Roundtable: The Best Investment Advice You Ever Got

Worldwide Invest Better Day 9/25/2012

In the lead-up to Sept. 25's Worldwide Invest Better Day, The Motley Fool is reacquainting investors with the basic building blocks of investing. As part of that push, we asked a group of our best analysts, "What's the best investment advice you ever got?"

Here's what they said.

Morgan Housel: Several years ago I interviewed a hedge fund manager named Mohnish Pabrai. He's not a household name, but Pabrai's results make him one of the world's greatest investors of the last 15 years.

I asked him what his secret was. "Control over my emotions," he said. "That's it?" I asked? He laughed. "It's huge. You'd be surprised."

That's probably the best advice any investor can receive. Investors are their own worst enemies. Any time you find yourself eager to make a big change to your portfolio while in the fog of emotion -- either fear or greed -- stop! You're probably about to do something regrettable. 

Anders Bylund: The best investment advice I ever received was also the simplest, most basic lesson imaginable. Start an investment account and sock away some money for retirement.

Obvious stuff, right? I mean, Social Security isn't going to cover my needs all on its own, and I sure don't want to work until I'm 80. But this central bit of financial wisdom wasn't so obvious when I first heard it, fresh out of college in my mid-20s.

Many youngsters, myself included, could very easily forget about their employer's 401(k) plan and never learn about IRA accounts at all, choosing to spend their money on short-term wants and needs instead. "Retirement's four decades away. Why should I care now?"

But I joined my first employer's 401(k) as a deduction from my very first paycheck. Intrigued by the markets, I then dove into learning about stock picking -- right here at the Fool. Now I have a substantial portion of my family's assets locked up in IRA accounts and other long-term investment vehicles, and I'm on track to meet my retirement goals.

The earlier you get started, the better. I'm glad I caught the investing bug so early.

LouAnn Lofton: I read Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street early on in my investing career, and his tales of stumbling across great investment ideas in his everyday life (or his wife's everyday life) made an impression on me. I thought about it less as "buy what you know" than I did "keep your eyes open." That turned out to be great advice. Looking at the companies you interact with on a regular basis through the lens of possible investment opportunities became second nature to me. Naturally, you've got to follow up your initial thoughts with solid research, but it's a wonderful place to start. I can point to several market-beating holdings in my portfolio as examples of this, whether it's companies I've owned since 1998 like Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) and Nike, or more recent additions like Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . And the search continues -- I've always got my eyes open for that next potentially great idea.

Dan Caplinger: The best investment advice I ever got was to rebalance my portfolio on a regular basis. For me, the biggest benefit from rebalancing is that it keeps me in a mind-set where I'm looking to buy stocks and other investments when they're cheap and sell them when they're expensive. For instance, back in 1999 and 2000, my holdings in Intel and Microsoft had soared to become a huge part of my portfolio. Rebalancing led me to trim those positions near their highs, and while I didn't escape the tech bust entirely, the stocks I replaced them with performed a lot better than the tech sector. Since then, whether it's been emerging-market stocks, a soaring bond market, or my precious-metals holdings, periodically selling a bit of my winning positions has given me capital to focus on finding new investments that offer good value propositions.

Molly McCluskey: "Have an exit strategy."

Everyone wants to root for the underdog, but when the reasons you bought a stock are no longer valid, when the new products haven't panned out, key leadership has moved on, or new competition does it better, faster, and cheaper, it might be hard to let go.

Before I purchase a stock, I make sure I know exactly why I'm buying it. What specific event or promise does this company hold, what will it look like when that promise is fulfilled, and when it's not? It's important to remain flexible (new leadership may breathe new life) but not delusional (the company hasn't declared profits in five years, but they're due to any day now!), and always know where your line is, and when it's time to move on.

Tim Beyers: Peter Lynch, who said to invest in what you know or can learn. Buffett's circle of competence is an intellectual peer of this concept, which essentially advises investors to spend time investigating and valuing the businesses they're most likely to be interested in -- whether it be due to professional expertise, emotional affiliation, or just plain curiosity. For my own part, taking this maxim to heart freed me to dig into the deep tech and entertainment business I love most. They've also led to my biggest winners, which include Apple and Marvel Entertainment before it was acquired by Walt Disney in 2009.

