The Curse of Success(ful Investing)

  "If I was running $1 million today, or $10 million for that matter, I'd be fully invested. Anyone who says that size does not hurt investment performance is selling. The highest rates of return I've ever achieved were in the 1950s. I killed the Dow. You ought to see the numbers. But I was investing peanuts then. It's a huge structural … [Read more...]

Inflation Adjusted Gold Return Calculator

Below is a calculator which will calculate the return an investor might have made buying and selling gold (without transaction fees). Simply give us the beginning and ending days you care about, and we'll do the rest.   (Note: for the first time you try to calculate a return, please give it a few seconds - the data file is a bit over … [Read more...]

Divining Future S&P 500 Closing Prices!

There's a few topics we like to return to now and again on this website - our "go-tos" if you will.  A few years back we noted that options, although not instruments that we often use, are awesome since the price signals they give us let us estimate three different things: Direction - Will a security trade up or down? Magnitude - How large a … [Read more...]

When Was the All Time High in the S&P 500?

Editor: On May 8, 2013 there was a new dividend adjusted closing high in the S&P 500. Retained for posterity: On March 28, 2013 the S&P 500 Nominal Closing price 'broke' the record, so I updated the article.  Sorry, folks - based on my daily CPI adjusted total return data, we're still 3.9% off the peak.  I have updated the picture … [Read more...]

What Stock Market Returns Can You Expect?

One necessary ingredient in planning for your financial future is estimating how much your money will return while invested.  Since you can't tell the future, the best thing you can (likely) do is look to the past. But, you might say, "Past performance does not guarantee future returns!"  That doesn't mean that past performance is useless...  as … [Read more...]

Treasury Return Calculator

Update: Preliminary July data added! The calculator below uses long run 10-year Treasury Data from Robert Shiller to compute US Treasury returns, based on reinvesting the coupon payments.  You can see the total returns for the 10 Year Treasury for any arbitrary period from 1871 until today.  After the calculator you can find our methodology.  … [Read more...]

Basel Equity and Its Impact on Banking and Lending

Although this blog regularly deals with personal finance, economics and politics, our interests span a wide array of other areas of life. One of my personal favorite blogs, The Volokh Conspiracy (a legal blog that has a mostly Libertarian bent, I'd say if I was permitted to classify them) recently featured a fascinating article by Nick Rosenkranz … [Read more...]

What is Options Time Decay?

You may have heard of 'theta' or 'time-value' decay, but in this article we're going to play it close to the vest with an illustrated example.  I recently showed you the results of a "failed" model based on implied prices for an S&P 500 ETF, SPY.  We're going to dedicate a few more precious time cycles to the "failed" options model, to see what … [Read more...]

2012 S&P Return

You know that stupid phrase, "you're not comparing apples with apples"?  Yeah, it's still a dumb phrase.  Yes, I'm bringing it up because it applies here. You see, for whatever reason, when people quote the returns of the S&P 500, they like to use the 'price return', as if price returns are the only way that stocks in the S&P 500 can … [Read more...]

Beware Those Bearing Market Predictions…

We try to wear our brains on our sleeves (I should trademark that) when it comes to some of the innovations we've rolled out on the site.  If you check out our Calculators and Visualizations page, we've got everything from historic S&P returns to predictions of how noise levels affect real estate values.  However, one of our favorite series has … [Read more...]