It is hard to imagine a more one-sided presentation than thisshow. Virtuallyall of the examples were the most extreme cases. You implied thatthe fellowwho did not want to invest his retirement in a bank was foolhardy,refusingto stick with something safe. You neglected to note that he wascorrect.Investing in a bank account is sure to lose money, that's notsafe. Why notpresent people who were prudent investors as a model for whatpeople who haveto invest should do? Next time, try for a little balance.
I applaud this show for the most part. The selection ofPeter Lynch and Garrett Van Wagoner was a great example of the difference in investing mentality as it has changed in recent years. Both approaches have their place and fit certain needs. I have owned, and in the case of the Van Wagoner funds, still own some of both companies.
There is something that I feel you failed to mention. With
respect to the Iomega story, just as is the case with many
other issues, you never mentioned the people who played this
stock short. Lots of people make money when the market drops
Thanks for the hard work on this show.
Your recent "Frontline" report on the stock market was
excellent. I really enjoyed it. It started me to thinking
about investmenting. I have recently divorced which has
depleted my savings. I own my home and vehicle. I am a
Full-time employee and persuing a B.S. degree in Computer
Engineering(presently a Sophomore at a community college).
I will have to take an educational leave from my full-time
employeer to finish my Junior and Senior years. I am really
interested in starting to invest in the stock market,
because I realize that putting money in a bank savings will
not stay ahead of inflation. This episode of "Frontline"
has further expanded my intrest to get started on the stock
Thanks, I'll keep watching.
Arthur Frank Shoffner, Jr.
A sobering look at what truly moves the stock markets...Psychology
of the masses!
This program should be "Must viewing" for ALL INVESTORS.
Coming on the heels of
Chmn Greenspan's comments in the Fall,it brings into focus the
purpose for the sole
existence for the "Markets"...i.e.Capital Formation
speculation! While the hour passed much too quickly...I hold hope
that a near
future program could be devoted to how to protect gains already
long-term, value oriented investing..i.e. Asset allocation, Foreign
exposure,Etc.Thanks for a well done presentation!
Palm City, FL
OK, it is an important topic and you spread some caution that
is much needed. You
covered the source of the stock inflation well, (though you coul
have drawn closer
parallels with the Roarin' Twenties).
But you did a better job of the "Betting" than on the
"Market". You spoke about the
clothes and not the Emperor.
Next time, tell the folks out in TV-land WHY the market is a bit
different than Las
Vegas, that there is supposed to be a relationship between the
value of the
outstanding stock and the assets that a company has, such as profits,
patents, property, workforce, sales force etc.
Your otherwise excellent review needed this background to make
one believe the
oft-repeated refrain of "What goes up must come down."
Why must come it down?
Because, after a huge run-up, the assets of the company (or of
a whole lot of
companies) are soon no longer worth anything like as much as the
face value of the
Without this knowledge, the Wall-Street Casino is vulnerable to
the observations of
any passing child who is capable of recognizing nudity.
Keep up the good work.
I am on the younger end of the baby boomers,(34 years.)I was
very interested in your program on the stock market, I to
have the majority of my savings in the market. However I feel
like all you were trying to accomplish in this program was to
scare people! what would have been a lot more beneficial, was
to dedicate some portion of the show to indicate other options
or solutions to avoiding doom, But I guess eventual doom was
your main message.
Although at age 50 I did not live through the Great Depression,
described by Joe Nocera that exists now sent chills up my back
just because of what
I have heard and read about that time. The general public is getting
market with little or no experience behind them. The rapid rise
of stock values
unsettles more that a few experts . . . YIPES! When the correction
comes it could
devastate the economy.
Grand Haven, MI
The story of "How America Is Wagering its future on Wall
one of the most interesting stories that PBS has shown since the
"The Revenge of the Nerds." I thoroughly was fascinated
by the story because it brought some reflections upon myself.
For so long, I have contemplated investing in the stock market.
One of the fear factors for me not to invest in it was primarily
the "Lack of control" in the investment.
