money jungle

David Swensen Slams Cramer

Posted in cramer, david swensen, index funds by moneyjungle on February 19, 2008

In an otherwise soothing overview of the investment themes outlined in Unconvential Success, David Swensen takes quite a crack at Jim Cramer:

“There is nothing that Cramer says that can help people make intelligent decisions,” Mr. Swensen said. “He takes something that is very serious and turns it into a game. If you want to have fun, go to Disney World.” 

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Pay to Play

Posted in funds, index funds by moneyjungle on January 22, 2008

Gretchen Morgenson’s latest NYT column  points out FINRA’s Mutal Fund Expense Analyzer, a free tool that lets you model and compare the expenses associated with different mutual funds and ETFs. Also has a nice set of definitions to understand the various ways you are charged, like Front-End Load, and management fees.

Great tool, but a little depressing to realize that I just paid a 1% management fee to have Oakmark Select I tank last year.

Ben Stein on Life, Happiness, and Index Funds

Posted in ben stein, index funds by moneyjungle on October 14, 2007

This week’s Ben Stein column contains some sage advice on life and investing, as well as a few picks for low-cost index funds:

  • FSTVX — Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index, which tracks the Wilshire 5000
  • EEM — iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF, a developing countries ERF
  • EFA — iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund, an Asia-focused ETF

Why am I such a big Ben Stein fan? His columns, of course. But also his byline: he bills himself as a “lawyer, writer, actor, and economist.” You could spend a lifetime working to (credibly) call yourself a member of any one of those professions, let alone master them. He does all four. In an age of incredibly competitive, specialized careers, I find this comforting and inspiring.