In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

6 Great Mutual Funds That Benefit From Small Portfolios

By James K. Glassman

A manageable portfolio holds between 20 and 30 stocks, roughly balanced by sector and weighted fairly equally

JewishWorldReview.com | Twenty years ago, in his letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Warren Buffett quoted Mae West, sex symbol of the 1930s: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." The Oracle of Omaha was alluding to diversification, the benefits of which were overrated, he suggested. Explained Buffett: "I cannot understand why an investor...elects to put money into a business that is his 20th-favorite rather than simply adding that money to his top choices--the businesses he understands best and that present the least risk, along with the greatest profit potential." Not to mention that when you own too many stocks, it's hard to keep track of them.

Of course, when you own too few stocks, you run the risk of a huge loss if one of them suffers a calamity. Enron employees learned that lesson the hard way in 2001. If, however, you own everything in Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, the most widely followed benchmark for the U.S. stock market, you will experience less-volatile performance. If a single company in the index were to vaporize, it would, at most, knock 0.3% off the value of your portfolio.

There's a happy medium between diversification and what Peter Lynch, the former manager of Fidelity Magellan, once called "diworsification," and it's probably a smaller number of stocks than you think. Consider research about long-term stock-market returns by Joel Greenblatt, the Columbia University professor and hedge fund manager. He found that if you owned the U.S. stock market as a whole, two-thirds of the time the range of returns varied from a loss of 8% to a gain of 28%. But if you owned just eight stocks, the range of performance was not that much greater: from a loss of 10% to a gain of 30%. Daniel Burnside, writing in AAII Journal, published by the American Association of Individual Investors, looked at the market over a 41-year period ending in 2001 and concluded that owning 25 stocks reduced "unsystematic" risk (the risk of not diversifying at all) by 80%, while owning 100 stocks reduced that risk by 90%--that is, not much more.

A manageable portfolio holds between 20 and 30 stocks. As long as they are roughly balanced by sector and weighted fairly equally, that number is enough to reduce systematic risk significantly. If you want to eliminate that risk, you can simply buy an exchange-traded fund such as Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (symbol VTI), which at last report held 3,657 stocks. But if you want to beat the market, you'll need to accept some risk, and the smartest way to do that is by slimming down your portfolio.


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A preference for compactness. The same principle applies to funds. Sure, there are some great funds that own a lot of companies. Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (FLPSX), with 893 stocks, is a good one (the fund is a member of the Kiplinger 25). But I have a soft spot for more-artisanal funds, with small portfolios, low turnover and a founder who has often made the key decisions for decades.

Consider Parnassus (PARNX), launched 29 years ago by Jerome Dodson, a Berkeley political-science major. Dodson is still managing this paragon of socially screened investing. Parnassus owns 46 stocks, or about half the average for a U.S. stock fund, and nearly half of its assets are in just a dozen companies.

In a class by itself is Fairholme (FAIRX), run by founder Bruce Berkowitz, a bargain hunter to the extreme. Fairholme is more hedge fund than standard mutual fund, with only six stocks and a scattering of bonds. Its largest holding, American International Group (AIG), equals a whopping 47% of assets.

Both funds have delivered great long-term results, but they are also highly risky. In 2011, for instance, a year the overall U.S. market earned 2.1%, Fairholme fell 32.4%; the next year, it gained 35.8%, beating the S&P by 20 points. Morningstar gives Parnassus a risk rating of "high"; it is 23% more volatile than the average fund.

There are less volatile focused funds. ING Corporate Leaders Trust Series B (LEXCX), which turns 80 next year, holds a nearly unchanging portfolio of 22 stocks, headed by Union Pacific (UNP), at 12% of assets, and ExxonMobil (XOM), at 11%. The fund has beaten the S&P 500 handily over the past ten years, yet the fund's volatility was lower than the overall market's. And the annual expense ratio is only 0.52%--about half that of the typical concentrated fund.

Jensen Quality Growth (JENSX) has been even less risky than Corporate Leaders, although its ten-year return is lower. That may be a decent trade-off: In 2008, when the market tumbled 37%, Jensen fell only 29%. It's a scrupulously structured fund that tries to keep the weightings of its holdings nearly equal. It owns 28 blue-chip stocks, led by PepsiCo (PEP), at just 5.1% of assets.

A strong concentrated fund that specializes in midsize companies is FPA Perennial (FPPFX). It owns 30 stocks and has an annual turnover rate of a mere 2% (suggesting that, on average, it holds a stock for 50 years). The portfolio favors industrial and consumer cyclical stocks and contains no banks or real estate companies. The risk level is average.

Unfortunately, three of the best concentrated funds closed to new investors at the end of last year. But keep an eye on them; if the market drops and investors bail out of stock funds, they could reopen soon. One is Sequoia (SEQUX), a 43-year-old fund managed by Robert Goldfarb, with 42 stocks and one-third of its $8 billion in assets concentrated in just three companies: Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), a Canadian drug maker; Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A); and retailer TJX (TJX).

The other two, Yacktman Fund (YACKX) and Yacktman Focused (YAFFX), were founded by Donald Yacktman, who has lately ceded much of the funds' management responsibilities to his son Stephen. Focused has 37 stocks; Yacktman has 43. The portfolios are similar. Turnover is in the single digits, so if you're willing to plagiarize, you can simply copy the holdings and own the individual stocks yourself. Top holdings for both funds are PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble (PG) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA).

Finally, don't forget the best-known concentrated portfolio of them all: the Dow Jones industrial average, which you can buy as a SPDR-sponsored ETF nicknamed Diamonds (DIA). The Dow's 30 stocks have returned virtually the same as the S&P 500 for the past decade, with very little difference from year to year. That's proof--if you need it--that 30 stocks is enough.

The question, however, is whether your objective as an investor is merely to replicate the market. If it is, then buy Diamonds or, to be slightly more daring, a fund such as ING Corporate Leaders. But if you really want to try to thump the averages, you have two choices: Do it yourself by assembling your own portfolio of 20 to 30 stocks, or put yourself in the hands of someone like Berkowitz or Dodson, for a fee of about 1% a year. If you select the latter course, don't put all your eggs in the concentrated-fund basket. But some eggs, certainly.

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James K. Glassman is a Contributing Columnist at Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and chairman of the firm Public Affairs Engagement. and owns none of the stocks mentioned.

All contents copyright 2014 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC