By Joanna Masel
Pundits urge you to save lots of extra money for retirement. yet you can’t consume piles of kept funds; unles....
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Extra info for Bypass Wall Street: A Biologist’s Guide to the Rat Race
One of the most famously successful investors, Warren Buffett, is in part a contrarian. It’s worked spectacularly well for him. Contrarians count on the fact that mobs overreact. When everybody wants to buy stocks in a fashionable company or sector, and there are only so many shares to go around, then prices go up. When the share price is rising, whoever buys early makes a lot of money; not because profits have risen, but simply because they can sell for a much higher price than what they paid to buy the stock.
She keeps the rest of the money as cash in a money market account at her bank. And she owns a house worth around $350,000. Done. It looks like Jen has made the right decision. Now she can finally stop thinking about investments and get on with other, more interesting things in her life. But she remains curious about some of the stranger things she came across in her reading. Stocks and bonds weren’t the only choices. Jen doesn’t want to buy any of the other, more exotic possibilities. After all, didn’t some of these weird inventions cause a global economic catastrophe?
So should she try to buy shares in every possible company? How many shares of each? There are some practical limits. For example, every time Jen buys or sells a stock, she pays a fee. Luckily, the financial industry has a solution for her: an “index fund” that buys a huge variety of shares, and tracks the overall performance of a stock market index such as the S&P 500. These funds pool the money of many investors like Jen. Jen can own a small slice of the pool of shares held by the index fund, and hence a small slice of the stock market as a whole.
Bypass Wall Street: A Biologist’s Guide to the Rat Race by Joanna Masel