With the latest craze of mutual funds. I have constantly been
told that these types of investments are diverse and the safest
in the market. However, by watching this particular program gave
me insite of how the mutual fund market is not so much safe after
Granted Peter Lynch's approach to the market was quite fascinating
in that it was more practical and logical. However, as the show
indicated his approach has been overlooked by new mutual fund
managers who have more speculative ideas then practical ideas.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show and hope that it will air again
I am 62 years old, have been in the market since I was 21.
The show was a eye opener. The young people are in this for all
the wrong reasons. Hoping to make the fast buck is NOT the way.
As Peter said you need to buy good stocks and hold on to them
as long as all the reasons you bought them are in place. Being
unable to know the name of your stock and what they do is not
the way to go.
God help us.
This show was interesting and timely -- with a third of the money
coming into some mutual funds coming from 401k plans Americans
really are betting their retirement on the stock market. When
the baby boomers start to retire in mass in about 10 to15 years
and the money starts being withdrawn the market will see very
This will occur right when these retirees need it the most. The
implications for our economy will be potentially devastating.
The good news is we should have a few good years still left in
the market till then.
I thought the show was interesting but not completely
accurate in portraying the current market. The statement
that was made about the market having to drop 50% to reach
it's historic norm or average is misleading. It's true that
the average return is slightly lower than what it should be
but the P/E is about where it should be in reflecting the
market's valuation. If by norm it was meant the average
historic market valuation, that may be true but it doesn't
really mean much. A high P/E would be a truer measure since
it would more readily reflect an expensive market.
People who buy a stock or mutual fund buying that doesn't
reflect a stocks truer value relative to its earnings are
playing a risky game that could affect the rest of the
market if it's widespread. However, stocks and funds that
do this usually adjust on their own as was the case with
Iomega and some funds that have crashed and haven't
recovered. Buying a stock without researching its
fundamentals will inevitably result in losses as I learned
the hard way.
I find it hard to believe that the couple profiled sold
their Microsoft stock in favor of two agressive funds and
stated that the funds are supposed to double by August.
Their dream house is not likely to become a reality if they
continue to gamble rather than invest for the long term.
I think the theme of the show was expressed well by the
segments shown but I don't think it reflects the attitude of
most investors. It does appear the investors interviewed
feel the market is a sure thing and it's become a religion
for them. I don't think they were in the market as
recently as 1994 or they'd have a different outlook.
I found some of the comments interesting but it's focus on
that part of the market's investors who are aggressive and
only bet on the high flyers to make it big in the short
term are not representative of most investors.
The Dow at about 3600 may be the market average and give the
impression that it's overvalued but the market is not as
expensive as that inference based on company earnings.
Newport, Rhode Island
I watched with rapt interest your program about Baby-Boomers investing
in the Stock Market. I also watched in horror as I heard Mutual
Fund managers discussing buying and selling stocks without thoroughly
researching the companies that they were about to pour
money into, or with the primary technique of buying and then selling
the same stock in a short period of time. I am a member of an
investment club and am learning how to invest my money
in individual stocks with a "tried and true" technique
of research, number-crunching, and common sense. This approach
is recommended and supported by the NAIC (National Association
Investment Clubs). We thoroughly research the industry, the company,
the management, seriously look at the previous performance of
the stock, as well as take into account a wide range of other
factors. If Boomers were taught about this way of investing:
searching for a company that they really want to OWN and
SUPPORT for a long period of time, (it is "investing",
after all!), then I believe that there would be no need for concern
over the future health of the stock market.
I would like to see a program espousing a "common sense"
approach to investment. A program that would teach potential
investors about the NAIC philosophies would be extremely educational
Hopefully, boomers will learn that it takes time and work to build
a solid nest egg for retirement. If Boomers learned to put their
money into well-managed companies with valuable products to sell,
these companies would grow and prosper (along with stockholers'
investments), while "feeding frenzies" would become
a thing of the past.
Thank you for your time.
Kimberlea S. Smith
I was dissapointed the show didn't take a particular position.
