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Friday, December 20, 2013

New Market Highs!

Congratulations to everyone in the stock market!

It is great to have happy newsletter subscribers recommend me to their friends!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Charitable Donation Tax Warning for Moneytalk Listeners

Last Sunday Bob Brinker discussed how you may possibly lower your taxes with charitable giving from your IRA.  This is really good advice to consider this as RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) from IRAs are taxed as ordinary income which can push you into higher tax brackets and reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits. 

From Boca_Pete on SiliconInvestor at 12/15/2013 5:57:28 PM
On today's Moneytalk Program in the 2nd hour, Brinker discussed the available opportunity for those over 70-1/2 yrs old to get a charitable donation deducted from one's taxable received "required minimum distributions" from one's pre-tax IRA savings, BUT BRINKER FAILED TO MENTION THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE TO DO to accomplish this objective


- Such taxpayers then get to exclude from taxable income (from "Adjusted Gross Income" also) the total of such directly made donations making them not subject to income taxation.

IF THE TAXPAYER IS ON THE CUSP OF A TAX BRACKET INCREASE; such reductions to taxable income (and AGI) could have some or all of the following impacts on the taxpayer:

- Could lower means tested Part-B Medicare Premiums deducted from received monthly Social Security checks.

- Could cause avoidance of the additional 3.8% surtax on investment income.

- Could lower the tax bracket for figuring income tax liability on taxable income.

HOW DO I KNOW ALL ABOUT THIS? I just personally went through the process with Brinker's favorite mutual fund family in Valley Forge, PA! While they have forms for this stuff, they'll do it all over the telephone if you have your list of chosen charities and related donation amounts ready to communicate. You get their prepared checks in the mail for photcopying and mailing in with each charity's donation forms.

I wonder how many listeners will now act on Brinker's misleading incomplete radio advice by writing their own personal checks to charities, instead of getting their mutual funds or other financial institutions to pay such charities directly as required by the IRS laws??


Ah but Bob sure does those radio voice inflextions well, doesn't he!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and HAPpy New Years,


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Bob Brinker's Recommendation for Cash

Moneytalk with Bob Brinker Commentary for December 1, 2013 Radio Show
The following commentary is from my "Retirement Advisor" writing partner,  David Korn.

Caller: Where can you keep cash where it can be liquid yet have access to it immediately.

Bob said one possibility would be a quality money market fund. You won’t get any kind of meaningful return on that money in this kind of interest rate environment. It is really about safety and having access to the fund. Some money market funds have check writing privileges. For the ultimate safety, you would go to a treasury based money market fund or to one of the big well known blue chip financial money market funds and there you would likely get check writing privileges as well.

EC(David Korn): Bob has long recommended the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) for such purposes which allows you to redeem shares by writing a check for $250 or more. Read the prospectus at the following:

Kirk's Comment:  Money market funds offer terrible returns these days.  Vanguard only pays 0.01%.  There are several FDIC insured savings accounts listed here that pay almost 100 times more or nearly 1.0%.   In every issue of "The Retirement Advisor," David and I update where you can get the best interest rates for cash that is 100% safe, usually with FDIC insurance. 

Currently we have a percentage of our safe portfolios parked in an online savings account, with No Monthly Fees and No Minimum Balance at American Express Bank, Check out that link to get their current rates and more info.

Kirk's Comment:  We don't jump from fund to fund each month for a few tenths of a percent, but if you can certainly do better than 0.01%.  If you have new money looking for a 100% safe parking place, then look at the survey of top savings rates at Savings Account Rate Survey

Best Retirement Newsletter
Read "Kirk's Two Investment Letters - Best Retirement Portfolio For You" to decide which newsletter I offer is best for you.
Commentary is courtesy of my writing partner, David Korn
David Korn's Stock Market Commentary, Interpretation of Moneytalk (Bob Brinker Host), Financial Education, Helpful Links, Guest Editorials, and Special Alert E-Mail Service.  Copyright David Korn, L.L.C. 2013
If you would like a free sample of David's complete "Brinker related newsletter" and his "Retirement Advisor" newsletter, then click this link to send an email request and please tell us a bit about yourself too.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Bob Brinker Moneytalk Monologue & Caller Discussion Summary

Moneytalk with Bob Brinker Commentary for December 1, 2013 Radio Show

The following commentary is from my "Retirement Advisor" writing partner,  David Korn.

