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The best argument for mutual funds is that they offer safety and diversification. But they don't necessarily offer safety and diversification.
The American public historically was really not part of the stock market.
That strategy of buy and hold, which is the sound and sensible one for the individual, can have very dangerous and perverse effects for the market as a whole.
Partly because his life ended before the age of 50, Hamilton was defined by the other founding fathers, and he managed, with amazing consistency, to alienate most of them.
One of the very nice things about investing in the stock market is that you learn about all different aspects of the economy. It's your window into a very large world.
One of the special characteristics of New York is that it is different from a London or a Paris because it's the financial capital, and the cultural capital, but not the political capital.
Once the brokerage house, rather than the bank, became the locus for American savings, that money would find its way into the stock market, because the broker was someone with a much higher tolerance for risk than the banker.
Mutual funds have historically offered safety and diversification. And they spare you the responsibility of picking individual stocks.
Mutual funds give people the sense that they're investing with the big boys and that they're really not at a disadvantage entering the stock market.
Mutual fund managers are trapped in this rather deadly vicious circle: the more successful they are, the more money flows into their mutual fund. Then, it is more difficult for them to beat the market averages or even to match their own past performance.
In the 1970s we saw a massive shift of household savings from the banks to the brokerage firms.
In the 1920s, Wall Street was a world that was really dominated by professional speculators and stock pools. These people had a monopoly over information.
In the 1920s you could buy stocks on margin. You could put 10 percent down and borrow the rest against your stocks.
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