The theme seemed "Yes the market has done well these past
few years and historically, but it might go down and who
knows for how long." I have invested because for the
individual no other place really exists. Further I don't
believe we can rely on trends because the period of 1900-1930
was like no other period, and neither was the periods1930-1940,
1940-1950, 1950- 1982, and 1982 to now. Each
period has its own unique qualities. I have often pondered
the same thought as put forth at the end of the show, what
happens when the baby boomers retire? Do they begin to
pull their money out which will precipitate a slow decline?
Or are they educated enough to leave a large portion of
their savings invested?
While the first 20 minutes was a fair historical review,
the remaining time was superficial and unprofessionally
produced. Your message was one of impending diaster. While
you properly introduced Lynch, Cramer, and van Wagoneer, little
information was given about Fleckenstein. Was he or any of
the others that so generously warned us of our fate a major
short in the market at the time of filming? If so, I think
you are negligent not to inform the viewers of this serious
conflict of interest!
Enjoyed the show. I am very fearful for many of the individuals
shown, and agree
with the comment that "blood money" seems to be at risk
here. At this point, Jan
'97, it seems the signs of a significant correction are visable.
The market to many
is being kept afloat by the seasonal contributions to pension
funds and 401k
matching money (and people's bonuses. As this short term flow
subsides, the risk is
severe. I pray dearly for those on your show to exercise reason
and prudence with
their hard earned money!
Tonight's Frontline was very timely for me. I'm 54 and am just
experiencing slight inklings toward "geting into" the
I found much of what was presented to be helpful in at least
getting me focused on the nature of the market. Since I have
no experience, tonight's show has provided me with a view
of the stock market that has motivated me to do a little more
thinking and a lot more study before I proceed.
Gary A. Podlesnik
I awaited last Tuesday's Frontline
on Investing with great anticipation. However, once again, your
show leaned toward the senationalism,without a major premise or
theme. What was the major point that you had hoped each viewer
might take away from your show? -- Some investors are crazy, risk
takers? Many investors will likely lose everthing when the upcoming
"adjustment" comes? Be careful when investing (no tips
offered, however)? -- I am increasingly concerned by your lack
of clear show objectives and how this may be serving to confuse
the average viewer.
Thank you for your time.
Overland Park, Kansas
Excellent program!!! Wonderful web-site!!
Both are a must view and must read for ALL INVESTORS. It is important
to realize that the monentary policy by the FED (Federal Reserv
Board) is the cause of the boom and bust cycle i.e. business cycle.
The 1929 crash was a result of an easy money policy. For a detail
understanding of the 1920's and 1930's an example
book by Liberty Press is "Economics and the Public Welfare"
by Benjamin Anderson.
Frederick Von Hayek has written in great detail on the relationship between the monetary policy and
business cycle. Many people have the false believe that capitalism
and/or free markets are the cause of the business cycle; when
in fact it is always government involvement in the credit and
banking system creates this cycle. Milton Freeman wrote on this
topic but not in as much detail as Von Mises or Hayek.
The most important aspect of understanding
of Hayek and one of his key points is : The greater the increase
of the money supply, the deeper the bust cycle or recession that
follows ! By examing M2 money supply data, logic follows that
our next recession is going to be worse the 1979-1981 recession.
Keep up the good work !!
I thought that the sobriety factor
that you presented throughout the program has been long overdue
for the masses of new investors. However, I feel that you should
have mentioned that a properly balanced and rotated portfolio
will not suffer from the wild downturn that aggressive equity
portfolios will experience. Prudent investing techniques will
always serve the portfolio holder well. Also, people who are
betting the whole ball of wax on stocks alone are not informed
investors but mere gamblers as your program implied. Define your
risk tolerance and construct your total portfolio accordingly.
I am fearful that your scenario of what newer investors are going
to do in a good size correction is correct; mass withdrawal and
exiting without clear thinking due to poor portfolio construction
of composition and allocation. One fact not discussed is that
with the explosion of mutual funds, there has been a huge increase
in fund managers; most of whom were not even managing money as
short as October, 1987. When one looks at the performances of
most funds in 1994, we are left with the thought that this was
the toughest of market conditions that most of these new rooky
managers have experienced in their short fund managing tenures!
