Libraries are a resource for investors
Upvalley, we are fortunate to have two public libraries – in Vail and Avon – that carry a fairly comprehensive selection of investment information and research services that can be of material help to individual investors. Acquiring and/or subscribing to all the items mentioned below would be prohibitively expensive for most individuals. So I’m encouraging investors, particularly the less-experienced, to take advantage of these valuable resources to improve their investment know-how in order to make more informed investing decisions.Investment booksIt’s been reported that there are more than 80,000 books in print dealing with investing and personal finance. In this regard, I’ll make things easy for you – the following seven books are on the shelves in both Vail and Avon and represent the best there is on investment fundamentals: — Walter Updegrave, “Investing for the Financially Challenged”– Will McClatchy, “Index Funds”– John Bogle, “Bogle on Mutual Funds”– William Berstein, ” The Four Pillars of Investing”– Burton Malkiel, “A Random Walk Down Wall Street”– Jeremy Siegel, “Stocks for the Long Run” — “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin GrahamI don’t pretend to be in the same league with these experts, but one of my books, “Select Winning Stocks Using Financial Statements,” is also in both libraries and would be helpful to do-it-yourself stock pickers.Money magazinesIn this category, the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s are the primary newspapers used by professionals for financial information. However, for the less-experienced investor, the business sections of the New York Times and USA Today might be a little less intimidating and still be worthwhile reading for investing insights. I’m not much of a fan of Investors Business Daily, but it has its proponents, which tend to be more sophisticated, active stock traders.You’ll find a variety of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly business and finance magazines in the libraries’ periodical sections. A few words of caution here. Don’t be taken in by their eye-grabbing headlines – “The Ten Best Investments in the World” and the like – and you don’t have to read them cover to cover. Check out each magazine’s contents and select those articles that are of educational value. For example, in Money Magazine there are a lot of financial lifestyle articles that don’t have much to do with investing. However, two columnists, Walter Updegrave and Jason Zweig, consistently produce really good material for the individual investor.Two periodicals deserve special mention because of their relevance to the average investor. Better Investing is the monthly publication of the National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC), which is the organizational promoter of investment clubs. Better Investing contains educational investment advice on both stock and mutual fund investing that is easy to understand and apply. The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) has its monthly “AAII Journal,” which focuses mostly on stock investing, but includes a considerable amount of material on investment basics for the individual investor.Investment researchThe Morningstar and Value Line reports, both online and in print, for mutual funds and stocks, respectively, are available to library users free of charge. Both of these investment research services are highly respected and are used extensively by investment professionals. They should be used more by the investing public. For example, participants in 401(k), and similar retirement plans can get current, dependable assessments on the funds they’ve selected as investment options. And, all they have to do to avail themselves of this valuable information is to walk into the library.Lastly, I have to mention that the willingness of the library personnel to help the public use the informational resources I’ve discussed herein is yet another “library resource” that can contribute to helping individual investors improve their investment know-how.The Investing Wisely column is written by Richard Loth, managing principal of Mentor Investing, an independent registered investment adviser. Loth can be reached at 827-5591 or email@example.com.