Professor Charles D. Ellis of the Rebalance Investment Committee on the difficulty of trying to beat the stock market. More investing advice for a solid retirement.


If you go back 60 years ago, maybe even 50 years ago, active, aggressive, imaginative, go-for-it investing had a terrific opportunity because the competition wasn’t very tough. Over the last many years — let’s say the last five decades — the competition’s got better and better and better. And the ability do to trades and the ability to get research and the ability to have information…

Just start with Mike Bloomberg’s absolutely wonderful machine. There are 300,000 Bloomberg machines all over the world. People have access to all kinds of information, all the time, anytime they want it. Wonderful capabilities. Cost of doing a trade goes from 40 cents a share, typically, down to less than 3 cents a share, typically. Big help.

That has made enormous change and transformation of the investment management business. But, but, because the field pays so well, large numbers of people have been attracted to it. And so the competition’s gotten better and better and better. And now, if you’re not one of the very, very, very smartest people who ever came into investment management, you’re going to have a tough time.

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