Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Obvious Advice: Save Money, Be a Very Good Investor and Get Rich

Via Lifehacker I found this article from Motley Fool. Basically it's an article that tells you to pay yourself first, start saving for retirement early, and you'll earn enough over the years to live comfortably when you're old.

The hook to the article is that instead of just being comfortable, you could also be rich. How to get rich? Be a good investor, be a student of Warren Buffett and any other big name, buy what your research tells you has real value instead of what seems to be hot, etc.

This is fine advice, sure. But easier said than done, bub. If everyone had the skill to beat the markets convincingly year after year, we'd all be rich. Warren Buffett would just be a face in the crowd.

I'm not saying the author is wrong. Undoubtedly you will be much richer if you are a top-notch stock picker and you can keep your blinders on when others are panicking. But by putting this out there as advice, it seems to encourage people who don't have the combination of time, talent and an iron stomach to get out there and start investing in individual stocks.

I'm all for people investing, but the truth is that most people will do worse than the market, not better, and they could end up sitting in retirement cursing the day they started putting all their money in individual stock picks.

Sure, you could get rich, but you could also go broke. Fund your retirement and don't play as an individual stock investor unless you're playing with extra money that you are fully prepared to lose.


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