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The Elements of Investing by Charles D. Ellis, Burton G. Malkiel

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Chapter 5. KEEP IT SIMPLE

In his attempts to unlock the complex secrets of the universe, Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, had one overriding maxim: "Everything should be made as simple as possible—but no simpler." We agree.

We know that the financial press is full of stories about the complexity of modern finance and that the investment world often appears frighteningly complex. But despite all the convoluted gimmicks some charlatans would like to sell you (because they are so profitable for the sellers), you can prosper by embracing simplicity.

That's why this chapter presents some very simple, easy to understand and easy to follow rules to help you achieve financial security. While some individuals have uniquely complex financial circumstances, we believe the rules we offer will work well for almost all investors. And the portfolio we will present "gets it right" for at least 90 percent of individual investors. We leave out—on purpose—all sorts of complicated details that really are just minor adjustments for the unusual circumstances that might affect particular individuals.[9]

In this section, we first review the simple rules for successful long-term investing. We then present, for you and the loved one we hope you'll discuss it with, the KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart) portfolio. We think our rules and portfolio recommendations contain the very best advice that all investors require.

Note

The KISS portfolio "gets it right" for at least 90 percent ...

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