KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID {KISS} – THE S&P 500 ETF INDEX

 

I was asked this week by a friend, a Medical Doctor and Department Head, what stocks I recommend.

The first stock I ever purchased was a penny stock called OSPBI (ONLY STUPID PEOPLE BUY IT!).  You guessed it; I lost over half my money!  That was the last penny stock I ever purchased.  A stock is selling for a few pennies for good reasons!

Unless you have the knowledge and competency to analyze stocks, read the charts, select the resistance and support prices, interpret indicators, and a lot more you cannot depend on your Cousin Ray’s suggestions.   My friend, is very intelligent, and extremely busy.  At this stage of her life, like most people, she does not have the time or inclination to master stock selection.  I recommended investing in a Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), such as the Vanguard, VOO ETF index.  This index invests in about 505 individual stocks. Each day and year some go up, some go down and some stay at the same price.  But on average you get positive gains over the LONG TERM -YEARS.  More on that below.

 

S&P 500 ETF INDEX – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID {KISS} INVESTMENT

Imagine if you invested most of your money in Boeing, just before the two recent airline crashes.  You would have suffered significant losses.  Boeing is one of the stocks in the S&P 500 index.  In 2019, that index gained 29% even with Boeing’s decline. By owning the index, you get the average return of ~500 stocks. The S&P 500 index includes the largest, globally diversified American companies across every industry, making it lower risk. And the index has MUCH lower expense ratios versus mutual funds, some as low as 0.03%. For every $10,000 you invest, fees will be about $3 per year {A McDonald’s Cheeseburger and drink}.  Years ago, when I foolish invested in mutual funds I paid as high as two percent, in fees.   For every $10,000 I invested, I was paying $200 each year {A meal at the type of restaurant my wife prefers!}  Even when the fund lost money, I was paying that blasted two percent!  If you WASTE two percent of your money on fees, you will cost yourself tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime of investing. 

WARREN BUFFETT’S ADVICE – S&P 500 ETF INDEX

 

 

Warren Buffett with an estimated net-worth of ~$90 billion is considered the world’s best stock investor.  Mr.  Buffett stated, “the S&P 500 ETF index fund is the best investment MOST Americans can make.”  He puts his money where his mouth is and when he dies, he directed his wife’s money be invested in an S&P 500 Index fund.  Mr. Buffett believes an investment in an S&P 500 index fund is a bet on American business, which has been a good long-term strategy. Over the long run, the S&P 500 has generated total returns of about 10% annualized.

To become a recognized and respected invetsor, he reads about eight hours day.  Let’s assume he started reading at that rate at the age of 10. Mr. Buffett, 89 years old, has read over 231,000 hours.  Warren Buffett reads in one day more than some of us read in a year about investments, finance, global markets etc.  Mr Buffett has train car LOADS of KNOWLEDGE, TIME AND RISK MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE.  (Berkshire Hathaway, Mr. Buffett’s firm owns a major rail company BNSF} 

Even Warren Buffett, the GOAT – GREATEST OF ALL TIME, stock investor, sometimes buys stocks in under performing companies. 

KNOWLEDGE, TIME AND RISK MANAGEMENT

 

Investing in individual stocks requires KNOWLEDGE, TIME and RISK MANAGEMENT.  Most Americans work well over 40 hours each week. Many are raising families.  They typically teach us ZERO in high school and college about investing and financial literacy.  How many hours do you have to learn stock investing?  If you do not have those three ingredients, buy the S&P 500 ETF index fund.

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2019/04/01/financial-literacy-is-just-not-that-complicated-trust-me/

I often see articles say if you had invested $1,000 in Company X, when it first publicly traded, you would have over $1 MILLION today!  Only a hand full of people actually invest in any company in the early days.  Would you have bet $1,000 that a man who was selling books out of his garage was a safe bet?  That company is Amazon.  If you had invested just $1,000 in Amazon’s IPO in 1997, you would have received 50 shares. That investment would have been worth nearly ~$1.2 Million on Aug. 31, 2018, when the price closed at $2,012.71 per share. The people who made that initial investment, Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO Amazon, his parents, some close friends and Venture Capital Investors.  Those types of articles are misleading and give people the hope {HOPE IS NEVER A STRATEGY NOR A SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK} they can do the same thing with $1,000.

 

Remember for every share of stock you purchase because you HOPE the stock is going up, someone is on the opposite side of that trade is selling you that stock because she HOPES it is going down.  One of you will lose!

 

YOU WILL HAVE LOTS OF GOOD AND BAD YEARS INVESTING IN THE S&P 500 ETF INDEX

 

 

 

In 2019, my S&P 500 index investments increased about 29%.  Now that was a GREAT year.  In 2008, the S&P 500 Index returned ~ -34.5%. The word hurt, does not begin to describe a 35% loss of my money!  This is why investing in the stock market should be a long-term strategy. Investing for years allows you to regain any serious losses. On average, over a ten-year time frame, the S&P increases about 10%.  A 10% average return is better than I achieved investing in mutual funds and picking the blasted wrong stocks.  In my early years of stock investing, I joked with my wife when I buy a stock, you should short it (Buy an Option betting it will go down).

 

GET RICH QUICK – FORGET ABOUT IT!

There are numerous books, workshops, etc. that promise you they can show ANYONE how to get rich picking stocks.  I always wonder, if you are so good at making money picking stocks or flipping real estate or growing tadpoles, why are you running workshops at high fees?  Clearly these scammers make more income taking YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY.

There are about 3,800 stocks in the U.S.  Plus, we can easily invest in thousands of foreign stocks.  So how do you select the winning stocks for your money from THOUSANDS?  Investing in individual stocks requires KNOWLEDGE, TIME and RISK MANAGEMENT.

 

CONCLUSION

If I had invested 100% of my money in the S&P 500 ETF when I first started working, saving and investing in stocks, I would probably HAVE MORE MONEY TODAY!  And so, would most OF YOU!

I love simple solutions.  The S&P 500 ETF is exactly that, a simple solution that we can safely invest our HARD EARNED MONEY!.  Investing in the S&P 500 ETF or individual stocks should/MUST be a long-term investment, where you have no needs for the money for YEARS.  Over long periods of time, 20 years or more, the S&P 500 has never been a bad choice.  

The keys to wealth are: Perseverance, Determination and Smart Investments.  Investing in the S&P 500 ETF, is SMART INVESTING! 

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ABOUT ME

 

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger, with a NC State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

 

I left a corporate career because I had a desire for making a difference as a speaker and writer, to help others. I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in both my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and happy to share my personal finance and investment lessons learned with you.

However, I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog, as recommendations for your personal situation.  For individual finance advice please seek your own licensed CPA or fiduciary financial advisors.  

I write this weekly blog to make an impact by reaching an audience and demonstrating the need for financial literacy. I will help you get there.

 

 

 

 

 

Powers Investments Management, LLC

This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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