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Looking to learn more about investors for my investments class
Old 04-17-2010, 10:22 PM   #1
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Looking to learn more about investors for my investments class

Hello,

I'm a MBA student and CFA Level II candidate and have been studying modern portfolio theory. I'm relatively new to investing myself seeing as how I'm cash flow negative as a student, but am eager to learn a lot more. As part of a class I'm taking and to learn more about investors, I've created a 20 question survey that takes 1 minute to complete. I could really use your help to get enough results to merit meaningful analysis.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KZ62KP7

Unfortunately in business school, my responses to date have been heavily skewed towards classmates of my age. I'm interested in learning more about investors in demographics other than my own. I don't want to introduce bias into the survey, but my main goals are to better understand investor decisions and what needs are and aren't being met by the various investor tools out on the market today.

I plan to share the high level survey results as soon as I get enough responses.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:26 PM   #2
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So where are you going to school? Your moniker would suggest Texas.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:19 AM   #3
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Longhorn09, I attempted to take your survey but a few questions gave me pause and I abandoned the survey.

#7 asks for "Total # of stocks in your portfolio at any given time." Like many of us on this forum, I don't invest in individual stocks choosing mutual funds instead. I could find no way to accurately respond to that question.

#'s 18, 19 & 20 give the impression you are sizing up the audience for a potential product or sales pitch. No thanks.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:44 AM   #4
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It's fairly common for students to approach special-interest forums for research purposes. It's happened before on the ER Forum, and I've seen it on hobby boards too.

I *used* to give lengthy, thoughtful responses, asking only that the student provide the board with feedback about the fruits of his/her research. They never do. So, I no longer respond.

Amethyst.
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:44 AM   #5
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The survey as presented prevents typical answers. It is about investing in things other than mutual funds and ETFs. It is missing answers to allow one to select mutual funds, indexes, do-it-yourself investing, and no-cost investing.

How much would I pay for commissions? $0.00
How much would I pay for advice? $0.00

longhorn09, what do YOU think about marketriders?
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:58 AM   #6
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Your survey is predicated on the validity of modern portfolio theory, which is now in doubt. The events of the past few years have shown that the market simply isn't efficient. The last three questions clearly indicate that you are planning a pitch, which is a no-no around here. The individual stock question, as designed, will provide confusing answers.

So I'm out.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Longhorn09, I attempted to take your survey but a few questions gave me pause and I abandoned the survey.

#7 asks for "Total # of stocks in your portfolio at any given time." Like many of us on this forum, I don't invest in individual stocks choosing mutual funds instead. I could find no way to accurately respond to that question.

#'s 18, 19 & 20 give the impression you are sizing up the audience for a potential product or sales pitch. No thanks.
This reflects my views on your survey also. I have a substantial sum invested in equities but all through funds. I also didn't like the last 3 questions.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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Survey refused to accept my entry, claiming that my comment was in invalid format. It was two sentences, so I don't know what the format problem was.

For such an intrusive and oddly worded survey, I'd be concerned that you will be unable to draw any valid conclusions. Perhaps a next step would be try to improve the survey instead of collecting more responses to a poorly constructed instrument.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #9
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I appreciate the candid feedback. There's no sales pitch here, there is a market sizing component to the class project. The survey clearly states that there are 4 demographic, 13 investor profile, and 3 product related questions. If the survey is confusing or ambiguous, I apologize, clearly I am not a professional.

To Gumby: Hook'Em
REWahoo: Good point on the # of stocks and managed funds.
Ameythst: If you want to send me a private message with your feedback, that'd be great, I'm receptive.
LOL!: riding the market through an index fund or other means is a perfectly valid approach to investing, I personally have no qualms with that, especially if you're not seeking alpha.
growing_older: it required a dollar decimal amount
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:36 AM   #10
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Longhorn, I thought I made it perfectly clear that I would like the student to provide the discussion board with public feedback on the results of his or her research. Whether *my* feedback to*you* is public or private makes absolutely no difference.

A graduate student's reading comprehension should be better than you have displayed.

A.

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Originally Posted by longhorn09 View Post
Ameythst: If you want to send me a private message with your feedback, that'd be great, I'm receptive.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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Longhorn, I thought I made it perfectly clear that I would like the student to provide the discussion board with public feedback on the results of his or her research.

A.

Sure, I'll post results when it's completed, but in the meantime I don't want to introduce bias into the survey
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:13 PM   #12
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And, question 16 does not accept "other" by itself. This is the question where many of the folks here would answer "I don't buy individual stocks. I buy mutual funds". If you do this, the questions insists that you check one of the boxes, but 'other' does not have a check box, it only has a text entry field.

16. What is usually the basis for your stock picks (Select all that apply)Answer: I buy index funds and compare their results to the tracking index and other comparable funds.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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stevenst: Thanks, certainly I'm learning something new about the process of surveying in general. I've added an optional free form comment field based upon feedback received here. Unfortunately I cannot change #16 to make the textbox a valid answer choice as a standalone vaue since it already has survey responses. I guess I'm learning some new things about SurveyMonkey as well.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:31 PM   #14
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It seems like the survey is to learn more about speculators and not about investors.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:38 PM   #15
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I almost never take surveys but did take a look. In addition to what others have said, the breakdown on net worth could be broken down more, the greater than $500,000 category doesn't begin to cover the variety you might find from members here. Also greater than age 59 doesn't quite make it. I'd split those categories down farther.

It's interesting that you have bias toward young and new investors?
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:38 PM   #16
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Longhorn,

Just out of curiosity, what are they teaching you about modern portfolio theory? It has been around long enough now that there should be plenty of data out there on its weaknesses as well as strengths.
Have you gotten into the validity of the independent normal distribution assumption? Have you looked at the statistical tests to see whether a normal distribution is a good representation of daily price changes? What about back testing? It is pretty simple to code up a random walk and see how it compares to what really happened. Have you talked about ergodicity?
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:58 PM   #17
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CuppaJoe: The inherent bias wasn't intentional. Obviously most of my classmates are around my demographic. That's why I wanted to poll demographics other than my own to get more heterogeneous responses and make the survey more useful.

IndependentlyPoor: Certainly there are certainly a number of assumptions and criticisms of MPT as you've pointed out. Other than ergodicity, your other points have been covered in school and as well in the CFA study material.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:12 PM   #18
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The biggest problem with survey data is that it only comes from people who like to provide survey data.

The second-biggest problem with survey data is that everybody lies. Especially about sex and money surveys, although not always in that order...
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:48 PM   #19
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I've made a couple of the more sensitive survey questions optional based upon the feedback received here.

Nords: Agreed
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
The biggest problem with survey data is that it only comes from people who like to provide survey data.
Not so! I dislike surveys but answered anyway. Longhorn affiliation...
Quote:
The second-biggest problem with survey data is that everybody lies. Especially about sex and money surveys, although not always in that order...
Are you sure it's not only you?
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