Anand Chokkavelu, CFA: I can't narrow it down to just one, so I'll cheat by linking to an article I wrote detailing the 100 things I've learned in investing. No. 85 is "If you can learn quickly from your own mistakes, you're ahead of the game. If you can learn quickly from others' mistakes, you've won the game." Enjoy the rest of this roundtable!

Eric Volkman: Even as a young, green, not particularly good investor, I quickly grew leery of the "one metric rules them all" advice commonly offered to people like myself. But there's one I keep to heart, and that's the admonition to BEWARE OF DEBT. This was vividly imparted to me through the example of creeping ivy -- the stuff grows and grows and grows until it chokes the life out of any plant unfortunate enough to get in its way. Perhaps aided by that colorful metaphor, I've tried to steer toward modestly leveraged companies when investing. More often than not, those have been the ones that have made me money.

Chris Baines: Never forget that a stock represents ownership of a business, not a price that wiggles on a screen. I credit the Great Buffster for this piece of advice -- though he got it from the inimitable Ben Graham. 

Despite its obviousness, this is largely ignored on Wall Street: Highly educated analysts view short-term company setbacks as Armageddon, a reason to sell stock (usually after it's become cheap). Similarly, very popular stocks -- like longtime Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Netflix circa 2010/2011 -- are pumped to the moon with scarce regard for valuation. If these analysts viewed stocks as businesses -- like Buffett does -- they wouldn't think this way. In that case, their prognostications might be more on the money. 

Matt Thalman: Like you do with a jacket, "check your emotions at the door." Our emotions are great in so many situations, but when it comes to investing, they can ruin a well thought-out plan and bankrupt a strong portfolio. And please don't fool yourself; this is a very difficult trait for investors to master. We all feel excited when a stock makes a big move up and we see nothing but dollar signs. Or when months of research and work tell us that a stock will rebound, but the fear of losing more money takes control. Even the great Peter Lynch makes it difficult for us to invest emotion-free. When following Lynch's advice, "Invest in what you know," your immediate bias is positive because you may already love their product. Can anyone say Apple?

Jacob Roche: "Don't get cute."

When I first started investing with options, months before Motley Fool Options existed, I was a big fan of Twitter user Steve Place (@StevenPlace). He hosted a weekly happy hour for his Twitter followers, during which he would drink beer, discuss market commentary from his perspective as a technical analyst, and offer options strategies to take advantage of different situations.

As anyone who's traded options knows, you can build some really complicated positions to suit any situation. But one thing Steve would say over and over was "don't get cute." There is rarely a situation where you need a broken-wing-butterfly or an iron-condor-wading-in-the-rushes. Complicated positions have their uses, but most of the time buying a put or selling a covered call is all you need to express your investment thesis, and anything more complicated will just increase your transaction costs, increase the time you spend doting over the position, and overall give you a headache. Don't get cute. A simple strategy usually wins the day.

Alex Dumortier, CFA: The best investment advice I ever got was from the Oracle of Omaha himself, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) CEO Warren Buffett, who advised me to read Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor. He didn't give me this advice personally, mind you, but he recommended it in writing and has gone as far as calling it "by far the best book on investing ever written." Coming from arguably the greatest investor in history, I thought this counsel was worth following and I wasn't disappointed. The Intelligent Investor was the first complete, rational presentation of what it means to be an investor that I came across and it remains the best that I have seen to date. Don't be put off by the 1949 original publication date. The principles it contains are timeless. Unless you consider yourself an Immaculate Conception as an investor, this is the book to read before all else.

Tim Brugger: It was spring of 1991, and I'd been a financial advisor for all of six months. In other words, I knew pretty much everything there was to know -- or so I thought. At the time, IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) was flying high with a stock price hovering near $130 a share, and was the envy of corporate America.

But even as expenses soared, IBM was lagging the market in new technologies, and consistently angered longtime customers with horrendous service.

A year and a half later, the stock price was at $42 and many doubted whether Big Blue could turn things around. Clients were answering their phones screaming "Sell!" "Sell!" without even knowing who was on the line.

Thankfully, before I was able to do too much damage, a veteran advisor pulled me aside and asked me a simple question. "Tim, do you think IBM is going bankrupt?" I told him I didn't think so; it's IBM for heaven's sake. "So," he said, "why aren't you advising your clients to buy at these depressed levels, instead of faithfully filling their sell orders?"

I did, and within two years IBM stock was again trading above $100 a share, after steadily climbing month after month. The moral of the story: If you invest in fundamentally sound companies that meet your objectives, recognize even those suffer through inevitable cycles. So, take advantage and buy on the sell-offs.

