You: Is the sky falling?

What do you mean?

You: What do I mean?!!?? What do I mean?!!? Did you see the market yesterday?

Yes.

You: How can you be so freakin’ calm?

It’s normal for the market to –

You: Oh don’t tell me – you sold everything a week ago, didn’t you? I really hate all the people who did that!

No, I didn’t. Isn’t hate a strong word there? Look, of course I saw what the market did yesterday. And of course it wasn’t a good day to be in the stock market. But it has been a good year so far.

You: Really?

Absolutely. If you invested in nearly any standard index fund, even after today’s lousy day, you’re likely still up a few percentage points for the year, with still most of five months to go.

You: Are you saying it’s going to go up from here?

Gary: Not everything will. You need to be in the right stuff. Index funds are a loser’s bet. You’ll do what everyone else does. Boring!

Not quite. I have no idea what the market will do from here.

Gary: But I do. You just need to come on in.

Look, if Gary really knew what was going to happen, he wouldn’t be here trying to get you to invest your money. He’d be counting his yachts. No one–not you, not me, and certainly not Gary, has the ability to know what will happen next.

You: It will be hot again.

I mean with regard to the stock market, not the weather.

You: I know, I was just complaining. This heat really is ridiculous.

You just have to keep in mind that, historically, there has been no more rewarding long-term investment than stocks.

You: Which do ultimately represent more than just lines on my account statements, right?

Indeed. A share of stock represents ownership in a publicly traded corporation.

You: That’s right, so I get–

No you don’t qualify for discounts off company merchandise.

You: Darn. Can I–

And you can’t affect management decisions either, but you will feel the pride of ownership and experience financial benefits.

You: Kind of soft benefits, no?

Not when the market goes up. Just remember, individual stocks, by their nature, are risky, so the best place for a beginner to start investing in stocks is through index mutual funds. Those who a few months ago purchased some of the the stock market’s best performers–the banks–are taking it on the chin right now.

A volatile market is just one reason it’s better to get a truly unbiased financial planning education.

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