Brinker Comment: A December 13th deadline has been established for the House Senate Committee to come together for a new budget agreement. This is what we wound up with after the government shut down was completed in October. The word we are getting is that all they are trying to do is to curb the sequester cuts that are mandated from the last time they failed to reach an agreement. This includes $19 billion that will hit pentagon budgets in January. The lack of leadership in Washington D.C. That seems capable of leading on fiscal issues. What happens if an agreement isn’t reached on December 13th? Nothing really. There is no immediate consequence. There was a budget resolution back in 2009 that sets the spending parameters for the federal government but haven’t had once since that time. What we have had is a lot of partisan fighting. The disagreements we have now are the same as always; some want entitlements cut, others want additional tax revenues.

Can our current situation go on forever? No. We need reform to entitlement spending including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security because that accounts for almost 50% of our federal government spending. But to do that you have to get past the lobbyists that swarm capital hill and the special interest groups, like the AARP that have 37 million members who don’t want to see changes that would result in any diminution of benefits. That is just one example of a powerful lobbying group and this is one reason you don’t reform.

EC(David Korn): The real important deadline is January 15 when the government funding again expires. Read the article, “Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears” at this url:

Brinker Comment: Did Bowles-Simpson come up with some good ideas for reform? Yes, but they have basically been ignored. Even Simpson and Bowles failed to address the black hole called Medicare which is unsustainable. The average couple pays in about $130,000 into Medicare while they get back about $350,000 in lifetime benefits. And Social Security as it is constituted is going nowhere as the current workforce pays in a smaller amount to a growing number of beneficiaries. Our country is fooling itself by thinking that the low interest rate environment we are currently in will allow us to continue to borrow at the same pace. Our leaders fail to recall that the average interest rate we have had to pay on our national debt is 5.8%. Even though it is at 2% right now that won’t last forever. A 4% increase in interest rate would cost us $600 billion in interest per year — or $6 trillion over 10 years in interest expense.

Caller:  Shouldn't the government consider indexing benefits to social security to inflation? Bob said the schedule of payouts to social security has an inflation component in it. The rate of return earned by social security has always been pegged to the rate of return on the Treasuries as mandated by law. They don’t have any choice. There was an effort by George W. Bush to put a portion of the social security money into the stock market but that effort was shot down in a big way.

Kirk's Comment:   See Social Security COLA for 2014
  • Notice that the cap on the upper rate is going up far faster than inflation which is a tax increase on those making more than the cap.
  • "For those of us still working, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase 2.9% to $117,000 from $113,700."
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Brinker Comment: Bob noted that sequestration is flawed because it cuts everything, the good and the bad and is no way to govern. Instead, we have career politicians who can’t get the job done. Bob said going to the rich isn’t the solution because the top 10% of taxpayers are already carrying the mail for 70% of the personal income tax bill. The political games in Washington go on and on.

EC: The 29-member bipartisan panel faces a December 13th deadline but as Bob noted these panels don’t seem to have much success. There have been over a dozen panels convened since the end of WWII but their recommendations have rarely spurred congressional action.

Caller: What kind of carnage can we expect and when can we expect to see it if our government continues down its present fiscal spending path? Bob said the timeline is difficult to predict, but certainly we are headed to oblivion if we don’t make cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in that order of priority. What is the worse kind of outcome? That would be if our national debt continued to explode against a backdrop of higher interest rates which made the interest carrying costs unsustainable. Suppose you had the government bonds downgraded beyond investment grade level, you would have a hard time finding ways to borrow the money without paying an exorbitant interest rates. That would be the worst case of scenario.