Brenton Flynn: I was working as an equity research analyst for Robert W. Baird during one of the most frightening times to be invested in equities, late 2008/early 2009. It was a hard time to be positive about the future for investors after suffering such massive declines, but I'll never forget the advice I was given by Bruce Bittles, chief market strategist at Baird. He said that for a young twenty-something kid, this was the opportunity of a lifetime to invest, and he encouraged me to buy as much as I could afford to. He was proven right, and since early March of 2009 the S&P 500 index has more than doubled. Lesson: Crisis equals opportunity.

Dan Radovsky: Best investment advice I ever got? Well, it wasn't "Plastics." I don't have to dig deep to recall the sagest word to the wise I've gotten. As a matter of fact, it's the only advice I would ever give to anybody, and if I remember correctly from my reading of The Intelligent Investor, it's the only investment scheme that Benjamin Graham could ever advise.

It is simply this: dollar-cost-averaging. Invest the same amount of money on a regular basis in whatever stock, mutual fund, or index fund you want, and then... keep doing it.

The beauty of it is if the share price goes up, great, you're wealthier (on paper, at least), and if the share price goes down, great, you can buy more shares for the same amount of money. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme; it's a get-rich-slow plan.

Dan Newman: Being someone to make rash decisions at the drop of a hat, the best investment advice I ever noted is that there was always time to invest. Yes, you should start saving for the future as soon as it's possible, but if a company represents a good investment, you don't need to jump in right away and skip the research you should do beforehand. The stock market will be open the next business day, and if the company truly deserves your investment, you can buy it then, usually without sacrificing much return.

Evan Niu, CFA: Never try to compete with woulda, shoulda, or coulda, because you simply can't beat them. This is meaningful to me because as humans and investors, we're prone to make mistakes. On top of that, we mere humans decidedly lack the ability to predict the future, although not for a lack of trying. Don't dwell on the past. Learn from it, but always focus on the present and the future.

Andrew Marder: Invest for a reason, and keep that reason in mind. That's the best indirect, investing advice I got from my grandfather, as a child. By the time I was in my teens, he had worked hard, spent cautiously, and invested wisely, and was able to help put me and all of my cousins through college. He was able to do it because he always had that end goal in mind.

We all say we want to invest for our future, but the future is a very amorphous idea. A much better strategy is to form a clear set of goals. You want $X in your retirement account by 2025. Your kid needs $Y in his college fund (here's a hint, make that number $Y x 2).

Having those goals not only focuses you on a final goal, it helps you manage risk. If you just set out to have more money, you'll take risks in an odd way. Once you can say, "This is for little Suzy's first car," you'll probably get out of Zynga and into Coke -- it's one thing to risk numbers in an account, it's a very different thing to risk the well-being of your family.

Keith Speights: The best investment advice I ever got was from a manager at my first job after graduating from college. He told me to begin putting as much money as I could into the company's 401(k) plan and at least contribute up to the matching amount. His words were, "If someone's giving you money for free, take it." He was right, and I followed his advice. Starting investing at a young age was one of the best financial steps I have ever taken.

Sean Williams: Being passionate about the stock market, I can sometimes get a little carried away with overthinking my next move. In my early trading years you'd often catch me waiting for the next pullback on the edge of my seat and wondering about how well my portfolio would handle the next big down day. One day, while talking a former co-worker's ear off about how there's no chance I could be wrong about my bet against the S&P 500, he turned to me and said, "Feelings won't help you retire."

He was absolutely right. Emotional trading won't help you retire and short-term gyrations in the market are little reason for my hair to go gray (I can let my love for the Detroit Lions take care of that). Now, taking a longer-term view I have more time to focus on the intangibles of what makes a business great (see my CEO of the Week series for proof of this) and I find myself much less stressed when it comes to investing.

Chuck Saletta: The best investment advice I ever got came from my mother, who told me to "make it automatic." Her suggestion to me was to sign up for automatic paycheck deductions into my 401(k) as soon as I was eligible and put away as much as they'd let me. As she promised, I never really missed the money that never made it to my hands, and over the years of largely automatic compounding, it has grown into a surprisingly comfortable nest egg.

We hope you enjoyed the roundtable. Click on the button below for more on Worldwide Invest Better Day.


