Each week the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's a new win for the passive-investing fans. Hosted by Frances Cook.

If you invest in shares, the later parts of last year probably weren't fun for you.

To put it mildly, the markets were spooked by a combination of factors including the stand-off between China and the US, political uncertainty in Europe, and general worries for the global economy.

The end result was a sea of red in the stock markets, with values going down further than they have in several years.

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Now, if you're investing for the long term, this isn't actually something to be too upset about, but I've covered that in previous episodes.

It's still unnerving to see your investments going down, and if you weren't expecting it, it can hit you in the pocket.

This is where active managers often claim they can save your bacon. Those clever guys say they'll manage your investments, read the financial tea leaves, and save you from the worst when the inevitable crunch comes.

Meanwhile passive investors, those who buy shares through index funds, are usually buckled up to ride out whatever the market throws at them.

There's nothing like a good nerd fight, and the active versus passive debate can get especially heated.

The results from last year show that when things got tough, the passive investors did far better than the active investors.

Smartshares figures for Q4 2018. Photo / supplied
Smartshares figures for Q4 2018. Photo / supplied

I talked to Smartshares CEO Hugh Stevens about the results and how they fit into the bigger picture.

For the interview, listen to the podcast.

If you have a question about this podcast, or an idea for the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.

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