Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Financial Myth Buster

I started handling my own investments after a financial adviser asked me how comfortable I would be losing 25% of my money (my wife recalls he said 30%). No matter, I decided I didn't have to pay someone to lose my money. I could do it for free . . . in my spare time . . . make a game of it. In the present economy, I have succeeded at all three.

I now find myself put out to pasture early, retired, in the position of having to take money out of my RSP at the very time I would rather be putting money in. Oh, how I miss those bi-weekly paycheques. Buyouts aren't all they are cracked up to be.

On the positive side, I am not alone. There are lots of do-it-yourself (DIY) investors, many are retirees and many share their wisdom on the Internet.

One of my favorite sites was run by the retired former head of the mathematics department at the University of Waterloo - Peter Ponzo. Ponzo, now in his 70s, has weaned himself away from his financial blogging and returned to his writing and painting. But his site is simply too good to let fail - unlike A.I.G. It is moving to: http://financialwebring.org/gummystuff/gummy_stuff.htm.

Ponzo asks the same questions that many of us ask but goes an important step farther, he tries to supply an answer. He focuses the power of mathematics on financial questions and shows that many of our cherished beliefs may be more myth than fact. He expands our understanding of things financial while lowering our expectations of finding easy answers.

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