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Is now the right time to invest?
How to decide when to buy, when to sell, and whether to “get out of the market.”

Jason's Answers

Peter`s Uncertainty Principle
10/01/2004: Money Magazine
Peter Bernstein may know more about investing than anyone alive. And the most important thing he knows is this: He has no idea what the future will bring.

Tie me down and make me rich
05/22/2004: Money Magazine
Investing on autopilot is a powerful way to build wealth. So why is it so hard to persuade people to do it?

The Election Effect?
03/01/2004: TIME Magazine
History says that stocks tend to rally as elections near. But don`t bet on it.

The Rip Van Winkle portfolio
03/19/2004: Money Magazine
Is it possible to invest so reliably that you won`t have to change anything for 20 years? It`s worth a try.

New Cause for Caution on Stocks
05/01/2002: TIME Magazine
Fresh research challenges the historical rate of return on equities. Look to bonds for more balance.

Online chat at Morningstar.com
03/01/2002: www.morningstar.com
Among other things, Jason discusses investment risk, diversification, index funds, market timing, and how the mutual fund industry should get its act together. (Note: free registration required.)

What\'s Eating You
12/01/2001: Money Magazine, Vol. 30 No. 13 Special Double Issue
How to cope with investing risk after September 11th, when everything seems uncertain.

The Aftermath of September 11th: Endurance and Optimism in the Culture and History of Wall Street
11/01/2001: Museum of American Financial History
In this panel discussion sponsored by the Museum of American Financial History and moderated by Myron Kandel of CNN, Jason puts the trauma of terror in a historical and psychological context. Hint: the people who said “Everything has changed” were wrong.

What can we learn from history?
09/21/2001: www.cnn.com and Money Magazine
In the wake of September 11th, history holds an important lesson: Disasters don`t have a lasting impact on stocks.

“I don't know, I don't care”
08/29/2001: 4:44 p.m. ET
Indexing lets you say those magic words.

Wall Street\'s Wisest Man
06/01/2001: Money Magazine, Vol. 30 No. 6
Getting rich off stocks is simple, says Charles Ellis. Here\'s how.

Reading Them For The Right Reasons
06/01/2001: Money Magazine, Vol. 30 No. 6
MONEY's Jason Zweig thinks you'd be nuts not to read Jeremy Siegel's and Robert Shiller's stock market books. But he thinks you'd be even nuttier to take their every word as gospel.

A Matter of Expectations
01/01/2001: Money Magazine, Vol. 30 No. 1 Special Forecast Issue
How much will stocks return in the future? Even forecasts that don\'t pan out have lessons for investors.

New Year\'s Play
12/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 13 Special Double Issue
Can you make big bucks on small stocks by buying in December?

The Best Investor You\'ve Never Heard Of
06/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 6
From A Nondescript Apartment In Des Moines, Joseph Rosenfield--A Longtime Pal Of Warren Buffett-- Has Turned $11 Million Into $1 Billion. Who Is He, And How Did He Do It?

Prodigal son
05/08/2000: money.com
Many investors have strayed in search of tech-sized returns, but repentant sinners can get back on the true path. (See also August 1, 2000.)

Do health-care funds make sense?
03/10/2000: money.com
Depends who you ask--but if it's a financial journalist, think twice.

Questioning your faith
03/02/2000: money.com
Should you abandon those once-great value funds?

Do the Experts Get the Future Right? Does Anybody?
02/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 2
Before you put all your money in that tech fund, consider how far off our expectations have been over the past decade. Jason Zweig With additional reporting by Erica Garcia

Diversification overrated? Not a chance
01/26/2000: money.com
Jason takes issue with an article in Worth Magazine questioning the value of diversifying your investments.

Tying yourself to the mast
12/14/1999: money.com
As the market gets more and more volatile, Jason gives practical tips on how to avoid the often-irresistible call of panic buying and selling.

All dressed up and no place to invest
10/07/1999: money.com
Jason advises a reader who's managed to save a lot of money, but doesn't know where to invest it.

Selling into Y2K
09/29/1999: money.com
Should you sell your stocks to sidestep a possible Y2K computer meltdown? Some advice for the panic-stricken.

