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Safe Money Report

July 9, 2001

Safe Money Strategy

It may have taken 20 years for 401(k) participants to learn a hard lesson, but we're willing to bet that this won't be the last time. The stock market had been on a bull run for the last decade, which is when the majority of plan participants first began making contributions. But the bull market ended last year, and current economic data tell us that it will not return for quite some time. Thus, it's time for investors to take charge of their own financial future, even if that means getting some professional help.

Don't get us wrong. We're not saying that 401(k) plans are a bad thing. In fact, we believe that they're an excellent way to grow your money tax-deferred. But most investors have been trained to invest mainly in stocks, including their own companies' stock, without fully understanding the risks involved. Many times, this lack of understanding is the result of poor education by the participant's employer or investment services provider. Or, a participant may be influenced by the promise of a big match if he invests in his employer's stock, making it more appealing than other investment vehicles. Plus, throughout the bull market, the media glorified stocks and stock mutual funds. Less risky bonds and money market funds, on the other hand, were virtually ignored.

We hope investors will learn from last year's fiasco, and take a more informed approach to investing. Remember, past performance is not an indication of future results.


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