Enjoy the Lasting Value of Organized Insights


Over the past week you may have noticed a few changes here at Portfolio Charts. The most significant is how the articles are sorted, as the old Discussion section has given way to the new Insights page with a fancy new look. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes beyond a pretty new interface, so let’s talk briefly about how it works and what it means for the future.

The driving force behind the recent change is actually a very good problem to have — longevity. When Portfolio Charts first started, finding and reading posts was very easy as they would all fit on a short list. Over time the count grew, and as the posts kept piling up I eventually learned that I have a somewhat unique problem that a lot of the content here is fairly timeless. From portfolio overviews to safe withdrawal rate math I find myself referring to old articles all the time, and if I struggle to find them I know you do, too. Like a small fruit stand that was fine when it started but now has hundreds of options as a large supermarket, I knew I needed to get organized.

When dealing with complexity, I usually find that the first step is to focus. The new section is called “Insights” because the high level goal is to explain how I personally interpret all of the core portfolio data and apply it to real life. Of course years of individual thoughts are a lot trickier to organize than even a mountain of returns data, and making all of that information accessible without overwhelming people with ideas is easier said than done. But that’s where some fun new tools come in.

Long story short, aside from the name change the Insights page now has three main sections — Latest, Featured, and All Articles. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s focus on the last one.

Like the layout? Me, too! I’m a big fan of elegant design and I’m excited to be able to extend that beyond the charting tools. The default setting displays all posts in reverse chronological order, and you can scroll through every post I’ve ever done if you’re up to the challenge.

But if you’re looking for information on a particular topic and already feel lost, have no fear. See that box on the top left that says “All”? Click it, and you’ll find a dropdown list that allows you to filter the articles by category.

Long-time readers will find that list familiar, as it contains all of the categories that made up the old Library section. But rather than forcing you to navigate through multiple levels of pages to get to a specific post, the Insights page has everything in one spot with simple tools to help you find what you’re looking for. In addition to the category filters on the left, there’s also a sorting option on the right that will organize them by date or title in any order you like. So relevant portfolio insights for your own personal needs will always be right at your fingertips.

While this one feature alone is a relatively small update in the grand scheme of things, it required upgrading some things behind the scenes to make it happen and those underlying new tools will empower me to do some really cool things in the future. In the meantime, it may affect the site in two ways.

First, you’re probably going to notice many more site tweaks moving forward as I experiment with new features I now have control over. In order to avoid spamming the inboxes of email subscribers with minor updates I may not write a post for every change, but don’t be surprised if things move around relatively regularly. And second, it’s entirely possible that there may be some technical issues along the way as a consequence of leaving my coding comfort zone. Your feedback is very helpful in both areas, so if you have an opinion on a new feature or spot something that looks like a bug, please let me know!

This is an exciting time for Portfolio Charts. It’s hard to believe it launched almost four years ago, and in many ways it feels like I’m only now getting started. So as I look forward to new tools and features, my hope is that the Insights page will make it easier for everyone to look back and find the unique perspectives that make the site special. I’ve learned a lot over the years, not only from my own research but also from the many conversations this site enabled, and I’m happy to share what I know.

But enough talk — insights are only as helpful as your ability to put them to practice. So get out there and start reading! A portfolio-changing idea may only be a click away.