The way we interact with the Internet continues to rapidly evolve. Just a few years ago, surfing the Web meant sitting in front of a desktop or laptop computer. Now, online content is commonly accessed through a variety of popular devices. On my daily train ride, many commuters have a smartphone, an iPad, a Kindle or a combination of such devices.
It’s not just mobile devices that are quickly becoming ubiquitous; the difference between home entertainment devices and computers is also blurring. I can call up Yahoo! Finance, Facebook, Flickr, eBay, and several other online services right on my Internet-enabled TV. The number of available apps for TVs is growing rapidly too; my wife and I are amazed by the selection of choices. (I am not a big of fan of typing on a Vizio TV remote, however.)
Though it is becoming increasingly easy to access the Internet from the device and location of your choice, content is still what ultimately matters. People gravitate to and stay with websites that offer good commentary and tools. Even among niche websites, those with good content attract more visitors than those that lack good content. Regardless of how you access the Internet, you want to see and interact with something you find useful.
In our 15th Best of the Net Guide, we keep the focus on content. Specifically, we asked ourselves, “Does this website offer good commentary and tools, or is there a different website that does a better job?” Usability and appearance mattered, but our primary emphasis was on whether the content justified spending time on the website. In many cases, the websites that made it into past guides are still the best of their breed, but there are some new picks as well.
Carrying over a feature from last year’s guide, AAII staffers John Bajkowski, Wayne Thorp, Joe Lan and myself tell you which websites and online tools we personally use.
New to this year’s guide is a listing of the best finance apps for mobile devices. Increasingly, financial websites are offering apps designed specifically for the iPhone, Android phones and tablet computers such as the iPad. Since Wayne has been reviewing many of these apps in Computerized Investing, I asked him to single out a few of his top choices in our Best of the Net Guide.
The guide starts here.
One of my plans for my Retired Investor column is to give you a different perspective by occasionally turning it over to a guest contributor. I asked Julie Jason, the author of “Managing Retirement Wealth” (Sterling, 2011), to write this issue’s column. Julie discusses why you should have a systematic approach to managing your portfolio, as opposed to simply looking to see if your investments have risen or fallen in price. The column appears here.
Many AAII members have expressed interest in master limited partnerships AMLP). Some of you may be familiar with the fund, since we hold it in our Model ETF Portfolio. You can see a transcript of my conversation with Kenny here., which is not surprising given the current yield environment. In response, I asked Kenny Feng to explain the unique characteristics of MLPs. Kenny is the president of Alerian and manages the Alerian MLP exchange-traded fund (
Speaking of our model portfolios, AAII Founder and Chairman James Cloonan gives his latest analysis of the Model Mutual Fund and Model ETF Portfolios. (As a reminder, we are now combining the updates for both portfolios.) Though favoring small-cap and value has historically led to better long-term performance, over short periods of time, other investment styles can perform better. James explains how the current preference for large-cap and growth has impacted our model portfolios here.
If you were unable to attend our Investor Conference, you can listen to recordings of the presentations with our new Audio Collection. This includes more than 50 recordings and PDF files of presentation materials. Visit www.aaii.com/investoraudio or call 800-428-2244 for more information.
Wishing you prosperity, Charles
Charles Rotblut, CFA
Editor, AAII Journal