Dear Wall Street Journal:
Shame on you for giving young investors bad advice. Granted, your target audience is the movers and shakers of the business world, the $100,000-and-up salaried crowd, the two-home, dual-income baby boomer couple. But in your Monday column, "What Do You Do With Your Nest Egg Now?", while you gave decent advice to investors "Age 60+," "Ages 45-60," and "Ages 35-45," you gave younger investors a combination of short shrift and bad advice. You implied they have no understanding of 401(k) plans and little money to invest, concluding that, therefore, "there's little to lose" -- so they might as well gamble it all on high-risk investments.
I have less than two weeks left as a member of the "Under 35" segment of the population. But while I still can speak on our behalf, let me express profound disappointment at the Journal's ascribing to us a lack of understanding of the principles of sound investing.
According to the Journal, young investors should "bet" on "a spark to get a tech bubble growing," perhaps in "biotech" or "alternative energy." Before issuing such advice, perhaps the Journal should spend a few minutes reviewing my fellow Fool Charly Travers' article Don't Be a Biotech Gambler. It might save some of your readers from the fate suffered by investors in biotechs Human Genome Sciences
The Journal advises young investors to place their "bets" on these kinds of speculative investments -- whether directly or via similarly speculative mutual funds -- yet "steer clear of value funds," lest we sacrifice "growth prospects." No growth prospects in value stocks? That will come as news to investors in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
The truth, dear Journal, is that valuation matters. It matters when investing in groundbreaking technologies. And it even matters when investing in mutual funds. (Foolish fund expert Shannon Zimmerman, editor of Motley Fool Champion Funds, could have told you that.)
Why, even the youngest Fool, one who has perhaps just barely finished reading The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens, knows that! How is it that TheWall Street Journal does not?
In addition to perusing the publications so subtly referred to above, Fools closing in on retirement (or early retirement) age might want to give the Fool's newest investment newsletter, Rule Your Retirement, a try.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no interest in any company mentioned in this article.