Kiplinger's Practical Guide to Investing; How to Make Money with Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds and Real Estate

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Ted Miller reveals how an individual investor, regardless of his or her current saving and investing style, can accumulate a six-or seven-figure chunk of money while there's time to enjoy it.

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Overview

Ted Miller reveals how an individual investor, regardless of his or her current saving and investing style, can accumulate a six-or seven-figure chunk of money while there's time to enjoy it.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938721680
  • Publisher: Kiplinger Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.23 (d)

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Excerpt


Investing in the 21st Century

At the dawn of the 21st century, we can say with no danger of exaggeration that we are living at a time when more wealth is being created for more people than ever before in the history of the earth. There have been other great wealth-building eras in American history, but when Rockefeller, Carnegie and others grew rich a hundred years ago or so, there were no stock-option plans for the midlevel managers of Standard Oil Company, no profit-sharing plans for the furnace stokers at the Carnegie Steel Company in Pittsburgh. Today such corporate share-the-wealth arrangements are commonplace, to say nothing of tax-favored wealth-building mechanisms like 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts. The computer empowers us with investment information, timely advice and instant execution once available only to well-moneyed customers of the toniest brokerage houses. It would be impossible to overstate the significance of this great democratization of wealth-building opportunity. What's more, the spread of market-based economies is taking the same kind of opportunities to virtually all parts of the world.

This book is full of ideas for finding investments that will help you build your own wealth. But when you invest money in a company, you're casting a vote of confidence not only in the prospects for the company itself, but also in the prospects for the economy in which it must sell its products or services. This chapter will attempt to describe why the American economy—and the global economy—of the early 21st century deserves that confidence, and why now, even afteryears of strong gains in both our stock market and economy, we still have a long way to go.

Let's begin with the unarguable. Surely everyone would agree on three overriding and inescapable facts about the current state of the world's economy and America's place in it:

First, the global economy has clearly arrived. It is not on the horizon; it is already here. The U.S. economy depends on it: Exports account for 12% of our economy and imports account for another 13%. That means that one-fourth of America's economy—and all the incomes and jobs that go with it—depends on world trade. To put a dollar sign on it: That's more than $2 trillion in imports and exports of goods and services, with 12 million American jobs linked directly to American exports. On the other side of the coin, imports can sometimes cost jobs. But no nation can merely export and allow no imports. In the global economy, the competitor six time zones away is potentially as serious a threat as the competitor six blocks away, and the customer on the other side of the world often looms as large in a company's marketing plans as the customer around the corner from corporate headquarters. This is what high-speed communication and transportation have done to the world's commerce, and there's no turning back.

Second, the U.S. will prosper in the years ahead if it competes successfully in the global economy. This is so obvious that it seems almost pointless to state it. Whether it's banks or burritos, chemicals or cosmetics, cars or computers, televisions or tractors, the companies that can do the job faster, cheaper and better will take markets away from those who lag, and national borders aren't going to stop them.

Third, the U.S. is superbly well-equipped to compete in the global economy. Many Americans entered the last decade of the 1900s unsure of this, but as we enter the first decade of the 2000s, few doubt it anymore.

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