The Investor's Manifesto - PCC - ebook

A timeless approach to investing wisely over an investment lifetime With the current market maelstrom as a background, this timely guide describes just how to plan a lifetime of investing, in good times and bad, discussing stocks and bonds as well as the relationship between risk and return. Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Investor's Manifesto will help you understand the nuts and bolts of executing a lifetime investment plan, including: how to survive dealing with the investment industry, the practical meaning of market efficiency, how much to save, how to maintain discipline in the face of panics and manias, and what vehicles to use to achieve financial security and freedom. Written by bestselling author William J. Bernstein, well known for his insights on how individual investors can manage their personal wealth and retirement funds wisely Examines how the financial landscape has radically altered in the past two years, and what investors should do about it Contains practical insights that the everyday investor can understand Focuses on the concept of Pascal's Wager-identifying and avoiding worst-case scenarios, and planning investment decisions on that basis With The Investor's Manifesto as your guide, you'll quickly discover the timeless investment approaches that can put you in a better position to prosper over time.

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The financial meltdown of 2008—2009 has dramatically changed the long-term investment landscape. As surprising and counterintuitive as it may sound, by the perverse calculus of finance, this has created a massive buying opportunity for those who know what they're doing. The stocks and bonds of some once-mighty corporations have been battered, and as they recover—as they always have in the past—generous returns will be enjoyed by those investors who are brave, disciplined and liquid.

To prosper as an investor in the years ahead, understand and operate by these five principles:

Key Thoughts

“Over the past three decades, the powers that be have handed investors, particularly those saving for retirement, a very raw deal indeed. First and foremost, the traditional pension plan has been replaced with an investment mess: poorly designed, overly expensive, and thus miserably performing defined-contribution plans that seem almost consciously designed to fail. Worse, the average American is assumed to somehow possess the expertise and, more importantly, the emotional discipline to execute a competent lifetime investment plan, a goal that even many Wall Street professionals fall well short of. I hope I have provided you with the tools to personally avoid becoming a casualty of this looming catastrophe. Needless to say, you have a great deal of skin in this game. I have enumerated several skill sets that every competent investor should master. Tie them together into lists that can be stuck to your refrigerator. Grab your breakfast, look regularly at these lists, and embrace this manifesto." — William Bernstein

Principle 1

Don’t Be Greedy—Risk/Return Always Applies

Prior to the 2009 downturn, lots of investors lost sight of the fact that risk and return are always related. They fell into the trap of assuming the markets could only go in one direction. Reality has been imposed with a passion. There's no escaping the fact that the best potential returns are available when things are the scariest, so if you're keenly aware of the risks in investing at present, that's good. It's a sign that there's money to be made as long as you know what you’re doing.

Key Thoughts

“Nothing is more likely to make you poor than your own emotions; nothing is more likely to save your finances than learning how to use cool, dispassionate reason to hold those emotions in check." — William Bernstein

As much as we might wish otherwise, risk and return are ever-present when it comes to investment decisions. If you choose to chase high returns, you're automatically saying you're prepared to live with high risk, whether you realize it or not.

Consider, for a moment, what your long-term goal is as an investor. When you cut through all the background noise, you will have to admit that there are only two logical reasons why you would want to invest in anything:

An investment portfolio that is attempting to generate noteworthy gains will be structured quite differently from one that is designed to fund your retirement. The“outstanding gains”portfolio will have a higher level of risk, whereas a retirement funding style portfolio will be much more conservative.

Key Thoughts

“If done properly, successful investing entertains as much as watching clothes tumble in the dryer window. Always remember that the more exciting a given stock or asset class is, the more likely it is to be overowned, overpriced, and destined for low future returns. In most years, a portfolio designed to minimize your chances of dying poor will be spread among so many securities and asset classes that its performance will not do much to quicken the pulse. If you do feel compelled to seek excitement in finance—and I do not recommend it—hive off a small portion of your portfolio with which to amuse yourself. Segregate this account, which should be no larger than 10 percent of your nest egg, from the rest of your portfolio, and never add to it. When it is gone, it is gone, and hopefully with it the thrill of stock picking." — William Bernstein