A Random Walk Down Wall Street; Including a Life-Cycle Guide to Personal Investing

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9780393320404: A Random Walk Down Wall Street; Including a Life-Cycle Guide to Personal Investing

This gimmick-free, irreverent, and vastly informative guide―with over half a million copies sold―shows how to navigate the turbulence on Wall Street and beat the pros at their own game.

Skilled at puncturing financial bubbles and other delusions of the Wall Street crowd, Burton Malkiel shows why a broad portfolio of stocks selected at random will match the performance of one carefully chosen by experts. Taking a shrewd look at the high-tech boom and its aftermath, Malkiel shows how to maximize gains and minimize losses in this era of electronic brokers, virtual gurus, and flashy investment vehicles. Learn how to analyze the potential returns, not only for stocks and bonds, but for the full range of investment opportunities, from money market accounts and real estate investment trusts to insurance, home owning, and tangible assets like gold and collectibles. Decode the rating game for mutual funds and discover the unique advantages of index mutual funds over the wide range of riskier alternatives. Year in and year out the best investing guide money can buy, this enhanced edition includes an update of Malkiel's famous "Life-Cycle Guide to Investing," showing how to match an investment strategy to your stage in life.

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Review:

It's unlikely that you'll spot many dog-eared copies of A Random Walk floating amongst the Wall Street set (although bookshelves at home may prove otherwise). After all, a "random walk"--in market terms--suggests that a "blindfolded monkey" would have as much luck selecting a portfolio as a pro. But Burton Malkiel's classic investment book is anything but random. Since stock prices cannot be predicted in the short term, argues Malkiel, individual investors are better off buying and holding onto index funds than meddling with securities or actively managing mutual funds. Not only will a broad range of index funds outperform a professionally managed portfolio in the long run, but investors can avoid expense charges and trading costs, which decrease returns.

First published in 1973, this seventh printing of a A Random Walk looks forward and does so broadly, examining a new range of investment choices facing the turn-of-the-century investor: money-market accounts, tax-exempt funds, Roth IRAs, and equity REITs, as well as the potential benefits and pitfalls of the emerging global economy. In his updated "life-cycle guide to investing," Malkiel offers age-related investment strategies that consider one's capacity for risk. (A 30-year-old who can depend on wages to offset investment losses has a different risk capacity from a 60-year-old.) In his assessment of rocketing Internet stocks, Malkiel defends his "random" position well, explaining how "the market eventually corrects any irrationality--albeit in its own slow, inexorable fashion. Anomalies can crop up, markets can get irrationally optimistic, and often they attract unwary investors. But eventually, true value is recognized by the market, and this is the main lesson investors must heed." Written for the financial layperson but bolstered by 30 years of research, A Random Walk will help individual investors take charge of their financial future. Recommended. --Rob McDonald

About the Author:

Burton G. Malkiel is the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University. He is a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, dean of the Yale School of Management, and has served on the boards of several major corporations, including Vanguard and Prudential Financial. He is the chief investment officer of Wealthfront.

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