Bonus Points: Small Insights That Add Up

Bonus Points

Blogging is hard sometimes. Not every topic necessarily deserves a long writeup, but they still often carry plenty of lasting interest and require just enough nuance to not be suitable for social media. So I’m going to try something a little different.

Welcome to Bonus Points, a simple newsletter format where I plan to share collections of interesting links, answers to reader questions, and other useful observations and tidbits. There’s no set schedule, but my goal is to use the additional laid-back option post more frequently rather than always waiting for the next big topic to dissect. We’ll see how it goes, and I may mix things up as I find the right pace and format. But let’s embrace the flexibility and give it a try!

If you’d like to receive an email every time there’s a new post, be sure to subscribe. You’ll receive not only the Bonus Points entries but also every new Insight as soon as it’s available.

Good questions

What other Portfolio Charts readers are asking

A detail-oriented reader asks:

I’m curious about the accuracy of your data. Basically, how can I trust that running whatever portfolio is actually returning actual and accurate historical data? What steps do you take to ensure this (and to avoid mistakes)? Where does your raw data come from?


I like how you think! Whenever I see new research, the data sources are also the first thing I check.

I’m pretty picky about data quality and consistency, and I’ve assembled each series from a variety of different sources carefully selected to track the right fund methodologies. You can read about my original sources and how they all come together on the Data Sources page.

By the way, beyond simply doing my own research I’ve also worked with a few outside people I trust to peer review and replicate my work. I say that not to appeal to authority or anything, but simply to let you know that I’m careful about this stuff and have an open mind to feedback that improves data quality. So if you ever have any questions about the details, feel free to ask.

Have a question? 🙋‍♂️

What I’m reading

Insightful market discussion worth sharing

Transaction costs: How they bloat fund chargesMonevator

“The ultraviolet light of regulation has revealed that transaction costs can increase a fund’s total charges by a third, half, double, or more.”

The Accumulator does a terrific job describing all of the extra fees in a fund that aren’t visible in the top-line expense ratio. It’s a great example of why it’s always important to read the fine print.

It’s not a trick: Your Halloween treats are getting smallerWashington Post (search*)

(*) This is behind a paywall, but search links can often be read in privacy/incognito mode.

“Over the past two years, companies have downsized paper products, salty snacks and many other consumer packaged goods as their ingredient, labor and transportation costs have skyrocketed.”

While the article at points tries to spin paying more for less as good for you, I’m not really buying that candy companies are suddenly benevolent health advocates. Shrinkflation in the Halloween goodie bag may leave young ghosts and goblins learning a hard economic lesson this year.

Nowhere to hide: Why 2022 is a uniquely bad investing yearThe Best Interest

“2022 is a uniquely bad year. It’s understandable to feel glum about it. But you don’t need a uniquely special reaction.”

This is wise advice from Jesse Cramer, who balances some rather gloomy data about the current market with constructive ideas about how to handle it. It’s natural to want to do something, but it’s really important to not make it worse by bailing on a good strategy at exactly the wrong time. Here’s a bit of hard data supporting that same idea during the COVID chaos of 2020.

In case you missed it

New features and updates at Portfolio Charts

New Insights section

There’s a new section on the Insights page where all of the Bonus Points posts will be listed. It may look a little sparse to start, but it should fill up relatively quickly.

Improved products navigation

The Products page is now a bit easier to browse, with every product sorted by Category (shirts, spreadsheets, etc.) and Collection (Portfolio Charts, Golden Butterfly, and the like). You can find links on the main Products page and also in the description of each item.

With Halloween rapidly approaching, this is your last chance to get in on the Scary Things collection. Get 15% off with the Promo Code SPOOKY.

Scary Things

I’d love your feedback

What would you like to see more of in terms of Portfolio Charts content? /// Let Me Know

Nothing gets the day started like sharing coffee with a friend.