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TheStreet Open House

Invest For The Future Without Wall Street





You can be forgiven if you've lost faith in the stock market. While over long periods of time, the stock market has historically provided results that could potentially grow your wealth better than any other type of investment, there may be some fundamental differences in the economy that make those results different in the future. Also, after the recession, many investors have the impression that volatility has increased. Individual investors get the impression that the odds are stacked against them, in favor of high-frequency trading and large, institutional investors.

Ninety years from now we may look back on the twenty-first century and see a booming global economy that has expanded into more developing nations, or we may see a world that from a capitalistic growth perspective has past its peak. That, in combination with disdain for Wall Street, may be the threat that is fueling the public's avoidance of the stock market.

The returns for which the stock market is famous came as a result of investing in an economy with room to grow, so for those only concerned about growth potential, the solution may just be a matter of broadening a profile far beyond the shores of the United States. For those preferring to avoid the sock market, developing an investing plan that's likely going to help you save for the future is going to be difficult.

Ron Lieber, a money-focused columnist with the New York Times whom I've mentioned here often, assembled a financial plan for investors who are completely fed up with the stock market. It's a plan that, as much as possible, avoids not only investing in the stock market but working with companies that trade on the stock market. I wrote about mutual insurance companies and how they might offer a benefit to policyholders over public companies, and that same structure exists for investment companies. Evan from My Journey to Millions pointed out that Vanguard is the investment equivalent of a mutual insurance company. Vanguard is not traded on the stock market, it is owned by its mutual funds, and therefore by all the investors in its mutual funds. The company's profits are used to return dividends to its investors and to lower management fees.

When owners and investors are the same, companies can't take advantage of one group to benefit another. That's the benefit in theory, but whether it is true in actuality is something that would need to be studied. Regardless, it may give investors a better feeling about the company with which they are investing. For that reason, Lieber recommends investing with Vanguard, USAA, or TIAA-CREF. Vanguard and USAA also offer ordinary retail banking as well, so you can replace your for-profit, fee-raising Wells Fargo or Bank of America with these customer-owned companies for a Wall Street-free banking experience.

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