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And yes, people who buy and hold - particularly buy and hold index funds - are absolute idiots.


There are MANY ways to make money in stocks. What they all require, that many people lack, is unemotional discipline.

Probably the easiest way to achieve unemotional stock-market discipline is to set up regular automatic investments in an index fund and just hold the stuff until you need the money. This discipline is EXTREMELY likely to make you money... although it may take a while. (I don't know if I would recommend it as a good choice to someone who is 5 years from retirement and just starting to invest. 20 years to go, yes, without hesitation.)

There are other methods that are more reliable in the short term and faster in the long term. But they require greater discipline - it's easier to not be upset about short-term fluctuations if you never look at them than if you look at them weekly or even daily. And looking at how they would have done in the long-term past, so one can estimate the likelihood of long-term success, is harder.
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