I know that’s a silly question. Clearly, you are a human, not a company or a pension fund. You are human who works hard, hopes to retire someday and does not want to eat cat food in retirement. All that makes you not just a human, but a LONG-TERM investor.
Why does that matter? Because, all the hype, and TV shows are about SHORT-TERM investing. What’s going up today and whether it should be sold tomorrow.
Insurance companies and pension funds have constant demands on their money. There are always people burning down their houses and wrecking their cars and needing pay-offs. There are constantly people retiring and needing their pensions.
If you are a regular person, you do not need your funds for MANY MANY years, even if you are close to retirement. if you retire at 70 years old, you may live to be 90 years old and that’s a 20 year time horizon right there. LONG-TERM, remember that concept.
Long term investors, as opposed to short term investors who need to generate gains, take profits, and generate cash for customers, do not need, and SHOULD NEVER “market time”. Market-Timing means you invest in something because you think it’s going up now and you will sell it when you think it has peaked and buy the next “great deal.” Your timing the market for ups and downs.
You Market Time, you lose. Instead, long-term investors should be looking for diversification and the lowest possible fees. Enter: Index Funds. The S&P 500 index fund (every bank and discount brokerage will offer one, just Google it), is a mutual fund of 500 of the biggest companies in the US that make up the S&P 500 index. It’s diversified over 500 companies or holdings.
You can also put some of your retirement savings in other index funds like international index funds, small cap company index funds and/or socially responsible index funds.The key is that you pay less in fees and have a lot of diversity.
Index fund fees are super low, usually about $0.05-0.20 per $1000 invested compared to actively managed funds which can charge $0.70-$2.00 per $1000 invested generally averaging about $1.30 per $1000 invested. An index fund strategy gives you low fees, high diversity and NOBODY beats the market over the long term.
I’m sure you saw this in the John Oliver clip I sent out last week. Here is another article in the New York Times this week by a professional investment manager that focuses on our looming retirement problem as a nation, but essentially says the same thing.
Bottom line, do not think you can beat the market over the long term OR that your friendly broker can. You won’t and he/she won’t. Maybe some trades are winners, but you are in it for the long haul. You want to win over time. Go with index funds.