Near the end of last year I recommended that people buy junk bonds through a fund. I picked the
Vanguard High Yield fund, because it had the lowest fees and I hate high fees when it comes to bond funds. They kill you.
Not long after I found myself on a
, the writer, who has a lot of good ideas about how to get your financial house in order. I wanted to talk up this kind of fund, as I had just recommended it to my dad, and I don't recommend a lot of "trades" to my dad. But right before I was on, I heard Orman severely criticize just this type of investment. She talked about how poorly this asset had performed and how they were never worth it. Ouch.
I have conviction, so I went with it anyway. I said that when the
eases, these will roar. The host portrayed the debate as two pros at loggerheads. I don't think that's right. There is an objective truth and a reality that determines whether an investment recommendation is a good one or not. These junk funds, since the Fed eased, have been on fire. It was a great asset-class selection and I am glad I stuck to my guns. (Check out Ian McDonald's recent
Big Screen for junk-bond funds that are worth a closer look.)
More important, it shows that you can't just diss an asset class simply because it has performed poorly in the past. Just because junk funds hadn't done well doesn't mean that Orman should say you shouldn't be in them. I think that's bad investment advice. That's right, there is such a thing, in my world, as bad investment advice. I find when I listen to the talking heads on television I hear a lot of stuff that is just plain wrong. It was plain wrong to say, "Never own this kind of fund." It is plain wrong to recommend the highest of fliers without talking about diversification. It is plain wrong to say you can't ever own bonds.
I continue to think that these high-yield funds could be outstanding performers for the first half of the year as fund managers plow into this asset class in search of something that will give good yield and good capital gains every time the Fed eases. And I reserve the right to say that some people are just wrong when they give investment advice, no matter how persuasive they may be.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for the network of TSC sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Nonstaff contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to