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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brinker Fixed Income Advisor Performance - 2008 Model Portfolio Returns

Below are the "Brinker Fixed Income Advisor" model portfolio returns for 2008 according to Mark Hulbert, editor of "Hulbert Financial Digest" a newsletter that rates other financial newsletters.

Brinker Fixed Income Advisor
(note 1)
(note 2)
Aggressive Portfolio 8.3% (21.7%) (15.2%)
Moderate Portfolio 6.8% (11.5%) (5.5%)
Conservative Portfolio 7.1% (5.2%) 1.5%

The Retirement Advisor
(100% in Fixed Income - no Stocks)




Note 1: Brinker Fixed Income Advisor 2007 Returns from January 2008 issue of Hulbert Financial Digest "Long Term Performance Ranking"

Note 2: Brinker Fixed Income Advisor 2008 Returns from January 2009 issue of Hulbert Financial Digest "Long Term Performance Ranking"

I can not find portfolio returns listed on the "Brinker Fixed Income Advisor" web site. Given that every model portfolio lost money last year while the Total Bond Market was up over 5%, I can understand why the Brinker's might want to make their returns hard to find.

Please contact me if you have actual portfolio returns published by Brinker.

VBMFX - Vanguard Total Bond
Index Fund
6.92% 5.05% 12.32%

Note 3: Mark Hulbert says his returns may differ slightly from what Brinker reports. For example, he reports better 2008 model portfolio returns for "Bob Brinker's Marketimer" newsletter than Bob Brinker himself publishes.

Long Term Results that Speak for Themselves
Since 12/31/98 "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 227% (OVER a triple!)
vs. the S&P500 UP only 32% vs. NASDAQ UP only 27% (All through 3/31/11

In 2010, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" gained 20.4% vs. the DJIA up 11.0%
In 2009, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" gained 33.5% vs. the DJIA up 18.8%

HURRY! Subscribe NOW and get the This Month's Issue of "Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Newsletter" for FREE! ! (Just mention this advertisement and I'll start your paid subscription with the next calendar month's issue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bob Brinker Marketimer 2008 Performance Numbers

Below are the 2008 performance numbers reported by Bob Brinker for his three recommended model portfolios:
Model Portfolio I = Down 39.7%
Model Portfolio II = Down 37.4%
Model III (balanced) = Down 23.9%
Source: Bob Brinker's January 2009 "Marketimer" newsletter.

2008 Benchmarks:
  • The Wilshire5000 "total stock market index fund" at Vanguard, VTSMX (click for charts), was down 37.04%

  • The total bond fund at Vanguard, VBMFX (click for charts,) was up 5.05%
Model Portfolio I, down 39.7% in 2008, was 100% invested in equities for all of 2008.

Model Portfolio II, down 37.4% in 2008, was 100% invested in equities for all of 2008.

Bob Brinker's "balanced" Model III, down 23.9% in 2008, started 2008 with 64% in equities. This allocation shows just how bullish Bob Brinker was at the start of 2008. This bullish allocation hurt his performance relative to the "balanced benchmark."

Marketimer P3 Allocation as of 12/31/07

A "balanced" benchmark portfolio half in VTSMX and half in VBMFX finished 2008 down 16%. This is 7.9% better than Bob Brinker's balanced model portfolio #3.

When my writing partner, David Korn, and I began publishing The Retirement Advisor, we considered the universe of what people approaching or in retirement could invest in for their golden years. Many advisers were chasing stock market gains. Other advisers were chasing yield on the fixed income side. We believed that neither was the right approach and decided that our Model Portfolios would be constructed to benefit in up markets, but also be able to weather down markets such that our subscribers could preserve their capital in a reasonable manner, but take the appropriate risk, depending upon an individual investor’s comfort level.

Our Model Portfolio III has the goal of capital preservation in both up and down markets. That portfolio is up over 12% since inception and it gained 3.7% in 2008. Our model portfolios I and II take more risk with equities so they were down in 2008, but they managed to hang on to most of their 2007 gains and perform very well relative to the benchmarks as well as Brinker's portfolios.

