Chapter 4. Identifying the Issues and the Enemy

Now that we've discussed what happened in 2008 and what we learned from it, let's move on to the environment and challenges faced by investors today. Unfortunately, many of them are the same ones I was writing about many years ago. This is why a massive reeducation process for investors is required, and why this book hopefully will be part of the spark that allows that reeducation to occur. It will be a long battle, perhaps a generation in length, before it is commonly practiced. But it will be worth it.

If the decades of the 1980s and 1990s were about investing becoming more of a mainstream activity, the next decade may be about adjusting to an environment in which the mainstream was taken advantage of. From Wall Street scandals to new investment vehicles, a lot has changed, and it changed quickly. If you are devoted to the idea of maintaining an investment plan for the long run, you have two choices. You can educate yourself about what is real and what is a myth at investment firms and within investment products. Or you can throw caution to the wind and hope you are placed in appropriate investments by qualified advisors, or determine how to choose them on your own.

What Makes Today Different from the 1980s and 1990s?

I am proud to say that I wrote much of this section to my clients back before most of it was portfolio-saving information for investors.

Fortunately, I put these ideas to good use during the raucous period that followed ...

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