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The single most important investing skill

Keep up, and remember the basics


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Could there really be one skill more important than everything else? Investing is so many things. Economics. The markets. Investment sectors. Advisors and brokers. Fees. Timing. Research. It seems to be endless. 

I think there is one critical skill, though.                                                                                                           

YOUR ABILITY TO LEARN

Since there are so many things to know about investing, you need to always be learning. Everything is changing rapidly. We need to keep up, and we need to remember the basics.

A BILLION AND ONE…

The above number might be low. I’m talking about the number of websites out there. Here’s a few that will help you out. To learn about mutual funds I use Morningstar.com and CEFconnect.com. The first one will cover any mutual fund type and includes individual stocks, too. The second one is just for closed-ended funds.

Both of them have great resources for learning. Read their articles and follow their links, especially from CEFconnect.com. Why? It links to my favorite site about bonds…

InvestingInBonds.com is a great place to learn basic, and higher, bond info. A non-profit group created the site and it shows. It doesn’t even have ads! Make sure and check out their “Bond Basics” area. You’ll be a bond guru shortly after.

My all-time favorite site is Investopedia.com. If you have any investing questions this one will answer it. It could be about stocks and bonds, real estate, or loans and financing. This one covers it all, including the kitchen sink. I’m only half-kidding. I searched for “kitchen sink” and the site responded with an article: “Cheap Home Renovations That Pay Off.”

DOES ANYONE CRACK A BOOK ANY MORE?

I bet a lot of you reading this article do. I still read actual books, too. There’re quite a few timeless ones out there.

One Up On Wall Street, by Peter Lynch, is a classic on stock investing. He was a top fund manager and had stellar performance during his time.

Bill Gross On Investing is written by “The Bond King” himself. This is a guy who co-founded a company that manages over $1 trillion dollars. Mostly in bonds. Bill Gross sneezes and the bond markets get a cold. His book is a little dated but still important.

For more broad reading check out Unconventional Success by David Swensen. This one can really help out an individual investor like you. He goes into the basics of building a portfolio.

LET THE LECTURE BEGIN

Another way to get better at this skill is with classes. The Great Courses is a good place to start. My latest is “Why Economies Rise or Fall” with Prof. Peter Rodriguez. Find more courses are Stanford Online, Udemy.com and locally.

Shameless plug alert: I teach classes at Pueblo Community College. You can email me at RonPhillipsAdvisor@gmail.com if you’d like topics and a schedule.

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Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips is an Independent Financial Advisor and a Pueblo, Colorado native. He and his wife are currently raising their two sons in Pueblo. Order a free copy of his book "Investing To Win" by visiting www.RetireIQ.info or leaving a message on his prerecorded voicemail at 924-5070. Simply mention Promo Code #1001 when ordering.

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