Another excellent op-ed piece by Burton Malkiel, author of the classic “A Random Walk Down Wall Street”.
Malkiel makes the following points (summarized – but you should really read the article):
- Bonds, especially US and Europe, are not positioned to do very well in the future
- Stocks, especially the US and Emerging Markets are
- Emerging Markets, in general but especially Brazil and China and even India look good (natural resources, demographics, etc)
- Single-family houses in the US are less expensive and with ultra-low mortgage rates (see “Bonds” above — a mortgage is the opposite side of buying a bond – it’s borrowing rather than lending!) look good. (“Housing affordability has never been better.” Though, of course, that’s contingent on good credit and probably a job.)
- Costs matter – this was the final paragraph and it’s always worth repeating: “Control the thing you can control — minimize investment costs. That is especially important in a low-return environment. Make low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs the core of your portfolio and ensure that any actively-managed investment funds you purchase are low-expense as well.”