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Muscular Portfolios: The Investing Revolution for Superior Returns with Lower Risk Hardcover – October 9, 2018

4.3 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I know of no book for a general investment audience that is more thoroughly researched and backed up by hard data."
—Mark Hulbert, founder of the Hulbert Financial Digest

"The investing book of the decade ... Investors will be profiting from these methods for ages to come."
—Hugh Todd, CEO of ETFScreen.com

"Don't let your portfolio atrophy, read Muscular Portfolios and pump up your wealth."
—Mebane Faber, coauthor of The Ivy Portfolio

"Livingston has used his computer savvy to crack Wall Street's money-making secrets and make them freely available to investors at every stage of life."

—Al Zmyslowski, Board of Directors, American Association of Individual Investors—Silicon Valley Chapter

"Overall the book looks great! I love the idea of empowering people to take control of their own investing."

—Daniel Sotiroff, ETF specialist columnist and analyst, Morningstar Inc.

"There's a wealth of information in this book that can help every do-it-yourself investor."

—Wes Gray, PhD, CEO, Alpha Architect

"In his inimitable way, Livingston has taken a tough problem—investing—broken it into component parts, analyzed the living daylights out of them with sophisticated computer runs, then extracted strategies that are both easy to understand and demonstrably superior."

—Woody Leonhard, bestselling author, Windows All-In-One For Dummies

"The book does a great job of delivering important information to the individual investor in a very straightforward manner."

—Stephen Jones, financial and economic analyst

"As I was reading, I kept a list of questions, but by the time I reached the end, all my questions had been answered. Nice job."

—Bob New, engineer, HP Inc.

Review

"I know of no book for a general investment audience that is more thoroughly researched and backed up by hard data."
—Mark Hulbert, founder of the Hulbert Financial Digest

"The investing book of the decade ... Investors will be profiting from these methods for ages to come."
—Hugh Todd, CEO of ETFScreen.com

"Don't let your portfolio atrophy, read Muscular Portfolios and pump up your wealth."
—Mebane Faber, coauthor of The Ivy Portfolio

“Livingston has used his computer savvy to crack Wall Street's money-making secrets and make them freely available to investors at every stage of life.”

—Al Zmyslowski, Board of Directors, American Association of Individual Investors—Silicon Valley Chapter

“Overall the book looks great! I love the idea of empowering people to take control of their own investing.”

—Daniel Sotiroff, ETF specialist columnist and analyst, Morningstar Inc.

“There's a wealth of information in this book that can help every do-it-yourself investor.”

—Wes Gray, PhD, CEO, Alpha Architect

“In his inimitable way, Livingston has taken a tough problem—investing—broken it into component parts, analyzed the living daylights out of them with sophisticated computer runs, then extracted strategies that are both easy to understand and demonstrably superior.”

—Woody Leonhard, bestselling author, Windows All-In-One For Dummies

“The book does a great job of delivering important information to the individual investor in a very straightforward manner.”

—Stephen Jones, financial and economic analyst

“As I was reading, I kept a list of questions, but by the time I reached the end, all my questions had been answered. Nice job.”

—Bob New, engineer, HP Inc.


Always the perfect gift

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ BenBella Books (October 9, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 194688538X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1946885388
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.55 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.25 x 1.21 x 10.31 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
62 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2018
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Customer image
2.0 out of 5 stars The Half-Life of Facts - Can you afford to wait 15 years?
By FinancialDave on October 17, 2018
First off I want to say that I really hated to give two stars for the incredible amount of work that went into developing this book, but in the end there was no 2.5 star rating so here we are. There are of course many Facts in the book that are absolutely true, at least IMO. Some of these are the following: Don’t play unwinnable games against the supercomputers of Wall Street, Constructing a portfolio that grows steadily while minimizing risk is a skill that even many paid investment advisers haven’t mastered, There are no experts that can predict the future, No one guarantees simulated results, No one can predict the future, Recognize the damage that jumping from one strategy to another based on short-term results can cause, Refrain from market timing.

Let’s stop on that last fact for a moment as this book is certainly about market timing as both I and Investopedia define it. You can look it up yourself and “drill down” on its definition of “technical indicators” (namely the short-term total returns of your basket of “trading ETFs” that are used to switch in and out of investments). Some call the methods of this book Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA). The author calls it Momentum investing and that along with the fact that there is no “real” long-term data that can support it because the ETFs used have not existed that long has landed this book (at least for me) into the land of “just another active trading scheme which looks good on paper.” Also, a point which should not be lost on the readers is the fact that if the implementation of this strategy were to be carried out by one thousand investors they would get 1000 different results and I fear the standard deviation of the results would not be insignificant. The reasons being they are trading on 20-22 different trading days of the month and the fact is even with transaction free accounts, trading costs accrue with the bid/ask spread in the ETF price, which in a commodity ETF like PDBC can be significant if the liquidity is low at the time you want to trade. The “luck” of the day of the month you pick can significantly affect your results on a quick drop like what happened in Oct. of 1987, (more on this later.) While on the subject of the ETF PDBC, from the Invesco website it is clear this is an ETF based on Futures contracts and SWAPs and in my opinion I would NEVER put one-third of my investments in this vehicle. By the way if your trading day happened to be today (17th of Oct) your screen for the Papa Bear Portfolio has you switching into PDBC. All I can say to that is I hope it works out for you. See my screen details in the image attached.

Let me finish with a few good things in the book that have nothing to do with Momentum investing. Chapters 8 on compounding, 9 on diversification, 11 on don’t give your money to Wall Street banks, 14 your brain on money, 17 use bargain brokerages, 20 don’t step on virtual land mines along the road of life, 21 & 22 Social Security and Safe withdrawal rates.

I have a bit of a problem with Chap 19 and advice to do Roth conversions between ages 55-69. I have written much on this subject and most books on this subject is misguided at best. In most all cases you will find that in real terms you won’t need more Roth money in retirement and that Roth money that was converted at a higher tax rate now has to be spent in a lower tax bracket in retirement, thus leaving you with less spendable income. Roth does have some uses in retirement, but it is not superior to the IRA over the whole span of your working and retirement career, in most cases.

In conclusion the author’s premise of the book is that if you achieve two-thirds the gain of the S&P 500’s total return during bull markets and limit losses to half that of the S&P 500 during bear markets you will outperform over complete bull-bear cycles. I say, “well it depends on the length of those cycles.” Attached is the image of two trends, which is made up of market data on the one hand and a muscular portfolio that tracks 50% of the losses and two-thirds of the gains for two market cycles, which have been “gene-spliced” together. One is the 30% Market crash of 1987 and bull run to Dec 2000, while the second (spliced onto the first) it the Dec 2008 bear market, followed to Mar 2009 and the bull market to Dec of 2017. The results are striking. From a $10,000 starting balance in each the S&P 500 went to $121,841, while the Muscular Portfolio with gains as described above went to $64,000. I hope for the author’s sake he can get a little more than two-thirds of the market gains because that may not cut it. Unfortunately, he hasn't been in this strategy since the 2009 bottom, so it may be another 15 years before we really know. In my opinion most investors should stick to a good passive strategy that is keyed to their risk tolerance.
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Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2018
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14 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

Luis M Castellvi
3.0 out of 5 stars Momentum’s comic
Reviewed in Spain on January 8, 2021
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