Oct 13, 2017

The 2017 RiversHedge 20 Best-of Awards

Here are the RiversHedge 2017 "20 Best-Of awards."  I suppose the language here is a little tongue-in-cheek but I am dead serious about my recommendations. These are the people that have influenced me and made a positive contribution to me, my family and, I'm guessing, an awful lot of other people out there, too.  This is a tough domain to work and write in so all of it is appreciated.  I know some folks are flogging blogs because there is an economic incentive in there somewhere but on the other hand some are just doing it because they have something to say that is helpful or maybe because they just have curious and communicative souls.  Bless them.  Maybe next year I'll offer T-shirts or something but this year it is just for fun.

2017 RiversHedge Best-of Awards

1. Best life-cycle blogger that leapfrogs ideas from "academia and the best practitioners" straight to retail investor-retirees. This, by the way, is a serious calling in my opinion and vastly underappreciated. I aspire to be one of those that helps bridge that kind of gap.  Dirk and I have corresponded and he is a very solid and friendly guy. I read everything he posts as soon as he posts it.
Dirk Cotton, TheRetirementCafe
 2. Best real retiree that has quant chops and serious purpose. Darrow and I have corresponded as well and I think he may also win the "blogger I most want to fly to Santa Fe and have a coffee with or maybe take a hike in the New Mexico hills with" award. He can analyse with the best of them but he also lives a life of purpose.  I aspire to be like him when I'm older. Oh, yeah, that's right...I am older.
Darrow Kirkpatrick, CanIRetireYet
3. Best ETF strategist that also gets the life-cycle part of life-cycle finance.   I have corresponded with Corey and he appears to be a very qualified and insightful hard-quant strategist.  His own blog posts aren't just solid, they appear to be accelerating.  I look forward to more.
Corey Hoffstien, ThinkNewFound 

