A Short List of Sites I Visit Often
As investors, we are always looking for the “edge”, that piece of information that helps in making our decisions to deploy capital. With the advent of the internet, all information is available instantly, at our fingertips. This is definitely a double-edged sword. On one hand it is nice to have so much information available. On the other, too much data can overwhelm and confuse. Today I will list a few investment websites I visit most often, a short description of each, and some perspective on how each can be utilized effectively.
The Basic Stuff
Market Data and General Reporting- CNBC.com and Bloomberg.com
These are both excellent sources of timely market information, breaking news, and opinion. They are both widely followed American sites, and as such, are extremely generic. The main issue that I have with these sites is that, along with their corresponding television networks, much of the reporting is very sensationalized. The main goal isn’t necessarily to make you a better investor, but simply to keep you entertained, by posting attention-grabbing headlines. The best use of these sites is to gather information and statistics which help to round out the big picture. Placed in proper perspective these sites are invaluable. I try and stay as far away from Cramer as possible.
Generic Canadian Versions- Globeinvestor.com and Financialpost.com
I scan both of these sites daily for essentially the Canadian version of the sites listed above. Good business reporting, market data, and profiles of “who’s who in the zoo” of Canadian business. The Globe has a comprehensive list of mutual funds, ETF’s, and stock listings. Both sites have interesting stories and personal finance tips. On the negative side, some of the numerous “top stock picks” articles, are essentially useless. On any given day there will be at least a few of these articles posted. Whom do you follow? Which stocks are best? How do they fit into each unique individual’s portfolio, and in what amounts? These top picks are more noise and confusion than anything.
The Good Stuff
Do-It-Yourself Heaven- MotleyFool.ca
The sheer number of opinion and perspective articles geared towards Canadian investors is staggering at MotleyFool.ca. They churn out a lot! Motley covers all public sectors, and provides portfolio strategies, for both beginner and more advanced investors alike.
Saving Fees With ETFs and Index Funds- CanadianCouchPotato.com
Of all the Canadian public investing sites out there, this one is most aligned with my thought process, in that fees paid are an incredibly important factor. Considering that the vast majority of mutual funds seem to lag behind the respective indicies they are benchmarked against, in terms of long term performance, logic would dictate that ETFs and index funds are a better choice. Blog author Dan Bortolotti has an in-depth knowledge of the various products, how they compare against each other, and he recommends investment strategies based on sound low-cost principles. An excellent site overall.
Financial Planning Basics- RetireHappy.ca
This blog site was created by Jim Yih, a best-selling Canadian author, and is loaded with a comprehensive array of retirement, financial planning, and investment articles. The site features a number of experts from across the financial universe spectrum. A much-needed resource for navigating the waters of Canadian personal finance.
The Great Stuff
As Good as Buffett- OaktreeCapital.com
For those looking to understand how one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world thinks, Howard Marks is must-read material. Howard’s regular client memos, going back to the early 1990’s, have been a game-changer in terms of how I view the world of investing. Marks’ article Risk Revisited, posted on OaktreeCapital.com, is a prime example of how to manage risk effectively in a portfolio. His style, not coincidentally, differs from the vast majority of investors I have ever personally encountered. I have literally found myself saying “wow” out loud, more than once, while reading his memos.
Trader’s World- TheReformedBroker.com
Josh Brown is a NYC-based broker and CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management. The Reformed Broker is an extremely popular blog, and Josh certainly calls it as he sees it, demonstrating his opinions in an unfiltered and entertaining way. I log onto his site every so often for Mr. Brown’s unique take on the world of investing.
The Absolute Best Stuff
You are in the Dark Unless You Visit- ZeroHedge.com
Okay folks, time for the gloves to come off, because Zero Hedge is the most honest, transparent, and insightful financial blog out there. The site basically aggregates material from across the web, and also allows anonymous posting, sometimes from supposed “insiders” of firms such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc. All writers post articles under the pseudonym Tyler Durden, the main antagonist in the 1999 movie Fight Club, thus they are able to use First Amendment protection to protect identity. Zero Hedge will provide you with a sense of what is really going on out there. I have personally made some of my most successful oil and currency trades as a result of reading Zero Hedge posts. Tip for reading ZH: As reality can sometimes be depressing, I recommend you intersperse time spent on Zero Hedge with heavy doses of comedy, such as Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, or anything by Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, or George Carlin. ZH Tip #2- be smart when reading sites that purport “the truth”. Don’t fall too far down the rabbit-hole. Take any so-called conspiracy theory with a grain of salt.
NB: I installed AdBlockPlus on my pc to avoid the annoying ads. Makes the experience much less distracting.
The Missing Link
One thing you will find, with almost every financial website out there, is that they all pretty much focus exclusively on the public markets. As the market for private investments, hedge funds, and other alternative strategies increases, the demand for educational material related to these markets becomes more of a necessity, and that is where InvestingBeyond.com comes in.
When logging onto any of the myriad of investment websites out there, it is important to have proper foundation and perspective to work from, or else an individual can easily become lost. You may have noticed that I have not recommended investment websites produced by any of the big banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, or mutual fund firms. In my opinion, these sites tend to be so biased toward selling you their financial products, it becomes extremely difficult to discern transparent advice from a sales pitch.
I would start by reading ZeroHedge.com, then finding some comedy, and proceed from there.
What are your favourite investing websites? Feel free to add your two cents by posting in the comments section below.