A Short Primer
09/03/1999: money.com
If you absolutely, positively have to short the market, Jason shows you how.

“Expert Q&A”
08/01/1999: morningstar.com
In this online chat, Jason fields questions from Morningstar users about everything from stock-picking “systems” to index funds, how and why to use a broker, investing in corporate bankruptcies, saving for college, the fine points of bond funds, and the ethics of financial journalism. [Conversation 676: in the “Jump to #” box, enter 676]

Don\'t Sell Value Short
06/01/1999: Money Magazine, Vol. 28 No. 6 Special Issue The MONEY 100
How would you like to be a highly intelligent, experienced, skilled professional--and come in to work every day and have somebody tell you that you\'re a moron?

05/01/1999: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 5
Don\'t believe the hype about Internet stocks and funds.

Public Radio's "Marketplace"
02/01/1998: “Marketplace”
An interview with David Brancaccio of Public Radio’s “Marketplace” on stock-market volatility and the importance of patience.

Staying the course through a crash
10/01/1997: Public Radio’s “Marketplace”
On a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls more than 554 points, Jason discusses how investors can stay focused on their goals. The transcript of this interview with Eric Roy of Public Radio’s “Marketplace” is available here (go to 1997 and click on October 27 – but note: this page loads very sloooooooooooooooooowly):

The crash of 1987: a decade later
10/01/1997: Public Radio’s “Marketplace”
On the tenth anniversary of the Crash of 1987, Jason talks with David Brancaccio of Public Radio’s “Marketplace” about investing for the long term in nervous markets. Transcript available here:

The trouble with timing
12/01/2003: Money Magazine
We\'re always told to buy low and sell high. Sounds simple and it makes sense. So why is such an easy rule so hard to follow? (Note: Full online access to this article is available only to MONEY Magazine subscribers.)

The Hottest Funds Are Too Big for Their Britches
04/01/1996: Money Magazine
Ballooning mutual funds are great for the folks who run them, but they may be a bust for you. This article is an early look at the problem of how bigger funds produce smaller returns.

When to Take a Wild Ride on a New Fund Rocket
07/01/1996: Money Magazine
Brand-new funds often go straight to the moon -- or crash. This is a guide on what you need to know before blasting off on one of them.

Which Funds Are Too Hot
08/01/1996: Money Magazine
A look at why so-called hot funds so often end up going cold.

How to Find Substitutes for Some Old Favorites
09/01/1996: Money Magazine
A guide to searching for a new place for your money when one fund closes or a manager jumps ship.

How You Can Avoid the Worst Year-End Mutual Fund Mistake: Giving Uncle Sam a Handout
11/01/1996: Money Magazine
Tips on steering clear of big mutual-fund tax bills at the end of the year.

Funds that Really Make Money for Their Investors
04/01/1997: Money Magazine
An exploration of one of the most puzzling gaps in the investing world: why mutual fund investors make less money than the mutual funds they own.

Learn from the Big Bad Bear
05/01/1997: Money Magazine
Lessons from veteran investors who survived the crash of 1973-1974.

Will Index Funds Blow up on You?
09/01/1997: Money Magazine
A look at the arguments against indexing, and why they do not hold water.

Watch out for the Year-End Fund Flimflam
11/01/1997: Money Magazine
How do mutual fund managers so often manage to beat the market on the last day of the year? A look at the dirty little secret called windowdressing.

Is That New Fund a Hard-Boiled Survivor -- Or Humpty-Dumpty?
12/01/1997: Money Magazine
How to tell if a newly-hatched mutual fund is naturally good or has been warmed up by incubation.

Proof that Chasing Hot Funds Will Make You Dizzy, Not Rich
05/01/1998: Money Magazine
New research shows that the more fund investors move their money around, the less of it they have in the end.

Tax Angles for Fund Investors
11/01/1998: Money Magazine
Act now to lock in the losses and duck the distributions: a year-end guide.

Invest Globally -- Still
12/01/1998: Money Magazine
Sure, the numbers are scary, but staying home is risky too. Why everyone should own an international fund.

Performance Peek-a-Boo
12/01/1998: Money Magazine
The BlackRock GNMA Fund shows how Wall Street conjures up mutual fund performance out of thin air.

