I Do Not Like Investing Spam!

Our practical investor has good rhyme and reason for blocking out investing noise.

Now that we’ve stowed

all the holiday bags,

the boxes, the toys,

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the gift-giving tags,

your Practical Investor

got a Grinchy-Grinch thought

that has something to do with

the stocks that she’s bought.

You see, in the process

of researching those stocks,

I signed up at Web sites

that promised their thoughts.

Seeking Alpha, GuruFocus,

TraderPlanet, YCharts,

Value Line, Motley Fool,

Zacks, some upstarts.

Day in and day out, they

send me their news,

research and stock quotes,

and plenty of views.

One says “Buy!”

The other screams “Sell!”

Both say “Act quick!

Before the closing bell!”

Apple and Intel?

They say that they’re dying.

“No Lockheed. No Seagate.

Sell quick! We’re not lying!”

“Buy solar! Buy pharma!

Buy stocks that sell smokes!

Pay attention to us!

We’re serious blokes!”

I fret and I worry.

Do they know something new?

Or is this just opinion,

an uninformed view?

Sage advice is nice—

but when just opinion,

every Tom, Dick and Sally

can claim that dominion.

Check the writer’s credentials,

and yours might be prouder.

The difference with bloggers

is just that they’re louder.

Half the advice is plain wrong—

if you track it, you know it.

And this money’s your future.

It’s bad if you blow it.

But the things that they say

still stick in your mind,

making you wonder if

you’re deluded or blind.

So we investors must fight—

fight to keep poise,

when dealing with the market’s

noise, noise, Noise, NOISE.

The problem I see with

all the noise that they’ve made

is their thoughts and opinions

may cause you to trade.

Unless a move is compelling,

it makes sense to stall it.

Too much buying and selling

is bad for your wallet.

All trades cost money.

They mean taxes and fees.

Do them too often,

and returns fall to their knees.

In studies by professors

Odean and Barber,

they make a great case

that your money goes farther

when you buy solid firms

with finances like rocks.

You should hold them forever—

just sit on their stocks.

Watch them with faith,

like Horton would do

(when hatching Mayzie’s egg,

or hearing a Who).

We must keep our own counsel

when investing our money;

frittering it away causes

results that aren’t funny.

Research your stocks, look at

earnings and cash flow.

Keep your ears open for the

things you should know.

But when pundits start

screaming, you should not blink.

The best way to invest is to be

quiet and think.

This is a journey.

It’s not a short race.

When investing your cash,

set your own pace.

I hope that this column

was not too abstruse.

I send thanks and apologies

to the good Dr. Seuss.

Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com (opens in new tab), is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.