4. Best all-around life-cycle academic.  Ok, there is a clear conflict of interest here. Moshe just gave me an half an hour of one on one time in FL because he is a nice guy and I asked.  So I am biased. But really the guy has game when it comes to both academic finance research and a vast body of work of accessible quant-heavy pop lit in retirement finance.  What's not to like here.  It appears that there will be years and years of good stuff coming from Toronto.  Me and my twin sister are (I hate to say fans) readers.
Moshe Milevsky, York U
5. Best of the econo-blogosphere blogs. Forget that we have corresponded and that he linked me in one of his linkfests. Conflicts abound perhaps but this really is the best of the best.  I have toyed with renouncing my crash-prone intrusive-ad-heavy WSJ subscription lately.  If I do do that, I could live off of abnormalreturns.com as a solid replacement for my morning reading.   You know, I once tried to produce links at a pace like his and, frankly, it is impossible. I failed in one week. And I'm retired.  No idea how he does it.
Tadas Viskanta, abnormalreturns
6. Best skin-in-the-game PhD early retirement blogger. I will formally renounce here all ideas about me blogging on certain quant topics AND case study last-mile stuff because, frankly, I can't touch what he has been doing. I tried to correspond but haven't heard back.  I look forward to his posts because they have both common sense and academic rigor and he, apparently, is selling nothing but his enthusiasm.  Like me, eh?
earlyretirementnow.com  https://earlyretirementnow.com/
7. Best all around retirement researcher. What can I say. Wade has achieved the impossible: ubiquity in a ret-fin niche.  He has been very helpful and has never (ok, once but he is a busy and visible guy) ever failed to respond to a reasonable question.  I think he has added more to the modern view of retirement finance than a whole bunch of [something other] combined (I couldn't come up with the analogy on short notice). Did I mention he is prolific.    
Wade Pfau,  https://retirementresearcher.com
8. Best accessible practitioner-quant that is a nice guy too.  Joe and I have corresponded and I can attest to all of the bolded title here. I mean really, he's got the quant chops but just read his papers and maybe correspond.  Maybe its a rural Maine thing, like the Minnesota where I grew up. His affability pours off the page/email.  That means I may also have to create a category for "practitioner-quant I am most likely to drop in on in out-of-the-way Greenville Maine."  I usually kill whatever I am working on and read whatever his latest is when it comes out wherever. Every time. Right away.
Joe Tomlinson
9. Best quantitative life-cycle-finance-and-better-than-academic non-practitioner person. I have no idea what that means but this guy is smarter than smart and well versed in the hard economics of life-cycle finance.  I mean the dude know Merton continuous-time finance and that is not even his career. He was extraordinarily helpful when I was trying to build a backward induction SDP thing.   His site has top of the top tier thinking on what we need to know. Really. I hate the word genius but you know I'm thinking it. I aspire...but will fall short...always...forever. If you ever see one of his papers on ssrn or something, just read it and save it for later and read it again. It'll sink in and help at some point.
Gordon Irlam AAcalc.com
10. Best RiversHedge Reader.  David has been preternaturally consistent in trading everything: good ideas, links, questions, content, comments, etc etc back and forth.  Shall I say he's the only one? Not completely but pretty close. Quite a bit -- no, really an awful lot -- about what I know now about my new world of retirement finance has been triggered by stuff he has sent and that I have read. Not since the middle ages has correspondence been this helpful in the field of inquiry. Hyperbole? of course but that's how it used to work, isn't it? 
David C.
11. Best all-around practitioner insight. When does he have the time to sell and service clients? I mean really, how does he do it?  Ever seen the letters behind his name in terms of designations.  I mean really, again, how does he do it?
Michael Kitces 
12.  Best, solid econo-blogo-words-of-wisdom. I think I have quoted Ben more than any other blogger I have ever read.  Very quotable. He must have lived past lives because he is too young to know what it sounds like he knows.  That pisses me off because I barely know half of what I should know now and I am entering my 60th year.  Where does he get off knowing so much so soon. Pisses me off...again.
Ben Carlson, A wealth of common sense. 
13. Best alt-asset manager with a well thought-through mathematically grounded point of view. I mean, really. When Cliff is on a jag it must be read.  Also, his quant chops are so solid. He has a bunch of my money right now because I am a true believer in the AQR thing so I hope he is reading this right now and deciding how he can make me richer (or, rather, let's say more efficient...).  If I was 22 I would probably want to work at AQR. Not Bridgewater, btw, (ever read the Dalio manifesto? totally creeps me out) but AQR=yes.  I'm in.  Since I am trying to un-retire, Cliff, maybe you can email me at the email on my site.  Give me a call; you guys have good health insurance, by the way, right?
 Cliff Asness, Cliffsperspective 
14. Best blogging economist with a great POV. This find was random but turns out he works with Peter Federer (a friend of mine that lived across the street) at Macalester College in St. Paul MN near where I used to live. That alone is worth the recommendation.  I could probably outsource all of my "society and capital" linkfest items to Tim. Interesting content and point of view.  I keep going back.
Tim Talyor,  ConversableEconomist  
15. Best Federal Reserve Blog
the FRED blog
16. Best FIRE blog.  The FIRE community, of which I may be a part, is often prickly it appears but I like this guy's strong and confident point of view. He's pretty young but I hope he keeps posting until he is about 120, at which point I will either be dead or about 150.
Financial Samurai
17. Best _______. I'm not sure what to call this.  This site is a constant inspiration of great ideas and reading, things I haven't thought about before. I usually want to forward everything he writes to everyone...but I usually don't.
FarnamStreet Blog
18. Best Alt-Risk Blogger. I didn't read him much at first but I find myself going back pretty often now. His content seems to be hitting it. I need to read his bio. I have no idea where his knowledge capital comes from yet. I want to know now though now that I have written this. Top notch.
Mark Rzepczynski
          [post-script: PhD econ from Brown. CEO at AMPHI Research and Trading.
           Makes sense now that I looked] 

19. Best investment commentator with both insight and humility.  How often does that combo happen?
Morgan Housel
20. Best asset management blogger. Like #18 I find myself going back here over and over.  They have good insight and quant rigor. The back-story works too.  Wes, I'm listening...
Wes Gray, Alpha Architect 

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