Why the January Effect Is Just Slush
01/01/2007: Money Magazine
The idea that small stocks beat big ones in January melts away once you examine it closely.

Mr. Worst-Case Scenario
05/01/2007: Money Magazine
Robert Shiller called the tech stock crash just as NASDAQ peaked. Where does he think the real estate market is headed now? Uh-oh.

Markets Where Only Fools Rush In
08/01/2007: Money Magazine
Why emerging markets are not a `no-brainer.`

How to Lose $9 Trillion in a Bull Market
12/01/2007: Money Magazine
That`s what bad timing cost investors over the past 25 years. But you can learn to avoid a similar fate.

Why to Steer Clear of the New Gold Rush
04/01/2008: Money Magazine
Stampeding into commodities right now is one of the stupidest things an investor could do.

Stop Worrying, and Learn to Love the Bear
07/12/2008: The Wall Street Journal
The upside of down markets

Psyching Yourself up to Let Losers Go
08/23/2008: The Wall Street Journal
When you buy and hold, you don`t have to use a death grip

If You Bet on the Election, Don`t Use Real Money
09/06/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Is there anything to the ``Presidential Cycle``?

Of Market Knights and Fairy Tales
09/20/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Stocks are not about to have a magical recovery.

The Depression of 2008? Don’t Count on It
09/30/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Will this recession get as bad as the Great Depression? That would be very bad.

Summon Your Courage and Buy Stocks
10/04/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Investors should remember that when current prices go down, future returns go up.

What History Tells Us About the Market
10/11/2008: The Wall Street Journal
An essay for the Weekend section of The Wall Street Journal on the real -- and illusory -- parallels between 2008 and 1932.

Capitulation: When the Market Throws in the Towel
10/25/2008: The Wall Street Journal
What is market ``capitulation``? Does it make sense? Does it even exist?

Joe Investor, the Markets Are All Yours Now
11/15/2008: The Wall Street Journal
The `smart money` has turned tail and run away, creating value for anyone with cash and courage.

1931 and 2008: Will Market History Repeat Itself?
11/22/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Where is the bottom? Should you bail out before it is too late?

Pay Attention to That Window Behind the Curtain
12/20/2008: The Wall Street Journal
A look at the perennial problem of year-end `windowdressing` by fund managers.

Why Market Forecasts Keep Missing the Mark
01/24/2009: The Wall Street Journal
How just ten days out of 29,694 made all the difference, and why the prophets of doom don`t often profit.

What’s Under the “Emerging” Curtain
07/25/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Emerging markets are hot. Will they stay hot?

Why Investors Need to See the Light and Slow Down
08/29/2009: The Wall Street Journal
After one of the biggest market rallies in history, now is no time to get more aggressive.

Can the Dow Go Lower? I Hope So
11/20/2008: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post on why investors should welcome, rather than fear, a further market decline.

Has the Pessimism Gone Too Far?
11/26/2008: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post that looks at the bear market in historical perspective.

Don`t Trip in Your Search for Higher Bond Yields
09/19/2009: The Wall Street Journal
How to avoid the coming trouble in bond funds.

Is Buy and Hold Dead?
10/22/2009: Morningstar
An interview with Morningstar`s Christine Benz.

Are ETFs Causing an Emerging-Markets Bubble?
11/07/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Is too much ``mindless money`` inflating the prices of stocks in the developing world?

Drought of Credit Hampers Recovery
10/09/2009: The Wall Street Journal
A Page One news story (with Tom Lauricella and Conor Dougherty) on how hard it has become for businesses and consumers to manage their debts and to obtain new capital.

Tech Companies Won, Investors Lost
03/10/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Ten years on, the lesson of the Internet bubble: Uncertainty is good.

Time to Take Stock of the Recent Market Rallies
04/03/2010: The Wall Street Journal
When stocks go up, your enthusiasm needs to go down.

The 11-Year Itch: Still Stuck at Dow 10000
06/12/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Could the long slog of the stock market turn out to be a replay of 1966 through 1982?

The Demise of the IPO -- and Some Ideas on How to Revive It
06/25/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Where have all the initial public offerings of stock gone?

