Dan Weiner newsletter

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Dan Weiner newsletter

Postby MsMoneypenny » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:59 pm

I keep getting solicitations from Dan Weiner, who claims that for $149 he can double the average Vanguard investors performance. Can anyone tell me about his service and if it is worth the time and money to explore?
Thx!
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Postby Ken Schwartz » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:10 pm

MsMoneypenny, welcome to Bogleheads Forum! Dan Wiener's newsletter is discussed often here and on the Morningstar Vanguard Diehards Forum. His advertising is generally regarded as annoyingly overblown. He apparently recommends diversified portfolios of Vanguard funds, which is much better than an investing newbie would likely develop on his own. However, the cost of the newsletter is not justified for someone willing to read a good investing book (LIST) and seek the excellent advice available on this forum.

Best wishes,
Ken
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Postby Mel Lindauer » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:32 pm

Besides, many of the Vanguard funds he recommends and uses in his portfolios are closed to new investors. Save your money and ask your questions here.

Regards,

Mel
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Postby DavidA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:44 pm

You would probably come out farther ahead taking a small portion of that $149 and buying Joel Best's "Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists (2001)."

To me (others may have even more negative views) he is a momentum investor (buying what did best last year). If that is a strategy you want to employ you can simply go to Vanguard's web site and see last year's performance for all mutual funds and buy last year's best performing funds.

However, there is evidence that asset classes regress to the mean - no class (or fund) outperforms forever, and even the most beaten down asset classes perform better than average. The problem is you (nor Dan Weiner) cannot predict the future.

IMO - you will be better off perusing the Boglehead library for helpful books. Use some of the funds you considered putting toward newletters and buying yourself a nice dinner.
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Postby Adrian Nenu » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:45 pm

Hi MsMoneypenny,

Save your money. For a lot less than $149, you can buy a few of the Bogleheads recommended books and learn the basics of investing. "The Bogleheads Guide to Investing" is a good start. Newsletters only serve to make the publishers rich.

Adrian
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Postby murfields » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:48 pm

The only one who will profits is Weiner with your $149. And for this you get a newsletter with his literary bs-ing. His Growth portfolio for the last 5 years has under-returned his Index Fund portfolio; so just good indexing with your own slight slicing and dicing will out-perform the best of Weiner's.

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Postby DavidA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:54 pm

In addition to the books in the aforementioned list, you might go to your local library and see if they have a copy of "Winning the Loser's Game" by Charles D. Ellis. Like the other books listed I think you would find it helpful in making investment decisions.

And when confused, as Mel already mentioned, ask questions here. There are some fantastic people who are always ready to help (Mel, Taylor, Laura, others...). None of them will charge you $149 either! They are just good people with altruistic spirits.
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Postby frose2 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:31 pm

Past performance of the Weiner portfolios compared to many others is found in this post called "Madsinger's Monthly Report."

http://www.diehards.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14105&mrr=1205247450
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Postby Hiredgun » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:59 pm

Do you really want investing advice from a Weiner?
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Re: Dan Weiner newsletter

Postby Petrocelli » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:35 pm

MsMoneypenny wrote:Can anyone tell me about his service and if it is worth the time and money to explore?


Unlike, many of the posters to this thread, I actually subscribe to the newsletter. I find it useful for Vanguard investors who like to invest in Vanguard's actively managed funds. He has manager interviews, and comparisons of funds which often provide insight into the funds.

Is it worth the money? That is a hard question to answer. It is an expensive magazine. Part of the value for me is that I like reading about Vanguard funds. He has some suggested portfolios, but many of the funds in the models are closed, and buying substitute funds can be complicated if you want to stay within the Vanguard family. However, I have loosely followed his growth portfolio even though all the funds in that portfolio are not available in my 401(k) plan.

Also, I have read most of the books on the Diehards reading list. I like to have a counterpoint. That's worth something.

I think that you can receive a lot of good advice from posters on this forum. However, their opinions, like mine, are not tracked by Hulbert.