Caller: What have you heard about reform in social security, such as a cut-off point in income for social security of they go with means testing? Bob said the discussions haven’t got that far at all. Ironically, social security is the easiest of all the entitlements to fix. The age expectancy has gone way up since the social security program was developed. They could simply extend the age by a month or two down the road when you are able to take benefits. This could be done over a period of many years and it would enable them to greatly expand the viability of the program. This is an easy solution that our government can’t even tackle.

Caller: This caller noted that the US Government has tons of property across the United States. Why not sell some of those assets or lease them out and put the money in a sovereign nation fund and use some of that money to pay off social security. Bob said the votes are not there for that. Not even close to enough votes for that kind of proposal.

Brinker Comment: Bob said the Medicare program is where the money is and that program has the potential to really bankrupt the economy. But we have known it needs to be fixed for years and they haven’t done it. The closest thing we got was Simpson Bowles but even they couldn’t get it done. There is so many powerful forces lobbying against the reform of this it will take real leadership of our government officials to get it done.

Caller: This caller asked Bob why he doesn’t comment on cutting spending in the other half of the budget where, for example, there is extreme wasteful defense spending going on. Bob got a little “defensive” so to speak, and told the caller he must not listen to Moneytalk because Bob has cited with approval the views of Senator Coburn who has said there is 5-10% fat in the defense budget and for that reason, Bob said the sequestration’s cuts in defense spending hasn’t bothered him all that much.

EC: Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released an oversight report entitled, “Department of Everything” which outlines how the Department of Defense could save $67.9 billion over ten years by making specific cuts to “non-defense” defense spending — spending that DOD can cut without cutting vital defense priorities. You can read the report at this url:

Best Retirement Newsletter
Read "Kirk's Two Investment Letters - Best Retirement Portfolio For You" to decide which newsletter I offer is best for you.

Commentary is courtesy of my writing partner, David Korn
David Korn's Stock Market Commentary, Interpretation of Moneytalk (Bob Brinker Host), Financial Education, Helpful Links, Guest Editorials, and Special Alert E-Mail Service.  Copyright David Korn, L.L.C. 2013
If you would like a free sample of David's complete "Brinker related newsletter" and his "Retirement Advisor" newsletter, then click this link to send an email request and please tell us a bit about yourself too.
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This table shows my newsletter "Core and Explore Portfolios" from 1998 through the end of Q3

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Stock Market Performance

2013 so far has been a most excellent year for stocks.  A simple, low cost, fully invested portfolio with 70% in total US and 30% in international index funds is up between 25% and 26.9% YTD after the first 11 months of 2013.

Simple, 100% invested in Vanguard Stock Index Funds PortfolioTotal US Stock Market IndexTotal International Stock Index
YTD Gain/ (loss) as of 11/30/1329.93%13.63%
Weighed Return20.95%4.09%
Combined Return25.0%

Fidelity has done better than Vanguard due to different international composition.... 

Simple, 100% invested in Fidelity Stock Index Funds PortfolioSpartan Total Market IndexSpartan International Index
YTD Gain/ (loss) as of 11/30/1329.95%19.66%
Weighed Return20.97%5.90%
Combined Return26.9%

Obviously, more diverse portfolios with things like bonds, emerging market stocks, REITS, TIPS, gold, cash, CDs, iBonds won't be up as much as those asset classes have greatly under performed the US stock market this year.  Of course, that is what you want so you can take profits in what is up and buy more of what is down or up less to get smoother returns over the long haul.

Read "Kirk's Two Investment Letters - Best Retirement Portfolio For You" to decide which newsletter I offer is best for you.

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

New Series I Bond & EE Bonds Interest Rates

On November 1, 2013, the Bureau of the Public Debt today announced earnings rates for Series I Savings Bonds and Series EE Savings Bonds, issued from November 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014.

