Brad McMillan

Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, AIF®, is chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, an independent broker/dealer–RIA. As CIO, Brad chairs the investment committee and is the primary spokesperson for Commonwealth’s investment divisions. Brad received his BA from Dartmouth College, an MS from MIT, and an MS from Boston College. He has worked as a real estate developer, consultant, and lender; as an investment analyst, manager, and consultant; and as a start-up executive. He is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®). Other professional qualifications include designated membership in the Appraisal Institute (MAI), the CFA Institute, and the CAIA Association. Brad speaks around the country on investment issues and writes for industry publications, as well as for this blog.
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Recent Posts

Looking for the Next Bus: ETFs and Passive Investing

June 28, 2017

It’s never the bus you’re watching for that hits you, they say. Even if you are watching for different buses, sometimes it pays to look at just how close they are getting to you. In that spirit, and in response to some questions I have gotten recently, let’s look at two different buses that could run over the markets: exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and passive investing.

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Oil Prices: Will Things Be Different This Time?

June 27, 2017

Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion over oil prices—up, down, in a bear market, what is OPEC doing? So, let’s see what we can discern by applying our usual methods to the situation: evaluating changes over time, rather than in the short term; applying some historical perspective; and then looking at the fundamental economic realities to figure out what they mean now and in the future. I think you will find the results interesting.

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Monday Update: Housing Still Strong

June 26, 2017

Last week was a slow one, primarily focused on housing, with reports on sales of existing homes on Wednesday and new homes on Friday. Unlike much of the news recently, the data showed that housing continues to do well, with strong demand and activity.

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Volatility—It’s a Real Drag

June 23, 2017

In yesterday’s post, I explained that the noise in returns—in other words, how much they bounce around—is what imposes much of the risk when investing over shorter periods. When you might lose 20 percent or more in a year, any plans that start soon thereafter can be derailed. Volatility (i.e., the noise) is a real drag in that sense.

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Time Horizons and Why They Matter

June 22, 2017

One of the key points I made in yesterday’s post was about your time horizon, and how shorter time frames call for more caution than do longer ones. But this is actually a bigger point, which applies to multiple areas of investing and life. So, I thought I would make the discussion more general.

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2017 Vs. 1999: Now What Should We Do?

June 21, 2017

From our recent analysis, we can conclude that stock market risk is high. We can conclude that, even if things are different this time, they probably aren’t different enough to make a meaningful change in the outcome. And we can conclude that 2017 might well be 1999 all over again.

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2017 Vs. 1999: Could It Be Different This Time?

June 20, 2017

In several recent posts, I have made the case that today’s economy looks quite a bit like 1999—and that the markets may be setting up to look like 2000. Although this argument certainly seems reasonable, we have to ask ourselves how it could be wrong. Despite all the similarities, could it be different this time? If so, how? And what would that mean?

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