The Investment Scientist

Archive for March 2014

Like to hurt yourself?

Like to hurt yourself?

In 2009, Morningstar did a study comparing mutual fund returns vs investor returns. Here is what they got:

Fund Category Fund Return Investor Return Investor Lag
Large-Cap Blend -1.4% -5.7% -4.3%
Large-Cap Growth -1.7% -7.7% -6.0%
Large-Cap Value -1.8% -2.2% -0.4%
Mid-Cap Blend 0.4% -3.0% -3.4%
Small-Cap Blend -0.5% -6.9% -6.4%
Europe/Pacific 3.1% 0.5% -2.6%
Emerging Markets 15.6% 3.8% -11.8%
Financials -10.5% -28.6% -17.9%
Health Care -1.3% -3.1% -1.8%
Communications 1.9% -3.7% -5.7%
Energy 8.6% 4.0% -4.6%
REITs -2.5% -11.8% -9.3%
Technology -2.6% -8.3% -5.7%
Utilities 5.5% 2.1% -3.4%
Total and Simple Averages 1.0% -3.5% -4.5%

Source: Morningstar

We can make a few observations about these data:

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Many families face hard questions as they decide how to manage the needs of their disabled child after death.

[I got this cautionary tale from a newsletter sent to me by William Fralin, Esq and President of The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm.,P.C.]

Often, during the parents’ lives a disabled child’s siblings can hold the mantle of responsibility, especially as the parents grow into their golden years. However, this harmonious family dynamic is likely to change after the death of the parents. While many caretaker siblings feel a sense of duty while their parents are alive, and express this sense of duty through the proper care and oversight of the disabled child, this sense of duty often ends when the parents are no longer in the picture. A generation ago, it was common to leave assets to the caretaker sibling in a family in order for that caretaker sibling to see that the needs of the disabled child are met. In fact, this technique was standard practice. However, with so many options available within the realm of modern estate planning it is not necessary, and somewhat risky, to give away assets directly under a moral obligation. One family in California recently experienced the downside of what can occur after the death of a parent.

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【 Copy from a comment on this news: ]

The scary thing is how easily the American people are conned, again. All it takes is some headlines, no facts, or knowldge of the situation and the people start foaming at the mouth wanting war. Has anyone been paying attention for the last 100 wars and police actions we were conned into, started just like this. Months of intense demonazation of an imagined foe, and then surprise, the evil person does just what was warned about… This classic Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran, Viet Nam, dozens of S.American foes that no one even knew about yet started foaming at the mouth on cue.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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