Series i-BondsNew Series I Bond Rate
  • Now yielding a 100% safe 1.38% with a 0.20% base rate
  • I think Series I-Bonds are very attractive for cash in taxable accounts.  You can buy up to $10,000 per Social Security number.  
  • This is the first time the base rate has been above zero since October 2010.
  • Note:  I own a lot of Series I Bonds, some with base rates as high as 3.00%! 
EE Savings Bonds:  Current EE Savings Bond rates
  • Now they yield only 0.1% 
  • You can do much better in an FDIC insured savings account paying about 1%. 
Best CD and Savings Rates:   Best CD Rate Survey

Bob Brinker recommends CDs on his show for those who don't want to take any interest rate risk with GNMAs or any other bonds.  That is bonds will lose net asset value if interest rates go up. 
  • I'd keep the term to 2 years or less.  Perhaps make a CD ladder with
Social Security COLA for 2014

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Elaine Garzarelli Bullish with S&P500 Target of 1943

Elaine Garzarelli's market timing indicators are currently bullish.  

Read the full report at "Elaine Garzarelli's Indicators are Bullish"

Garzarelli expects:
  1. The S&P500 to reach 1943 in the next six months to a year.
  2. Inflation will not run above 2.0% during Janet Yellen's tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Chart 1
Elaine Garzarelli's buy and sell signals vs. the S&P500
from 1981 through today

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Moneytalk Summary: Bob Brinker's Stock & Bond Advice

Despite the stock market closing Friday withing 2.2% of its record, all time high set on September 19, 2013, Bob Brinker didn't say a word about it during his Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 show.  One would think he would get a sore arm patting himself on the back for "officially" recommending a fully invested position.  See Bob Brinker's Asset Allocation History
Click for Full Size Image
Instead of discussing how well the stock market has done, Brinker took a few calls on his "income portfolio" where he explained why he was lowering the duration of his bond funds to reduce interest rate risk.   As a reminder, a duration of "8" means you can expect a bond fund to lose 8% if interest rates jump by 1% overnight.

Of course, the lowest duration is ZERO and you get that from FDIC insured CDs and Savings Accounts.  These are what I recommend in my newsletter.  You can find savings accounts that pay as much as 0.90% at this link:
    The majority of Sunday's show was devoted to the government shutdown.  As is his way to not offend any side that might buy a newsletter from him, he didn't offer any solutions while voicing his tremendous displeasure.

    It is too bad Brinker didn't discuss why he has remained fully invested in stocks since March 2003.  It sounds like his listeners are mostly out of the market, if you judge them by the calls Brinker lets on the radio.  For sure, we didn't hear any comments from Bob Brinker about "the Secular Bear Market" he predicted that didn't happen.  Perhaps most of his callers and listeners didn't want to risk Brinker missing the next bear market like he missed the 2008/2009 bear market so they went to his "income portfolio" that has no stock market exposure.  For sure, I'd love to hear Brinker honestly answer a call about this.  For more on the market read:
    For a good discussion of the Government Shutdown, here is what one of his guest hosts, Terry Savage, sent out via email.

     October 1, 2013:  You're likely waking up to headlines that the government is shut down.  Well, not all of the government.

    Essential services will continue.   Our military will still stand guard, social security will still be direct-deposited, and air traffic controllers are not being furloughed.  National parks will be closed and there will no doubt be other inconveniences -- but life will go on.

    This is not the first government shutdown, nor will it be the last.  There were 17 shutdowns from 1976 to 1996 -- totalling 110 days.  (And that doesn't count snow closings!)

    The most memorable shutdown was the three-week closure from mid-December 1995 to early January, 1996 under President Clinton. And that period included a huge East Coast blizzard.  Still the economy did not collapse,and economic growth was not  greatly impacted.

    Crying Wolf!

    Congress is like the little boy who cried wolf!  If a crisis were imminent you would see it in the stock and bond market where fearful global sellers would dump American assets.  You'd see it in soaring gold prices and a huge decline in the value of the dollar.

    But so far, like all of us (except the media) the world senses that the politicians are crying wolf.

    The government can shut down for a few weeks, without calamity.  But you wouldn't know that from this morning's headlines -- all about the intransigence of our political parties.

