I’m trying to decide whether its worth my while investing my time, energy and money to save for my retirement fund (23 years + 3?) by investing directly myself using TA or if I’m better off finding a good value passive tracker global market (well diversified) fund and getting on with the business of making money with my existing skills/experience, and living of course.
This is my story:
Two months ago, I read Mark Shipman’s books and thought, Eureka, an hour a week to follow the buy and sell signals, to achieve returns superior to the markets. Well, that’s a no brainer. But then if its that easy why isn’t everybody else doing it? So I started reading and researching further and I learned a few things which raised more questions:
The random market nature of EMH (Efficient Market Hypothesis) and how on average passive index trackers appear to outperform actively managed funds.
EMH has its critics and there’s evidence for and against as there is with TA (Technical Analysis). My reading of this is that there is no black and white, that the market has components of both, and these are greater or lesser depending on your view or motivation and therefore your choice of parameters (data-snooping/subjectivity), and of course whether you are looking backwards or forwards.
Some people earn an income but over the long term I question how profitable it is. I see from the forums I’ve visited that serious players with lots of smarts make a serious committment and devote a lot of themselves but may never feel truly confident in their abilities.
The business selling the advice or facilitating the buying and selling are the ones who are making the money. Therefore any business involved in this enterprise has to be biased (newspapers, journals, brokers, forums, etc) to some extent.
I’m willing to believe that while I may not be able to beat professionals (individual and institutional) that I may beat the ordinary Joe Soap who dabbles in stock picking based on tips and feelings. I felt I have the discipline, the desire and the work ethic to learn how the professionals do it, to get beyond the complexity and learn a few golden rules or home truths that I could follow and with scraps from the masters table, come out with a return marginally better than the standard fund investment.
However, I notice there is a lot of confusion, opinion and disagreement in TA. I’m willing to bet that for me and possibly a lot of home traders and investors would be better generating their wealth from non-trading work, ie using talent, drive and time to develop their career or business and so increase their earning power. In other words, if you can’t beat the market then why not join it?
The bottom line for me is results. How many traders out of all traders make positive returns and to what extent, ie over 10 years what is the annual % return on total capital invested each year? Where is the evidence? Have there ever been surveys carried out?
Does this story have a happy ending?
All advice and opinions welcome, Bernard.
A young bull and his dad are on a hill grazing when the young bull sees some cows in the valley. “Dad, lets run down the hill and have one of them cows!” Dad says, “Son, lets stroll down the hill and have them all!” - Its easier to build wealth slowly than quickly!