You are your most important customer
I couldn’t really think of a snappy, ironic, or timely title, so the above will have to do.
But the title is intended to convey this: your (taxes, investments, retirement plans, insurance, career, etc.) is/are most important to… you. And to those you love and not, for example, a fund manager or your spendthrift uncle (Uncle Sugar, that is).
That’s why headlines like Hedge funds lag the market, are illustrative but not sufficient.
So far in 2012 investors would have done better putting their money in a low-cost stock index fund than the average hedge fund.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street has long offered sound advice like: trade often and see your profits (if there are any) get eaten up by commissions, fees, and taxes; the market is smarter and more powerful than you, so go for buy-and-hold index funds with low fees; the fund with eye-watering returns is certain to revert to the mean; emergency funds as well as insurance are both reasonable and prudent.
I read the book in 2006 or 2007 and by the end of 2008, thought its lessons might be lost in today’s era of super-crony capitalism and massive government intervention into the markets. Basically I was concerned the market, writ large, had been changed forever.
Now I’m not so sure. After all, something that can’t continue forever, wont. Like Germany bailing out Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, et al. No matter how guilty Germans are made to feel for World War II, their capacity for self-flagellation is not infinite.
While there is no such thing as a sure winner when the government is there to tip the scales one way or another, there are things that can be done to protect one’s self as best you can.
I suppose that explains—in part—why gun and ammunition sales are at all time highs.