED: I originally posted the entire article from investopedia here, but after brushing up on my copyright rules and regs (thanks to a couple colleagues) I've removed the article and just linked to it. Oops. Better safe than sorry.]

Justin here. I ran across a great article on
(you can find the original here) that talks about where all our stock value "went".

The take-home is this: when so much of a company's stock price is determined by perception, there is real value and security in investing in companies that will pay you a dividend. People can argue all day long whether a stock is worth $5 or $50, but it is impossible to argue about the real value of the dividends that just landed in your account.

Once you start focusing on dividends, the main question becomes: "is this company (stock) able and inclined to pay a stable, meaningful, and growing dividend?"

We think that's a whole lot more productive and easier to determine than the non-dividend approach where the sole question is: "is this company going to be worth substantially more on the day I need to sell it?"