Yahoo!Finance Web site gets even better | VailDaily.com

Yahoo!Finance Web site gets even better

Richard Loth

In last week’s column, I reviewed the American Association of Individual Investors’ annual recommendations for what it considers to be the best Web sites for investment information. Heading my list was Yahoo!Finance (www.finance.yahoo.com). It provides a one-stop, comprehensive package of free, user-friendly investment information and guidance. This past Monday, this Web site just went up another notch in excellence. Individual investors should take notice.This week Yahoo began a new service that publishes original columns about personal finance and investing from nine well-known finance writers. According to Yahoo, this group will expand to as many as 30 over time. Each columnist will write one or two articles a month on a regularly scheduled basis. My enthusiasm for Yahoo’s initiative is based on my belief that the more investors can learn, the more they’ll earn and/or the fewer mistakes they’ll make. Being informed means being able to ask better questions of investment advisers – and, just as importantly, to be able to better understand their answers. Even do-it-yourselfers need to continually refresh their skills and digest the changes taking place in the investment markets. In my opinion, of the original nine writers selected, four are outright winners, two cover interesting non-investing topics, one is tops in personal finance, and only two fall into my “bottom-of-the-birdcage” category. As measured by the standards of our national pastime, that’s a great batting average.Before I critique Yahoo’s columnists, it’s probably worthwhile to let you in on my prejudices. First, I have a great appreciation for the written word of financial journalists who grind out well-researched material on a consistent basis. I’m suspect of authors that churn out popular best-sellers purporting to make us all millionaires. Television commentary is often more entertaining than enlightening. Unfortunately, a lot of investment literature is misleading and lacks depth, which can get the less-experienced investor into trouble. Investors need to be discriminating when it comes to what they read on investing. And, lastly, I think that managing personal finances is a function quite distinct from that of investing. Here’s my advice on who and what’s worth reading from Yahoo’s inaugural offering of financial writers:Must read category: You’re going to get the big picture from Jeremy Siegel, who’s been one of the most respected observers of investment and financial markets for the past decade. His recent book, “The Future for Investors,” is one of my top-10 picks. Ben Stein’s first-rate “common sense” articles appear also in Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Both Siegel and Stein will appear every other Monday.Chicago University Prof. Charles Wheelan makes economics understandable (appears the first Wednesday of each month) and Laura Rowley writes a thoughtful, common sense personal finance column, “Money & Happiness,” that will appear every other Friday.Interesting category: Ken Dychtwald and Daniel Pink write on the non-investment topics of retirement lifestyles and workplace trends, respectively, which may be of interest to investors. The former will appear every other Thursday and the latter the third Wednesday of each month.Entertainment category: Who else but Suze Orman – what a great performer! While I respect her advice on managing personal finances – credit card debt, budgeting, spending, etc. – beware of anything she may say when it comes to the investment process. Get-rich-quick category: David Bach and Robert Kiyosaki are two of the best in the business, i.e., in the business of selling their ideas through multiple best-selling books and public appearances. If making a quick million is your thing, you can read both columns every other Tuesday.I’ll keep readers posted as Yahoo adds other writers to this very worthwhile service to users of their Web site.The Investing Wisely column is written by Richard Loth, managing principal of Mentor Investing and an independent registered investment adviser. Loth can be reached at 328-5591 or mentor@centurytel.net.Vail, Colorado