Now that we must rely on our investment prowess to provide sustainable retirement income, it is more important than ever to understand investing in mutual funds does not create wealth - quite the opposite.
Two of the most pre-eminent economists alive today, Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, have recently published a paper that revisits, yet again, the question of whether anyone can accurately pick stocks. Their paper is titled, "Luck versus Skill in the Cross Section of Mutual Fund Alpha Estimates."
Here is the long and short of it, from the abstract:
So why do Americans continue to buy actively managed mutual funds when it almost guarantees sub-par performance? Largely because they don't know any better.
One of the most dangerous principles is social proof, which says in the absence of certainty, humans look around to see what others are doing and do the same thing. The more uncertainty, the more likely we are to stick close to the herd. This behavior was very helpful, for the species, in getting to the top of the food chain. However, not so helpful in getting to the top of the investor food chain.
If you understand that markets don't reward all participants equally, you will also understand that doing what everyone else is not going to get you to the top of the investment heap.
If you are interested in what you might do as an alternative, I would encourage you to sit down with any number of our free special reports available to Snider Insiders (free registration required) and read them carefully. Specifically, I would recommend "How to Not Just Survive, But Thrive, in Turbulent Financial Markets."
Tip of the hat to Jim Mahar, of FinanceProfessor.com for the heads up on this paper.
No statement in this post should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice unless specifically stated as such. All investments involve risk including possible loss of principal. Complete information can be found on our website or by calling 1-888-6SNIDER.