Personal Investment: financial planning in an uncertain world

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Personal Investment provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the dynamics of personal investment in a world defined by uncertainty. It will be useful for anyone who wants to know more about how savings can be invested as a way of planning for the financial future, and how investments are managed by players in the financial services sector: banks, life companies, fund managers and advisers.

Uniquely, the book places personal investment decisions in their wider social, economic and policy context. Regulation and ethics are shown to have a profound influence on the structure of different investment products and the nature of different investment strategies. Each chapter relates events in the wider marketplace to individual financial concerns. Global phenomena such as bank crashes, stock market bubbles and pension depletion are demystified through case studies and reflective activities. The book:

reveals how to optimise the risk-return trade-off

compares different economic and financial theories

explains key terms and financial planning models

teaches how to read the financial pages

presents debates on financial crises and economic booms.

Authoritative yet practical, this book is designed for students of Economics, Business or Finance, for professionals in the financial services industry, and for individuals wanting a groundwork understanding of the key issues that affect personal investments and their ultimate success or failure.

The authors all teach economics and finance at The Open University.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A refreshing, smart, investment book. The recession starkly revealed most economists didn't get it right. This book, drawing from sociology, psychology, and institutional economics shows the challenges real people in real lives face as they increasingly try and fail to manage life risk's through commercial and unstable financial markets.” —Teresa Ghilarducci, Schwartz Professor of Economic Analysis, The New School, USA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230246607
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

MARIANA MAZZUCATO is Professor of Economics of Innovation at The Open University. She is the coordinator of a European Commission collaborative project on Finance, Innovation and Growth, and Director of The Open University's research centre on Innovation, Knowledge and Development. Her work on the relationship between technological innovation and stock price volatility has been published in various journals. She is the author of Firm Size, Innovation and Market Structure: The Evolution of Market Concentration and Instability (Edward Elgar, 2000) and co-editor of Knowledge Accumulation and Industry Evolution: Pharma-Biotech (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
JONQUIL LOWE is a Lecturer in Personal Finance at The Open University and a personal finance practitioner, specialising in consumer research and financial capability resources. Her recent book publications include The Pension Handbook (Which?, 2006), Save and Invest (Which?, 2008), The Personal Finance Handbook (Child Poverty Action Group, 2009) and, with Sara Williams, The Financial Times Guide to Personal Tax (Pearson Education, 2009).
ALAN SHIPMAN is a Lecturer in Economics at The Open University. A former emerging-markets analyst and consultant, his publications include The Market Revolution (Routledge, 1999), The Globalization Myth (Icon, 2002) and Knowledge Monopolies (Imprint Academic, 2006).
ANDREW TRIGG is Senior Lecturer in Economics at The Open University. He is co-editor of Economics and Changing Economies (Thomson, 1996) and Microeconomics: Neoclassical and Institutionalist Perspectives on Economic Behaviour (Thomson, 2001); and author of Marxian Reproduction Schema: Money and Aggregate Demand in a Capitalist Economy (Routledge, 2006).

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Table of Contents

Contributors ix

Preface xi

Introduction 1

1 Themes in personal investment 6

2 Structure of the book 17

References 19

Part 1 Products and Players 21

Chapter 1 From saving to investment 25

1 Introduction 27

2 High-street banks: the first place to save? 31

3 Risk and return in banking 38

4 Banks and financial markets 55

5 Conclusion 62

References 64

Chapter 2 Investment choices 67

1 Introduction 69

2 Investment choices 71

3 Understanding risk 81

4 Evaluating risk and return 91

5 Non-financial investments 106

6 Conclusion 109

References 110

Part 2 Strategies and Markets 113

Chapter 3 Risk-return strategies 117

1 Introduction 119

2 Taxation and transaction costs 121

3 Building a portfolio 126

4 Balancing risk and return 138

5 Measuring investment performance 148

6 Investment in practice 157

7 Conclusion 162

References 163

Chapter 4 Markets and players 165

1 Introduction 167

2 What financial markets are intended to provide 169

3 Derivative markets 176

4 Financial market efficiency 188

5 Active investment management in the light of the EMH 195

6 'Infomediaries' and the problem of unbiased information 199

7 Conclusion 204

References 205

Part 3 Bubbles and the Economy 209

Chapter 5 Economic fluctuations 213

1 Introduction 215

2 Economic fluctuations 217

3 Are economies self-correcting? 222

4 Economic indicators 235

5 Fiscal and monetary policy 242

6 The open economy 250

7 Conclusion 254

References 255

Chapter 6 Bubbles and investment behaviour 259

1 Introduction 261

2 Bubbles in historical perspective 265

3 Categorising asset bubbles 273

4 Overvalued compared to what? 277

5 Volatility and animal spirits 280

6 Efficiency or madness of crowds? 283

7 Behavioural finance 285

8 Implications for personal investment strategies 296

9 Conclusion 300

References 301

Part 4 Regulation and the Long Term 305

Chapter 7 Regulating the financial system 309

1 Introduction 311

2 Financial markets and financial regulation 313

3 Financial liberalisation in the UK 322

4 UK financial regulation 325

5 Regulatory challenges 334

6 International financial regulation 346

7 Conclusion 353

References 355

Chapter 8 Conclusion: investing for the long term 359

1 Introduction 361

2 Retirement planning for the individual investor 364

3 Retirement as a social challenge: the case of pensions 372

4 Conclusion 385

References 386

Glossary 389

Acknowledgements 429

Index 431

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