The following guidelines are intended to trace the purchase of common stocks by a relatively simple and realistic approach; at the same time, it must be remembered that hasty action without appropriate care will most certainly court future danger.
Determine a financial plan; there is no sense to an indiscriminate and hodgepodge approach; the building of an estate is serious business and any action must be carefully planned. The financial plan must include a necessary backlog for future emergencies; no investments should be made without such an emergency fund.
(A) Be certain that you place a portion of your funds in fixed-income securities before attempting the purchase of equities. This is to minimize risk and is not to be considered lightly; always play safe, remembering that "a stitch in time saves nine" times as much worry!
(B) Carefully pick the industry into which your funds are to be invested, having investigated (a) its past performance; (b) its future prospects; (c) its geographical aspects; (d) its labor relations; (e) its competitive position; (f) government relationships, both direct and indirect; (g) its relationships to the public by means of goods and/or services; (h) its over-all stability as to both sales and profits; (i) its past and immediate future as to earnings and dividends.
(D) Make the selection of a stock within the industry. If it is an industrial equity, then consider sales trends, consistent earnings, diversification in both products and location, aggressive and successful management, finances and financial structure, leadership in the field, and a record of steady growth and dividends policy.
(E) After making a selection and being satisfied that the current price is fair, your broker being in a position to assist in this regard, buy the number of shares you can afford outright for cash, or else make the purchase through the Monthly Investment Plan. Have the certificates issued, remembering that in those states where joint tenancy is recognized, the certificate may be made out in that manner.
(F) Make other selections gradually, but do not rush the purchase of any security and do not yield to any obvious sales pressures. A stock should sell upon its merits and does not require strong sales techniques. Be sure you are investing and not speculating!
(G) Keep an accurate record of what you buy and sell, with the dividends received, and do not forget to include all dates. Such records will prove useful for tax purposes.
The foregoing constitute a directive as to procedure; the following constitute a series of acceptable guides to conduct while undertaking investment.
SOME RULES FOR SUCCESSFUL STOCK PURCHASE
1. Devise a complete investment plan before buying securities of any kind; objectively determine your limit of "stake in stocks."
2. Consider all possibilities when buying; appraise the industry and the stock itself; be aware of what you are buying, along with the measure of both the risks and the rewards which go with the purchase.
3. Invest only after thorough investigation of all pertinent data; buy only for cash!
4. Be patient; hold basically sound stocks through weak market conditions; be aware of the long-term possibilities; disregard minor market changes.
5. Beware of an unusually high dividend rate; there is often an explanation!
6. Have enough courage to buy sound stocks after a prolonged market decline when stocks are available at bargain prices; at the same time beware of purchases at prices which are obviously historically high.
7. Be willing to take a loss when circumstances indicate an error in judgment; remember that capital losses offset capital gains for tax purposes.
8. Don't be a "hog"; buy or sell "at the market" if you want action; striving for that extra quarter or half point may mean complete loss of opportunity.
9. Beware of "get-rich-quick" situations; buy listed securities through a firm which you can trust, and then only after adequate investigation.
10. Assume a positive policy regarding valuable subscription rights; either sell or exercise them, but never follow a do-nothing policy, since this means an actual loss in money.
With these rules in mind you will undoubtedly make a sound investment.
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