Why is it that every year seems to go by faster than the last one? We have three weeks left before 2015 is here. It’s the perfect time for a review of 2014, find out what worked, what didn’t (hopefully learn from those mistakes), and look forward to 2015.
It’s also a perfect time to remind you there are three weeks left to the year to finish your annual financial review, make any tax changes, put a little extra in your 401k, start thinking about next year’s resolutions – I’ve got three suggestions if you need ideas – all while getting ready for the holidays and before the eggnog starts flowing. Piece of cake.
I’m not immune to the holiday rush either, and the timing is perfect for a review of sorts.
Top 10 Articles
It’s been a long fun year, with a lot written. I rummaged through all the articles this year, picked out what was fun, what caught on, and I tossed out what didn’t. The articles below got more attention than most.
1. 15 Year Look at Asset Class, Sector, and Country Returns – This was by far the most popular article, and the biggest project I’ve done to date and almost didn’t do, which introduced the four interactive tables below:
- Asset Class Returns – compares the returns of eight asset classes versus a diversified portfolio of the same.
- S&P 500 Sector Performance – compares the returns of the ten sectors versus the S&P 500
- International Stock Market Performance – compares the market performance of the top twelve developed international countries
- Emerging Markets Performance – compares the market performance of the top twelve emerging market countries
Thanks to a little help with the code, and a lot of help sharing and spreading the word, the tables were a huge success and brought in readers from around the world. My goal is to have each one updated with 2014’s full year results the first week of January.
2. 10 Lessons Learned from Peter Lynch – An easy way to expand your investing knowledge is to learn from the best. These were my top ten lessons from reading Lynch’s books.
3. Best Time to Own the S&P 500 – This is a complete break down of the S&P 500 since 1926. After reading it you should have a good idea how the U.S. stock market has performed and what your odds of success are over the long run.
4. Argument for International Stocks – Home country bias was a big talking point this year. This posts covers why you should invest outside of the U.S. stock market too.
5. 10 Lessons Learned from Shelby Davis – These were several lessons I learned from a book recommendation about the best investor I never heard of and I bet you haven’t either.
6. How a Simple Allocation Reduces Portfolio Volatility – A simple post on why we diversify between stocks and bonds versus only investing in stocks or bonds.
7. Investing Lesson from Ted Williams – Who knew you could get investing lessons from the greatest hitter in baseball, indirectly through Buffett of course.
8. Beginner’s Guide to Smart Beta – Smart beta was the buzzword of the year. So, a guide was born to give you an introduction to the growing trend of smart beta funds, what it is, the risks and rewards, and how it might fit into your portfolio.
9. Chasing the Best Performing Countries – The first in a two-part series on international funds showing why your success in managing your investments has a lot to do with managing yourself.
10. Picking the Worst Performing Countries – The other half of the series mentioned above about what happens when you take a systematic approach to risk management, with a contrarian view thrown in too.
I want to thank everyone who read and shared what I wrote this year. Many of the posts above never would have gotten the traction they did if it wasn’t for everyone who got the ball rolling and kept it going.
This year brought more recognition than I expected and made it both exciting and scary at the same time. It’s always exciting to be recognized for your work, but the extra eyeballs can be scary, especially when it’s from some higher profile sites/writers I read all the time. Hopefully, I can compound this year’s small successes, improve upon my mistakes, and make 2015 even better.