This roundtable was compiled by Anand Chokkavelu, who owns shares of Walt Disney, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Apple, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Berkshire Hathaway, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Netflix, and International Business Machines. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Starbucks, Apple, Netflix, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and NIKE. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bear put ladder position in Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in International Business Machines. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in NIKE. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Read/Post Comments (36) | Recommend This Article (129)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 5:09 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going"- J.R Ewing

    yeah others said it before him, but my dad always quoted him when I was a little kid.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 6:39 PM, DoctorLewis4 wrote:

    Admit to yourself that you are not a better investor then Warren Buffett. Then buy BRK-B and be done with it.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 6:56 PM, moneymaster7 wrote:

    What a great compilation of advisors. Thoroughly enjoyed each advice. Thanks!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 7:07 PM, maazzoo69 wrote:

    Amazing article!

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 7:52 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    Nice job guys.

    I agree that emotion is probably the number one thing in investing. If you can master this you will beat the index and 95% of the mutual/hedge funds out there. You don't have to be the smartest guy in the room by any stretch.

    I've slaughtered the hedgies and mutuals simply by buying when they were all in a panic. As a long term investor I typically only need to wait and wait for the panic's and then take shares from the emotionally week pro's and retail investors which really do account for over 95% of the investing public.

    I bought at the depths in 2008 with a smile. Everyone predicted the end of the world. It only happens once so I bought. You have to figure if the world ends you were losing your money anyway no matter where it was so why not have upside?

    I also bought muni's when all the funds were blowing out of them in 2008. They could not get rid of them fast enough. 5% tax free yields were plentiful and I bought them all up. Now with the yields sitting at a fraction of this I have my tax free income and big cap gains too should I decide to sell. Thanks Meridith Whitney!

    My advice is as Buffett says. I took the advice and have done well by it. Be greedy when others are fearful.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 8:48 PM, neamakri wrote:

    Advice to myself; don't get greedy.

    At least once a week I see something on Motley Fools that screams "Buy me and get rich quick!" I listen to my own advice and don't do it.

    All seven of my IRA holdings pay good dividends. I save up the benefits for 2-3 months, then choose one or two of the seven to increase my position. This is similar to dollar-cost-averaging.

    By the way, my stocks fall into six categories, so "diversification" is also important. As such, I keep reading Motley Fools for new investing ideas too. Thanks for the great article.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 9:15 PM, terry94 wrote:

    Best advice - marry wisely, several I have known have lost retirement due to a partner who did unwise spending.

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 9:16 PM, shamapant wrote:

    Don't take any advice as the one tenet of importance. People say emotional control is paramount. If you don't know your basic finance, emotional control might be dumb cuz ur thesis may be flawed. Be balanced and logical and realize that you need all the tools to be a good investor. There's no easy way out

  • Report this Comment On September 11, 2012, at 9:29 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    The best investing advice I've gotten yet (in a very short investing career) has come from right here at the Fool: "Don't rush into anything."

    Too many new investors have the mindset of trying to get rich by the end of the week, trying for the next 10-bagger home run stock pick. Try roulette, the odds are better. Investing (as opposed to gambling) requires an investment of time, just as much as money. In fact, the time investment for due diligence may be the more valuable of the two, since it will both save you from making the worst mistakes and potentially help you make the proper calls at the proper times.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2012, at 10:25 AM, XMFAlaska wrote:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation but I also enjoyed the readers' comments nearly as much. Thank you all for your wonderful insights. It's great that some of them came from the Fool, even better that some of them were learned firsthand, but thank you all for sharing them.

    We'll have more roundtables coming in the days leading up to Worldwide Invest Better Day. Hope you'll continue to share your thoughts.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 10:24 AM, CromulentBrad wrote:

    the best advice i ever got came from dad: don't spend money you don't have.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 10:30 AM, fool3090 wrote:

    The best advice I ever got was no advice at all but an example, albeit negative. A person in my life never invested, worked at under-the-table cash jobs from age 45 on. "Retired" at 57. Now they live in subsidized housing, a small apartment in a sketchy part of town, living on $600/mo in Social Security. I saw that 15 years ago and swore I will never, ever live like that. So I started paying attention. I read everything I could. I fired my full-service broker who botched a rollover and began being Foolish. Never looked back, only forward. Best investments came in 2008 and 2009. Dollar cost average consistently. Maxed out 401k. Max out Roth IRAs. Have a partner who's a saver, too. Lived far below our means. Drive used cars. Pack lunches. Drink boxed wine. Cancelled cable TV. Set up DRIPs on dividend stocks. Buy

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 11:41 AM, waynepain wrote:

    Stay away from penny stocks no matter how good the look. Buy into the good funds and good companies and dig into them before you buy them.

