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Ben Carlson

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A Wealth of Common Sense
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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Life stage:
DIK (Dual Income, Kids)
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Latest Blog Posts

People in finance often say things because they make for good sound bites but don’t actually back them up with solid reasoning. Sound bites make you sound intelligent but rules of thumb always require some context. In this piece I wrote for Bloomberg I provide some context around one of the most misused phrases in all of investing. ******* Sir John Templeton wrote “16 Rules for Investment Success” in 1993. The f... ...
Posted: Aug 23 2017 @ 11:26 AM
The size of the global asset management industry is staggering. Boston Consulting Group estimates that as of year end 2016 there was close to $70 trillion in assets under management globally (meaning money that paid a fee for the management of assets). Here’s the breakdown showing the growth in worldwide AUM since 2002: It would only make sense that a staggering amount of assets would lead to a staggering amount... ...
Posted: Aug 22 2017 @ 2:11 PM
In the 30 years ended 2016, the S&P 500 returned just over 10% per year. Compounding at that rate, fifty grand invested at the start of 1987 would have grown to nearly $875,000 by the end of last year. Not bad. Besides the usual caveats — taxes, fees, behavior, diversification, etc. — the problem with these types of simulations is that they aren’t realistic. In the real world, most investors arenR... ...
Posted: Aug 20 2017 @ 8:37 PM
Jason Zweig and Morgan Housel are two of my favorite writers and thinkers. They explain the complexities of business, markets and human behavior better than anyone. I’ve learned a lot from these two when it comes to writing, communicating and focusing on what matters. I don’t disagree with these guys very often but I’m going to push back a little on something they discussed in a recent conversation with ... ...
Posted: Aug 17 2017 @ 8:56 PM
After seeing countless stories and statistics on the Canadian housing market I did some research to check things out for myself. The numbers I found are staggering. They make the U.S. housing bubble that led up to the financial crisis look like an amateur. I don’t throw around the word ‘bubble’ loosely but the Canadian housing numbers are insane. After writing this piece for Bloomberg I received by far... ...
Posted: Aug 16 2017 @ 9:20 PM
A couple years ago I read an article about a new online brokerage firm that was geared towards young people called Robinhood. It sounded intriguing so I opened up an account to give it a test run. The great thing about Robinhood is that all trades are commission free. I trade infrequently but I’m always looking for ways to cut costs and it’s pretty tough to find a better deal than ...
Posted: Aug 15 2017 @ 10:19 AM
“The single greatest challenge you face as an investor is handling the truth about yourself.” – Jason Zweig In a presentation I gave a couple weeks ago I used the following slide: Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig is my favorite book on human behavior so I’m constantly sourcing, re-reading and using material from the research. The book looks at neuroeconomics, which is research using bra... ...
Posted: Aug 13 2017 @ 9:05 PM
It’s hard to believe but it’s now been 10 years since the first rumblings began prior to the Great Financial Crisis. My guess is we’ll be re-living many of the events that led to the worst crisis since the Great Depression in the months and years ahead. Financial stocks and some home builders saw some trouble in the summer of 2007 but one of the first warning signs that something was ...
Posted: Aug 10 2017 @ 4:42 PM
It’s much easier to come up with the reasons for a bear market after the fact so I like the idea of thinking these things through beforehand, even if it’s impossible to predict the future. Here’s a piece I wrote for Bloomberg laying out some possible scenarios that could derail this bull market. ******* I recently appeared on Bloomberg Television’s “What’d You Miss?” with Joe Weisenthal, Scarlet ... ...
Posted: Aug 09 2017 @ 5:49 PM
10 questions I’m pondering at the moment: 1. Are investors right to worry about bonds more than stocks? The Wealth of Common Sense anecdotal sentiment reading shows that most investors are more concerned with bonds these days than stocks. Risk is in the eye of the beholder but I wonder if this worry will be a thing of the past once the next sustained bear market hits. 2. Why aren’t things worse in ...
Posted: Aug 08 2017 @ 4:07 PM


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