Confused Investor? Yeah.

Posted: Feb 21, 2013 12:01 AM

Just like much of America, I’m a very confused investor. 

For decades, I was taught that a good investment was worth holding for the long-term.  Historically, in most instances, when somebody thinks of an investment, they’re not thinking of artwork, a house, jewelry (gold), or even government bonds — it’s stocks. 

From 1982 until 1999, we all witnessed the greatest bull market in contemporary history.  Buying-and-holding was the credo of Wall Street, and more specifically, mutual funds. 

Thus, when the U.S. was experiencing its golden age in technology, it only made sense to be part of it by being a stockholder. 

Such stalwarts as Jeremy Siegel, Jack Bogle, and even Warren Buffett, said my wealth would grow if I just stayed in the game for the long haul. 

Yet, starting in 2000, we experienced a decade filled with roller coaster markets and I ended up at pretty much where I had started, with essentially no return on my investment.  Consequently, all the so-called experts agreed that buy-and-hold was truly dead. 

Therefore, in order to avoid another lost decade, I signed on with market timers, hedge fund managers, technical analysts, and even opened my very own day trading account. 

However, I found that when we should have sold, we bought.

 And when we were in, we should have been out and vice versa. 

In addition, I learned new investing terms such as “high-frequency traders” and “flash-crash,” all while discovering that some of the old-timers, like Bill Miller and even George Soros, stopped managing other people’s monies; it seemed that it became just too difficult for them.  Nevertheless, in this day and age with the stock market nearing all-time highs, the pundits are saying that I should give up the losing game of day trading and revert back to the old buy-and-hold game. 

I must admit there are days when I just feel like giving it all up as I contemplate depositing my money in the bank, but a Ben Bernanke induced 0.10% interest-rate doesn’t excite me whatsoever. 

On the other hand, now that we’re back at the starting point where we all began, maybe I’ll start to feel comfortable once again. 

Yes, with long-term investing back in style perhaps I’ll start to realize some sort of capital gain on that Eastman Kodak stock that I purchased for $94 per share back in the day. 

Furthermore, I’ll also know what to do with the Apple, Inc. shares that I recently purchased for $690. 

Of course, it’s buy-and-hold.

You have no choice.