• 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.

  • 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.

  • Which funds are best for investors?

    Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have a lot of advantages over older securities like mutual funds. For instance, mutual funds declare “distributions” each year. Your taxable accounts must pay taxes on these declared amounts, even if you never sold a single share. ETFs are legally structured so taxable distributions are almost never a problem. But which ETFs should individual investors actually buy?

    For more information, see Newsletter #9.

  • The market and the year to come

    A real-money account that followed the Mama Bear Portfolio was tracked during calendar year 2016 by the brokerage firm The Mama Bear outperformed the S&P 500 (including dividends) for 10 out of 12 months of the year.

    Significantly, when the S&P 500 fell a gut-wrenching 11% in January–February 2016, the Mama Bear Portfolio lost only a very mild 3% (image, left above). This head start — a smooth ride that’s typical of Muscular Portfolios — helped the Mama Bear perform well, even though diversified portfolios don’t usually win in bull markets.

    For more information, see Newsletter #8.

  • See trading costs of major ETFs for free

    One little-known fee, known as a “bid-ask spread,” can seriously eat into your investing returns. Now our website makes it possible for you to see these costs before you buy or sell. This can save you money and help protect you from “flash crashes.”

    For more information, see Newsletter #7.