Hazardous Waters: Should Investors Bet on Rising Risk?
07/03/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Trying to make money off volatility is all the rage -- a likely sign that volatility is about to wane.

Unlikely Superstar: How a Forgotten Fund Got Hot in a Hurry
09/18/2010: The Wall Street Journal
The meteoric rise of the Permanent Portfolio says more about investors than about investments.

Why Your Stock Portfolio Is Acting Like a Commodity Basket
11/20/2010: The Wall Street Journal
What makes common stocks behave like sugar and crude oil?

Will Small Investors Ever Warm Up to Stocks Again?
01/22/2011: The Wall Street Journal
A look at what it might take to get individual investors back into the stock market.

How Now, 36,000 Dow? The Ominous Undertone of Rallies
02/12/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The folks who brought us``Dow 36,000`` at the peak of the last bull market now warn of a bear market.

Once Bitten, Twice Bold: Look Who`s Buying Stocks Now
02/26/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Meet the sheepish bulls: people who got out of the stock market when it crashed and who are tiptoeing back in after it has risen.

Stocks Are Cheaper, But They Aren`t Cheap
08/06/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Fear is the best fertilizer for future bull markets.

Gold Even Reigns on the Stock Market
08/23/2011: The Wall Street Journal
A brief shining moment: SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) becomes the world`s largest exchange-traded fund.

Why Buying on the Dips Isn`t All It`s Cracked Up to Be
09/24/2011: The Wall Street Journal
How easy is it to come out ahead by buying stocks whenever the market drops?

Shareholders, Don`t Buy In to Buybacks
10/01/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Share-repurchase programs sound like a great idea, but many destroy value instead of adding it.

If It Looks Like a Bear...
10/08/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Who says a 20% market decline is the definition of a bear market?

The Extraordinary Popular Delusion of Bubble Spotting
11/05/2011: The Wall Street Journal
It turns out the author of `Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds`was an apologist for a bubble that unfolded before his very eyes.

Dow 1,339,410: The Latest Milestone
03/03/2012: The Wall Street Journal
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average passes 13000, a closer look at what the levels of stock indexes mean.

When Will Retail Investors Call It Quits?
08/02/2012: The Wall Street Journal
The latest trading glitch drives another nail into the coffin of many individual investors` enthusiasm for stocks.

Super Bowl Indicator: The Secret History
01/28/2011:WSJ Online: MarketBeat blog
Every January, market forecasters trot out the Super Bowl Indicator again, pretending that it has predictive power. Don`t any of them know it was deliberately conceived as a farce?

For Muni Investors, November May Be a No-No
11/04/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Research suggests that municipal bonds tend to be unduly cheap in November and December.

Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Investor
03/01/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
The first stock I ever bought, and what the stock market of 1976 tells us about today.

Housing Recovery? Not So Fast
06/20/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
How sure should we be that the real-estate market has turned the corner?

The Flash Glitch and the Long-Term Investor
08/02/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
How much does -- and should -- the latest disturbance from high-frequency trading bother investors?

When Will the Retail Investor Call It Quits? (Again)
08/23/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
How much do short-term trading difficulties matter to long-term investors?

Are Retail Investors `Fleeing` Stocks?
08/27/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Not exactly.

Are Debtors` Prisons Coming Back?
08/28/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A look back at the history of punishment for delinquent borrowers.

There`s Nothing New Under the Sun
10/02/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
The financial crisis of 2008-2009, or the financial crisis of 1890?

Putting the Bear Market into Perspective
03/06/2009: WSJ Online: The Wallet
How bad is this decline in stock prices? Very bad. But that doesn\'t mean you shouldn`t buy.

Friday the 13th Phobia? For Investors, It`s Usually a Good Day
02/13/2009: WSJ Online: The Wallet
Superstitions aside, what do the data show?

Gold: Do We Hear `36,000`?
10/24/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A new book calls for gold to hit $10,000 an ounce. Does that sound familiar?

In a Low-Rate World, Everything Is a Real-Estate Play
10/27/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Real-estate investment trusts are hot, and just about everything imaginable is turning into a REIT.

Why Buy and Hold Feels Dead
11/07/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Why, when a patient approach to diversification has worked well, do so many people think it has failed?

