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By Tom Madell, Publisher and Editor of Mutual Fund Trends and Research

The Loneliness of Being a Successful Long-Term Investor

I have given much thought to continuing to write these columns, both for web publications such as this one, and at my own site at

I see a huge disconnect between my own investing success as a result of following my own advice, and my success in attracting committed readers. In spite of the fact that my online advice has almost regularly outperformed the markets, and has helped me to continue to grow my assets during the overall poor returns of the last 4-5 years, there appears to be scant consideration given to my articles by the overwhelming majority of investors who read them.

For what it's worth, I believe that the investing public (traders excluded), is so thoroughly convinced that it is impossible to outperform the markets over the long term that they are inclined to ignore most of what I report. This is in spite of the fact that I try to focus on the facts (backward looking) rather than mere predictions (forward looking).

Even if one were "only" able to equal the market performance over the last 10 - 20 years or so, this in itself is far better than the vast majority of fund investors have done according to mutual fund research. Over the last 4 years or so, a period during which I have incorporated an analysis of trends into my work, my outperformance of the S&P 500 has been greater than 30%.

So once again it boils down to psychology: As long as most casual, long-term investors continue to believe, as I am convinced they do, that a relatively uninformed, non-attending way of investing will equal the results of a disciplined, research-oriented approach, they will not view what I write about with much enthusiasm, regardless of what facts I report.

Even submitting and publishing my articles on other sites, getting links, and high rankings on several top search engines have not seemed to create the feeling that I am spending my time in a worthwhile manner. So, barring a jump in the interest level in my work in the next month or 2 as a result of which might lead me to resume, I can no longer devote my time to trying to help other long-term investors, the vast majority of whom don't seem to want my help.

Perhaps my personal success as an investor (eg retired early, no money worries) is not unrelated to the fact that most people have learned to disregard the actions I suggest: An approach that is counterintuitive is perhaps more likely to succeed than one that merely duplicates what the majority of people are doing with regard to their investing.

Tom Madell  Ph.D. has accumulated over 18 years experience as a highly successful mutual funds investor enabling him to retire early from the 9-to-5 working world to use his time helping others with their investing through his writings. He publishes "Mutual Fund Trends & Research Newsletter", a popular, temporarily free source of mutual fund advice at his website at The Newsletter has been in existence since May, 1999. Tom's investment articles have been chosen as featured articles on numerous other web sites including an article on a Barclays Global Investors site. (Barclays the largest institutional money manager and index fund manager in the world.)

During 2000, he was interviewed several times on radio station KMNY in Orange
County, Calif. regarding the importance of psychology in mutual funds
investing. Tom is a Ph.D. psychologist by training, and frequently writes about
the important role of your own psychological reactions as well as market
psychology in determining your investment results. Tom has written and
published two other books and numerous journal articles.




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