My Dread Clampitt shirt works well for travel; don’t leave home without one. The front pocket helps me track essentials and I advertise South Walton’s music scene.



I shared a Chicago-bound flight with Dread; they were Chi-Town bound for a show and I switched planes at Midway for a financial gig in Kansas City. Music and money intersects often — sometimes subtly, sometimes not, and sometimes it gives me an idea.



In 2008 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences corrected a long running travesty when they awarded a belated but well-deserved Grammy to J.J. Cale.  You know Cale’s songs even if you don’t recognize his name — “After Midnight,” “Call Me the Breeze,” and the stoner classic, “Cocaine.” When quizzed about his relative obscurity, Cale pointed out the royalty checks sufficed nicely. Last weekend we lost Cale to a heart attack. 



Cale’s second album opens with “Lies.” Like the girl in the song the financial industry passes off lies, lies, lies about index funds. One oft-cited falsehood astonishingly pushes the line that index funds underperform the average but the opposite is true. Sure, some actively-managed mutual fund beat the average but scant few do it consistently.



Study after study finds the funds that outperform one or two years tend to subsequently underperform. Investors flock to “hot” funds and the influx of money makes it difficult for the fund to match previous performance.



Another falsehood passed off about index funds references Warren Buffett’s investment acumen. Sure Buffett’s a great investor but even Buffett believes most investors would be better off using broad-based index funds. As note, your investment advisor probably is not Warren Buffett. For all their prattle about dividends, Berkshire Hathaway pays no dividends.



Supposedly active managers can take advantage of inefficient markets like small U.S. and international companies, but it is difficult to efficiently build a diversified portfolio with individual small company and international stocks. The most popular international index (Europe, Asia and Far East, code-named EAFE) omits Canada and emerging markets. Well duh, an active manager might do better if they invested in Canadian Royalty Trusts and China. Compare apples with apples, not oranges. 



Active managers claim they outperform during bear markets and while they may hold more cash during market downturns scant evidence exists that they outperform. The last time I looked, the market timing Hall of Fame was pretty empty. Like P.T. Barnum, the investment industry suckers people with the dream of market-beating returns. Don’t fall for it.



 Intracoastal Levee Repair Update



Looks like the repairs will cost more than expected. Some Congressmen are putting markers down on government spending with respect to the debt ceiling.  Failing to raise the debt ceiling is no different from deciding not to pay your credit card bill every month.  Dave Ramsey gives lousy investment advice (see above) but the federal government is following Ramsey’s advice regarding debt. 



Like good Ramsey acolytes, our country’s debt level dropped dramatically mainly because of an improving economy. Northwest Florida’s economy will benefit from a fully functioning Intracoastal Waterway repaired with federal tax dollars. 



Regardless of how your bills come, electronically or snail mail, only the fiscally irresponsible ignores them — and that precisely encompasses the debt ceiling debate.



 



Buz Livingston, CFP offers hourly financial planning and fee-only investment management to clients along Florida’s Emerald Coast.  Contact him at 850-267-1068, Buz@LivingstonFinancial.net or www.LivingstonFinancial.net.