    Hey, we settle our political disagreements in a far less ugly way than they do in Egypt, or Syria.  Democracy is messy.

    Get Real

    Yes, there is deep disagreement about the role of government, and the overall level of spending.  It has come to a head in the attempt to delay the individual mandate for Obamacare.

    On a logical basis, you would think the President would welcome this excuse for at least a temporary pause to get the systems working.  After all, large businesses and unions already have been granted exemptions to take a delay of game without penalty.

    And on a logical basis, you would think all Americans would support a plan to make sure Congress and the administration were forced to use the same healthcare program as the rest of America -- without subsidies to defray their costs.  If it's good enough for us, why not for them?

    Look, we all know they will work it out.

    A Budget Fight?

    It's not really a budget fight. The word “budget” implies some kind of thoughtful plan to guide future spending. Congress hasn’t passed a real Federal budget in the past four years.  Instead they’ve gotten by with “continuing resolutions” that allow Washington to keep on spending, and over-spending, so they have added at least $1 trillion to the national debt every year for the past four years

    The real issue is the “debt ceiling” – the official limitation on how much the government can borrow.  That limit has been raised time and again to accommodate Congressional overspending.  In fact, the debt ceiling was reached late last spring, but through a complex series of financial maneuvers the Treasury was able to continue to borrow money to fund spending.

     There will be another confrontation later this month, with the threat that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the United States will have to default on its debt, and be unable to borrow more money to keep the government going.  That too, is likely to be dealt with at the last minute.

    By then we will be totally bored with the drama.

    But too much delay in dealing with our debt could impact the global financial system, as it loses faith in the dollar and causes interest rates to soar.

    When confidence in the dollar is lost, the centerpiece of the world’s financial system will crumble – and it won’t be pretty for America when no one wants to give us full value for our money, when no one wants to lend us money and take promises of repayment in dollars.  Then spending cuts will be forced on us.  Either that or we will start “printing” the money we need – further destroying the value of the dollar.

    Think I’m just crying wolf?  Remember, eventually the real wolf did come.  And that’s The Savage Truth!

    More about Terry Savage:
     - - 

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    Monday, July 15, 2013

    FFRHX & VFIIX: Sell GNMA to Buy Fidelity Floating Rate Income Fund, Good or Bad Advice?

    This weekend I did something I haven't done in a long time, I listened to "Moneytalk with Bob Brinker Host" live while driving to go windsurfing.  I had read about how Brinker recommended selling the Vanguard  GNMA fund (VFIIX) he recommended on the radio show for years to buy the Fidelity Floating Rate Income Fund (FFRHX)  but had not heard him address this on the radio before today.

    WARNING: FFRHX acts like a typical stock fund while VFIIX acts like a bond fund in your asset allocation.

    This weekend a caller asked about this advice and mentioned his "financial advisor" recommended an annuity instead.  Brinker then went on his typical warpath rant about how terrible annuities are and how the "financial advisor" may want a big commission.  It was clear that after recommending the GNMA fund on the radio for years and years, you had to pay to read his Marketimer to see any more of his reasons for selling the GNMA fund to buy the Fidelity Floating Rate Income Fund that contains much of what some call "junk bonds."

    It is not a surprise he wanted to sell the GNMA fund after it suffered major losses.  For years, when callers asked about the interest rate risk in this fund, Brinker suggested they either
    1. Sell the fund and buy a CD ladder or other, similar investments with FDIC insurance.  This is is what I did with most of my money in "fixed income."  I also have money in individual TIPS bought directly from the US Treasury and ibonds, both investments that will never lose money if held to maturity.
    2. Place a mental stop loss on the GNMA position and sell when the NAV (net asset value) drops below this price. 

    Apparently, Brinker followed his own advice to sell GNMAs after they lost about a year or two's worth of interest and he placed the money in a new fund.

    The new fund is very aggressive and should perform in-line with stocks.  That is a TERRIBLE idea for anyone with a "balanced portfolio" where the whole idea of balance is diversification so the bonds go up when stocks go down.    This fund lost 16.47% during the 2008 bear market while the GNMA fund went up about 8%.