    Never buy a stock or fund based on a suggestion. It's your money that you worked for so don't give it away. Would you just give someone on the street money for product that you can't see and may never see? Of course not. Do your research and put your hard earned money into something that will generate returns no matter how small they are.

    A 1% return on an investment beats a 1/2% loss on an investment any day, but you have to find an investment that has verifiable records and financials with legitimate returns and stick with it, even if it drops one year, because it will come back. And it will come back because the company is a good one that is fighting to win.

    That is what you want to do. Find a good company and stay the course. If the good company turns sour though, that is reason to walk away, but not just because the Price Per Share fell a little bit this quarter. Otherwise you are gambling and not investing.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 12:59 PM, ypmstocks wrote:

    Love it. But they forgot their own article that I still keep from 2001 in my hotmail, entitled: Your most important financial decision: live within your means

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 1:33 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    The best investment advice I ever got came from my financial advisor and went something like this....

    "At the end of your investing career, less than 5% of your total return will have come from the type of stocks or mutual funds you selected. The other 95+% of your return will depend on the quality of advice you got....or didn't get. Chief among that advice is how you chose to answer these two questions.

    1. How much of your investment portfolio was in equities?

    2. What did you do when the equity portion was down 30%?

    If the answer to these two questions happen to be 1. 100% and 2. Nothing, then you will end your investment career in the top 1%, in terms of real returns generated by real investors, no matter what stocks or funds you own.... I GUARANTEE IT!

    So far, so good.

    As I type, my three year annualized rate of return ( on six figures of capital ) since September 13th 2009 is hovering around 18%...more than four hundred basis points better than the three year 13% annualized rate of return of the s&p 500.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 2:58 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    The best advice I got?

    "Do your homework, research the best stocks from all the information that is out there, come up with what you think is a sure fire plan. Then do the opposite."

    The person that gave me this advice knew me. It probably won't work for smarter people.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 3:27 PM, hbofbyu wrote:


    What was the advice?

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 7:23 PM, TMFDarwood11 wrote:

    Very good!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 10:56 AM, Usnzth wrote:

    @DocterLewis4 - I amy not be able to invest better than Warren Buffet invests for himself, but I may be able to invest better than Warren Buffet invests for me.

    I agree with terry 94 one hundred percent.

    Lately, the only thing Kahuna seems to write about is Kahuna.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 2:04 PM, 123spot wrote:

    up stocks, mine is a corollary of yours, given to me by the old farmer next door: " never see anything you have to have". It's amazing how I never miss that thing I didn't buy. Spot

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 2:45 PM, whyaduck1128 wrote:

    Great article--and great comments.

    I haven't said about too many articles lately.

    The best advice I've received since I got out of self-created debt nearly three years ago--

    1. Know why you're buying something.

    2. Know the difference between an investment and a speculation.

    3. Try to leave your emotions at the door.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 2:54 PM, nwstockguy1977 wrote:

    @DoctorLewis4 - Clearly you haven't listened to Buffett's advice that BRK is overvalued ;)

    Anyway, my best advice was 2 part and came from 2 people, both near the peak of the real estate boom.

    From my grandmother "Remember, real estate doesn't always go up. Sometimes it goes down."

    The other half came from a private money man who was willing to partner with me on an investment property. His words,"I think the market is too hot right now. I've never seen a real estate market like this. I think you should just step back. Mark my words, the people who are going to make money in real estate are the ones who can short sale the bank when this frenzy ends."

    Both were excellent and I present them both because I feel they tie together.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 4:50 PM, solut100 wrote:

    Best Advise:

    Measure your return against a benchmark. Many brokerage statements aren't a good measure.

    What get's measured get's managed! Measure against S&P or other benchmark. Don't allow your broker to "sell" you on how great your investments are doing. After losing $10K with a brocker in 2 years, on his picks I bailed. ($90K portfolio) My previous picks were doing very well and offsetting the other losses. Back to doing it on my own.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 10:09 PM, 1chumpchange wrote:

    always pay yourself first every week, every penny,one for me and one for you,two for me and and one for you and so on! make every doller work for you,dividends,intrest in credit unions, have direct deposit for pay checks,money markets,credit unions, when you don"t see it,you won"t spend it! best of luck to all of you!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2012, at 10:12 PM, 1chumpchange wrote:

    yes, i still pick up every penny i find on the floor in wawa"s and on the ground,i have found so much money on the ground,my biggest ,home depot in a white bank envelope,$650.00!