My other newsletter, "Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter," is for more aggressive investors who what to use my "core and explore" strategy where you add individual stocks for enhanced (at least so far so good) returns.

Long Term Results that Speak for Themselves
Since 9/30/98 inception, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 390%
vs. the S&P500 UP only 51% vs. NASDAQ UP only 57% (All through 12/31/11
(More Info, Testimonials & Portfolio Returns)
Latest 2012 Update:  Up 10.5% YTD  as of 2/8/12

HURRY! Subscribe NOW and get the This Month's Issue of "Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Newsletter" for FREE! ! (Just mention this advertisement and I'll start your paid subscription with the next calendar month's issue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best CD Rate Update - 4.5% at PenFed CU

The top CD annal percentage yield (APY) this week is at Pentagon Federal Credit Union for 5 and 7-year certificates of deposit currently paying 4.50%.

For shorter term, Borel Private Bank & Trust Company has a 5-month CD with a 3.25% annual percentage rate.

For online savings, HSBC Bank is paying 2.60%.

With rates so low, banks will try to sell you their annuity products. Make sure you read our article: Beware of Annuities

The table below shows the best CD rates for other terms. If that table is hard to read, then try Very Best CD Rates.

"Highest CD Rate Survey + Current US Treasury Rates"
Rate (APY)
(Click link for Full Rate Sheets)
Daily Savings
1/14/09 2.09%
Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund
Tax Exempt
1/14/09 0.79%
Vanguard Tax Exempt Money Market Fund
Online Savings 1/14/09 2.60%
3-Month Treasury
US Treasury Rates at a glance
6 Months 1/14/09 2.95%
Ascencia Internet Bank
6-Month Treasury
US Treasury Rates at a glance
9 Months 1/14/09 1.55%
Wachovia Bank
1 Year
1/14/09 3.28%
Pacific Mercantile Bank 3.20% @ UmbrellaBank
1 Year Treasury 1/14/09 0.43%
US Treasury Rates at a glance
18 Months 1/14/09 3.25%
2 Years
1/14/09 3.25% and Presidential Bank
2 Year Treasury 1/14/09 0.73%
US Treasury Rates at a glance
3 Years 1/14/09
3.35% Discover Bank
3-Yr Treasury
US Treasury Rates at a glance
4 Years
1/14/09 4.25% PenFed Credit Union & 4.00% @ Flagstar Bank
5 Years
1/14/09 4.50% Pentagon Federal Credit Union & 4.00% @ WaMu
5 Yr Treasury
US Treasury Rates at a glance
7 Years 1/14/09 4.50% Pentagon Federal Credit Union
10 Yr Treasury
1/14/09 2.20%
US Treasury Rates at a glance
30 Yr Treasury 1/14/09 2.91%
US Treasury Rates at a glance

With rates so low, banks will try to sell you their annuity products. Make sure you read our article: Beware of Annuities

Related information:

Elaine Garzarelli 2008 Performance

On December 16, 2007 the "Deseret News" asked asked a panel of investment experts how they would invest $10,000 for the coming year.

Elaine Garzarelli, president of Garzarelli Research in New York said:
"Put 25 percent in iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average (IYT), 25 percent in Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), 25 percent in iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM) and 25 percent in Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY)."
This graph shows how Garzarelli's picks performed compared to the S&P500:

25% in each of her picks would be down 39.62% while  in 2008 the S&P500 index fund, VFINX from Vanguard, lost 36.4%.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

VCAIX, VCITX, iShares S&P California Municipal Bond Fund CMF & CA GO Bonds

Bob Brinker recommended California general obligation (GO) bonds on his show last year. Last weekend a caller said he purchased the Vanguard California Municipal Bond Fund (probably VCAIX or VCITX) and it is down about 2%. He wanted to know if Brinker had any advice now for him.

CMF is the iShares S&P California Municipal Bond Fund.

