Thursday, September 27, 2007

Investing Advice from David Swensen

The Wall Street Journal gave Yale's David Swensen an 'A+' today. He's managed Yale's top performing endowment over the past 20 years and the WSJ reported that his 28% return (for the fiscal year ending June 30th) again topped all other $1billion+ endowments that have reported their results thus far.

Swensen is known for his pioneering use of alternative investments, that is, alternatives to traditional stocks and bonds, such as commodities, private equity, and hedge funds. That's why it's so notable that his advice to us individual investors is to invest in index funds.

Fortunately for us, Swensen doesn't seem to be motivated mainly by money (he made $1.7 million last year, a small fraction of what he could make at a hedge fund) so he's written a book for us little guys, Unconventional Success, in which he lays out his investment recommendations. For more of what he recommends, check out this post from last year about his interview with NPR last year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peerflix No Longer

About a year ago, I wrote about how I was using Peerflix instead of Netflix to save money.  What I liked about it was that there was no monthly fee and I could keep a DVD for as long as I liked.  I felt it was better than Netflix in that regard, since on a couple of different occasions I signed up for Netflix, paid the monthly fees, but never got around to watching most of the movies.

Now, however, I find that I almost never use Peerflix anymore.  The problem is that demand for my DVD's has been so low, that I almost never get requests for them, so I can't earn any trade cash.  At first, I thought it was just my selection, but I've been reading that others have had the same problem.

I wouldn't recommend trying them anymore, it's just not worth the hassle, unless your focus is on new releases and watching them quickly so that you can sell them before the demand drops off.  In that case, though, you're better off just using Netflix or Blockbuster.  For someone like me, who doesn't watch multiple movies a month, Peerflix just isn't useful anymore.

I realize that I've now had to change two of the 25 Ways I Save Money (the other one was realizing that I don't really save money by shopping at Costco) from a year ago.  Looks like I'll have to update the list soon.