Joe Barron: “You are engaging in a mere semantic exercise when you elevate ‘investing’ to a Godly exercise while demoting ‘daytrading’ to a pejorative. Daytrading has forever (well, since the Buttonwood tree days) been done by Wall Street types, and is done currently every minute of the day by Specialists (on the auction markets) and by Market Makers (trading NASDAQ stocks electronically on behalf of their firms). Why is it suddenly wrong when someone who is not on the Street wants to use stocks as his inventory and turn his inventory as often as he can? The technology is now available, and the exercise provides needed, and noticeably growing, liquidity. Daytraders and swing traders (the good ones, of course) do what all so-called ‘investors’ should do: they have stops to limit losses and let their winners provide profit. Much is made by ‘long-term’ investors about ‘tax efficient’ trading; well, let me tell you that I’ll pay the full rate on a profit any day instead of watching a loss fester for years. I know the latter hurts: I’ve done it.”
☞ I don’t suggest it’s wrong as in immoral, just a rotten way for all but a tiny few readers to consider making money.
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
Bill Frietsch: “Just some further support for your column, “Avoid that 10%-20% Retirement Surcharge.” I retired six years ago from my full-time job and still work part time. I manage my own investments, do my own research (Value Line at the Library and other free on-line free resources), and have been very successful at having my investments grow while using some income from them to live very comfortably. I really enjoy managing my investments and would not even consider turning this over to someone else, even for less than 1 or 2 percent. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it.”
DIVERSIFY INTO FOREIGN STOCKS?
Joe Beets: “Everyone says it is a good idea to diversify with foreign stocks. You know, 10% of assets or so. (Although I’ve never seen any historical data to back this up.) I’m sure it’s harmless to do so, but I feel those who recommend it do not appreciate that you’re adding currency risk to market risk but your return is no higher. After all, one man’s domestic stock is another man’s foreign stock. They can’t both enjoy higher returns from owning some of the other guy’s stock than they would owning just their own.”
☞ Actually, studies have pretty conclusively shown that, because various markets do not move entirely in synch (Japan/US being a great example these last 20 years), you can lower your overall risk while maintaining the same expected return by diversifying over more than one market.
LOST IN ALABAMA
Denise Sumner: “Thanks for the great link to Unclaimed Property! I spent the entire morning entering my name, my husband’s name, etc. searching for treasure…got a possible hit at the Maine site. One footnote … the Unclaimed Property page you linked to said the state of Alabama had no online database to search, but they do. Click here. Just thought your readers in Alabama may want to know this.”
WHICH DO YOU READ?
Have you seen this one . . .
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the country.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t understand the Washington Post.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could spare the time.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country, as long as they do something scandalous.
9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it.
10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country.