iOS app Android app

Dan Solin
Dan Solin is The New York Times' best-selling author of the Smartest series of books. His next book, The Smartest Sales Book You'll Ever Read, will be published in March, 2014.

Entries by Dan Solin

The Battle Over the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Gets Dirty

(3) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 5:10 PM

The battle over a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor, which would require retirement plan advisors to be fiduciaries to plan participants, has descended to a new low.

The securities industry lobby has been earning its keep, persuading some members of Congress that putting the...

Read Post

Questions That Need Answers

(4) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 6:43 PM

It's no wonder that you are confused. The financial media inundates investors every day with a barrage of irrelevant -- and often misleading -- information. You might think every conceivable question about investing has been fully explored by now and that the answers to the majority of inquiries would be...

Read Post

The Phony Fiduciary 'Debate'

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 1:00 PM

The battle over the legal standard to which advisors should be held when giving investment advice has two fronts: Advice given by advisors to retirement plans and advice given by advisors to everyone else, including individual investors.

The position of the Department of Labor and the SEC

The U.S....

Read Post

This Test Proves You're Overconfident

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 6:57 AM

Much has been written about the perils of overconfidence in investing. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reported one compelling study in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

CFOs are overconfident

You might think CFOs of large corporations would have valuable insight about something as basic as projecting the returns of the...

Read Post

The Supreme Court Decision in Tibble vs. Edison Is a Game-Changer

(1) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 5:56 PM

On May 18, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Tibble v. Edison International. On its face, the court's holding is unremarkable. In a rare 9-0 decision, it ruled that plan sponsors have a continuing duty to review investments in retirement plans and to decide whether...

Read Post

My Interview with Jack Bogle

(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Last week, I met Vanguard founder Jack Bogle in his office for a video interview. I had asked him if he would be willing to endorse a crowdfunding campaign to help underwrite the production costs of Trade-Up.

Trade-Up is the financial television show Wall Street doesn't want...

Read Post

Stunning Odds Doom Your Returns

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2015 | 10:38 AM

Few investors understand the stunning odds that are likely dooming their returns. The system is rigged against investors and in favor of those who "manage" their money. Mutual fund families, brokers and insurance companies are the big winners in this process. Investors barely scrape by.

Here's some historical data for...

Read Post

Two Predictions You Can Take to the Bank

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 7:48 AM

Most predictions are utter nonsense. They're made by self-styled "gurus" who are really emperors with no clothes. If they are right, it's due to luck and not skill (although they are quick to claim credit). Warren Buffett's view of those who pretend to have the ability to predict the future...

Read Post

Financial Advisors Are Not Fungible

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 3:50 PM

MarketWatch recently conducted an interesting survey. In it, they asked four "robo-advisors" and four human advisors to recommend portfolios for the same hypothetical investor.

The investor is a "fictional, but perhaps typical," 35-year-old with an average tolerance for risk and average financial knowledge. He works a job...

Read Post

The Broker Shell Game on the Fiduciary Issue

(1) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 5:02 PM

There's no way to sugarcoat this. The position that brokers and their powerful lobbyists take on the "fiduciary issue" is nothing short of a flim-flam. Here's everything you need to know to avoid becoming a victim.

Why Using a Fiduciary Is Important

Every registered investment advisor (RIA) is a fiduciary...

Read Post

Ten Tips For Generating Higher Returns

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 10:20 AM

The first quarter of this year has ended. How were your returns? Since short-term returns are not very meaningful for a long-term financial plan, perhaps a better question is: How have your returns been over the past one, three, five and 10 years?

If you are unhappy with your returns,...

Read Post

The Stock Picking Era Is Over

(1) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 5:02 PM

I'm sure Jim Cramer will be the last one to leave the burning building, but the era of stock picking is basically over. He continues to talk about index funds as being adequate for those who don't have the time to research individual stocks, but investors -- in increasing numbers...

Read Post

What Does "In Good Hands" Really Mean?

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 1:05 PM

Ethel Sprouse has a difficult life. She is a baby boomer from Cedar Bluff, Ala. Her husband has Alzheimer's disease. Her adult daughter is mentally disabled and lives in a group home. She needed a trusted financial advisory badly.

She turned to a registered representative of Allstate Financial....

Read Post

Let's Redefine 'Smart Money'

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 9:19 AM

Frank Luntz is a corporate consultant, pollster and political consultant to Republicans. His specialty is in messaging and finding the right words to help his clients sell their products or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate. In a fascinating interview on Frontline, Luntz made some...

Read Post

The Biggest Scam of Them All?

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 5:49 PM

This is the time of year when investment boards and committees in charge of selecting fund managers for pension plans and 401(k) plans gather for a time-honored ritual. They review the past performance of their fund managers and decide whether to keep or replace them.

The point of this elaborate...

Read Post

Anxiety Enriches Brokers

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 8:57 AM

Here's a sampling of headlines from CNBC's website as I write this post on March 10:

  • Citi: Here's where the shares could surge 70 percent
  • Why oil decline could get ugly again soon
  • These stocks should lead for the rest of 2015
  • U.S. strategists bullish, but look at their track...
Read Post

The Active Fund Industry Is Desperate

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 5:44 PM

Much of the massive securities industry is based on this false premise: There are "gurus" or "experts" who can identify mispriced equities, tell you when to get in or out of the market, pick mutual fund managers likely to outperform and are otherwise endowed with predictive powers.

Investors are getting...

Read Post

Change Your Investment Goal

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2015 | 7:55 AM

For approximately 85 percent of individual investors, their investment goal is to "beat the market." If you are one of those investors, I want you to consider abandoning that goal and making a new one. Instead, try capturing market returns for the asset classes in which you invest.


Read Post

Avoid the Ultimate R.I.P.-Off

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 6:55 PM

Many estate planners advise their clients to complete a useful, albeit sobering, exercise. The exercise calls for the client to assume they have died, and that their beneficiaries are gathered around the dining room table dealing with the aftermath. The point is to identify before the fact some key estate...

Read Post

Good Looks, Bad Advice

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 4:50 PM

In a recent blog post for Pragmatic Capitalism, Ben Carlson did an excellent job of putting the recent surge of money into passively managed funds in context.

The shift to passive funds is still modest

The shift from active to passive strategies is understandable, given the historical poor...

Read Post