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Your Question

Am I well-diversified?
Some thoughts on how to tell if you have too many stocks and funds or too few.

Jason's Answers

Peter`s Uncertainty Principle
10/01/2004: Money Magazine
Peter Bernstein may know more about investing than anyone alive. And the most important thing he knows is this: He has no idea what the future will bring.

There`s no stock like home
06/17/2004: Money Magazine
How should you diversify the risks of owning your house?

The Rip Van Winkle portfolio
03/19/2004: Money Magazine
Is it possible to invest so reliably that you won`t have to change anything for 20 years? It`s worth a try.

Lessons From The Greatest Investor Ever
07/01/2003: Money Magazine, Vol. 32 No. 7
As The New Edition Of The Intelligent Investor Shows, Ben Graham Never Goes Out Of Style

Get Smart About Sectors
12/01/2002: Money Magazine, Vol. 31 No. 13
There\'s a right way and a wrong way to use focused funds.

Are you wired for wealth?
10/01/2002: Money Magazine
What goes on inside your brain when you invest? Here’s how the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience can help make you smarter – and richer. [See also May 14, 2002 and March 18, 2003.]

The Trust-No-One Investing Plan
06/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Corporate scandals got you scared of stocks? Try bonds, whose returns aren\'t as low as you think.

New Cause for Caution on Stocks
05/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Fresh research challenges the historical rate of return on equities. Look to bonds for more balance.

Online chat at Morningstar.com
03/01/2002: www.morningstar.com
Among other things, Jason discusses investment risk, diversification, index funds, market timing, and how the mutual fund industry should get its act together. (Note: free registration required.)

Is the S&P 500 Rigged?
07/13/2001: Money Magazine
The ultimate market measure has been turned inside out -- and may never be the same again. Investors beware.

Do you sabotage yourself?
05/01/2001: Money Magazine, Vol. 30 No. 5
Daniel Kahneman has done more than anyone else to explain why most of us make so many mistakes as investors--and what we can do about it.

Will The Janus Way Go Astray?
01/01/2001: FORTUNE Magazine
MONEY magazine's mutual fund columnist Jason Zweig gets under the hood of Janus' magical money machine.

Investing on PBS
01/01/2001: PBS
A chat with Betsy Karetnick of PBS’s “That Money Show” about what went wrong for investors in 2000 and how to put those lessons to work. View the video here:

Mutual Funds
11/01/2000: PBS
An interview with Betsy Karetnick of PBS’s “That Money Show” on the basics of investing in mutual funds. View the video here:

The Trouble With Humans
11/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 12
A look at the neuroscience of investing: Why rats and pigeons might make better investors than people do.

Hunting eggs
09/14/2000: money.com
How to diversify away the risk of too much company stock.

Performance Review: Part 2
07/25/2000: money.com
I've been answering your questions in Mutual Fund Mailbag for just about a year now, and I think I've gotten things mostly right. Just to be sure, though, I've asked some of the investing world's top minds for their two cents. In this three-part series, I square off with Vanguard's John Bogle, efficient-market theorist William Bernstein, and finance professor Terrance Odean on the issues you've written in most about. This week: Bernstein gives me a bashing.

Ground Zero
06/29/2000: money.com
Zero-coupon bonds are a good way to lock in a rate of return. Just be prepared for a rocky ride.

Back to school: websites for more advanced investors
06/06/2000: money.com
We're all getting pretty good at investing these days. Here are some websites to help you get to the next level.

Investing for retirement and income
06/06/2000: CNN
In this appearance on CNN’s “In the Money,” Jason recommends some mutual funds and strategies to improve retirement security.

The Best Investor You\'ve Never Heard Of
06/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 6
From A Nondescript Apartment In Des Moines, Joseph Rosenfield--A Longtime Pal Of Warren Buffett-- Has Turned $11 Million Into $1 Billion. Who Is He, And How Did He Do It?

The first step
05/18/2000: money.com
Good investing isn't rocket science. Here's a plan to get you started that can last a lifetime.

To buy, or to build
05/11/2000: money.com
How many stocks make up a diversified portfolio? The debate rages on, but there are some rules you can live by. (See also July 25, 2000.)

Investing internationally
05/01/2000: CNN
In this appearance on CNN’s “In the Money,” Jason discusses using mutual funds to invest overseas with safety.

High concentration
04/11/2000: money.com
The Vanguard Growth Index fund has nearly half of its assets in just 10 stocks. How much is too much?

Do health-care funds make sense?
03/10/2000: money.com
Depends who you ask--but if it's a financial journalist, think twice.

