From the June 01, 2011 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Death of the American Investor: The Emergence of a New Global eShareholder

Book Review

Death of the American Investor: The Emergence of a New Global eShareholder
By Nico R. Willis
NetWorth Publications, LLC, 2011
$17.95, 237 pages

In "Death of the American Investor," Nico Willis offers timely and practical advice for the average investor that ultimately places responsibility for investment choices and success or failure squarely upon the shoulders of that investor. The ‘democratization’ of the world through social media portals like Facebook, Linked-In and the Internet in general, gives investors unprecedented access to financial markets and makes it easy for them to make an informed decision as to where to park their money. This book functions as a primer for those new to markets, yet offers the experienced trader historical perspectives from which to learn how to navigate the peaks and troughs of a turbulent market. What the book does not, and cannot, do is predict future market price movements, but it can offer readers enough insights into the past and present to guide them around this often tricky terrain.

American investors are formidable players in the financial marketplace. Some 54 million Americans, representing 47% of U.S. households, own equities and/or bonds. If properly informed, responsible and responsive, these citizens can take an active role in an arena that has been dominated by hedge funds, financial institutions and brokerages.

People invest for retirement and for emergencies. The market slump of 2008 and Ponzi schemes such as that perpetrated by Bernie Madoff and others wiped out or seriously diluted retirement funds for Baby Boomers, many of whom will now work well beyond retirement age to ensure that their last years are not spent in penury.

The book cautions investors to perceive the market as "not your grandmother’s stock market," but rather as a much more sophisticated beast. Chapter 5 of Part I devotes its 17 pages to the digital, paperless society and the trend toward electronic trading.

"The American investor must reinvent himself as a global eshareholder," Willis writes, "and make decisions based on information, not emotion."

Part II of the book devotes 53 pages to education that, along with the other "e’s" of expectation, execution and empowerment, is a tenet that will guide the modern, global eshareholder.

The book defines a global eshareholder as one who thinks like the pros, chooses to work in a team and not alone, and networks regularly.

The twin pillars upon which the global eshareholder constructs his or her portfolio are knowledge of the rules of the game of investing and who the key players in that game are. If such self-education is essential, so are managing one’s expectations, assertively executing the purchase and sale of assets and empowering oneself to forego reliance upon market professionals.

Patrick Kelly is a freelance writer with a background in commodity market reporting.

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