The world of finance is a dynamic ecological system. The investor, money manager and equities analyst must have a grasp of world current events, an understanding of economics, discerning senses of smell and sight, incisive research and interrogation abilities, abject honesty and a level head to blend and separate fact from fiction. This a very tall order and that is why many financial advisors specialize in one area like the banking, technology, bond or commodities markets and currency sectors.
So, what does the average investor do when unlike the experts has a day job, but wants to intelligently invest their money. The uninformed investor is a fool. If you do not have time to know the what, where, why and how of the money you invest, you would be well advised to take your hard earned money and place it on the nose of the dark horse running in the eighth race at Aqueduct.
I guarantee you will be just as likely to lose all your money in the financial markets as you are at the race track. You will also be the loudest and most pathetic loser to scream foul to Elliot Spitzer, or his counter part somewhere.
The best rule of thumb is that money seeks safe harbors. Money is the life cell in the Petrie dish. If the cell sees an invading bacterium that is threatening, it will react. The cells of life, and its antibodies, the rules of the game, work in harmony with the sole purpose of survival. Money is the energy of the cell.
In the world of money, the big players are few and the smaller players are easily trampled in the flight to safe positions. In recent history it is always good to remember that before the U.S.S.R. fell, the money of the soviet republic was already safely tucked away in London, New York, Paris and Zurich accounts accumulating interest before any public ballyhoo of the momentous event was announced.
It should also be reassuring to you that despite what some blogger or servant of divine messages may tell you, in the world of money and finance there is not going to be an Armageddon or repeat of the crash of 1929. Not even a handful of international maniacal terrorists could disrupt in any meaningful way the financial well being of the hub of international finance in attacking New York City in 2001. Today, security and back up systems around the world will not allow any significant disruption of the United States or anywhere else.
So, if you are not already intimidated by the concept of investing and wish to explore the possibilities of growing your money at a healthy rate of better than a pass book account rate of three to five per cent per year, this list of information services will increase your chances of success. This is not meant as a substitute for hiring an estate planner or stock advisor broker, but as a compliment so that you as an investor have the ability to ask the question and the knowledge to know if the answer you receive is adequate.
Additionally, do not feel that all of your worries are dispensed if you should decide to invest in mutual funds or baskets of sector stocks because the smart investor always wants to pay attention to the managers’ savvy and the fees and recurring expenses they charge, as well as the viability of the members of the basket.
This is not a definite list of resources, but a beginning point. The first thing you should invest in is a good dictionary of finance. I suggest the latest edition of Webster’s New World Finance and Investment Dictionary and Barron’s Dictionary of Business Terms, both cost around $10 on Amazon.
International Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com
The International Herald Tribune emanates from Paris, Francis. The news service has international news events effecting economic markets including, equities, currency and commodities. The business section has topical articles on all phases of business on a world wide basis, seven days per week.
The Scotsman web site has good information on international banking and breaking news about events in the world wide financial markets. The information is generally credible and due to the difference in time zones the alert and updates come in before U.S. commercial news services. The Scotsman has good researchers and does not sanitize stories.
The breadth of Bloomberg’s news service and financial reports of international markets and the world wide economy is well laid out on its web site. If you have inquiries into the various currencies or markets, Bloomberg has an easily navigable web site. There is also a good reference section.
Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/home/us
Financial Times offers a good view of the world economic issues. The Financial Times provides a United States version of its London-based publication. The articles are informative and their news is up to the minute in matters of finance and equity markets. They feature interesting articles on the sometimes omitted details of current conflicts and transactions around the globe.
The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com
The Wall Street Journal has good articles on the world wide markets. The articles are generally very informative. Their on-line full service requires a subscription fee. There is public access to the site and some articles are free. Most of these articles end up being quoted in popular financial reporting services or on cable news outlets in morning programming segments.
Seeking Alpha: http://seekingalpha.com.
This financial news information site is read by money managers and experts every day. I am particularly impressed with this news provider because they provide articles from all of the top financial news advisory services. The story I was looking for on the treasury bond was originally written for the Wall Street Journal. It was easily discovered by typing in the search term,bond inquiry,and the article, UBS, Credit Suisse Under SEC Investigation for Bonds Trading Irregularities took about two seconds.
The owner of the site is David Jackson, a former technology research analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York. The on-line information site is organized exceptionally well in part because the platform is geared for financial information and data. Dion Almaer is the site’s infrastructure brains. Articles from more than 200 contributors are tagged, edited for clarity and categorized for Seeking Alpha’s dissemination.
Morningstar provides general investing advice, but it excels at providing assessments of Mutual Funds. Morningstar breaks down the best funds and provides detailed information about the money managers, fees, loads and a variety of useful information for anyone considering entrance into the mutual fund arena. It is a must read before deciding on any specific mutual fund plan.
MSN Money Central: http://moneycentral.msn.com
Money Central is run by Microsoft, but the articles are from all sorts of news services. The web site allows you to personalize your favorite equities and other investments. It has some good business stories about investing, banking, insurance and estate planning issues. The site also provides the latest news about real estate mortgages and critiques about mortgage lending services. It is an informative site.
CNBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN:
All of these financial web sites are compliments to the existing cable television network. All of these network programs provide investor disclaimers regarding their advice.
Some of the financial forecasters and analysts have years in the field not as news commentator, but as stock investors or financial advisors for brokerage houses or exchanges. Do not be fooled by their shenanigans and stage presence. They are seasoned veterans. A prime example is Jim Cramer. He is entertaining, but the gentleman made a whole lot of money in the markets and a whole load of money for other people. In this category I leave it up to the individual to decide whom they like getting information. The primary wire services these cable outlets rely on are Associated Press, UPI and Reuters.
The Motley Fool: http://www.fool.com
The Motley Fool is nobodys’ fool. This site has some of the more interesting stories about emerging markets, creation of wealth and down to earth advice about your finances. A recent article, Unbelievable Growth Is Just the Beginning, is a great assessment of the new emerging middle class in heretofore impoverished countries. Their in depth data of emerging markets is quite good. They have recently launched a service called the Motley Fool Global Gains that promises to provide first rate information on the emerging markets investment potential.
In summary, don’t let your lack of a formal education get in the way of making money. Some people just have an uncanny knack for investing. Play some no cost investing games. Try making some fantasy stock and investments picks and see how you do. If you have an interest in tangible items like metals, oranges, sugar, cattle, hogs and wheat, there is always the commodities exchange which is an article in and of itself.
If you have a flare for this type of investing and you have a stomach lined in steel there are great opportunities for this area. Some of the best investors I have met in this area are farmers who seem to instinctively play the market exceptionally well. You can also play the currencies, but again this area requires skill and nerves of steel.