Questioning your faith
03/02/2000: money.com
Should you abandon those once-great value funds?

The case for boring bonds
02/17/2000: money.com
What good is 6% a year when you can make 6% an hour?

Do the Experts Get the Future Right? Does Anybody?
02/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 2
Before you put all your money in that tech fund, consider how far off our expectations have been over the past decade. Jason Zweig With additional reporting by Erica Garcia

Diversification overrated? Not a chance
01/26/2000: money.com
Jason takes issue with an article in Worth Magazine questioning the value of diversifying your investments.

Dumbed down too far
01/18/2000: money.com
Lifecycle funds offer instant diversification, but they have their drawbacks.

Diversity training
01/06/2000: money.com
You can't know when tech stocks will end their bull run. But you should start preparing now.

Tying yourself to the mast
12/14/1999: money.com
As the market gets more and more volatile, Jason gives practical tips on how to avoid the often-irresistible call of panic buying and selling.

Why buy bonds?
12/03/1999: money.com
These days, everybody seems to be filling their portfolio with nothing but stocks. Jason explains why this can be a risky strategy.

The Tyranny of Style
12/01/1999: Money Magazine Vol. 28 No. 12 Special Double Issue
Is a mutual fund's label more important than its returns?

Don't try this with your 401(k)
11/04/1999: money.com
Why loading up your retirement plan with shares in even a high-flying employer is a dangerous thing to do.

To weight or not to weight?
10/28/1999: money.com
Jason advises a reader who wonders if he should weight certain sectors of the market more heavily than others, and debunks the idea that small cap stocks tend to outperform large caps over time.

All dressed up and no place to invest
10/07/1999: money.com
Jason advises a reader who's managed to save a lot of money, but doesn't know where to invest it.

Which one of these funds is not like the others?
09/24/1999: money.com
Jason answers a reader who wants to know about tools to evaluate how much overlap there is in his funds' holdings.

How many funds are enough?
09/17/1999: money.com
Jason explains why most investors shouldn't own more than a handful of mutual funds.

How smart is buying cheap?
09/10/1999: money.com
Jason explains why "cheap" stocks aren't always a good investment, and clears up some of the confusion around P/E ratios.

A Short Primer
09/03/1999: money.com
If you absolutely, positively have to short the market, Jason shows you how.

“Expert Q&A”
08/01/1999: morningstar.com
In this online chat, Jason fields questions from Morningstar users about everything from stock-picking “systems” to index funds, how and why to use a broker, investing in corporate bankruptcies, saving for college, the fine points of bond funds, and the ethics of financial journalism. [Conversation 676: in the “Jump to #” box, enter 676]

Cast a wide net
08/03/1999: money.com
Jason explains the logic behind investing in a fund based on a total stock-market index like the Wilshire 5000.

False Profits
08/01/1999: Money Magazine, Vol. 28 No. 8
You now have all the tools you need to pick your own pocket. (A critique of the stock-picking “strategies” of the Motley Fool.)

In defense of diversification
07/28/1999: money.com
Zweig answers critics who wonder why anyone would possibly want to invest in anything other than U.S. stocks.

Fools and their money
07/21/1999: money.com
Reaction is swift, strong (and more than a little foolish) to Zweig's Money column criticizing the Motley Fool.

Don\'t Sell Value Short
06/01/1999: Money Magazine, Vol. 28 No. 6 Special Issue The MONEY 100
How would you like to be a highly intelligent, experienced, skilled professional--and come in to work every day and have somebody tell you that you\'re a moron?

05/01/1999: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 5
Don\'t believe the hype about Internet stocks and funds.

How many stocks do you need?
01/30/2001: money.com
Probably a lot more than you think, if you want a diversified portfolio.

Give diversity a chance
02/14/2001: money.com
A lot of individual investors hate spreading their bets. But it works.

12 Deadly Fund Myths -- and How to Profit from Them
02/01/1996: Money Magazine
Like the Ancient Greeks, fund investors believe in myths. Here we debunk the biggest and give you advice to make you a richer shareholder.

Funds on Sale! Why now may be the time to open your wallet to closed-end funds.
02/01/1996: Money Magazine
Amid the greatest bull market in history, closed-end funds are about as cheap as they have been in years. How to find top choices at terrific prices.

How to Win with the New Fidelity Lineup
05/01/1996: Money Magazine
Fidelity has shaken up its managers to boost performance. What do the changes mean for investors?

Which Funds Are Too Hot
08/01/1996: Money Magazine
A look at why so-called hot funds so often end up going cold.

