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Where do I go to study the stock market?
Old 06-02-2007, 10:50 AM   #1
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Where do I go to study the stock market?

This is the stupidest question anyone here has ever posed, and, if I had any pride at all, I wouldn't ask it. However, I have given up trying to find out on my own, so here goes:

When I am thru caring for an elderly parent, I will free up to really study the stock market and finance. I do not need another degree, so this is for my own personal use.
Other than NYC--which is just too darn expensive to live in--is there another area of the country that is known for having a number of finance courses or ready assistance to people that want to learn about the stock market?
When I lived in DC, Chicago and Houston the investment firms gave free courses, but not where I am located now in the Midwest. There must be nothing to do here for the older folks, because they kept getting the same people over and over at the lectures; so, of course, this was no benefit for the investment company and they quit offering the courses. Maybe it is the same all over the country now?
I have taken a course in Personal Investing at the local community college, and got tons out of that. But I want to find courses like how to read an annual report and prospectus, but can find nothing here at the local colleges/universities. I think you get my drift now?
So, what I am looking for is an city with low costs to live in while I am there, tons of investment types and lots of courses at the local colleges and universities to study at. I want to get good enough to take charge of my own investments totally...or, at the very least, really understand it all very well.
Would Dallas be good, which I know has something like 22 community colleges (I figure with those numbers that a few of the colleges should have something for me)? Or is there a better city for me for a few years?
If you think it would be better for me to study on my own and know of a few good books, I would appreciate their titles/author. I have no problem studying at all as I am really interested.
Thanks for help...I was embarrassed to ask this, but gave up looking by myself, and need to have this knowledge before I take off and live out of country.

Orchidflower
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:04 AM   #2
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Your question sounds more like "Where do I retire where there are universities?" Which is certainly a good question. As for stocks, or investing advice: Why not just read and try to understand a few of the "great books" of investing. I don't mean "Graudate" level stuff like Graham, but investing guides to the layman such as the ever-popular "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" by Andrew Tobias? One of my favorites. The Motley Fool books are good too. I would be very leery of anything coming from a broker or other person who's trying to sell you something. The awful truth about the stock market (and many other things in the world) is that you CAN beat the average return but that you are extremely unlikely to! Superior performance is (probably) a fluke. You are best off in a low-cost index fund ("funds" more likely). Everybody thinks he can beat the odds (this is a mental trait most humans have -- one among many failings that are catalogued by behavioral finance); of course some people do beat the odds. The Lotto winner gets on TV and in the papers; the millions of schmucks who bought losing tickets don't. The same with the latest hot mutual fund manager. Good luck. If nothing else, you have a duty to educate yourself so that you don't get fleeced by all the wolves out there.
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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I think the best place is to go to the internet, then after that the library, then after that the bookstore.

If you believe you can only learn and study in classroom with somebody lecturing to you, then woe is you.
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:12 AM   #4
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Below is a nice review of current hot/controverisal topics in financial planning with references to help learn/study more. Guess what? It's all on the internet:
FPA Journal - What's New? A Potpourri of Investment Research which cites:
CFA: Error
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:14 AM   #5
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Google "Open Course Ware"

MIT has some financial courses but they look to be more for the practitioner.

Given the fact that you are in a small community and have been taken care of an aged parent you may want to plan a vacation that includes a course in your area of interest when you are no longer responsible for their care.

The one thing I have heard over and over, 'Read Footnotes'. That is often where the bones are burried.
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:25 PM   #6
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I actually would start out buying used finance and accounting textbooks and just start reading. For accounting, you want to find an intro accounting course textybook as taught at the college or MBA level.

For finance, pick up a copy of "Fundamentals of Corporate Finance" by Brealey & Myers. It explains the world of corporate finance very simply and intuitively.

After you get through those, check out one of Aswath Damodaran's books on valuation. He also has a ton of stuff on his website: Damodaran Online: Home Page for Aswath Damodaran

Another possibility is to do the self study course requirements for Level I and Level II of the CFA. You don't have to take the tests. Just doing the reading/study for the exams will teach you as much as most finance MBAs learn in 2 years of classes.
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Old 06-02-2007, 05:09 PM   #7
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Have you thought about joining an investment club ? You'd be surprized at how much knowledge you can get from the right club !
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:12 PM   #8
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Be careful about learning too much, it will only cost you money.