Why Buy and Hold Is Still Gold
11/06/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A look at the leaky logic that underlies some of the beliefs about `tactical` allocation.

How Practical Is `Tactical`?
11/03/2012: The Wall Street Journal
`Tactical Asset Allocation` funds are being promoted as the cure for market crashes. Look before you leap.

Buffett Is Out Of Step
05/07/2012: The Wall Street Journal
What does the underperformance of Berkshire Hathaway say about the financial markets?

Winning It by Trimming It
11/10/2012: The Wall Street Journal
With the stock market up so sharply, it pays to rebalance systematically.

No Easy Money in Munis
12/01/2012: The Wall Street Journal
A flood of money fleeing higher tax rates has driven up the prices of municipal bonds.

Fund Managers Lift Results With Timely Trading Sprees
12/06/2012: The Wall Street Journal
A Page One analysis of the practice of window-dressing or marking the close, by which portfolio managers drive up stock prices just before the end of a quarter. (With Tom McGinty.)

U.S. Stocks: Look Out Below?
12/15/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Economist Robert Gordon argues that the U.S. economy is doomed to a future of slow growth. Is he right?

Is Anything Cheap?
03/09/2013: The Wall Street Journal
With stock and bond markets up sharply around the globe, what`s an investor to do?

Here Comes the Next Hot Emerging Market: the U.S.
04/20/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Antoine van Agtmael, the founding father of emerging-markets investing, is bullish on the U.S.

Who`s the Sucker Now?
01/30/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
If individual investors are returning to the U.S. stock market, can a crash be far behind? Sure it can.

The Really Long View on the Stock Market
03/06/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally hits a new high, an eminent financial historian looks back -- all the way to the 1790s.

Turnaround Tuesday? Don`t Forget Black Tuesday
05/21/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
How silly is the belief that the stock market has to go up just because it`s Tuesday?

Why the Markets` Latest Stumbles Are Good News for You
06/15/2013: The Wall Street Journal
As worries over monetary policy knock down the stock and bond markets, you should think about buying.

Other Resources

Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters

Link to Warren Buffett's annual letters to shareholders, 1977 to date. If you want to learn how to think logically and clearly about all the issues that confront investors -- from inflation to stock options to diversification to index funds to the true meaning of risk -- Buffett's brilliant letters are the first (and often the final) word. He will never steer you wrong, and the learning is free and without obligation.

Efficient Frontier

Link to William J. Bernstein's "Efficient Frontier" online newsletter, where he serves up opinion that is, at one and the same time, both biting and mathematically rigorous, both challenging and fun to read. Full of righteous anger at the knaves and nincompoops who dish out most financial advice, Bernstein is an invigorating breath of fresh air.

Bogle Financial Markets Research Center

This site, featuring John C. Bogle's speeches and research papers, enables you to keep up with the latest thinking of the founder of the Vanguard Group. Jack Bogle is probably the best friend the individual investor has ever had, and the materials archived here are rich with insights into how the money management business really works and how you can take control of your own financial destiny.

Return to Your Questions by Topic

JasonZweig.com is my place to tell you what I think about a whole lot of investing stuff. I’m the only one responsible for my opinions, but I can’t guarantee they’ll always be right. If you don’t like what I say or it turns out to be wrong, I’m sorry; you can’t sue me. The material you find here is not meant as specific investing advice for you, and if you use it that way and something goes wrong, that’s your problem, not mine. To get individualized investing advice, you need to do your own homework or else hire a financial advisor, a tax professional, or a lawyer to do it for you (and even then, you’d better watch like a hawk!). If you think anything on this website is an invitation for you to buy or sell any investment, you need to get your head examined. What’s more, I’m not soliciting business of any kind, because I don’t have any business to solicit. (Believe it or not, I don’t want your money.) I’ll do my best to avoid any conflicts of interest in running this website, but I don’t have silvery wings and a halo, and somebody might manage to corrupt me. If that happens, it’s your job to notice and to be disgusted by it. In short, none of my best efforts to be honest, sensible, and trustworthy exempt you from your constant duties to treat what I say with the same skepticism you should treat anyone’s pontification about investing. I wish you good luck!

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