How Normal Investors Can Use the Same Strategies as Hedge Funds
In a Warren Buffett note from 2006, he credits the famous value investor Benjamin Graham as the co-creator of the first-ever hedge fund in the mid-1920s.
“It involved a partnership structure, a percentage-of-profits compensation arrangement for Ben as general partner, a number of limited partners and a variety of long and short positions,” Buffett’s letter says.
That means that hedge funds have been around for nearly a century – and they have almost exclusively existed as a vehicle for institutions and wealthy, private investors.
The initial use of the hedge fund was to “hedge” specific investments against the general volatility of the market. Despite this namesake, today hedge funds use a number of strategies to target gains.
While retail investors rarely had access to these types of strategies, today it is possible to buy mutual funds or ETFs that try to emulate similar tactics. These alternative investment funds, or alt-investments, come in mainly two varieties:
Return Seekers: Designed to help boost performance by opening up new opportunities to investment, such as private equity or global infrastructure.
Risk Managers: Designed to help smooth performance when markets turn choppy. Strategies include long/short equity, merger arbitrage, managed futures, and other hedge fund strategies.
The key here, in our opinion, is that these strategies may allow investors to diversify out of traditional markets such as stocks and bonds.
Although funds specializing in alt-investments typically have significant diversification benefits, they also usually come with higher fees in comparison to more traditional offerings. Investors should weigh the cost-benefit accordingly.
Original graphic by: ProShares
Mapped: How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
An annual income anywhere between $360,000-$950,000 can grant entry into the top 1%—depending on where you live in America.
How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
There’s an old saying: everyone thinks that they’re middle-class.
But how many people think, or know, that they really belong to the top 1% in the country?
Data from personal finance advisory services company, SmartAsset, reveals the annual income threshold at which a household can be considered part of the top 1% in their state.
Some states demand a much higher yearly earnings from their residents to be a part of the rarefied league, but which ones are they, and how much does one need to earn to make it to the very top echelon of income?
Ranking U.S. States By Income to Be in the Top 1%
At the top of the list, a household in Connecticut needs to earn nearly $953,000 annually to be part of the one-percenters. This is the highest minimum threshold across the country.
In the same region, Massachusetts requires a minimum annual earnings of $903,401 from its top 1% residents.
Here’s the list of all 50 U.S. states along with the annual income needed to be in the 1%.
|Rank||State||Top 1% Income|
|Top 1% Tax Rate
(% of annual income)
California ($844,266), New Jersey ($817,346), and Washington ($804,853) round out the top five states with the highest minimum thresholds to make it to their exclusive rich club.
On the other end of the spectrum, the top one-percenters in West Virginia make a minimum of $367,582 a year, the lowest of all the states, and about one-third of the threshold in Connecticut. And just down southwest of the Mountain State, Mississippi’s one-percenters need to make at least $381,919 a year to qualify for the 1%.
A quick glance at the map above also reveals some regional insights.
The Northeast and West Coast, with their large urban and economic hubs, have higher income entry requirements for the top 1% than states in the American South.
This also correlates to the median income by state, a measure showing Massachusetts households make nearly $90,000 a year, compared to Mississippians who take home $49,000 annually.
How Much Do the Top 1% Pay in Taxes?
Meanwhile, if one does make it to the top 1% in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts, expect to pay more in taxes than other states, according to SmartAsset’s analysis.
The one-percenters in the top five states pay, on average, between 26–28% of their income in tax, compared to those in the bottom five who pay between 21–23%.
And this pattern exists through the dataset, with higher top 1% income thresholds correlating with higher average tax rates for the wealthy.
|State Ranks||Median Tax Rate|
These higher tax rates point to attempts to reign in the increasing wealth disparity in the nation where the top 1% hold more than one-third of the country’s wealth, up from 27% in 1989.
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