Archives for February 28, 2017

How to Minimize Investment Returns – By Warren Buffett

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

brk2015At the bottom of the Berkshire Hathaway 2016 Annual Report, you may not have noticed that Warren Buffett republished a previous article from the 2005 annual report titled “How to Minimize Investment Returns”. A version become the first chapter (find it here) of The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by Jack Bogle. I am jumping on the bandwagon and republishing this 2007 blog post below as well. 🙂

It’s both a highly recommended parable and it comes at the perfect price of free. Read it if you haven’t already.

Original post:

I just watched the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness this weekend. I found it ironic that he really didn’t change job types when he joined Dean Witter. Mr. Gardner started out a salesman, and ended up a salesman. But by managing to change his product to financial services, he turned his tenacity and people skills into millions of dollars.

Why is financial services such a lucrative field? This reminded of an excerpt that I had saved from Warren Buffett’s 2005 Letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Although a tad on the long side, I think it provides an excellent “big picture” view of investing the the stock market.

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Fidelity Investments Stock and ETF Trades now $4.95

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

fidelity_logoFidelity Investments has announced their online stock and ETF trades will now cost $4.95, down from $7.95 previously. The press release also points out that they also do not accept payment for order flow (unlike TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and E-Trade), and that their order routing has led to price improvement higher than industry average. I’m not sure of the dollar impact of all these factors taken together, but it could be significant if you trade a lot of shares.

Fidelity continues to offer 91 ETFs from Blackrock and Fidelity on their commission-free ETF list. The list includes many low cost iShares Core ETFs including:

  • iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market (ITOT)
  • iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock (IXUS)
  • iShares Core S&P 500 (IVV)
  • iShares Core Total USD Bond Market (IUSB)
  • iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond (AGG)

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Schwab recently cut their online trades to $6.95 per trade. (Update: Schwab will also drop to $4.95 starting March 3rd.) It’s interesting to see that the former “full service” brokerages all now offer trades at what used to be “discount” prices. (Scottrade rolled out $7 trades back in the 1990s.) I only hope that Fidelity keeps up its reputation for better customer service. Here’s a comparison chart from their press release:

fidocut1

Free trades? They do exist. Merrill Edge offers $6.95 trades normally, but will give you 30 free trades per month if you keep $50,000 in combined assets across Merrill and Bank of America deposit accounts (Platinum Preferred Rewards tier). With $100,000 in combined assets, you get 100 free trades a month. Moving over existing assets from another broker qualifies. Merrill Edge does not accept payment for order flow.

Robinhood offers $0 trades with no minimum required balance through their smartphone app (and less hand-holding). Robinhood does accept payment for order flow and now offers a set of premium paid features.

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