Rudd's Investing Desiderata for People Who Hope to Retire

By Rudd, Lauren | Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Rudd's Investing Desiderata for People Who Hope to Retire


Rudd, Lauren, Sarasota Herald Tribune


Many of you have asked for a repeat of some of the ideas that are often fodder for my students. A favorite of mine is how some investors collect endless quantities of data, analyze fundamental and/or technical statistics until they are dizzy, which they then follow up with reams of computer projections. Unfortunately, until the race is run, you will not know for sure if your analysis and projections were accurate.

While computers can run complex algorithms and analyze reams of data rapidly, when compared to the human mind the most advanced computer is no more powerful than a dim flashlight. Although modern investment analysis would be severely set back if it were not for the ability of computers to carry out innumerable and repetitive mathematical tasks, there is still no substitute for human judgment.

The downfall is that the human intellect is not immune to expectations, and expectations are the "coin of the realm" on Wall Street. Expectations generally include a large dollop of hope, some dreaming and maybe a prayer or two. However, it is not until those expectations are bathed in the harsh light of reality that we see the true picture of where we are and how we got there.

You often hear the comment that Wall Street is Las Vegas dressed in pin-striped suits. Needless to say, I adamantly disagree with that statement. While speculation could be viewed as sophisticated gambling, investing certainly is not.

Unfortunately, many of you have been tempted to fold your investment tent, a desire brought about in part by the Street's seemingly unending lack of forthright behavior. Before doing so, remember that the Street's antics do not directly affect corporate performance.

Too often the specter of the unknown can be a driving force that strips away logic and lowers expectations, thereby creating bargains for those astute enough to see through the emotional hysteria that so often envelops the Street.

Therefore, it is no real wonder that so many people are caught up in a variety of financial difficulties, whether it is falling victim to a Ponzi scheme, investing in techniques beyond their skill level or simply following poor financial advice.

Surveys have shown that a third of all adults have no non- retirement savings. …

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