As an example, 4 years ago in this conversation, a poster was convinced to sell Primecap (a Dan Wiener favorite) for TSM ( a Diehard favorite):

http://tinyurl.com/ynuw8h

If you invested $100,000 in Primecap when that thread was posted, you'd have $130,302. if you invested that same amount in TSM, you'd have $124,553. Thus, the Dan Wiener subscriber would about $6,000 more. is that a guarantee of future results? Heavens no. However, maybe there are alternatives to a TSM based portfolio. Having a counter-point can be worthwhile.
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Postby stratton » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:21 pm

Put's fingers in ears.

La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la!
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Postby Petrocelli » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:48 pm

stratton wrote:Put's fingers in ears.

La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la!


It's OK to listen. You may learn something to make some dough. Maybe not.
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Postby knhifin » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:11 am

I've just learned from madsinger in his namesake monthly report that Dan Wiener's hot hands has an amazing CAGR of 16.89% since 1999.

Equally amazing is the seemingly animosity between the diehards and Wiener. It's hard for me to see why being new in this game.

But then again, at 16.89% return, who needs buy-n-hold indexing!? Perhaps this is the source of the feud?

I'm not looking to provoke the diehards, all I'm saying is "anomalies" like Wiener's hot hands, FUNDX, etc, can really make life difficult for a diehard wannabe like me.
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Postby Random Musings » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:38 am

I'm not looking to provoke the diehards, all I'm saying is "anomalies" like Wiener's hot hands, FUNDX, etc, can really make life difficult for a diehard wannabe like me.


Hindsight is always easy - but will the prior "winners" prove so in the future? It's easy to "forget" all of the many losing strategies - everyone focuses on the winners which is pure data mining. That's even before risk adjusting those returns - or heavens forbid, if taxes are part of the equation.

With respect to the "hot hands" - same technique on a yearly basis can be applied to passive equity asset classes - that works in a similar fashion - but I wouldn't go more than 5% of portfolio. This year, I don't think W's hot hands is working so well - so makes me wonder if his followers will stay the course.

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Postby ken250 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:55 pm

I agree with Petro, another viewpoint is always helpful.

Restricting one's self to standard DH reading list is a limited approach to learning/exploring investing.
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Postby Mel Lindauer » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:10 pm

knhifin wrote:I've just learned from madsinger in his namesake monthly report that Dan Wiener's hot hands has an amazing CAGR of 16.89% since 1999.

Equally amazing is the seemingly animosity between the diehards and Wiener. It's hard for me to see why being new in this game.

But then again, at 16.89% return, who needs buy-n-hold indexing!? Perhaps this is the source of the feud?

I'm not looking to provoke the diehards, all I'm saying is "anomalies" like Wiener's hot hands, FUNDX, etc, can really make life difficult for a diehard wannabe like me.


If you read the latest madsinger monthly report for Feb., you'd have seen that the 2008 Hot Hands funds is already down -14.71% after just two months. You gotta wonder how many investors are going to continue to hold on to this one? (That's more than 30 points below your "expected return"!

Regards,

Mel
Last edited by Mel Lindauer on Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Wagnerjb » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:29 pm

Mel said:

If you read the latest madsinger monthly report for Feb., you'd have seen that the 2008 Hot Hands funds is already down -14.71% after just two months. You gotta wonder how many investors are going to continue to hold on to this one? (That's more than 30 points below your "expected return"!


Last year, the Hot Hands strategy backfired. This year it is losing so far....but in fairness to its advocates, it is an annual strategy that should be judged at year-end (when you switch into the next Hot fund). However, as of today the 2008 Hot Hand fund is the very worst performing fund of all those at Vanguard.

Timing is everything. Not only do you have to identify the "winning" strategy in advance, but you have to get into it before it begins petering out. If you get a year or two or three of "benefits", these could easily be decimated by one poor year - leaving you at breakeven or worse. The fund just might have an excellent "long term" record, but if you didn't get in soon enough, you end up with the tail end of the benefits and all of the losses.

Best wishes.
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Postby Petrocelli » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:48 pm

The HH Fund, Growth Equity, continues to have a bad year, and is down more than 10% YTD. However, in fairness to Dan Wiener, the fund is one that he has always had a dim opinion of, and he suggested that subscribers look for other funds and ETFs if they wanted to follow an HH strategy.

