Trying to 'time' the market can prove costly

The Ticker

August 28, 1996|By Julius Westheimer

ALTHOUGH SUMMER wanes and daylight shortens, here's hopefully helpful advice to brighten your days:

SUNNY SKIES: "When stocks pull back, as in mid-July, should you bail out of stocks and mutual funds?

"If you don't need your money for five years or more, leave it where it is. Studies show those who try to 'time' the market to avoid setbacks consistently lose money.

"Keep this in mind: The average Wall Street downturn lasts between 15 and 21 months, a drop in the bucket if you're a long-term investor." (Consumer's Digest, August)

FRESH START: "September, not January, really starts the new year. This is the time to look ahead. Implement a retirement savings plan immediately. If your company has a 401(k) or 403(b) for nonprofit organizations, join it.

"Money you invest, its appreciation and accumulated interest are tax-deferred until you withdraw it. Another plus: Payroll Dept. handles paperwork. All you do is monitor your investments." (Working Families, September)

SILVER LININGS: Working Woman, September, is a "Special Personal Finance Issue" ($3.50), worth buying. Highlights from "Suddenly Single: Managing Your Money Solo":

"Take it slowly. Ignore hot tips and gratuitous advice. Find out what is rightfully yours. Never give complete control of your money to someone else. Protect your key assets: house, retirement benefits.

"Update your benefits and insurance. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Although it's hard to recover financially from divorce, death, etc., time and positive action are your best allies."

OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK: "Avoid short-term timing. Be patient. Be xTC informed, but avoid information overkill. Expect 'countertrend' moves. Don't expect to buy at the bottom or sell at the top. Focus on quality.

"Avoid the herd mentality. Buy periodically. Buy companies, not stocks. Remain optimistic." (Steve Halpern's 10 Rules for Investment Success)

MORE FOR YOU, Part 2: "Before asking for a raise, find out the industry compensation standards for your job. Any librarian will locate reference books. Research your own accomplishments objectively.

"Rehearse a good, fast description of your performance. Pick the right time to talk money with your boss, not when your CEO has just gotten divorced or called on the carpet. Be prepared for a turndown." (Cosmopolitan, August)

JOBS FROM HOME: The Kiplinger Washington Letter says you can post jobs free on the Internet, explaining, "America's Job Bank, run by the Labor Department, lists 500,000 openings by job, location and pay. To place listings on the Internet or to read them: http: //"

MARYLAND MEMO: Procter & Gamble, with its Cosmetic & Fragrance Division (formerly Noxell Corp.) in Hunt Valley, is listed No. 8 under "The Top 10 Wealth Creators" in Fortune, Sept. 9 issue. The story says P&G rewarded stockholders with a 16.9 percent annual total return during 1986-1995.

MONEY-SAVERS: Here are the "Leading Borrowing Deals in Baltimore," from Money magazine, September: Fixed-rate 30-year loan, National City Mortgage. One-year adjustable, Heritage Savings. Home equity line, First National Bank of Maryland. Car loan: Fairfax Savings.

NOTES & QUOTES: Headline of the Month: "Bond Investors Fasten Eyes on Interest Rates." (Christian Science Monitor)

Safeway value coupon: "Frozen Ice Cream $1.48."

LAST, NOT LEAST: "If you're worried that stocks have ended their upward spiral, consider selling securities 'short against the box.' This locks in today's market value while postponing the tax impact. Your broker and accountant have details." (Tax Hotline, September)

"Early in the next century, China's economy will, in all likelihood, be the biggest in the world." (London Economist's cover story, Aug. 17)

"The typical woman's standard of living dives 27 percent in first year after divorce. A man's jumps 10 percent." (Working Woman, September)

Did you know that Coca-Cola generates 80 percent of its profits abroad?

Pub Date: 8/28/96

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