There has been a few lists of books to read about investing. You will probably find that most of them lead to asset allocation and index mutual funds ala Fidelity and Vanguard. Scott Burns' columns are also a good start.

Understanding the stockmarket will never happen. Understanding how you should invest is a matter of reading a few books and understanding how us mere mortals don't have any advantage over the great unwashed masses.

I've had several college level classes in finance, economics and investment analysis and they were shown to be pretty useless in managing my own money.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Have you thought about joining an investment club ? You'd be surprized at how much knowledge you can get from the right club !
Amen to that! I'm a member of an all-female investment club that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The knowledge and experience shared by the partners in the club is simply awesome -- and there is no such thing as a dumb question!

If you'd like more information, www.better-investing.org is a good place to start.
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:23 PM   #10
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Be careful about learning too much, it will only cost you money.
I second this based on personal experience. I started reading everything I could about investing right before the rise and fall of the high tech sector. Too bad I didn't just stay put with low cost mutual funds.

Focus on keeping your costs low and your asset allocation and you will probably come out ahead.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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I'm in agreement with 2B and Helen. I think this is one of those areas where the more you learn the more you suspect you know.

if you're looking at learning about the stock market for short-intermediate term investing, you need to know about the market, all about the business and all about group psychology.

Then there are folks that do know all that stuff and they still dont know which way the market or a stock will turn tomorrow or next week.

Long term, all ya gotta do is read "The four pillars of investing" or read my summary 'book report' thats posted here somewhere.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:45 AM   #12
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Long term, all ya gotta do is read "The four pillars of investing" or read my summary 'book report' thats posted here somewhere.
This is the dullest book in the universe. Go with the "book report."
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:05 AM   #13
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Eh, it was a fair substitute for pharmaceutical grade sleep medications...to be sure.

Book Report - Four Pillars of Investing

and just for good measure

Book Report - Millionaire next door
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:47 AM   #14
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LOL! gives good advice:
Quote:
I think the best place is to go to the internet, then after that the library, then after that the bookstore.
I am with 2B, Helen and CFB. (I was trying to figure out how to say it, but they said it so much better.) If the technicalities are interesting to you, OK, but successful investing is very simple.

Bill Schultheis wrote a small book that tells you all you need to know:
1. Use index funds
2. Diversify
3. Buy only no-load funds with the lowest annual fees.
You can do-it-yourself. You don’t need a broker or adviser or bank. Call Vanguard or Fidelity. https://vesnc.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/HomepageOverview or
Fidelity Investments: Your Personal Investing Resource retirement and guidance.
It isn’t real exciting, but it works.

He charged $20 or so for this information (but he did include a recipe for pie, too). He explains very clearly why these points are so important. I give the book as a gift to friends and family.

He has a web site: The Coffeehouse Investor

Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, once wanted to be a financial consultant, but he found that everything could be summed up on one page and he couldn’t figure out why people should pay for that. It was the stuff above, plus ‘make a will’.

There are other ways to ‘get rich’ but they all have a much lower probability of success. John Greaney ( The Retire Early Home Page. ) got rich by buying pharmaceutical stocks at a really good time, but even he doesn’t recommend that anyone else try to do the same thing he did. He recommends the get-rich-slow method above.

It took me a long time to figure all this out for myself. Now I just set it and forget it and do they things I like to do instead. I don't have the time or the brains to be a full-time investor like the big guys, but I can handle this.


This is not to discourage you from moving to a nicer place and enjoying going to college classes.

And stay away from those sharks confidence men nice men from the brokerage houses.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:50 AM   #15
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Boy! do I ever appreciated your sage advice, folks. I plan to take what you suggest and use it, too.
Any book suggestions are very appreciated. I'm starting some of the Warren Buffet books...figuring he must know what he's talking about.
Guess I will start reading this Money board now every day. Bound to learn alot, I think.
Again, thank you for your suggestions, which I am taking to heart.

Orchidflower
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:05 PM   #16
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I don't think you'll find a book by Warren Buffet. You will find books that are about his investing style. Suggest you also consider visiting the Bogleheads site which contains lots of newbie info plus many experts and a few who have written good investment books (for instance, Larry Swedroe).

Also, I admire Buffet and have made some money following some of his picks over the year's. But remember he is solving a different problem then the individual investor who must (1) determine her asset allocation and (2) put that money to work for many years without constantly changing course due to emotions. Buffet has said that investing in a broad index fund (like the Total Stock Market fund) is a fine way for most investors to go.

Good luck!
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