Not all that long ago I got an email from a new yet well-heeled investor looking for an opinion about what stock advisory services I thought worthwhile. I kept my answer brief. There are a plethora of websites given to investing, no doubt, so I wrote:
“Writing (trading), at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers (traders) palliate the writer’s (trader’s) loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing (trading)…For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer (trader) he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”
The best, the only way to succeed in investing is to study market history and then to put real money to work. There is no substitute for this. It’s just that this takes time, sometimes years. If you insist on joining a site, however, demand that they put up audited returns. Anybody who refuses to do so is almost certainly a fraud. At the very least they should have some real-time, third-party portfolio tracker, such as the one I use: http://covestor.com/john-ward/track-record. Otherwise, they are most likely charlatans who know how to make money from gaining subscribers, not the stock market.
Where there is insecurity, self-doubt or diffidence you will always find a group to join. When it comes to money, this is especially true. Trust me, more often than not they are not there to help. They are there to separate you from your money. The only person you can trust is you. This may not be comfortable to hear but it’s the best advice there is.
Given the day, December 8, 2010, I will also include an interesting piece of audio of John Lennon recorded on December 8, 1980, roughly 6 hours before he was to be assassinated. It begins with what he believes about groups and why it could be that people want to join them in the first place: