I finally got around to checking out WolframAlpha which is an information source that I'm not sure the best way to describe. It is not just a financial resource but if you plug in ticker symbols you will get a lot of information, some of which is the same as other sites but also some unique info (more likely info not available on every finance site) like correlations, mean variance optimization and volatility information.
A reader asked about this over the weekend and in hindsight I misunderstood his question. I only spent a little bit of time on WolframAlpha but it strikes as the type of thing that once learned could offer a lot of utility. At a minimum, time spent plugging in different symbols will give you an idea of how stocks might relate to each other within the portfolio. This sort of subtle stuff is very important if you build your portfolio using stocks and narrow based products. It did seem to have trouble withETF tickers. It recognized the Energy Sector SPDR (XLE) when I entered it with two oil stock ticker symbols.
Maybe we can have a bit of an open thread. If you have used WolframAlpha some and have a few tips please leave comments. Perhaps we can all learn how to use the site together, so to speak.
Ron Lieber at the NY times has an article up about various website services that provide different levels of help to individuals with their portfolios. Presumably the focus of these services is ETFs and index mutual funds. These types of services make me nervous. Generically speaking I cannot envision relying solely on models that determine "ideal" allocations with automated rebalancing. Seeing the forest for the trees, which I think strict adherence to computer models can miss, is very important, IMO.
Did you watch How Bruce Lee Changed the World on the History Channel? I know that he was innovative, had magnetism and influenced many things and obviously I've seen Enter the Dragon a few times but I did not know how far reaching his influence was/is.
A few minutes in, maybe the eight minute mark they had this quote from him;
Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.
I'd never heard that quote before but it has applications to many aspects of life including investing. I believe it is similar to a point I have tried to make over the years about taking little bits of process from different places to create your own investment process.
There was also talk about the importance of the journey versus the importance of the destination which I find to be very instructive. In yoga this might equate to being in the moment. Anyone can take from this what they want (which may be nothing) but I think it is good stuff. Investors who can begin to wrap their heads around mental impediments to investing have a better chance for long term success, at least I believe this to be true.