A Middle-of-the-Road Fund Will Make It Possible for You to Coast Past Bulls and Bears
09/01/1996: Money Magazine
Why an apparently mediocre mutual fund can end up making you more money than a seeming superstar.

How to Build a Portfolio
12/01/1996: Money Magazine
Advice on how to assemble a mutual-fund portfolio one building block at a time.

Learn from the Big Bad Bear
05/01/1997: Money Magazine
Lessons from veteran investors who survived the crash of 1973-1974.

Bond Funds Are a Hit
06/01/1997: Money Magazine
A buying guide and ownership manual for bond funds.

Stocks or Funds?
04/01/1998: Money Magazine
How to do decide whether (and where) mutual funds or individual stocks will work better for you.

Don`t Believe the Bull: Bond Funds Do Have a Place
06/01/1998: Money Magazine
Why almost every investor can benefit from owning a bond fund.

Diversification Pitfalls
10/01/1998: Money Magazine
Even savvy investors can mess up a good portfolio -- and remember, you are one of the eggs in your own basket.

Invest Globally -- Still
12/01/1998: Money Magazine
Sure, the numbers are scary, but staying home is risky too. Why everyone should own an international fund.

Flavor of the Month
03/01/1999: Money Magazine
Are enhanced index funds (and 184% returns) too good to be true?

Swept Away by Index Funds
12/01/2004: Money Magazine
Is fundamental indexing the answer to a fundamental problem?

How to Beat Hedge Funds
12/01/2006: Money Magazine
Why the typical investor is better off without a hedge fund.

Bottoms-Up Analysis
04/01/2007: Money Magazine
What the ultimate liquid asset -- wine -- can teach us about investing. (With Asa Fitch.)

Mr. Worst-Case Scenario
05/01/2007: Money Magazine
Robert Shiller called the tech stock crash just as NASDAQ peaked. Where does he think the real estate market is headed now? Uh-oh.

The Man Who Explained It All
06/01/2007: Money Magazine
Bill Sharpe`s pioneering theory on the interplay between investment risk and return won him a Nobel Prize. Now he wants to help you use his work to make better financial decisions.

Why We Stay Home and Why It`s a Bad Idea
07/01/2007: Money Magazine
It`s human nature to feel at ease with what`s familiar. But in investing, comfort can cost you a lot of money.

How Many Stocks Should You Own?
09/01/2007: Money Magazine
The answer is a lot more, and a lot fewer, than you probably think.

Why to Steer Clear of the New Gold Rush
04/01/2008: Money Magazine
Stampeding into commodities right now is one of the stupidest things an investor could do.

Wall Street Lays Egg with Its Nest Eggs
09/27/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Those who give advice do not always take it.

Joe Investor, the Markets Are All Yours Now
11/15/2008: The Wall Street Journal
The `smart money` has turned tail and run away, creating value for anyone with cash and courage.

Smart Money Takes a Dive on Alternative Assets
01/17/2009: The Wall Street Journal
How the world`s largest -- and supposedly smartest -- investors got suckered on private equity and hedge funds.

As Stock Losses Loom, Don’t Throw a ‘Hail Mary’
02/21/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Why desperate investors do desperate things, and how to avoid joining in.

Tempest-Tossed? Take Some Control
03/04/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Instead of plunging in and out with both feet, take some baby steps.

Should Managed Futures Be in the Cards for You?
05/16/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Making money in commodities is not quite as easy as it looks.

The Time to Tame Inflation is Before It Strikes
06/27/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Why Treasury Inflation Protected Securities still make sense.

Does Stock Market Data Really Go Back 200 Years?
07/11/2009: The Wall Street Journal
What many investors don`t know about stock returns `since 1802.`

What’s Under the “Emerging” Curtain
07/25/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Emerging markets are hot. Will they stay hot?

Should a Shrinking Dollar Worry You?
09/12/2009: The Wall Street Journal
What can American investors do to protect themselves from the declining value of the dollar?

Don`t Let a Market Crash Hit You at the Finish Line
10/10/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Does the risk of owning stocks really decline over time?

Is Buy and Hold Dead?
10/22/2009: Morningstar
An interview with Morningstar`s Christine Benz.

Can Angel Investors Earn Heavenly Returns?
10/31/2009: The Wall Street Journal
It`s a very good time to become a mini-venture capitalist. It`s also a good time to think twice before you do.

Are ETFs Causing an Emerging-Markets Bubble?
11/07/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Is too much ``mindless money`` inflating the prices of stocks in the developing world?

