Author: Muscular Portfolios

  • Target-date funds are hazardous

    About 70% of US companies automatically enroll employees into 401(k)-type plans. More than 86% of these firms now direct people’s money by default into “target-date funds.” Now that they’ve taken over, the products expose investors to far too much risk of crashing, experts have found. A simpler formula, with much lower costs, produces greater returns with less risk. See Newsletter #15.

  • Which way will the S&P 500 go?

    Traders have tried for centuries to find a formula that will predict the direction of the market. The truth is that there are too many unknowns to reliably determine what any free market will do in the next one year. Despite that, it’s surprisingly easy to predict where the S&P 500 will be in the long term. See Newsletter #14.

  • Trading small stocks costs a lot

    A new study reveals that the smallest stocks in the market can cost you as much as 8% when you buy and sell shares. That percentage is called the “bid-ask spread.” In the first of a new series of columns for, we show you how to avoid getting a haircut when you trade. See the details on small stock spreads at MarketWatch.

  • Rock your ‘529’ college savings plan

    There are 13.6 million tax-free college savings accounts in the US, and millions more in other countries — but most of the program administrators produce mediocre results. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways parents can get great gains out of a 529-type plan, with no fear of market crashes. See Newsletter #13.

  • gets muscular

    I’m extremely pleased to report that — the best platform for free financial graphing with additional expert and pro levels — has invited me to write a twice-weekly column. It appears most Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the free section of the site, which is open to everyone. See Newsletter #12.

  • Seattle/Bellevue, Nov. 17–18

    Brian Livingston will lead seminars on two consecutive days in the Seattle/Bellevue area. His 2-hour seminar on “How to Make Your Portfolio Muscular” is hosted by AAII Puget Sound on Nov. 17, 2018. There is no fixed fee — only a donation to AAII of any amount is required. A 6-hour “In-Depth Seminar” is on Nov. 18. For details and to register, see the Seattle/Bellevue seminar page.

  • Your questions, answered

    The book “Muscular Portfolios” contains 576 footnotes. To make the link destinations easy to enter, each one is supported by a Web address shortener such as The full destination of each short address is provided at our 1st edition notes page for your convenience. However, some Google Pixel phones don’t correctly redirect to the proper destination. There’s an easy workaround, as described in Newsletter #11.

  • Get the best price at Amazon

    There are tricky features at the giant retailer Amazon — and many other booksellers — that skillful buyers know how to use to get the lowest prices on products. We reveal for you a few of the ways. Even better, for only a short time, buyers who order the book “Muscular Portfolios” can use a special promo code to get extra percentage points knocked off the already-discounted price. For more information, see our newsletter update.

  • Gain more yield on your cash

    Interest rates are rising, but brokerage firms are taking their sweet time giving you higher yields in their “cash sweep accounts.” If you’re holding some cash, you might be receiving from your brokerage as little as one-tenth of the interest you could be getting from cash-like exchange-traded funds.

    There are three kinds of ETFs that can pump up your interest far above the rates brokerages are paying you in their sweep accounts. For more information, see Newsletter #10.

  • Newsletter starts monthly publication

    The Muscular Portfolios Newsletter has been developed in a series of beta-test editions over the past 2½ years. After extensive trials, the newsletter begins regular monthly publication with the launch of Issue #10 on Sept. 11, 2018. Issues after that date will be sent to subscribers in the first week of each month.

    To receive your subscription, please sign up using the newsletter form in the right-hand column. IMPORTANT: (1) The subscriber list is not rented out, (2) you will receive no “junk” emails, just the Muscular Portfolios updates you expect, and (3) you’re free to unsubscribe at any time.