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Helpful Hints On Investing

Jan 23, 2008
The first step toward an anxiety-free, dollar-and-cents investing plan is to recognize the motives which impel you to buy common stocks and to differentiate between economic and emotional aims. Here is an equation which offers an investor peace of mind.

$ plus P equals Serenity
The "$" stands for all the economic factors in your life. The "P" stands for all the psychological factors, favorable and unfavorable. How does this apply to you as an investor today or in the future?

(1) Don't buy stocks because it seems the thing to do. Don't be shamed into conforming. In the stock market, this doesn't pay off.

(2) Appreciate your own aims. If your major desire is to maintain a happy position in your own social group, don't take the larger risks required to reach a higher status. You'll just make yourself anxious.

(3) Understand the importance of the age factor. A young man with several chances to recoup if he gets cleaned out can take more risks than an older man in his fifties or sixties.

(4) As an amateur investor, don't try to compete with the professional traders. Trading requires a nimbleness, decisiveness, and continuing attention beyond the average investor's scope.

(5) Do, if you're a deliberate, patient, unexcitable person, consider a policy of buying and holding topnotch stocks.

(6) Make up your mind at the very beginning if you are psychologically prepared for risks - and don't fool yourself

How To Investigate Stocks

Every time the New York Stock Exchange advertises its warning, "Investigate Before You Invest" in stocks, I'll bet a majority of those who see the ad want to yelp back, "Fine, but how do I go about the investigating?" Let's therefore pull the phrase apart.
To start with I'm making three assumptions: You seriously want guides and you're prepared to work. You want practical rules, not generalities, and will not dismiss a seemingly simple suggestion as a superficial one. You have some savings in stocks now or are accumulating funds to put into stocks over the coming months and years.

Question: Are there any questions I should ask myself?
Answer: Definitely. You must ask and honestly answer whether you have the temperament to investigate an investment thoroughly before you make it, whether you have the emotional stability to be calm when the trend is against you and equally calm when it's with you. You must ask and honestly answer whether you have a steady income and sufficient protection in cash savings or the equivalent to permit you to take the risks inherent in owning stocks.

You might write to the New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, New York 5, Department "P," for its booklet, "Does It Make Sense for Me To Buy Stocks." It's free and worth reading.

Question: Then what move should I make?
Answer: Find and arrange to deal through a reputable broker. In any fair-sized city there are firms which are members of a registered stock exchange. To get the names, just look in the classified telephone directory under the heading, "Stock Brokers." Check with your bank or the Better Business Bureau on any firm's reliability. Then make a personal visit to a firm you're satisfied is reliable. Tell a representative the facts about your financial setup, explain your aims, and ask for advice.

Another worthwhile free booklet you can get from the New York Stock Exchange is "The Investor's Best Friend and Worst Enemy." (It's the telephone.) The booklet will give you key questions to help you differentiate between a phone call from a legitimate, responsible broker and a high-pressure swindler. Sample: Is he in a hurry? Does he plug one certain stock? If the answer is "yes," be suspicious.

You can now seriously investigate whether you should start investing in common stock.
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