When we asked Josef Schachter of Schachter Asset Management at the 2012 MoneyTalks World Outlook Conference what the biggest mistake investors make was, he told us that not taking a sense of ownership for their investing decisions was high on that list The idea of handing one’s money over to an advisor should be one that is taken quite seriously. Even though some advisors or brokers have a “halo effect” – it is much more important to understand what they are doing with your money.
If you do want to direct your own investing, the idea of “buying what you know about” is sound advice when deciding to invest in companies or sectors because you are much more likely to understand what is or is not a realistic opportunity. When starting out solo in the markets, it’s best to start slowly. Setting aside a small amount to begin trading with is a good way to understand how trading and investing works, but be prepared to pay “tuition” to the market while you learn. The good part about the “tuition” is that you can decide up front how much you want to pay, and unlike many Ivy League schools, how much you pay in tuition doesn’t really translate into the quality of your education.