    WARNING: FFRHX acts like a typical stock fund while VFIIX acts like a bond fund in your asset allocation.

    FFRHX Junk Bond Fund lost money in the bear market!!

    GNMA Fund went up in 2008 bear market
    This is what you want in a "balanced portfolio" to offset stock risk
    If you don't want to suffer losses, you should buy CDs

    If Brinker is recommending his subscribers buy this fund with money that was in GNMAs, beware that this is a very, very bullish change in his outlook..  

    • If he was so smart and good at market timing, whey didn't he switch out of GNMAs and into this fund in 2009?  
    • Is he taking calls about this fund on the radio show as a way to sell newsletters to those who lost money in the fund without telling them the fund behaves more like a stock than a typical bond fund?
    • Brinker got bearish in 2009 by taking off "dollar cost average new money" to his "fully invested position at the very bottom... now at new record highs, he is recommending selling a typical, relatively safe bond fund to buy a fund that holds junk bonds and behaves like a stock fund?  Another contrarian indicator?

    Long Term Results that Speak for ThemselvesSince 9/30/98 inception, "Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is UP 450%vs. the S&P500 UP only 106% vs. NASDAQ UP only 101% (All through 6/30/13)
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    Charts and Price Quote for

    Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Bob Brinker - Market Prediction, Diversification and Inflation

    Moneytalk with Bob Brinker Commentary for June 16, 2013 Radio Show

    The following commentary is from my "Retirement Advisor" writing partner,  David Korn.

    Caller: This caller inherited some stock that accounts for 25% of his portfolio. How should he handle that? 
    Bob said he would own something like the total stock market index through Vanguard or Fidelity in a low cost index fund. That is a sideways move in the stock market. 
    Kirk Comment:  I like this advice.  Depending on how much money the caller has, I would recommend further diversification with some (20% for young people, 50% for retired people) in fixed income so you have money to "rebalance" and buy low when the market has the inevitable correction.  I felt so sad for many Brinker followers who were 100% in equities at the top before the last bear market.  The rode it all the way down and some actually sold out according to some sad emails I get. 
    I also like to split the total stock market index fund into its components plus add international diversification once you have enough in your portfolio to get over the minimums. Then when you have enough in this diverse portfolio to have the six index funds I currently recommend in my "Core Portfolios" then you are ready to add explore stocks.  Of course some like to add explore stocks (what Brinker calls "individual issues") sooner, which is fine, but that comes at a price of higher portfolio volatility.  That is fine with me as long as it doesn't scare you out of the portfolios when the markets are down.  One reason my method works is we have targets to buy low at so we welcome market declines.
    The caller asked if he should sell the stock now, raise the cash, and then wait for a stock market correction to go into the index fund? 
    Bob said he doesn¹t know what the market will do and that is a sideways move and since he recommends being invested right now you do it on the same day. 
    Kirk Comment:  I don't think I ever heard Brinker say this before!  Did someone slip a "truth serum" into his iced tea?

    EC( David Korn): Bob continues to recommend a fully invested position insofar as the stock market is concerned, a recommendation he has held since May 2003. 

    Kirk Comment:  Actually Brinker has recommended being "fully invested" since March 2003.
    Brinker Comment: The Consumer Price Index comes out Tuesday and we have inflation down near record lows. Why is inflation so low? Because the economy is growing slowly and there is so much excess labor out there. When you combine those two things, it is a recipe for low inflation. 
    EC: I read a thought provoking article entitled, ³The Truth About Inflation: Prices Don¹t Deceive, the CPI Does² that I found at this url:
    MONEYTALK GUEST Anita Raghavan 
    Bob had on Anita Raghavan, author of the book, "The Billionaire¹s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and The Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund." The interview wasn't worth summarizing at all 

    Best Retirement Newsletter
    Read "Kirk's Two Investment Letters - Best Retirement Portfolio For You" to decide which newsletter I offer is best for you.

