When fellow bloggers visit my site, I generally visit theirs; and I have sometimes found them worth following, at least, from time-to-time. Blogs that describe cooking, working for social causes, mental health issues among returning veterans, etc, can be both interesting and helpful. Also, they are generally not in a position to be harmful to the reader. Investment ideas, however, should clearly be presented—and read—as being for general information purposes only, and readers should be cautioned to seek their own specific advice!
No reliable physician is going to treat you without having a detailed knowledge of your medical history—past, present and family. Likewise, an experienced financial advisor would not offer investment advice without knowing about: your family situation; financial picture; risk-tolerance; long-term goals; etc. But, when someone accepts even perceived “advice” on specific securities or financial strategies, from on-line blogs, TV “Informercials”, media articles, that information could truly be harmful.
Twenty years ago, “day-trading” was all the rage among investors who didn’t wish to learn before they plunged into the stock market. They spent the day (sometimes giving-up their jobs) buying and selling the same stocks (and settling accounts before each day’s market close), without knowing much about the companies—just the ticker symbols! Were they profitable, had experienced senior management, market leaders in their industries, etc? Just don’t bother them now with the facts! But, that craze has since gone the way of the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637.
Lastly, the Investment Marketplace today has changed significantly from when I joined it, in 1973. Our financial institutions have changed, American Industry has shifted from manufacturing-to-service-to digital, there are many more public companies and investment vehicles, and the whole world has gone global! And, don’t forget the significant jump in the volume and speed of information—credible or not—on a 24/7 basis.
This warrants a suitable comprehension of today’s marketplace within a proper historical context. Some things have changed, and others have not. For instance, perhaps 80-85% of stock trading is computerized; so, what you might see on television is mostly a charade, rather than “The Floor”. on which the real action takes place. But remember: there are no short-cuts to investing!
NOTE: There are a number of investment-related posts on this blog. Just click on the Investing or Investment Primer tags (to the right), and scroll through.