Your Real "Real Money"

June 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Finances, Technology 

Jim Cramer's real money
Jim Cramer's real money: sane investing in an insane world
Jim Cramer; Simon & Schuster 2005
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Cramer writes as he speaks: a little too cocky, self confident, straightforward, candid, and with a couple of “insider” jokes that make you think he is the only one that finds them funny. It is a great flight book (that is a book to read on a boring 6 hour flight). That being said, the book is a good collection of sane (yes, I said sane) advices for the novice and no so novice investor. His stock-picking rules are a good organized way to summarize the basics of disciplined investing / trading. I have two pet peeves on his recommendations: the way he defines diversification (which is not exclusive of Mr. Cramer), and the 5 stock limit for part time investors. Let me explain.

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Stocks Suck!

May 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Finances 

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We hear all the time that investing in stocks is the best way to grow your money in a passive way.  Over the long run stocks have always outperformed other asset classes.  hmm…  let’s see:  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at around 380 points on August 1, 1929 with a volume of some 3.8 million shares.  80 years seem like long term, right? $1000 invested in the DJIA on August 1, 1929 will be worth today, May 1, 2009 $21, 529 with a volume of around 10 billion shares.  Pretty good.  If we assume a 3% inflation rate for 80 years, it is equivalent to $2029 in 1929 dollars.   The chart on top shows our inflation adjusted grand invested in August 1929, of course backwards.  We doubled our money in 80 years! It doesn’t seem like a lot, now does it?

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Diversified or Balanced Index.

March 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Finances 

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If you are invested in a fund that follows the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) the chart on the left shows the percentage allocation you had on February 23, 2009 by index component.  You may think you are diversified, which is true, but you are by no means balanced.  10% of your investment is in IBM shares and less than 1% is in GM.  Although you may be thankful for the latter it makes the point that you are not balanced at all.  This has to do with the way the DJIA is calculated.  Diversification is all you hear from Cramer to Orman to your local financial adviser. The indexes, major indicators, or SMIS (Security Market Indicator Series) like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) or S&P500 are a sure way to diversify since buying into them means buying 30 or 500 companies from technology to financials to automotive (good luck with the last two).  That is fundamentally correct. However, the way the index is calculated is the trick, especially in times of turmoil like the present.
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