Book Review: The Intelligent Asset Allocator

My good buddy Ames mentioned this book to me. I already held this idea that asset allocations work due to negative correlations, but this book went through all the math I needed to believe it. Perhaps I’m just being bitten by confirmation bias, but I love the Intelligent Asset Allocator. Here are some new takeaways for me.

  • Value stocks as an investing dimension. Over time U.S. value stocks generally beat out growth stocks. Growth stocks already have growth priced in. To increase in value they have to hit insane growth goals. Think Tesla vs. Ford. If Tesla doesn’t grow 8000%, they’ll pull down your portfolio in the long run.
  • Foreign stocks can win! I’m bumping up my allocation of foreign stocks. This books shows they can and do beat the U.S. over certain time periods. Not holding foreign stocks at all will actually increase the volatility of your portfolio.
  • A no bond portfolio earns less? Yep. Turns out that having some bonds will actually increase the total return of your portfolio. 100% stocks won’t outperform 93% stocks and 7% bonds. (Same is true for an all bond portfolio. Some stocks actually add return and stability)
  • Fees suck. You already know that fees hurt your return. This book helped give me the motivation to move over that “OK” 401(k) with 1% fees to Vanguard.

If you are managing your own finances, and most of us are, The Intelligent Asset Allocator is a must read. Anyone of the takeaways I have are worth a lot more than $20 bucks, so I consider this money well spent.

iRacing New User Guide

As this question comes up quite often, I thought I’d make a blog post about it.

TLDR; Get faster. Get more cautious. Don’t expect instant results.

iRacing is an awesome game. However, it can be really really frustrating when you are new. Ever race gets your adrenaline going, but also has crazy people and cars flying everywhere. With some patients and training, things DO get better.

As a driver, iRacing has two main ratings for you. Your Safety Rating (SR) and iRating (iR). You need safety rating to participate in more advanced series. You need iRating to get into higher and higher splits. When too many people register for a race to fit on one track, multiple splits are created. The higher the split, the better the drivers. That’s where you want to be.

To get safety rating, you have to finish races without hitting people, getting hit by people or leaving the track. Coming in last place doesn’t matter. Just don’t hit or be hit by anything. Your two best bets are to practice until you are several seconds faster than everyone else, or to miss the start, start from the pits and hope you can just drive by people as they spin/crash out. If your goal is to get a higher SR, that’s the path!

To get iRating, you need to finish each race as high as possible. However, the common newbie mistake is trying to win every race and ignoring the obvious fact that you have to finish the race to win it. I think everyone goes through this. Here is my frustrated post after playing iRacing for two months. The simple, but effective advice in my opinion is to focus on getting faster. Racing is so much fun, but you shouldn’t just race. That isn’t the way to earning iRating. To earn iRating, practice 75% of the time. Want to do a 40 minute race? Practice 120 minutes first. Want to do another race? Practice another 120 minutes. Read the forum’s. Message the top guys, join teams, groups and practices. Find a coach. Read a racing book. Do anything you can to get better and faster 75% of the time.

The last tip is have patients both in races and in results. In a 40 minute race, you don’t need to pass someone ASAP. Even if you are 11th and the 10th place car is so slow and erratic, wait for the right time. Make sure that person can see you before the turn in of the corner. Ignore who is in the right, it doesn’t matter in the lower splits, survival does. You can start a race 11th, not pass anyone and still get a top 5 position sometimes. You also have to realize that you might put in 120 minutes of practice for a 40 minute race and get knocked out in the first turn. It happens.

The good news? It gets better. Sure, I still get in infuriating wrecks. In fact, I just walked away from a track I was pretty darn fast at last season. I was wrecked out four consecutive races and decided to start training for the next week’s track instead. However, that is the exception, not the norm these days. In the highest split, you start to learn the names of the other drivers. I know who might hit me and who I can trust to race. I’ve had some awesome experiences outside of the lower splits, and you will too. Just hang in there.

Paying for Quality

 

The Washington Post

Today, I’ve subscribed to the Washington Post¬†and the New York Times. For me, this is a monumental decision. As a late gen Xer, I’ve¬†never bothered to pay for journalism. At least not for world news. There has usually been a Motor Trend subscription. Maybe ESPN the magazine, but for my world news, I’ve always just read headlines, or used Google News.

When the New York Times installed the great paywall several years ago, I openly mocked them. Why would anyone pay for news? It is everywhere and it is free! The Times should learn to leverage advertising like everyone else, I proclaimed.

However, I’m now a business owner, writing software for Android phones. I have multiple products with multiple business models. Some just have ads, some are paid products and some are a hybrid. What I’ve learned is that not everything fits the advertising model.¬†Advertising works well when the screen time to capital investment ratio is high enough. However, if the app always runs in the background, doing something awesome and unseen for the user? Ads don’t pay for that. Real money needs to change hands to cover such work. I’ve come to realize the same can be said for investigative journalism. If I¬†want in-depth stories that took months to develop, I¬†cannot expect my ten minute read to pay for that. I’ve got to part with some of the hard earned money that others have parted with to pay for my hard work. So, I’m now paying for the news.

 

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL – Round 2

I posted my previous comparison of the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL on Reddit. Not that surprisingly, the people of Reddit weren’t impressed and let me know that I messed this comparison up. It must be my shaky hands! So, I did the same experiment again on Friday. Same location, same time, and this time, my friend took both photos, so the holder of the phone is the same.

Android Pixel XL
Apple iPhone 7 Plus

You can click the thumbnails to download the originals. I won’t crop the images this time, as someone will say that I didn’t do it right. Sure, the angles are slightly different, as this is a real world test, not a scienfic¬†test. I’m just showing that my friends iPhone 7 Plus takes better low light photos than my Pixel XL.

Don Henley – ACL Live

One of the greats! While I’m sad that I’ll never see the Eagles perform, seeing Don Henley in such a small venue as the Moody Theater was something special. As soon as the acapella opening was over, Caroline turns and goes “That alone was worth the $99!”. I have to agree.

I’m not a¬†music critic, but seeing Garth and Don Henley in a six-month span was crazy. Those are once in a lifetime shows. There are bands I’ve seen many times and hopefully many more, but seeing Don Henley’s passion and soul combined with his unique voice was a timeless experience.