More Stocks Do Not Always Make a Portfolio Safer
11/21/2009: The Wall Street Journal
New research reveals a surprise: Some portfolios are riskier with 20 or 30 stocks than they were with just one.

Are You Too Late for the Junk-Bond Party?
11/28/2009: The Wall Street Journal
In pursuit of income, should you bail out of money-market funds and CDs to buy high-yield bonds?

Placing Your Investing Chips in the Right Countries
01/30/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Is the global map of your portfolio lopsided?

When the Global Debt Shuffle Hits Home
05/08/2010: The Wall Street Journal
What the Greek crisis and the market swoon are telling us.

Hazardous Waters: Should Investors Bet on Rising Risk?
07/03/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Trying to make money off volatility is all the rage -- a likely sign that volatility is about to wane.

Another Can`t Miss Deal That Can Miss Spectacularly
07/24/2010: The Wall Street Journal
A look under the hood of `secondary-market income annuities.`

Unlikely Superstar: How a Forgotten Fund Got Hot in a Hurry
09/18/2010: The Wall Street Journal
The meteoric rise of the Permanent Portfolio says more about investors than about investments.

The Bond `Bubble`: Are Small Investors Taking Too Big a Bet?
10/02/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Is it the little guy or the so-called ``smart money``who is taking the risk of rising interest rates?

Why Your Stock Portfolio Is Acting Like a Commodity Basket
11/20/2010: The Wall Street Journal
What makes common stocks behave like sugar and crude oil?

That`s Oil, Folks: Why You Don`t Need More in Your Portfolio
03/05/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Should you rush to buy energy stocks or funds?

Some Investors Are Betting That Japan Will Rise Again
03/19/2011: The Wall Street Journal
In the wake of the devastating tsunami, should you invest?

Bonds Shrug Off Revised Outlook
04/19/2011: The Wall Street Journal
As Standard & Poor`s downgrades the credit rating of the U.S., what is likely to happen?

Hedging Your Home Value: The Greatest Idea Never Sold
05/14/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The urgency -- and puzzling difficulty -- of protecting against falling real-estate values.

Borrowing Against Yourself
09/22/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Before you take out a margin loan on your brokerage account, remember that you shouldn`t borrow unless you`re prepared to lower your other risks.

Gold Even Reigns on the Stock Market
08/23/2011: The Wall Street Journal
A brief shining moment: SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) becomes the world`s largest exchange-traded fund.

Why a Legendary Market Skeptic Is Upbeat About Stocks
09/10/2011: The Wall Street Journal
An interview with Vanguard founder John C. Bogle.

Is Gold Cheap? Who Knows? But Gold-Mining Stocks Are
09/17/2011: The Wall Street Journal
It`s hard, if not impossible, to tell what gold is worth. But you can value gold-mining stocks, and they are cheap.

In Real Estate, Simple Wins
10/29/2011: The Wall Street Journal
A look at so-called tenancy-in-common deals, a real-estate wrinkle gone bad.

Forget About Black Swans, the One Floating Ahead Is Neon
07/23/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Some risks are so blindingly obvious -- like, say, a decay in the quality of U.S. creditworthiness -- that investors close their eyes to them.

Caging Raging Contagion
11/12/2011: The Wall Street Journal
With markets around the world moving in lockstep, which investments offer some semblance of diversification?

Safe at Home? Not in a 401(k)
11/19/2011: The Wall Street Journal
When the markets get shaky, investors add more money to their own company`s stock.

Simple Index Funds May Be Complicating the Markets
02/18/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Are index funds and ETFs making all financial assets dangerously interconnected?

Is `Derisking` Even Riskier?
02/25/2012: The Wall Street Journal
When you `de-risk` your portfolio, be sure you aren`t just replacing old risks with new ones.

The Dividend-Fund Dilemma
04/07/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Do the investors who have poured billions of dollars into dividend-oriented funds understand the risks?

In New Funds, Old Flaws
04/14/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Exchange-traded notes sound like exchange-traded funds, but their fees -- and behavior -- can be nothing alike.

A Flaming Buy? Natural Gas Won`t Stay Low Forever
04/28/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Natural gas is very close to being given away. Investors should sniff opportunity.

Real Estate: The Long Road Back
11/08/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
How long will it take the psychology of the housing market to recover? History suggests it could take years more.

Enron, 10 Years After
12/05/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
On the 10th anniversary of Enron`s bankruptcy, what are the lessons for investors? An interview with a former senior Enron manager.

The Ron Paul Portfolio
12/21/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A look at the investments of presidential candidate Ron Paul, whose portfolio certainly practices what he preaches.

