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An update on financial journalists’ investment advice

Richard Loth

In the past, I’ve recommended that individual investors, whether self-directed or working with an investment professional, take advantage of the investment information and advice that is provided by certain financial journalists whose articles appear regularly in both the print and online media. Some of the sources I mentioned have retired, new ones have come on the scene, and some have lost their relevance and/or have not performed up to expectations. Therefore, it’s time to pass on to readers an updated version of my “recommended reading” list. First, let me say that when it comes to investment guidance, I find the written word, as opposed to the spoken word, vastly superior. What the talking heads on television’s financial programs have to say is limited, for the most part, to short-term events, and there’s little opportunity to explore issues in depth. Obviously, you don’t want to spend too much time tuned into CNBC.In contrast, a number of financial journalists are experienced providers of a continuous flow of practical advice for individual investors. You can trust them – their objectivity is unquestioned. And, best of all, they can be accessed easily through Web sites, at your convenience, without any charge. If you don’t have a computer or access to the Internet (then you’re not on this planet!), spend some time at your local library’s computers, which are available to the public.Second, if you don’t see a name here that you like or are familiar with, e.g., Suze Orman or Robert Kiyosaki, it’s because they’re not worth reading, at least for top-quality investment guidance. Orman is a great entertainer and helpful with basic personal finance issues. Kiyosaki’s musings, recognizably all best-selling books, are, for the most part, the financial equivalent of toxic waste.My three favorite newspaper financial reporters are Scott Burns (Dallas Morning News – http://www.dallasnews.com/business/scottburns), Jeff Brown (Philadelphia Inquirer – http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/business/columnists/jeff_brown), and Tom Petruno (Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/business/investing). In all three cases, their articles are archived for many months, which makes it convenient to access their writings at your convenience.The online Wall Street Journal Sunday edition (www.sunday.wsj.com) provides a variety of business, personal finance and investment-oriented articles. This presentation is also available in the Sunday edition of The Denver Post. In this edition, there are a number of financial reporters who write quality articles on investing. Jonathan Clements and Jeff Opdyke are two that are especially worth reading.If you’re really a hardcore, serious investor, you need to be reading The Wall Street Journal and the business section of The New York Times on a daily basis. Absent the time to undertake this activity, at least check into the aforementioned WSJ’s and the NYT’s (www.nytimes.com/pages/business) Sunday edition as often as possible. Lastly, the online Web site of MarketWatch (www.marketwatch.com) provides investors with a daily (Monday through Friday) offering of numerous financial reporters and an abundance of investment related articles. Among the many quality writers, I would recommend looking for pieces produced by Mark Hulbert, Paul Farrell, Robert Powell, and Marshall Loeb. All the reporters’ articles are archived – just go to the search box and enter the columnist’s name.The above list is in no way meant to be exclusive. Because time is a scarce resource, investors need to be very selective and focused on what they need to know as opposed to what’s nice to know. Check out these recommendations, and use those that address your particular interests. If you’re looking for investment advice you can trust, you should definitely include some of the financial journalists I’ve identified herein. This takes some time and effort, but the return will be worth it and enduring. If you’re working with an investment professional, check out his or her reading list. It may be quite revealing.Investing Wisely is written by Richard Loth, an independent registered investment adviser and writer/publisher of investment education materials. His latest book, “Finding Investment Quality in a Mutual Fund,” is now available. E-mail inquiries to mentor@centurytel.net or call 328-5591.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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