News & Insights

Dimensional Fund Advisors: “The Active-Passive Powerhouse”

Dimensional Fund Advisors was founded in 1981. Today, the firm has $460 billion in assets under management (as of December 31, 2016). Dimensional’s story was featured in The Wall Street Journal article “The Active-Passive Powerhouse” by financial author Jason Zweig.  

Quarter-End Summary

Throughout December, there was no shortage of stories looking back on 2016. Whether to serve as a reminder or for nostalgia, we are drawn to best-of lists and year-end recaps. With that in mind, we have assembled a list of four major events, each of which affected global financial markets in 2016.

 

Why Indexing Is Good but Dimensional’s Approach Is Better for the Long Term

While indexing is an improvement over active stock picking, Forum predominantly uses Dimensional funds because Dimensional’s approach is better for the long term. 

Caution! Predictions Ahead

What inevitably follows year-end retrospective season are commentators speculating about what might unfold over the year ahead. These prognosticators have the power to distract us from our goals with loud predictions. Whether dire or optimistic, such comments should not convince us to change our plans.

 

 

 

At the Intersection of Art and Investing: An Article from Jason Zweig

Financial author Jason Zweig grew up in the dusty and sparkling world of art and antiques in the 1970s. For those who delight in tales of discovering hidden works of art, this recent article is an excellent find.

Note: True to his calling as a veteran investing columnist, Zweig also points out the striking similarities between the antiques market and the financial markets. 

Season of Giving: Four Organizations That Inspire Us

As we look back on 2016, we want to acknowledge four organizations whose year-round efforts strengthen our community. We are inspired by their unwavering commitment to helping others.  

Forum is proud to support the following organizations.  

Q&A Series: Protecting Tomorrows with Mary Anne Ehlert

For the first time in history, people with disabilities have a greater likelihood of outliving their parents and guardians. This is why it is essential to plan for a loved one’s future. Families need to make sure everything is in place, so when they are no longer able to act as caregivers, their loved one can still live a high-quality life.

Planning begins by asking family members about their hopes, dreams and fears regarding their loved one with special needs. The next crucial step is to review the key planning steps and complex legal and financial issues related to planning. The following questions and answers address some of those issues.

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche Receives the 2016 DuPagePads Spirit Award

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche has been named the recipient of the 2016 DuPagePads Spirit Award. Since 1985, DuPagePads has been providing interim and permanent housing as well as ongoing support services to individuals in crisis in an effort to end homelessness in the local community.

 

Readers Continue to Choose Print Books Over Other Formats, According to Recent Survey

Print books continue to be the favored format for readers. A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found that, “65% of Americans have read a print book in the last year, more than double the share that has read an e-book (28%) and more than four times the share that has consumed book content via audio book (14%).”1 

Mary Anne Ehlert Featured in Reuters Article on Retirement Planning for Special-Needs Families

Forum partner Mary Anne Ehlert was featured in the November 3 Reuters article “U.S. Special-Needs Families Face Complex Retirement Planning.”

A highly regarded specialist working with families of individuals with disabilities, Mary Anne is also the president and founder of Protected Tomorrows, which helps families plan a safe and fulfilling life for loved ones with special needs or who are aging. 

Markets and Presidential Elections

In July, we posted a commentary on markets and presidential elections. With Election Day 2016 fast approaching on November 8, what follows is an excerpt from that article.

Considering The 100-Year Life

The far-fetched notion that we could live to be 100 years old is a real possibility, according to a new book from Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott of the London Business School.

In a recent article from World Economic Forum, author Peter Vanham wrote that the authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity saw medical progress as a driver of living a longer life. However, as Vanham noted, that means we should care more about our health and well-being today. The conclusion: We should spend less time at work and spend more time working on saving for retirement, staying healthy and enjoying the relationships we have with family and friends. 

Article: “Making Billions With One Belief: The Markets Can’t Be Beat”

The Wall Street Journal article “Making Billions With One Belief: The Markets Can’t Be Beat” by Jason Zweig features the story of Dimensional and how it invests.

According to the article, “Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, or DFA, is the sixth-largest mutual-fund manager, up from eighth a year ago, according to Morningstar Inc., adding nearly $2 billion in net assets per month at a time when investors are fleeing many other firms.”

 

Eugene Fama on Modern Finance

Three years ago, Eugene Fama was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Lars Hansen and Robert Shiller were also named 2013 Nobel laureates along with Fama “for their empirical analysis of asset prices.”1

After the announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in October 2013, Dimensional Fund Advisors posted the following retrospective on Fama’s academic career and the evolution of modern finance.

Quarter-End Summary

Baseball fans and investors have something in common. With a view from the stands, they cannot control what happens on the baseball field or in the stock market. However, while some investors fear the month of October, those who follow America's national pastime have reason to cheer. For the hopeful fans of teams advancing to the postseason, October baseball is a whole new ball game. 

Conversations with Norm Mindel and David Booth: “A Kid from Kansas”

In “A Kid from Kansas” David Booth tells Norm Mindel about his journey to Dimensional and why everybody should have a place where they can be a rock star.

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche Obtains Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® Certification

Forum Partner Mary Pat Wesche, CPA, PFS, CFP® has obtained her Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® certification. With this advanced focus on the financial issues associated with divorce, Mary Pat expands upon her experience helping individuals in transition.

Article on Managing Higher Education Costs, News on Changes to FAFSA Filing Dates

In our new Value of Advice white paper, we discuss student loan debt and why having a plan that outlines associated college expenses can benefit a student long after graduation.

We also want to let you know about some important date changes for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Allison Tronnes Earns Compliance Professional Designation, Strengthens Forum Compliance Program

Compliance Director Allison Tronnes has earned the NRS Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCP®) designation. The IACCP® program requires professionals to complete numerous requirements over an 18-month period including completing 20 Compliance courses and passing a three-hour certifying examination.

History on the Run

This article by Jim Parker, vice president for Dimensional Fund Advisors, was featured in his “Outside the Flags” column on August 17. From his office in Australia, Jim provides his perspective on issues occupying investors' minds and on those beyond their immediate view.

Financial Literacy: Working to Bridge the Financial Knowledge Gap

Research from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) indicates there is a significant financial knowledge gap among Millennials across different areas of financial engagement, including budgeting and saving as well as debt management. Regarding this gap, the NEFE commented, “Millennials are going to need that confidence to tackle the myriad financial challenges they face.”

Here we highlight a few findings. 

Karma Forrestal Joins Forum’s Partner Group

Forum is pleased to announce that Karma Forrestal, CFP® has been named a partner for Forum Financial Management, LP.

 

Quarter-End Summary

Since the beginning of the year, people have been tuned in to election news. One can only assume that coverage will gradually dominate the social conversation as we move closer to November.

Potential Benefits of Refinancing

In this low-interest-rate environment, many homeowners would benefit from refinancing. Doing so may serve to improve cash flow or decrease the overall life of a mortgage. While there are a few exceptions, including those who may be nearing the end of their mortgage or plan to sell their home in the very near term, most homeowners should at least consider refinancing their mortgage. It is important for homeowners to be aware of any associated fees and how the terms of refinancing may change their mortgage type, term, principal paid and monthly payments.