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Jerry Bramlett

By Jerry Bramlett | 7/12/2018
Should DC asset allocation programs (e.g., target-date funds, managed accounts) be all about maximizing performance, or should the focus be on increasing the certainty (and protection) of a steady stream of income in retirement? This is the thin line that DC asset allocators must walk.... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 4/5/2018
One of the simplest investment options for the average DC investor, and one that can be very effective in achieving long-term retirement goals, is the good old target-date fund. Unfortunately, as two decades of research has shown, investors who truly understand TDFs and their intended purpose are... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 10/12/2017
While there are hundreds of independent DC recordkeepers across the country, the lion’s share of DC plans are record kept by large financial firms. Pick up any guide to the top 20 recordkeepers and it’s obvious that firms that manage money dominate the list.It’s difficult to predict what this list... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 4/17/2017
When one hears the term “sell low, buy high,” it conjures up images of naïve investors being buffeted about by the twin emotions of fear and greed. The perception is that investors of this type get greedy when asset prices are high and, due to “loss aversion” (as the behavioral finance people like... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 3/9/2017
There has been a good deal of public discussion regarding how traditional manufacturing jobs have been decimated due to outsourcing to foreign countries. The truth is that robotics (powerful computers running sophisticated algorithms) have played an equally large role in the de-industrialization of... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 2/25/2015
In his 2000 book, Irrational Exuberance, Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize winning economist and Yale University professor, warned of high stock prices just before the collapse of the tech bubble. In a revised 2005 edition of the book, Shiller sounded a similar warning about high real estate prices.... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 12/17/2014
As noted in a Dec. 15 Bloomberg article, “VIX Note Volume Proving Prescient as Volatility Surges,” the VIX, “a measure of trader anxiety that has spent most of the year hovering about 25 percent below its historical average, jumped 78 percent as oil’s impact rippled through financial markets.” In... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 11/20/2014
“Every sweet hath its sour, every good its bad,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay, “Compensation.” So it seems to be the case with the two main asset allocation constructs offered to DC investors: target-date funds and managed accounts.  TDFs are easy to communicate, are simple default... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 11/11/2014
As evidenced by the increasing use of passive investments in DC plans, investment costs have become increasingly influential in terms of how plan sponsors and their advisors select investment vehicles. Most cost comparisons are based on a fund’s total expense ratio (external costs). However, what... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 11/6/2014
Early this year, a Market Watch article, “100% of Economists Think Yields Will Rise Within Six Months,” reported that “economists are unwavering in their assessment of where yields are headed in the next half year.”  Market Watch was referencing the April 2014 monthly survey conducted by Bloomberg... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 10/28/2014
The born-on-the-web RIA firm, Rebalance IRA, recently produced a report, the title of which identifies their core finding, “Nearly Half of Americans Surveyed Falsely Think They Pay Zero Retirement Investment Fees.”  The study found that when asked what they pay in retirement account fees, 46%... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 10/21/2014
A recent Fidelity study found that in the 20 to 30 age group, 44% of all DC participants are cashing out after leaving employment. If financial hardships and subsequent cash outs from rollovers into DC plans and IRA accounts were included in the study, the amount of leakage would be much higher.... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 10/13/2014
According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) (often referred to as the “fear gauge”) “peaked at 24.64 on [Oct. 14] — a level last seen in July 2012 — marking an 80% increase since the start of the year and a 50% increase this month alone.... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 10/7/2014
When MSCI established its emerging markets index in 1988, this newly formed asset class represented approximately 1% of the world equity investment opportunities. Today, emerging markets represents 22% of the world equity markets and is on track to become 39% of this market by 2030. Though... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 9/29/2014
In a MarketWatch post, “The No. 1 Flaw in America’s Biggest 401(k) Plans,” author Paul Merriman makes three observations concerning the investment lineups of the 100 largest U.S. companies’ 401(k) plans: U.S. small-cap value stocks over the past 50 years returned more than five... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 9/23/2014
The conventional wisdom — as is evident from the mainstream glide paths imbedded in the most popular target date funds (TDFs) — is that DC investors should be invested in portfolios that decrease investor equity exposure over time.  On the other hand, a smattering of studies over the last... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 9/15/2014
Before World War II, Japan was known as the Land of the Rising Sun. After its devastating defeat, however, it became known as the “land of the setting sun” — a description that became the title of a book by the well-known Japanese novelist, Osamu Dazai.  Written shortly after the war, Dazai’... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 9/9/2014
A Money magazine article published Sept. 2, “Why Your 401(k) May Only Return 4%,” makes this point: “The biggest dilemma in retirement investing may be how hard it will be to grow our savings in the next decade.” The author makes the case that in the coming decade, “investors are likely to... READ MORE
By Jerry Bramlett | 9/2/2014
Plan sponsors often look to their plan advisor to provide some perspective on the impact of current geopolitical events on the markets. This is especially the case when asset prices are high and the bears are out and about, with many predicting an imminent demise in the equity market. ... READ MORE