Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Gambling Versus Investing in the Stock Market

One often hears it said that investing in the stock market is a form of gambling. Pure thoughtlessness. A crucial difference is that when one gambles one may win in the short term but one will almost certainly lose in the long term. The only exception to this is the professional gambler playing a game such as Blackjack in which the house edge is minimal. But with stock market investing, one may lose in the short term, but one will almost certainly win in the long run. The long run may not be your run, but why bet against yourself?

I am assuming, of course, that the investor is not a fool who puts all his money into a stock recommended by his uncle, or into the stock of the company for which he works, or into an insufficiently diversified portfolio of stocks. I am assuming that the investor posseses a modicum of common sense and does something conservative like investing SOME of his money available for investing in a vehicle such as an index mutual find pegged to a broad index such as the Wilshire 5000, the Russell 2000, or the S&P 500.

Caveat lector: Should you really be taking investment advice from a metaphysician?