When and if a huge correction does
occur, +20%, it will sure be interesting to watch the ill prepared
and aggressive investors run for the hills. In the meantime,
I will have the means of picking up some terrific values all the
down to when it bottoms because I am prepared yet very active
by staying within my defined investments parameters and not going
for the "BIG" hit by being overly aggressive.
K. Michael Henderson
Thanks for another quality report.
However, I believe that
you focused on too many people who
were in it for the fast buck.
At 31, I'm am the first of the Generation
Xers and, judging by this
report, would seem to have more sense
than many boomers
when it comes to the market.
The majority of investors have neither
the knowledge nor time to
play the market in order to pave
their futures with gold.
They need to either recognize
that fact before it's
too late or invest in a truly
sure thing, like the hot
"lottery fund" that
I am counting on to pay for
Your show on the stock market, and
the upcomming bear market was very informative. However some
investment options were omitted. If you dollar cost average your
investments, and spread out your investing over time, you minimize
much of your risk. Also, proper diversification for your portfolio
William Wangerien Jr.
Atlanta , GA
I enjoyed this episode very much
and hope that all the positve response that you get encourages
you to expand this episode to a multi-faceted exploration of this
topic. I belive that this topic is increasingly important given
both the realities that people are begining to face towards their
retirement and the current debate over Social Security restructuring.
As thorough a job that Frontline did on this topic, it is my
belief that you only scraped the surface in how people are viewing
the market, its performance and volitility, and their future.
Keep up the good topics and indepth probing.
John F. Simon, Jr.
I was sorry to see your awful
Frontline special on "betting on Wall
Street." What a hatchet job!
The program left impression that all investors are insane gamblers
ignorant of the risks involved.
"Grant-ed", a cold shower
on "irrational exuberance" in the market
is often welcome and needed. But
why such a one-side horror
show from PBS?
Please tell us who sponsored this
production? Could there be some
connection between agendas of the
sponsor and/or the producer and
the current debate over what to do
about social (in)security?
I say all this as one who in
the past has ordinarily
enjoyed PBS frontline specials.
This was a travesty.
Will S. Harrop
People of my age (34) have no choice
but to bet on the market...
with pensions and social security
being essentially non existent
by the time we retire... and traditional
like savings accounts and CD's not
even returning enough to
keep pace with inflation the only
way to have a resonable chance
to retire comfortably is to invest....One
other note I believe
that once the majority of the Baby
Boomers reach retirement age
and are removing all this money they
have been pouring into the
market and also recieving Social
Security benefits the economy
(and the market with it) are in for
a period of long downward
Frontline once again has taken an
issue of paramount importance
and brought clarity and substance
keep up the good work
The couple that have their life savings
invested in small technology stocks just blew my mind. She didn't
even know the name of the companies. These type of investors
deserve what they will eventually get.....flamed. Everyone wants
something for nothing. Good sound research into companies will
pay off in the long run. Too many of the people on this program
were looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. It doesn't work that
way. Wall Street has thousands of bankrupt investors over the
last century to attest to that.
Grove City, Ohio
Last night, once again, I found myself
grateful and disturbed by you and PBS for at least attempting
to tell one of the stories that few seem willing to hear. I think
your program was balanced if not, regretably, superficial. I
do not mean this as "criticism" but wish, sincerely,
adamantly, that you could expand on several key points of your
expose. Specifically, I think the a much greater analysis of
(1) the Motley Fool phenonmenon, (2) the comparison and contrast
of Lynch, Vinik, and the San Francisco superstar du-jour, and
(3) the fundamentals underlying the crash in 1987 would be appropriate,
plus (4) what the stock market has really returned, adjusted for
inflation, for different investment horizons starting from different
You tried to explore each of these
but, in this time of heady returns fueled by the lack of oxygen
at the higher atmospheres of 25, 40, 80, and "infinite"
P/E ratios, a brilliant analyst, like Grant, comes off as "carping."
