Clark Smart investing removes the fear factor


At a time when world stock markets are stinking it up, it’s easy to feel like there’s no safe port in the storm. But I disagree.

Barron’s reports that if you are well-diversified between stocks and bonds, and you never put another penny in to the market after the peak day four years ago, you would have more money today than you did at the peak four years ago. That’s accounting for all the rollercoaster rides up and down!

If you turn on the TV, the financial shows are always trying to give you a magic pill to deal with market uncertainty. The reality is that no one knows if Europe going to fall apart, or if China will go into turmoil, or if our own federal budget will ever get straightened out. We have a laundry list of problems that can easily psych you out.

So why would you ever want to own any capitalist enterprise? The kitchen’s too hot, right? Wrong.

Now I’m not saying the stock market won’t crater both here and abroad for months to come. I really have no idea. But if you follow my prescription, the younger you are, the more it will make you over time.

When it comes to investing, I am the dullest man in radio. I just plod along at my own pace and keep my eye on the finish line, while minding the three Ds of investing:

  • Dull (basic meat-and-potatoes investing like mutual funds and index funds, nothing fancy; go with a target retirement fund if you’re completely confused about your choices)
  • Diversified (a broad portfolio with both domestic and international investments)
  • Dollar cost averaging (put equal amounts of money into the market each pay period through a 401(k) or other retirement plan)

Let’s say the doomsayers are right and stock markets around the world collapse. If you dollar cost average, you are buying stock on the clearance rack. Then when world economies recover — and they will, unless the end of the world is really here — you’ll have more shares over time.

Remember, the greatest money is made when others are afraid to tread. I promise.

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