    Some of the above commentary is courtesy of my writing partner, David Korn
    David Korn's Stock Market Commentary, Interpretation of Moneytalk (Bob Brinker Host), Financial Education, Helpful Links, Guest Editorials, and Special Alert E-Mail Service.  Copyright David Korn, L.L.C. 2013
    If you would like a free sample of David's complete "Brinker related newsletter" and his "Retirement Advisor" newsletter, then click this link to send an email request and please tell us a bit about yourself too.

    Marketimer Income Portfolio Performance

    In the June 2013 "Hulbert Financial Digest,"  editor Mark Hulbert wrote an interesting articlecalled "The virtues of doing nothing" that said most of the advisors he follow would do better buying and holding! His incredible conclusion:  
    "The bottom line?  The inescapable conclusions is that the average transaction that an advisor does is a mistake, at least in the sense that he would be better off if he hadn't undertaken it in the first place."
    We may joke that Brinker's "Marketimer" newsletter model portfolios have been fully invested without an allocation change and very few model portfolio changes since March of 2003, but with Hulbert's data supports this idea.

    Marketimer Income Portfolio:  Brinker tracks the performance of his three model portfolios, but I've never seen him show annual returns by year for his "Income Portfolio."  My guess is he doesn't want Mark Hulbert to count this against his overall performance since you give up return for safety.  Lets examine the performance of the Marketimer Income Portfolio so far this year.

    Brinker Income Portfolio at start of year
    Component Performance YTD for
    Brinker Income Portfolio
    Brinker may have made changes to what is in this portfolio since January, but using Hulbert's idea that of keeping it the same, the performance of the Marketimer Income Portfolio is currently down 2.4% YTD: 

    Later on, I hope to do similar calculations for past years to get an idea of how well Brinker's "Income Portfolio" does against a benchmark like 10-yr Treasuries or Vanguard's Total Bond Fund (which is what John Bogle recommends.)

    The good news is Brinker recommended very recently to several callers that if they were to only buy one fund, it would be Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index Fund, VTSMX.  The ETF for that fund is VTI which the chart above shows is doing very well this year.

    SU - Suncor Energy - A Brinker Individual Issue

    Bob Brinker listed Suncor Energy Inc. (SU Stock Quote and Charts) as one of his individual issues in his January 1, 2013 Marketimer. This article reports on how SU has performed.

    About:   Suncor Energy Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company. The company primarily focuses on developing petroleum resource basins in Canada's Athabasca oil sands; explores, acquires, develops, produces, and markets crude oil and natural gas in Canada and internationally; transports and refines crude oil; markets petroleum and petrochemical products primarily in Canada; markets third-party petroleum products; and engages in energy trading activities. It operates in Oil Sands, Exploration and Production, and Refining and Marketing segments.  (More at Yahoo! Finance
    SU YTD Performance vs S&P500
    Brinker's History with Suncor Energy Inc.:  In his May 4, 2009 Marketimer, Brinker wrote, "We rate Suncor attractive for purchase in the mid-20's price range."  
    • Suncor's low that day was $27.50.  He missed and should have remained patient...
    • Then in the June 2009 issue of MT, he raised the buy level for SU to "low $30's" which allowed him to buy on the decline to $33.34 (my definition of low 30s). 
    Here is a chart of Suncor Energy from 2007 with Bob Brinker's buy range shown with dashed green lines.
    EVERYONE has stock picks that don't do well.  What matters is how they do in total if a subscriber were to buy them according to the advice given.  Brinker usually says no more than 4% in any individual stock but he is unclear on how much in ETFs.  For example, would 10% in GLD and VTI, two of his individual issues, be acceptable to him?  Someone should call Brinker and ask him to account for his "individual issue portfolio" in his reported results and give a clear, easy to understand recommendation on how to use his "individual issues" as I do in my newsletter for my "Explore Portfolio."  

    Bob Brinker doesn't include the performance of his "individual issues" in his overall performance. He could easily report their annual performance like I do for my Explore Portfolio performance here

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