We attach a set of slides (find them here) that describes the issues you face in investing, and what we believe is the best approach. We did not create this philosophy or the slides. They come from our preferred fund manager, Dimensional Fund Advisors. The key points:
- Although there is risk to investing, there is also risk to not investing. Specifically, if you keep your money in cash, history suggests you will lose purchasing power.
- In the past century, stocks and bonds have generated attractive returns for long-term investors.
- People follow a variety of investing philosophies. Many of them lack scientific underpinning, relying instead on the media or emotion.
- Academic research has taught us important lessons. First, the markets are highly efficient. Second, it is hard to beat the market consistently by picking individual stocks or predicting when the market will rise or fall.
- But academic research also concludes there are characteristics of stocks that predict long-term returns. For example, over the last century, small stocks have had higher returns than large stocks.
- Even though the stock market is unpredictable, and investor can control certain things. These include expenses, diversification and your emotions.