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2012, at 1:15 PM, jimslag wrote:

    At the time I didn't have much to invest but one of the newsletter I subscribed to always said to buy World Dominating Companies when you could. So when the financial crisis hit, I cashed out the poor stocks I had and bought things like PG, KO, KMB, WMT, MSFT and CLX. I sold a couple when they hit tops but still hold most in my portfolio. Best advice I got, it doubled what little I had invested.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2012, at 9:29 AM, ravenesque wrote:
  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2012, at 4:49 PM, mikecart1 wrote:

    "Fail Fast, Succeed Sooner" - mikecart1


  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 9:50 PM, eibe wrote:

    "Living below your means" was the best advice I ever got. Actually from TMF, though it seems such good advice has vanished from here.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 2:18 PM, lebronz wrote:

    Best advice you will get going forward (today):


    (read my comments about DNDN on various Fool articles).


  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 7:36 PM, tvtafs wrote:

    One of the more pragmatic things I learned in high school was in my algebra class from my teacher, Philip Hiney. He taught his students about the time value of money. I remember him saying: “interest is that thing which them that understands it earns it, and them that don’t understand it pays it” (remember, I said he was a math teacher- not an English teacher).

    Mr. Hiney then gave us an example I never have forgotten. He told us about a recent college graduate that had just gotten his first job. One of the first things he did was to go out and buy a brand new car. In those days, cars were pretty cheap, but Mr. Hiney went through the mathematical calculations on how much the car wound up costing the young man, including the finance charges on the 4 year car loan. Soon after the car was paid for, it was time for a new car- also financed with an auto loan. This pattern went on throughout this man’s life- eventually resulting in about 15 new cars in his lifetime. Mr. Hiney made the calculations on these purchases also.

    Mr. Hiney then posed the following question: What if this young man had kept driving his old junker, instead, and saved up for 4 years to buy his first new car”? He went through the calculations again- this time showing how the man earned interest over the four years before he bought the shiny new car. No sooner than he got his new car, he began to make payments to himself in a savings account for his next new car, and so on for the next 40 years.

    In summation, Mr. Hiney had gone on to explain the overall difference paid over the lifetime of this more “interest savy” man for automobiles. The numbers came out to a large difference (much larger in today’s dollars as we have just seen). The only difference between the two cases was the initial delay in buying his very first car. After that, he still got a new car every four years.

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2012, at 12:15 AM, uptickusa wrote:



  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2012, at 3:22 AM, texas4141 wrote:

    "Put away some money so you can die someplace warm and don't ever touch it. Not for anyone, ever."

    -Robert Redford "Spy Games"

  • Report this Comment On September 27, 2012, at 4:52 AM, GregTrocchia wrote:

    The best investing advise I got came via the Fool: that compound interest is really just another way of saying exponential growth. As someone who majored in physics, I understood just how spectacularly powerful exponential growth can be. Snopes is not able to confirm or deny that the quote: "The most powerful force in the Universe is compound interest" was said by Einstein, but there is a strong case to be made that this is true regardless of the source and, since we no longer do argument from authority, that is the important thing.

    This means that the two things the investor has going for them are time and rate of return. To a first approximation, nothing else matters. The upshot is that holding off on starting to invest, as I had been doing in order to accumulate capital, was counter productive. This meant that I needed to stop putting off beginning to invest. Note that this does *not* mean drop everything and invest immediately, but rather to take the time necessary to learn what I am doing and then start investing.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2012, at 3:13 PM, NickD wrote:

    I love being 19 and reading all this fool stuff and hearing older people say what they should of done

    I'm most defiantly investing money

  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2012, at 1:51 PM, cmarielau wrote:

    A lot of peoples advice either came from something they read, or from someone who is actively engaged in the stock market. Most people carry on a quote, given to them that they can apply to their own investment strategies. My favorite was by, Anand Chokkavelu, CFA: "If you can learn quickly from your own mistakes, you're ahead of the game. If you can learn quickly from others' mistakes, you've won the game."

    To practice playing the game, and to apply advice you have heard or read try out

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