What I Read

Stuff I ReadThe start of a new year is a good time to list the resources I find most valuable on a day-to-day basis, especially because I am asked about them so often. I resist “best of” lists both because I have my own (better!) tastes and because I have my own needs, outlooks and preferences.  I also cannot claim to have read or seen anything like everything that might be relevant to any given topic.  So instead of claiming that these are the best, the following 25 are my personal favorites — the financial websites and blogs I used the most and found the most indispensable during 2013.

Your mileage may vary. 

  • The Monoliths. There are lots of (probably too many) huge and would-be comprehensive sites covering the financial world.  My favorites are ThinkAdvisor (formerly AdvisorOne), which is geared toward retail advisors and other professionals as well as The Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch and the Financial Times, which are more broadly focused.
  • The Aggregators. Having reliable sources to sift through everything and point me to what I need to read is absolutely crucial to my day.  For my money, the best are Tadas Viskanta’s Abnormal Returns and Real Clear Markets.  Tadas focuses on the blogosphere and is especially good at finding terrific stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have seen, often from new and off-the-beaten-path voices.  Real Clear does some of that while providing more must-reads from traditional journalistic sources. A number of other excellent bloggers provide some of this as well (Barry Ritholtz, Lauren Foster, Michael Kitces and Josh Brown are prominent examples, but they will be cited elsewhere).
  • The Commentariate: Lots of people comment a lot on the markets and our industry. In my view, three stand out above the crowd: Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture, Josh Brown’s The Reformed Broker and Cullen Roche’s Pragmatic Capitalism.  Each is prolific as well as insightful and each has a powerful and unique voice.  If you don’t read them every day already, what are you waiting for?
  • The SpecialistsDoug Short‘s market analysis and charts are invaluable.  For eclectic, data-based takes on politics and finance, Political Calculations is a must-read. Michael Kitces is the best financial planner I know and his blog is great. Tom Brakke is the best investment analyst I know and his blog (in three parts) is wonderful. David Merkel is really, really good, too. For retirement planning, Wade Pfau’s Retirement Researcher Blog is unbeatable. Rick Ferri is my go-to on indexing.  Mark Buchanan’s The Physics of Finance is a brilliant look at economics and finance through the lens of physics.  James Osborne is a newer voice I really appreciate. Ed Yardeni’s Dr. Ed’s Blog is fabulous for investment strategy. Shane Parrish’s Farnam Street is always fantastic and regularly speaks to some of my particular interests, including behavioral and cognitive finance. I really like The Psy-Fi Blog too, for similar reasons. The Enterprising Investor, from the CFA Institute’s Lauren Foster, is consistently helpful. I shouldn’t forget Carl Richards, either. And I try to read everything Morgan Housel writes.
  • The Conscience. As I see it, Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal is the conscience of our industry. If you don’t read everything he puts out, including his weekly column, The Intelligent Investor, you’re missing something really important.
  • The Platform.  I should particularly note StockTwits, which is my “home base” for dealing with the markets and seeing who’s who and what’s what. 

I have missed many excellent and valuable resources, of course.  I’d be happy for you to point out my errors and omissions, in excruciating detail if necessary.