Looking back on the occasion of the AAII Journal’s 40th anniversary: This article originally appeared in the second issue of the AAII Journal, March–April 1979, and set the stage for AAII’s mission.
IN THIS ISSUE
in Behavioral Finance
Following a systematic, rules-based approach and automating your process to the extent possible is the easiest way to manage your emotions and use the tendency to adhere to the status quo to your advantage.
in AAII Stock Ideas
Nearly duplicating last year’s turnaround, this year’s top-performing AAII screening strategy ranked near the bottom in 2017.
in Computerized Investing
The seven discount brokers most used by AAII members offer a comparable suite of tools and services, but vary in subtle ways that can help you choose between them.
in AAII Model Portfolios
While the portfolio has had more frequent corrections and bear market cycles than the S&P 500, its down periods have generally been shorter in duration and its bull market reversals stronger.
NOTES & OPINIONS
Questions, comments and updates on the AAII Tax Guide from the December 2018 AAII Journal.
The American Association of Individual Investors was founded in 1978 as an “independent nonprofit corporation formed for the purpose of assisting individuals in becoming effective managers of their own assets through programs of education, information and research.” This has been the guiding principle we have followed since launching the AAII Journal 40 years ago in 1979 and intend to keep following in the years to come.
A span of 40 years is a long time, and the backdrop in which we operate has changed. Trading stocks no longer requires speaking to a broker; you can now trade from your wristwatch. Pensions have been replaced by 401(k) plans. Individual investors have more access to a broader range of investments at lower costs than ever before.
Some things haven’t changed. Inflation, interest rates, stock market volatility and bond yield curves continue to be topics of discussion. A plethora of forecasts with little discussion about why they might be wrong are still a hallmark of commentary. Portfolios and disciplined investing strategies based on what has been proven to work over the long term remain an individual investor’s best way to build and preserve wealth.
One other thing hasn’t changed: a loss of perspective. We witnessed this throughout 2018 with focus given to the large point moves experienced by the Dow Jones industrial average. While a 500-point daily move at one point was a big deal—the Dow plunged by 508 points on October 19, 1987, to 1,738.74—it isn’t so significant when the average is trading close to 25,000. The Black Monday crash resulted in the Dow losing more than 22% of its value; today, such a drop would only be slightly more than a 2% decline. The financial news media would do investors a big favor if they focus more on percentage moves instead of point changes and discuss how normal it is on a historical basis to see a 2% daily move.
Here at AAII, we’ve certainly tried over the last four decades to be a calming influence. Through articles, commentary, conferences, workshops, local chapter meetings, tools and model portfolios, we’ve shared a very large amount of information about what works as well as perspective. We’ll continue to do so.
How we provide content and data will evolve. Those of you reading this Editor’s Note in the print edition or through the PDF file already have noticed one change. We’ve refreshed the magazine’s format, giving it an updated appearance for the first time since April 2008 and completely reimagining the cover for the first time since January 2004. In making the change, we gave much thought not only to the layout but also to readability and clarity. For example, we took vision problems into consideration when deciding which fonts and color patterns to use. Author profiles are now more prominent to help familiarize you with our contributors. Credit goes to our graphic designer Annie Prada and managing editor Jean Henrich for their hard work on the redesign, which is still in progress.
We’re also in the middle of making enhancements to our website. Last year on AAII.com, we renamed our Stock Screens sections Stock Ideas. We made the change as part of a broader effort to help you find potentially attractive stocks. The new Stock Evaluator is an example. You can see which of our 59 screens a particular stock passes by simply going to www.aaii.com/stockideas and entering a ticker. On the same page, you’ll also find the Stock Strategy Explorer, which helps you identify screens most related to your style of investing. We’ve even recategorized our stock screening strategies, as my colleague Wayne Thorp explains in his annual Stock Ideas performance review.
For our VMQ Stocks service, we’ve started posting videos explaining key investing concepts (www.vmqstocks.com/videos.cfm). We’re aware that many people are consuming content in different formats than they did previously, and we’re adjusting accordingly.
If you have feedback about the changes we’ve made to the print version of the AAII Journal and our website, or wish to comment on what we’re writing about, please let us know. While we can’t fulfill every request, many of the changes we’ve made and the articles we’ve written are based on conversations and correspondence with AAII members. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One additional request: If you’ve found your membership to AAII helpful, invite your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends to join—or, better yet, buy them a membership. You can do so by either going to www.aaii.com/join or calling Member Services at 800-428-2244. Expanding our membership is one of the most helpful things you can do to ensure that we’ll be around for the next 40 years.
Charles Rotblut, CFA
Editor, AAII Journal