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THE INVESTOR'S MANIFESTO by William J. Bernstein

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Chapter 7. The Name of the Game

Over the past three decades, the powers that be have handed investors, particularly those saving for retirement, a very raw deal indeed. First and foremost, the traditional pension plan, which in the past had provided tens of millions of ordinary American workers with a secure income and a dignified retirement, has been replaced with an investment mess of pottage: poorly designed, overly expensive, and thus miserably performing defined-contribution plans that seem almost consciously designed to fail.

Worse, the average American is assumed to somehow possess the expertise and, more importantly, the emotional discipline to execute a competent lifetime investment plan, a goal that even many Wall Street professionals fall well short of. In the coming decades, retirees, and our society as a whole, will reap the whirlwind of this folly.

The nation is only slowly beginning to wake up to the enormity of the situation, and it will not be remedied any time soon. In the meantime, I hope I have provided you with the tools to personally avoid becoming a casualty of this looming catastrophe.

Needless to say, you have a great deal of skin in this game. If you bypass this book's advice and make all of the classic investment mistakes—ignoring expenses, chasing hot asset classes and managers, underestimating your risk tolerance, and being overly swayed by your family, friends, neighbors, and the news—you will almost certainly join the millions of Americans doomed to a ...

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