How many of yours viewers, do you think, wonder how spectalularly
Magellan might have done had Peter Lynch not stepped down? Its
personality that creates value, right? Those of us who spent
the last year or two in cash on the side-lines, look kind of stupid
when we try discuss any of this with the proud owner of a mutual
fund orbiting the moon.
As in every Frontline, there is the
haunting image of some, probably decent, human being about to
be conflagrated by tragedy: in "Betting of the Market"
this is, obviously, the family in upstate New York. I hope,
like some of the more "responsible" TV talk-shows, as
you were exploiting their stupidity to help make your point, you
also at least tried to provide some substantial financial counseling.
I hope they "win" with the stock they cannot remember
the name of, but you owe it to your viewers to disclose what the
hell was going on behind the scenes between Frontline and this
family. In this case, a follow-up six months later showing them
loading their belongings in either (a) a new Mercedes or (b) a
shopping cart will be no consolation if you and your loyal audience
helped promote the outcome.
Howard Lynn Hopffgarten
Unfortunately, in this era of extrao
You asked me how I found your sight.
I was channel hopping last night Jan 14/97 at 9:00 PM on Channel
14 and happened to see FRONTLINE-The program was frontline: Examines
U.S. Stock Investments; profiles Garrett Van Wagoner, Peter Lynch.
The Net site was mentioned at the
end of the program.
The site is absolutely excllent,
and I spent over an hour
downloading the entire site.
You have a new listener. I will regularily
access your site.
I am new to the net. When writing
this message I am unsure
if I must hit enter when the
printing goes beyond the end
of the box at the right hand
side. Does the page
automaticall scroll? The line
seems to go on forever,
if I don't hit enter. I would appreciate
very much, as I am not sure what
to do. So much to learn!
The graphs of the Bull and Bear Markets
interesting and they print very well
"live" to my color
printer. (I don't know how to print
to a file yet).I would
suggest that an option be included
that will let us print
the graph with a white background.
The graph reproduces
perfectly, but uses a tremendous
amount of black ink. Your
users with color inkjet printers
will love you. By the way
the printer I use Hewlett Packard
Deskjet 870 Cxi Professional
Series, does an outstanding job downloading
The stories on TIMING were especially
interesting to me, and
I will be glad to receive the information
you will send.
hope this helps.
I just saw the above referenced program
on channel 48 in Cincinnati, OH last night. I was saddened to
see so many people throwing all of their money into one stock
based on what others said to do. I was particularly upset with
Sharon, who with her mother started an investment club, but OBVIOUSLY
did not learn much from the experience. NAIC and all the investment
clubs that I am aware of stress the importance of the following:
- doing your homework on a stock;
- look at companies with a minimum of 5 years history, preferably 10 years;
- look for the potential to double your money through price appreciation and dividends in 5 years (NOT NEXT WEEK OR MONTH)
- don't put all your eggs in one basket, diversify!
Sharon sold Microsoft and put
all of her family's savings into two
volatile tech stocks she couldn't
even name, all because someone said it would double by August.
I hope they do but would not be surprised if the prices fall.
Enjoyed the program. It should
be required viewing for new investors to see all the things they
Sharon L. Lindquist-Skelley
Does anyone in their right mind think
there are 50 million "investors" out there? They're
gamblers, and God love them. Most will have their retirement savings
wiped out, will then have to earn wages in their seventies with
taxes going to social security, thereby saving the system. Of
course the "bookies," the stockbrokers, and
the "casino," the rich,
will make out like bandits. They always do.
Thank your for your presentation
on the rise in the stock market.
At a time when "serious"
proposals to privitize Social Security are being made respectable
by the think tanks like the Cato Institute, you remind us of
the historical nature of the market that the mass media chooses
to ignore, lest it point out the the anabolic steriods (money
market funds) the stock market is taking. I suspect when this
supply is exhausted, these proposals, if enacted, will substitute
our savings with our our retirement nest egg, our safety net,
Social Security. Ironically, this is the very thing investors
claim to be amassing with the help of trading on the stock market.
