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Expect to Be Wrong in the Stock Market

There are several important concepts that get almost no media coverage -- we will attack those. Managing risk will be a prime focus, including how you can trade even "fiasco" stocks -- like Enron and WorldCom -- yet not get destroyed.

The intriguing issue of investor underperformance will get some ink ( pixels?). I'll show you why human beings simply aren't hardwired for the capital markets. Once you become aware of your limitations as a member of an occasionally rational but often emotional species, it will change your thought process.

We'll also spend time on the "don't" category. I'll discuss the six "investor types" you must avoid. You may be interacting with any one (or more) of these types; they are simply bad for you and for your investing. We'll go over some of the worst things investors say. These excuses lose people money -- and they don't even know it.

I also hope to convince you why you need not own the stock of your favorite company. It's a peeve I call "love the company, hate the stock." (This one freaks people out.)

We'll get to other subjects as they come up. This is an interactive media, so I'm more than willing to tackle your questions.

Finally, many investment "experts" make outrageous promises of untold riches to perspective clients. Here is my more realistic pledge to you: Spend 15 minutes per week with me on these pages, and I promise you that one year from now, you will know much more about how the markets work; you will have developed your own logical set of personal investing strategies; you will have learned disciplines that help you through all types of markets. In sum, you will have that many more arrows in your investment quiver.

And it is my hope that you will have made the transition from apprentice to journeyman investor.

P.S.: For the record, I actually reserved the URL "apprenticeinvestor.com" years before the reality TV show phenomenon.

This column was originally published on April 5, 2005.

Barry Ritholtz is the chief market strategist for Ritholtz Research, an independent institutional research firm, specializing in the analysis of macroeconomic trends and the capital markets. The firm's variant perspectives are applied to the fixed income, equity and commodity markets, both domestically and internationally. Other areas of research coverage also include consumer, real estate, geopolitics, technology and digital media. Ritholtz is also president of Ritholtz Capital Partners (RCP), a New York based hedge fund. RCP is driven by the analysis performed by Ritholtz Research. Ritholtz appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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