Brinker said he did not own that fund but he does own General Obligations issued by the State of California which he is holding on to. Brinker said he thinks the great state of California is too big to fail and the federal government will step in to guarantee payment on bonds like it did for New York in the 1970s.

Many investors are in a panic about California's financial crisis. Some Californian municipal bonds are paying an unprecedented tax equivalent rate more than three times as much as Treasuries.

See US Treasury Rates at a Glance

This chart shows the 10-year Treasury is paying about 2.5% now while the table below shows the Vanguard intermediate and long-term CA tax exempt funds are paying 4.15% and 4.64%, respectively.

This could turn out to be the mother of all buying opportunities, or the mother of all muni defaults. Obviously, Bob Brinker is betting on the former. As a California taxpayer, I sure hope Brinker's advice does not turn out to be another bust like his QQQ advice to buy the ETF for the NASDAQ-100 back in late 2000 before it fell from the $80s to the teens.

Table of Vanguard California Tax Exempt Funds and Rates

YTD Returns
as of
S&P 500 Index Fund Inv VFINX 2.84%
CA IT Tax-Exempt Investor VCAIX 4.15%
CA LT Tax-Exempt Investor VCITX 4.64%
CA Tax-Exempt Money Mkt VCTXX0.74%

I must admit that 4.64% tax free is a very attractive yield. I have not been inclined to take risk with my fixed income investments but I may reconsider this . One reason for optimism is president elect Obama will be much friendlier to spending addicted, democrat controlled California than president Bush who let Enron screw us by manipulating our energy prices before Enron failed.

FREE Special: Subscribe to Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Newsletter and get the January 2009 issue for free (your 12-month subscription will start with the February 2009 issue).

10 Years
Kirk Lindstrom's Newsetter
2007 2008 Combined
Through 12/31/08
80% Core Aggressive + 20% Explore
6.31% (29.90%) (25.47%)
95% Core Conservative + 5% Explore (50:50 Balanced)
6.54% (17.13%) (11.72%)

Brinker Marketimer

Model Portfolio #1 - Aggressive

9.17% (39.71%) (34.18%)
Model Portfolio #2 - Moderate

9.04% (37.45%) (31.79%)
Model Portfolio #3 - Balanced

7.94% (23.86%) (17.81%)

Vanguard Index Funds

VTSMX - Wilshire 5000
5.49% (37.04%) (33.58%)
VFINX - S&P500
5.39% (37.02%) (33.62%)

(Brinker Marketimer 10-year performance includes effect of QQQ advice.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Money Talk with Bob Brinker Dropped from XM Satellite Radio

Money Talk with Bob Brinker has been removed from XM Satellite Radio line-up. I verified this yesterday when I checked the XM Program Guide. Bob Brinker used to advertise being on Satellite Radio on his web site but today he removed that claim.

"Mad Money with Jim Cramer" on CNBC is still available on Channel 127 five days a week for an hour:
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Mad Money with Jim Cramer

"Mad Money" takes viewers inside the mind of one of Wall Street's most respected and successful money managers. Cramer is your personal guide through the confusing jungle of investing, navigating through both opportunities and pitfalls with one goal in mind to help you make money. "Mad Money" features Cramer's unmatched, fiery opinions and the popular Lightning Round, in which Cramer gives his "Buy," "Sell," and "Hold" opinions on stocks to callers.
Following Cramer's Mad Money, Larry Kudlow's show "CNBC Reports" is on 5 days a week for 2 hours:
CNBC Reports: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Provides a mix of market and political news, with a focus on the transition to the new President and how it will affect the economy. Lawrence Kudlow hosts the first hour with various anchors hosting the second hour.
Channel 127 Program Guide

With five hours per week of Jim Cramer to talk about investing plus ten hours of Larry Kudlow talking about politics and money, there is plenty of "money talk" on XM Radio. Also, I guess Brinker's fall in the ratings for the Top 100 Talk Radio Shows in 2008 to number 58 while Larry Kudlow soared to #40 was not a statistical fluke.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top 100 Talk Radio Shows in 2008

TalkStreamLive has published their list of the "Top 100 Talk Radio Shows" for 2008. The rankings were determined with 642,247 unique internet listening sessions. Bob Brinker, host of ABC Radio's "Moneytalk with Bob Brinker," came in 58th place. Larry Kudlow, who used to be a guest host for Bob Brinker in years past, is way ahead now at number 40.

