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My Newest Nemesis

Steve Abramowitz

Steve is a psychologist in Sacramento, California. Earlier in his career, he was a university professor, including serving as research director for the psychiatry department at the University of California, Davis. Steve also ran his own investment advisory firm.

    My Newest Nemesis

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Apr 16, 2024

    YOGI BERRA IS MY favorite guru. His quip, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” pretty much sums up my losing battle with technology stocks.
    The saga all began with an upbringing that bred a need for achievement that could never be satisfied, coupled with a prohibitive anxiety over risk-taking and failure. This family tape has played over and over again in my head as I’ve struggled to steer a course as a mutual and exchange-traded fund investor.

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    Handing Over the Keys

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Apr 4, 2024

    IN 1954, THE SPANIELS sang, “Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go.”
    It may not be time for me to go, but it is time to hand over the keys to our rental properties to my wife, Alberta. Since 1983, I’ve had primary oversight over our family’s residential real estate. At age 79, I’m dogged by heart disease and cancer, and weary of scrimmaging with delinquent renters and dishonorable service people. After assisting me and grooming for the role,

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    Against the Odds

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 31, 2024

    MARCH MADNESS HAS descended on my family. I’m not just referring to the hoopla surrounding the annual NCAA college basketball tournament that runs from late March through early April. I mean the reckoning for our 36-year-old son, and his decision to switch careers and pursue his dream of becoming a professional sports bettor.   
    For the 10 years after college graduation, Ryan taught high school math and coached basketball. But in between planning lectures,

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    Money in the Middle

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 15, 2024

    OUR COURTSHIP WAS both ripe with joy and fraught with tumult. One scene is emblazoned in my memory. Alberta and I had just finished lunch on the grass in front of the campus cafeteria. I was slumped over, exhausted by the frantic academic scramble to get published and disillusioned by the political intrigues.
    Alberta read my mood and rested my head in her lap, as she ran her hand softly through my hair. Schooled by my parents to keep an eye out for retirement and advancing age,

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    Friends for Life

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 8, 2024

    WHEN I WAS YOUNG, my parents converted our basement into an indoor playground for the neighborhood kids.
    My friends could listen to Elvis belt out Hound Dog or croon Love Me Tender on the Seeburg jukebox. Some chose instead to light up the Bally pinball machine. Others would challenge my father to a game of pool. Meanwhile, my mother would create mini-pizzas for everyone, with a slice of Swiss cheese drenched in tomato sauce on half an English muffin.

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    In My Room

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Feb 8, 2024

    “SO STEVE, WHAT BRINGS you to therapy?”
    “I’ve been moody, sluggish and short-tempered lately. I think I’m depressed.”
    “Any guesses what might be going on?”
    “I do, but it’s so silly. My wife Alberta needs to make her first required minimum distribution in a few months. You know, when you reach that point in your 70s where they make you withdraw from your retirement accounts. I don’t think it’s about the tax liability. We’ve planned for that.”
    “Then?”
    “This is going to sound strange.

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    Friends After All

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 30, 2024

    FLAPJACKS IS LITERALLY on the other side of the tracks. The place is a throwback to the diners of the 1950s, when waitresses wore white aprons and took orders on little green pads, and where the red vinyl seats were cracked.
    Charlie and me. I’ve been meeting Charlie at Flapjacks for weekly pancake breakfasts since I partially retired seven years ago. I spot him in our back booth and slide in across from him.

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    Investing Softly

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 25, 2024

    HEY GUYS, DO YOU carry a rifle like Clint Eastwood when you invest—or are you a vulnerable romantic like Hugh Grant? My contention: Most of us lean toward a traditionally masculine or feminine orientation when building our portfolio, similar to how we handle many other life choices, from career to sports preferences.
    This gender orientation is, I believe, a pervasive bias when buying and selling mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), not unlike the behavioral-finance biases you’ve likely read about,

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    Getting Real

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 18, 2024

    WHEN I STARTED OUT as a mom-and-pop property owner 40 years ago, I was burdened by both my naivete and the shibboleths promoted by the real estate industry.
    In particular, I had to overcome two egregious misconceptions: that a well-written lease is the key to successful small-property investing and that aggressively raising rents is the surest way to maximize profits. Adopting an alternative management philosophy has saved me both money and heartache.
    Character counts.

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    Same Time Next Year?

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 9, 2024

    “WE GOT A THING going on, we both know that it’s wrong, but it’s much too strong to let it go now” are blues lyrics about a man and his lover. But they might as well be referring to my affair with the January effect.
    Last year, I wrote about my favorite seasonal anomaly, the tendency for small-cap stocks to outperform large stocks during the first month of the year. In December 2022, I’d set out to see if the phenomenon was still alive.

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    Alberta’s Money

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Dec 22, 2023

    I PAY FOR MY OWN partial retirement with a university pension, income from rental properties, income from the remnants of my private psychology practice and, of course, Social Security. I long ago emptied my retirement accounts to pay for our son Ryan’s college education and to help launch his career.
    What about my wife Alberta? She has income from her fulltime psychology practice, her share of our rental income and Social Security. But unlike me,

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    My Four Favorites

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Dec 14, 2023

    I’M A BELIEVER. SURE, I stray every now and then. But after a late start, I’ve now been a devotee of exchange-traded funds for many years—though some of the ETFs I own would be considered actively managed.
    In his iconic A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton Malkiel strongly advocates long-term passive investing as the strategy of choice for individual investors. But he also confesses to having been “smitten with the gambling urge since birth.” Acknowledging that index fund investing can be “boring,” he takes pity on folks like me with “speculative temperaments,” who may need to indulge those instincts with some small portion of their portfolio.

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    A Moat That Works?

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Dec 7, 2023

    IN THE VALLEY OF FEAR, Sherlock Holmes searches a moat to shed light on a puzzling murder, only to be surprised by what he finds. Among today’s exchange-traded index fund (ETF) cognoscenti, another moat has become the focus of inquiry.
    “Holmes, which moat are you investigating now?”
    “Too much chronicling of our little capers, Watson, and not enough reading. It’s the VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF.”
    “The who?”
    “Shame, shame, Watson, you’re so ill-informed about popular culture.

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    Letter to My Ex

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Nov 27, 2023

    HI CHRIS, IT’S BEEN 45 years since we broke up, we’re now both age 78, and I’m winding down. I wanted to touch base and catch you up, but mostly let you know that I often think back on our 11 years as husband and wife, and how much I value the time we spent together. Sometimes, that period of my life seems far in the past, but other times it’s right on my shoulder,

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    Did Bogle Blunder?

    Steve Abramowitz  |  Nov 9, 2023

    I HAVE LONG ADMIRED my grandfather, John H. Watson, for chronicling the contributions to criminology made by his close friend, Sherlock Holmes, Esq. Since retiring from my psychiatry practice, I have similarly had the pleasure, if not the duty, to record the efforts of his grandson Sherwood to expose wrongdoing in the financial industry.
    The more informed among you are no doubt familiar with my latest study, The Disappearance of the Load Fund.

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