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David Merkel

The Biggest Problems For Investors Today

What could be more à propos to investing than a bubble spinner? A letter from a “reader” that looked like he sent it to a lot of people:Hello my name is XXX, After looking through your website I have really been enjoying your content. I am also involved in the investing space and wanted to ask a quick question. I was curious as to what you think the biggest problems are for investors today? For example do they ...

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Goes Down Double-Speed (Update 4)

Photo Credit: eric lynchMarkets always find a new way to make a fool out of you.  Sometimes that is when the market has done exceptionally well, and you have been too cautious.   That tends to be my error as well.  I’m too cautious in bull markets, but on the good side, I don’t panic in bear markets, even the most severe of them.The bull market keeps hitting new highs.  ...

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Operating vs Financial Cash Flows

Photo Credit: Daniel Broche || To the victor goes the spoils, or, does a victory get spoiled?====================================I was at a CFA Baltimore board meeting, and we were talking before the meeting.  Most of us work for value investors, or, growth-at-a-reasonable-price investors.  One fellow who has a business model somewhat like mine, commented that all the money was flowing into ETFs which were buying things like Facebook, Amazon and Google, which was distorting the market.  I...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 30

Photo Credit: Philipp Messner || Every culture should learn their alphabet =========================================In my view, these were my best posts written between May and July 2014:Look to the Liabilities to Understand the AssetsWhy do new asset classes work very well for a time and then fail?I Have My DoubtsLearning to live with uncertainty and thrive amid it.Asset Value IllusionPeople don’t need assets as much as they need streams of income derived from the...

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Arconic Arguments

There’s a lot of bits and bytes spilled in the war between Elliott Associates (and those that favor their position) and the current board of Arconic.  I want to point out a few things, having held Alcoa since prior to the breakup, and added to my positions in both new Alcoa and Arconic post-breakup.Profitability will likely improve more if Elliott’s ...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 29

Photo Credit: Hanan Cohen || Anyone need a copy?===============================In my view, these were my best posts written between February and April 2014:On the Structure of Berkshire HathawayOn the Structure of Berkshire Hathaway, Part 2, the Harney Investment TrustThis set of posts is unique in going through how the insurance entities of Berkshire Hathaway allow Buffett to hold as much as he does of his stocks/...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 28

Photo Credit: sevoo===============================In my view, these were my best posts written between November 2013 and January 2014:Advice For Would-be BloggersBe regular (I need that advice myself), write on what you care about, start small.  Not that much different than this recent interview of me regarding blogging.What Life Insurance to Buy?Depends on whether you need it for protection or as part of a tax shelter or estate plan.Protect Your Older ...

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Four Simple Investment Strategies That Work

Photo Credit: Lenore Edman============================================================This will be a short post, though I want to toss this question out to readers: what investment strategies do you know of that are simple, and work on average over the long-term?Here are four (together with posts of mine on the topic):1) IndexingIndex Investing is not Inherently SocialisticWhy Indexes are Capitalization-WeightedWhy do Value Investors Like to Index?On Bond Investing, ETFs, Indexes, and the Current Market Environment2...

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Round Up

Photo Credit: MICHAEL BROWN====================================This is a small thing, and so this will be a small post.Learn to set your expectations right.When you buying something and see a price like $19, $19.95, or $19.99, think $20.When you are buying a car, and see prices like $19,000, $19,900, $19,990, or $19,999, think $20,000.  The same thing applies to homes, and be sure you have a strong estimate of all of the extra taxes and fees ...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 26

Photo Credit: richard winchell  || No, don’t study the Kabbalah…To my readers, for a little while, I am going to be doing some “best of” posts along with some smaller articles.  You should see eleven “best of” articles before this is done.  If this bugs you, just turn me off for a little while.  These articles are important, because there are some re-publishers ...

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