Columnist: Investment Choices Are Personal Debra Neiman, the personal finance columnist for, talks about how the average investor should approach the ups and downs of the Dow industrials. She tells Steve Inskeep that investors should always base decisions on their own goals.

Columnist: Investment Choices Are Personal

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a milestone yesterday, briefly trading above its record high close, before settling down at $11,718.


Joining us now to talk about what this might mean for you is Debra Neiman. She is the personal finance columnist for, and she's in Boston. Welcome to the program.

Ms. DEBRA NEIMAN (Columnist, Thank you.

INSKEEP: The fact that the market is moving up now does raise a question about investment strategies. If I've got some money to put away for my retirement or whatever, should I spend money on an investment advisor who's going to try to beat the market, or should I put it in one of those index funds that's just going to follow the market and hope that it goes up over time?

Ms. NEIMAN: That's really a personal choice, because the question in my mind is really who is going to monitor your portfolio - given what you're goals are. If that's something that you feel you could do yourself, then you may want to opt for the index fund route. But if you want to outsource that, if you will, and have someone else worry about that while you take care of business, then you may want to seek the advice of an advisor.

INSKEEP: Although, with the index fund, nobody monitors it. It's on autopilot. I don't pay anything. It just goes up and down with the market.

Ms. NEIMAN: That's very true. But overall, you know, the overall asset allocation of the portfolio relative to your goals over time, it will shift as certain markets do better than others, and it's that sort of management and monitoring that you still want to do, even if you're invested in index funds.

INSKEEP: You wonder if they're these trends, in the late '90s everybody thought they could make money in stocks and then the market crashed, and then everybody was making money in real estate - and now that market has gone down. Where are people putting their money now?

Ms. NEIMAN: Well, I think some smart money is moving out of real estate and into the stock markets. You know, you could use as an indicator, when you see shows on television called Flip This House...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. NEIMAN: ...I think...

INSKEEP: It's gone too far.

Ms. NEIMAN: You know, I'm a big contrarian, so when I see that, I say to myself, uh oh! You know, that market is topped out, and it's time to move back into things that look cheap.

INSKEEP: You know, I have yet to see the television program called Buy Those Bonds, so...

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: ...maybe that's...

Ms. NEIMAN: I don't know how many sponsors they would get.

INSKEEP: Maybe that's the place to go. Nice, safe, steady, changes some but not that much.

Ms. NEIMAN: Yeah, you know, I think there's room for it in everybody's portfolio. It just depends on the percentage and what they want and what they need to live out the life of their dreams.

INSKEEP: Debra Neiman, thanks very much.

Ms. NEIMAN: Thank you.

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