I put my hot hands money in the Growth Index Fund. YTD, it is down 4.35%, but it is slightly ahead of the 500 Index. I will continue to overweight large growth this year. Let's see whether it pays off.
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Postby 4th&Goal » Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:48 am

Does anyone else find curious the number of "first posts" we get asking about Dan Weiner's newsletter? I belong to another forum (folks sharing a medical condition) and we constantly get new posters whose first, and usually only post, asks about a product that would be of interest to the group. We are all very skeptical of those posts.

Perhaps I've become too cynical as I age.
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Postby pawpaw » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:25 am

I agree with Petro.
I like the information in his letter every month. I have been a subscriber to his letter for 15 years and look forward to it. I don't follow his portfolios exactly, but my portfolio has done quite well . I have both index and active managered funds and I will continue to subscribe to his news letter.
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Postby Petrocelli » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:36 am

4th&Goal wrote:Does anyone else find curious the number of "first posts" we get asking about Dan Weiner's newsletter? I belong to another forum (folks sharing a medical condition) and we constantly get new posters whose first, and usually only post, asks about a product that would be of interest to the group. We are all very skeptical of those posts.

Perhaps I've become too cynical as I age.


I think you are off-point. My first post on the Diehard forum (under another name) was a question about Dan Wiener.
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Postby 4th&Goal » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:12 pm

Petrocelli wrote:
I think you are off-point. My first post on the Diehard forum (under another name) was a question about Dan Wiener.

Petro,
My post was no reflection on you. I was referring to the OP's post. I have no opinion of Wiener's newsletter or any other. I was simply commenting on new members initial posts asking, more or less, "hey folks; what do you think of Dan Wiener's newsletter?" Seems odd that a person would register and then immediately ask about Wiener, or any other publication. Seems to be marketing or a desire for controversy. As I said earlier; I'm probably too cynical.
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Postby Wagnerjb » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:21 pm

4th&Goal wrote:
Petrocelli wrote:
I think you are off-point. My first post on the Diehard forum (under another name) was a question about Dan Wiener.

Petro,
My post was no reflection on you. I was referring to the OP's post. I have no opinion of Wiener's newsletter or any other. I was simply commenting on new members initial posts asking, more or less, "hey folks; what do you think of Dan Wiener's newsletter?" Seems odd that a person would register and then immediately ask about Wiener, or any other publication. Seems to be marketing or a desire for controversy. As I said earlier; I'm probably too cynical.


No, you are just a bit observant. At the old forum, I recall a thread about 4 years ago in which maybe three "new" posters showed up and posted in that thread for the first time. If I was hungry for the publicity and wanted to make money from subscribers, I would do the same thing, so you can't blame 'em.

Best wishes.
Andy
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Postby Mel Lindauer » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:12 pm

As Andy correctly pointed out, this pattern was repeated time and time again on the M* forum. A new (usually first-time) poster would show up and ask about Weiner's newsletter.

I pointed this obvious pattern out a number of times.

Regards,

Mel
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Postby Petrocelli » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:37 pm

4th&Goal wrote:My post was no reflection on you.


I didn't take your post as a reflection on me. My point is this: If a poster was interested in something relating to Vanguard, they would find either this group or the M* group. That's how I found the Diehard forum. Maybe this poster followed the same path I did.

It is also possible that he is a plant for Dan Wiener. (As an aside, I have been accused of being a Dan Wiener plant.) I don't know. I would think Dan Wiener would have better things to do.
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One More Thing

Postby Petrocelli » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:39 pm

One more thing: I note the original poster had two posts, and the other mentions the Boglehead's Guide... Maybe he or she is a plant for the Bogleheads authors? I don't know, but it looks mighty suspicious to me...
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Re: One More Thing

Postby 4th&Goal » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:11 pm

Petrocelli wrote: One more thing: I note the original poster had two posts, and the other mentions the Boglehead's Guide... Maybe he or she is a plant for the Bogleheads authors? I don't know, but it looks mighty suspicious to me...

Petro, A couple of things:
The Wiener post was the OPs first post. The OPs second post followed the Wiener post. The second post was NOT about the Boglehead's Guide. It merely mentions it. This thread had been dead for three weeks before you returned it to life. You have a way of stretching things to fit your views.
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Postby johnjtaylorus » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:20 pm

So this Wiener is not an investing hot dog?
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Postby cudaman » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:46 pm

johnjtaylorus wrote:So this Wiener is not an investing hot dog?