Moneytalk with Bob Brinker has ranked much higher in past surveys of radio listeners. Surveys are estimates. This is an actual ranking of real internet radio listening sessions. If Brinker draws from an older audience, then you would expect him to score lower on an internet survey than on a radio survey since the internet has a younger demographic . The trouble with radio over the air is there is no way to measure actual audience.

Here is the full list:
1 Tammy Bruce
2 Laura Ingraham
3 Rush Limbaugh
4 Michael Savage
5 Glenn Beck
6 Sean Hannity
7 Mark Levin
8 Neal Boortz
9 Dennis Miller
10 George Noory
11 Monica Crowley
12 Bill Bennett
13 Michael Medved
14 Bill O’Reilly
16 Dennis Prager
17 Hugh Hewitt
18 Dr. Laura
19 Rusty Humphries
20 Mike Gallagher
21 Lan Lamphere - Patriot Brigade Radio
22 The Lion’s Den - Plains Radio Network
24 Jerry Doyle
25 The Right Perspective
26 Alex Jones
27 Paranormal Radio
28 Larry Elder
29 Roger Hedgecock
30 Quinn & Rose
31 Michael Reagan
32 John Batchelor
33 Phil Hendrie
34 Lou Dobbs
35 Dave Ramsey
36 Art Bell
37 Lars Larson
38 Kim Komando
39 John Gibson
40 Larry Kudlow
41 Bill Cunningham
42 Walton & Johnson
43 Randi Rhodes
44 G. Gordon Liddy
45 Howie Carr
46 Jay Severin
47 Stephanie Miller
48 Ed Schultz
49 Robert Scott Bell
50 Adam Carolla
51 Outlaw Radio
52 Bob Grant
53 Bill Handel
54 Roy Masters
55 Al Rantel
56 Clark Howard
57 Brian and The Judge
58 Bob Brinker
59 Mark Simone
60 Thom Hartmann
61 The Captains AMERICA
62 Bob & Tom
63 Tom Sullivan
64 Steve Malzberg
65 Barbara Simpson
66 Leo Laporte
67 Ian Punnett
68 Alan Colmes
69 Jackie Mason
70 Michael Smerconish
71 Tom Leykis
72 Armstrong & Getty
73 Curtis Sliwa
74 Dr. Joy Browne
75 Mike McConnell
76 BUBBA the love sponge
77 Rachel Maddow
78 Bruce Williams
79 Bill Press
80 Wake Up America
81 Doug McIntyre
82 Midnight Trucking
83 Julie Briggs
84 Mark Belling
85 Pat Gray
86 J.D. Hayworth
87 Frosty, Heidi & Frank
88 Jim Bohannon
89 Joey Reynolds
90 Janet Parshall
91 Rollye James
92 Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show
93 Jon Arthur Live
94 Chuck Harder
95 Phil Valentine
96 John & Ken
97 Michael Graham
98 Content Black Woman
100 Michele McPhee
List courtesy of

Brinker might want to look at why his former guest host, Larry Kudlow, has soared ahead of him in the rankings. Both Brinker and Kudlow started 2008 as huge bulls so their terrible market predictions does not explain the difference in popularity. Brinker is more moderate politically than Kudlow who is a proud member of the GOP that served on President Regan's administration. If you have any ideas why Larry Kudlow is more popular, post them in the comment section. Who knows, maybe your observation will help Brinker in 2009 improve his ranking.

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US Treasury Rates at a Glance - iBond Rates - LIBOR Rates

Must Read:
Beware of Annuities - Payday Loans Warning