Alfred E. Newman

What! Me worry?

Many of you remember the cover of MAD magazine. It was one of my favorites. Alfred's only worry was about his front tooth. You and I have other problems.

The one big problem we all have is enough income to support our life style. Those who are approaching retirement or are retired will have to have enough cash or income from investments or pension plans to make it. We all know you can't live on Social Security alone.

Your broker, financial planner, banker, whoever you rely upon for financial advice will advise you to start saving and to make some sound and safe investments. Most of them will recommend stocks, mutual funds and bonds as well as having your home free and clear by the time you are ready to quit. All of that makes good sense. The only thing is what stocks, which bonds and whose mutual funds should you buy? That answer is very simple. Ones that go up, pay good dividends and don't go down. The latter is not so easy so you might have something to worry about.

Unlike Alfred, you can't sit back and not worry. So which ones? This is one you won't hear on Wall Street: It doesn't make any difference what you buy. Buying does not take too much brain power. The hard part is selling. The financial mavens don't tell you that the key to success in the stock market is selling. If you own a stock or fund that is not going up or is trending down it MUST be sold or you will lose your cash.

Recently dear old Mother Hubbard AT&T, the widows and orphans choice, has been put on the sell list by some of the big Wall Street brokerage companies. Momma Tel was trading at $100 and now is about $20, an 80% loss. Investors say, "I can't sell Telephone because my Mother, Grand Dad, someone left it to them they said it was a 'good' stock and they should keep it forever". Care to look at some of the "good" stocks you have in your portfolio that have lost a huge percentage of their value? People become emotionally attached to stocks that are failing miserably. The only thing worse that than a bad stock investment is a bad marriage. With a poor stock you can sell it and be rid of that sick feeling and all those worries.

Having been an exchange member and floor trader for 17 years I know that every professional trader will tell you that you must cut your losses short and let your profits run. Very few brokers will ever tell you to sell because they have not been taught how to protect investment money.

You don't have to be smarter than Alfred E. to get out of a loser. The simplest protection for your funds is a stop-loss order of about 10%. When your stock or mutual fund drops 10% or more from its highest price you should sell it and find a better more profitable place for your money.

What! Me worry? Yes, I think now is a good time to start.

Al Thomas' book, "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" has helped thousands of people make money and keep their profits with his simple 2-step method. Read the first chapter at http://www.mutualfundmagic.com and discover why he's the man that Wall Street does not want you to know.

Copyright 2005

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