We seem to be engineering a well
constructed collapse, the ultimate Ponzi scheme. As the first
"baby boomers" retire on their stocks, the sell off
triggers a collapse in prices as these shares enter the market
place to fund their retirement. With fewer buyers than sellers,
using the same demographics that are used by the Think Tankers
like the Cato Institute to demolish Social Security, stock value
declines at best, or at worst, a panic may ensue. On the other
hand, Social Security recipients do not contribute to a general
collapse in Social Security as stockholders can violently collapse
a market by panic selling.
The hidden hand seems to be in every
wage earners pockets these days and it appears in many forms.
Widespread layoffs in pursuit of a strategy to impress upon the
market the corporations' "efficiencies". The family
that feels its not getting ahead, a feeling made all the more
understandable when massive layoffs have contributed to the climate
of insecurity the market has created in today's workplace. Meanwhile
people are seen comparing themselves, their homes, their lifestlyes
with people who have made the first money out of the numerous
Ponzi schemes constructed by the stock market.
Frontline would do a huge public
service if it were to reinforce those ideas that could remove
this society from this mana machine which increasingly rules our
lives. The market is fine for people with the backing to play
it. It rewards people who have the money to stay in it. But for
the large part of America, they are not in the same position.
This is the central paradox of a society centered around the pursuit
of money. The situation is so obvious that only a corporate run
media could ignore it: Money is to be made by impoverishing people.
I watched the Frontline on investing
with great interest. I am 37 yrs. old and my wife is 34. I have
been with the Houston Public Library for a little over 3 years,
and it's a very good and stable career for me. The pay is not
as much as it would be for a comparable position in the private
sector, but I've worked at those jobs, and from what I can learned,
they offer no real job security for the future. I bring this up,
because I believe it relates to one of your program's premises;
The fact that most people are investing their savings into what
they believe is a "sure-fire" way to supplant their
"non-existant" retirement. I have always been wary of
the stock market (mutual funds as well) as a means for people
to get rich quick. I also have a problem with the fact that investors
have no real control over gains or losses as your program pointed
out. Working for the Library, I come in contact with various books
which espouse the benefits of investing with almost evangelical
fervor (ie: Beardstown Ladies- these Grannies are so cute! They
must be right, Right?). All of this reminds me of those late-night
info-mercials that promise great rewards if only...Well, I think
you can guess the rest of that scenario. I have an opportunity
to invest a little of our income in the fund markets before tax,
and I just can't make up my mind to do it at this time. It could
be very inticing, what with all of the
graphs and charts and comparisons
(past performance is no guarantee of future performance) if I
wasn't an intelligent person. Maybe I'm not, but I'm also not
losing all of our savings either. It is my firm belief that investment
bankers and brokerage firms behave pretty much like the Don Ameche
and Ralph Bellamy in the movie "Trading Places", and
that most are only concerned with making themselves rich at any
cost and to the detriment of those investors not included in their
social-loop/clicke. It reminds me of a line in a musical song
from a group called S.N.F.U. taht goes like this...
"the social ladder is incomplete,
it's missing rungs are to protect the elite. So, why is it that
we stand in line to try that ladder just one more time?"
Human nature with a little push from advertising. Oh well, I guess
this is what all wars have been fought for (cold war included):
Capitalism unabashed! Enough wisdom!...enough to make me sick
and enough to make the rich richer! Alas, money cannot buy happiness
and I will cling to this wise proverb. See how unhappy I become
when I think about it ($$)?
I love Frontline, and consider
it the best program on
television. The program on the stock
market which aired
January 14, however, was not one
of your better productions.
The program completely missed the
story on the Motley Fool,
an on-line forum which I log onto
daily. To me, the Motley
Fool serves two purposes. First
to teach how to be a better
manager of oneís money. Second,
to provide a forum for the
dissemination of financial information.
Had the producer
wished, he could have spent much
of the hour illustrating
how the Motley Fool works to prevent
the sort of financial
stupidity elsewhere exhibited in
the program by instructing
its readers that those who invest
in the stock market should
build a diversified portfolio of
companies, while pointing out that
no money should be
invested in the stock market for
the short run.
