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As the end of 2019 looms, I wanted to share a recap of the five most viewed articles I have written over the past year.  The list is in descending order of overall views.  Additionally, I have included the top viewed article of all time on my investing blog.  Individual investors have consistently been coming back to that one article.

1. Before You Take Any Investment, Advice Consider the Source – Version 2.0

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2019/09/18/investment-advice-cognitive-bias/

This article discusses the fact that even financial professionals have cognitive biases, not just individual investors.  I include myself in the discussion, talk about Warren Buffett, and also give some context around financial market history to understand how and why financial professionals fall victim to these cognitive biases.

2.  How to Become a Successful Long-Term Investor – Understanding Stock Market Returns – 1 of 3

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2019/09/23/successful-long-term-investing/

It is paramount to remember that you need to understand at least some of the history of stock market returns prior to investing one dollar in stocks.  Without that understanding, you unknowingly set yourself up for constant failure throughout your investing career.

3.  How to Become a Successful Long-Term Investor – Understanding Risk – 2 of 3

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2019/09/25/successful-long-term-investor-risk/

This second article in the series talks about how to assess your risk for stocks by incorporating what the past history of stock market returns has been.  If you know about the past, you can better prepare yourself for the future and develop a more accurate risk tolerance that will guide you to investing in the proper portfolios of stocks, bonds, cash, and other assets.

4.  Breakthrough Drugs, Anecdotes, and Statistics – Statistics and Time Series Data – 2 of 3

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2019/11/20/breakthrough-drugs-statistics-and-anecdotes-time-series-statistics/

I go into detail, without getting too granular and focusing on math, about why statistics and time series data can be misused by even financial market professionals.  Additionally, you need to be aware of some of the presentations, articles, and comments that financial professionals use.  If they make these errors, you will be able to take their comments “with a grain of salt”.

5.  Breakthrough Drugs, Anecdotes, and Statistics – Introduction – 1 of 3

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2019/11/11/breakthrough-drugs-statistics-and-anecdotes-investing/

I kick off this important discussion about the misleading and/or misuse of statistics by the financial media sometimes with an example of the testing done on new drugs.  Once you understand why the FDA includes so many people in its drug trials, you can utilize that thought process when you are bombarded with information from the print and television financial media.  Oftentimes, the statistics cited are truly just anecdotal and offer you absolutely no guidance on how to invest.

                                       Top of All Time

Are Your Financial Advisor’s Fees Reasonable?  Here is a Unique Way to Look at What Clients Pay For

Here is a link to the article:

https://latticeworkwealth.com/2013/08/07/are-your-financial-advisors-fees-reasonable-here-is-a-unique-way-to-look-at-what-clients-pay-for/

This article gets the most views and is quite possibly the most controversial.  Individual investors compliment me on its contents while Financial Advisors have lots of complaints.  Keep in mind that my overall goal with this investing blog is to provide individual investors with information that can be used.  Many times though, the information is something that some in the financial industry would rather not talk about.

The basic premise is to remember that, when it comes to investing fees, you need to start with the realization that you have the money going into your investment portfolio to begin with.  Your first option would be to simply keep it in a checking or savings account.  It is very common to be charged a financial advisory fee based upon the total amount in your brokerage account and the most common is 1%.  For example, if you have $250,000 in all, your annual fee would be $2,500 ($250,000 * 1%).

But at the end of the day, the value provided by your investment advisory is how much your brokerage account will grow in the absence of what you can already do yourself.  Essentially you divide your fee by the increase in your brokerage account that year.  Going back to the same example, if your account increases by $20,000 during the year, your actual annual fee based upon the value of the advice you receive is 12.5% ($2,500 divided by $20,000).  And yes, this way of looking at investing fees is unique and doesn’t always sit well with some financial professionals.

In summary and in reference to the entire list, I hope you enjoy this list of articles from the past year.  If you have any investing topics that would be beneficial to cover in 2020, please feel free to leave the suggestions in the comments.