The more I read about Wiener, including his latest position touting active over index here, I wonder.
http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB120805419908110691.html
He may be a well intentioned investing hot dog. If he would support a mix of predominantly index and some active, I would be more interested. That has not been my impression. I'm sure Petro will correct me if I'm wrong. :)
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Re: One More Thing

Postby Petrocelli » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:04 pm

4th&Goal wrote:
Petrocelli wrote: One more thing: I note the original poster had two posts, and the other mentions the Boglehead's Guide... Maybe he or she is a plant for the Bogleheads authors? I don't know, but it looks mighty suspicious to me...

Petro, A couple of things:
The Wiener post was the OPs first post. The OPs second post followed the Wiener post. The second post was NOT about the Boglehead's Guide. It merely mentions it. This thread had been dead for three weeks before you returned it to life. You have a way of stretching things to fit your views.


I was attempting to point out how difficult it is to draw the conclusion that the OP was a "plant" based on 2 posts. I really think it would be dopey to seriously claim that the OP was a plant for either Dan Wiener or the Bogleheads.

Keep in mind that 3914 of the 6962 posters on this forum have 2 or less posts. This means that many people post a couple times, lose interest, and move on. I really don't think Dan Wiener is instituting a nefarious plan to raid this forum for subscribers.
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Re: One More Thing

Postby 4th&Goal » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:22 pm

Petrocelli wrote:
Keep in mind that 3914 of the 6962 posters on this forum have 2 or less posts. This means that many people post a couple times, lose interest, and move on. I really don't think Dan Wiener is instituting a nefarious plan to raid this forum for subscribers.

Of the 3914 posters who have 2 or less posts, I am only curious of those whose first post references the Weiner newsletter. Others here have expressed similar curiousity. No need to be defensive. I am not attacking Weiner, you (Petro), or any other poster. I was simply making an observation.
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OP here and I'm not a Weiner plant

Postby MsMoneypenny » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:03 am

I am the original poster and thought I should jump in here to assure you that I am not a Weiner "plant". so get on with your lives!
I plan to post some more questions, but have been busy reading some of the books suggested here to enable me to ask them intelligently.
Right now I am reading Live it Up without Outliving Your money by Paul Merriman. He makes an excellent case for using index funds, inc Vanguard and DFA, but favors DFA. I'm keeping an open mind until I learn a little more.
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Postby LoopyGinJuice » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:13 am

If I understand correctly, "Hot Hands" is simply putting 100% of assets into the best-performing fund from last year? In that case, it's not much of a surprise that it's worked pretty well during a primarily bull period, and also not surprising that it's suffering during a bear period.

Looking at returns without looking at risk is a bit too, uh, risky for me, though.
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Postby chaz » Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:40 pm

When I was a novice, Weiner alerted me to Health Care and Capital Opportunity, for which I am grateful.
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Postby celia » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:21 pm

chaz wrote:When I was a novice, Weiner alerted me to Health Care and Capital Opportunity, for which I am grateful.

This applies to me too.


I subscribed for a year, let it lapse for a few years, and have recently re-subscribed. To me, he's another source of information. I like to read his reasonings (thought pattern) and see if it seems reasonable and puts another light on something I may not have considered before.

LoopyGinJuice, Weiner does not say to put 100% into the "Hot Hands" fund. (This is the fund that did the best the previous year.) He has 4 different model portfolios and tracks their performance every month right when you open to the 2nd page of each month's newsletter: Growth Model, Conservative Growth Model, Income Model, Growth Index Model. In the Feb 2008 issue, when he is discussing the current "Hot Hands" fund (which he has reservations about), he says:
While I've often allocated a portion of my Growth Model Portfolio to the Hot Hands fund, I don't go overboard. My feeling is that growth-oriented investors (particularly those who, like me, benchmark their overall performance against the overall stock market) can improve their total portfolio's performance by making sure that at least a portion of their money is following the Hot Hands strategy. --p. 4


P.s. I'm not a "plant". You can see all the other topics I've contributed to. The is the first time I've commented on this newsletter.
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