What really annoyed me though was
a glaring factual
inaccuracy in the program. Your
narrator stated, in fact
emphasized, that they ìguaranteeî
22% returns should their
investment methodology be followed.
They do nothing of the
kind, and I am tempted to begin an
ad hominum attack against
the producer for this invention.
Much of this program was good, but
Frontline ought to do a
better job checking the accuracy
of its scripts.
Frontline's "betting on the
Market" was an excellent and illuminating hour. It also
underscored a personal frustration I have with investing today.
As a younger Baby Boom generation member, I have had nothing
but "invest, invest, invest" drummed into my head when
it comes to retirement. So I have invested. Now all I hear is
hand-wringing: "What will people do when we hit a bear market?"
"Can people stomach a 30% drop in their retirement nest egg?"
"Will mutual fund investors flee at the first sign of downturn?"
What am I supposed to do? Everyone
tells me to invest if I don't want to spend my golden years in
some Dickensian nightmare. Then I'm told how dangerous it is
if I do invest and we hit the bear market wall. The same people
who tell me to invest are, I'm sure, the same ones who pressure
the mutual fund managers to outperform. The managers then trade
like lunatics, contributing to market volitility, which then prompts
a new round of hand-wringing from the people who started the cycle
in the first place.
It's annoying, exasperating-and frightening.
I was disappointed in Betting the
Market because it had too little analysis, and what facts were
presented were more in the nature of factoids. While an interview
format alone is OK for stories of personalities and personal actions
or struggles, this piece required facts and numbers For example,
one interviewee said that 80% of money in stock funds has come
in during the last 5 or 6 years. But who is it coming from, is
it being diverted from other investments, and how much is in retirement
accounts? Given the nature of the story, harder facts would put
it more in perspective than mere anecdotes about people with gambling
approaches. Barron's has been commenting on the phenomenon of
more money from the middle class and the risk of a downward snowball.
But it has provided charts giving multiple perspectives, including
the relative amount of equity in homes versus stocks, and other
While I am a big fan of Frontline
and greatly looked forward to this episode, I was disappointed
by the resulting piece.
Your show was excellent, however,
it may have been noted that the couple who could not even name
the stock they owned except by its symbol are betting their savings
without putting any effort into research. Reading the SEC filings
and some simple math can at least assure some reasonable hopes
their investments will not be totally destroyed. The stock market
is a scary place to be if you only rely on the advice of others
and do not put the effort into learning more about your investments
and the new wave of "sharks" will gladly take your money
and manipulate the market to their advantage, with the average
investor only incidental to the huge profits they make.
To begin with, I love the Frontline
stories. I have always thought your program is one of the most
objective news programs out today; in a world of very few quality
television programs. I was intrigued by the piece you did on "Betting
on the Market." I am very surprised and concerned at the
number of middle-class people who are waging their entire financial
lives on whether a stock price goes up or down. When are we going
to learn that nothing is "set in stone" and lasts forever?
And what kind of message are we sending to our future generations
about the complexities of finances? Quick fixes and "get
rich quick" schemes boasting financial freedom are not going
to solve the problem. Its about living our lives in moderation
and understanding completely the financial risks we face everyday.
In other words, the stock market monster is gonna get ya if you
don't watch out!!!
I happened to tune into your show
last night, and enjoyed it very much. However, I would like to
suggest another "frontline" on a more basic level, for
those of us viewers who would like to start investing but need
some basic education. For example, I would like to know the differences
between growth and investment stocks, stocks vs bonds, bear vs
bull markets. How does one read the financial pages?
I am a baby boomer with a master's
degree and many years of experience in corporate speech consulting.
Somehow, as I went through school, I never learned any of the
above, and am interested in doing so now.
If you do decide to do a show on
this, I would be happy to answer any questions to guide you on
the content. In addition, could you e-mail me and let me know
if/when such a show would be on? Thank you; it's wonderful to
be able to give feed-back by e-mail to a show's staff!
Cantor Neil Schwartz, or
Katie Schwartz, B.S.I.