How Weird Is Ron Paul`s Portfolio
01/05/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Another round in the debate over the gold-laden investment portfolio of presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Can You Sum Up Your Investing Philosophy in 10 Words?
01/27/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Famous investors -- and regular readers -- boil their beliefs down to 10 words or less.

Are Diamonds an ETF`s Best Friend?
08/07/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Before long, there may be an ETF that is pegged to gem-quality diamonds.

Gold: Do We Hear `36,000`?
10/24/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A new book calls for gold to hit $10,000 an ounce. Does that sound familiar?

In a Low-Rate World, Everything Is a Real-Estate Play
10/27/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Real-estate investment trusts are hot, and just about everything imaginable is turning into a REIT.

It`s Hard to Limit U.S. Stock Exposure
02/02/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Do the investors barging into high-yield bonds realize that their performance closely tracks the stock market?

A `Bucket List` for Better Diversification
02/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
A look at `differsification,`or how to protect your portfolio in different economic scenarios.

Norway: The New Yale?
03/07/2013: WSJ.Money
Comparing two successful investing giants: the Norwegian government pension fund and the Yale University endowment. For The Wall Street Journal`s WSJ.Money magazine.

Emerging Markets: Should You Bond With Azerbaijan?
03/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Emerging-markets bond funds may have gotten too popular to produce good future returns.

Is Anything Cheap?
03/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
With stock and bond markets up sharply around the globe, what`s an investor to do?

The Bond Market Can`t Be This Easy to Beat -- Can It?
04/12/2013: The Wall Street Journal
The simple explanation for why so many bond funds are outperforming: They are taking risks that their investors are going to regret.

Here Comes the Next Hot Emerging Market: the U.S.
04/20/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Antoine van Agtmael, the founding father of emerging-markets investing, is bullish on the U.S.

How the Rich Play the Market
05/11/2013: The Wall Street Journal
A new study shows the ways in which the rich invest unlike -- and like -- the rest of us.

Differsification: The Sequel
02/15/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
More on building portfolios that are diversified by basic risks, not by assets: lessons from Harry Browne and the `Permanent Portfolio` can teach.

The Forgotten Funds That Are Suddenly Drawing Crowds
07/20/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Unit investment trusts, long neglected, are hot again. Should you invest in a UIT?

The Hunt for the Never-Been-Done ETF
07/03/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Launches of new ETFs are grinding to a halt as fund executives struggle to come up with ideas that haven`t been done to death. (With Joe Light.)

Other Resources

Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters

Link to Warren Buffett's annual letters to shareholders, 1977 to date. If you want to learn how to think logically and clearly about all the issues that confront investors -- from inflation to stock options to diversification to index funds to the true meaning of risk -- Buffett's brilliant letters are the first (and often the final) word. He will never steer you wrong, and the learning is free and without obligation.

Efficient Frontier

Link to William J. Bernstein's "Efficient Frontier" online newsletter, where he serves up opinion that is, at one and the same time, both biting and mathematically rigorous, both challenging and fun to read. Full of righteous anger at the knaves and nincompoops who dish out most financial advice, Bernstein is an invigorating breath of fresh air.

Bogle Financial Markets Research Center

This site, featuring John C. Bogle's speeches and research papers, enables you to keep up with the latest thinking of the founder of the Vanguard Group. Jack Bogle is probably the best friend the individual investor has ever had, and the materials archived here are rich with insights into how the money management business really works and how you can take control of your own financial destiny.

Return to Your Questions by Topic

JasonZweig.com is my place to tell you what I think about a whole lot of investing stuff. I’m the only one responsible for my opinions, but I can’t guarantee they’ll always be right. If you don’t like what I say or it turns out to be wrong, I’m sorry; you can’t sue me. The material you find here is not meant as specific investing advice for you, and if you use it that way and something goes wrong, that’s your problem, not mine. To get individualized investing advice, you need to do your own homework or else hire a financial advisor, a tax professional, or a lawyer to do it for you (and even then, you’d better watch like a hawk!). If you think anything on this website is an invitation for you to buy or sell any investment, you need to get your head examined. What’s more, I’m not soliciting business of any kind, because I don’t have any business to solicit. (Believe it or not, I don’t want your money.) I’ll do my best to avoid any conflicts of interest in running this website, but I don’t have silvery wings and a halo, and somebody might manage to corrupt me. If that happens, it’s your job to notice and to be disgusted by it. In short, none of my best efforts to be honest, sensible, and trustworthy exempt you from your constant duties to treat what I say with the same skepticism you should treat anyone’s pontification about investing. I wish you good luck!

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