By Joanna Masel
Pundits urge you to save lots of extra money for retirement. yet you can’t consume piles of stored funds; unles....
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Extra resources for Bypass Wall Street: A Biologist’s Guide to the Rat Race
Of course, things are much messier in real life. Jen has no magical knowledge about the future profits and dividends of any company. Predicting a company’s profits over the long term is hard. Nonetheless, this is what the stock market is supposed to do. To be listed on the stock market, a company needs to disclose lots of financial information. This information is supposed to help people work out what the company, and hence each share, is really worth. So before Jen buys stock in a particular company, she should learn a lot about it.
In both cases, the truth is probably somewhere in between, but how we are trained affects which situations we see as “normal” and which as “special”. My training in biology gives me a fresh perspective on economics, one that helps correct for the prevailing bias towards assuming that competitions are absolute and always improve prosperity. That’s a good reason for a biologist to write a book about economics, and for you to read it. What is more, unlike most people who may give you advice about economics and investing, I have no vested interests.
If interest rates and other rates of return on capital are high, after correcting for inflation, then Jen will do well financially. In other words, if capitalism does well as a whole, then Jen is likely to do well too. Most of Jen’s capital is now invested in the stock market. Next we will look more closely at the stock market to ask how that investment might succeed in providing Jen the capitalist with the money she will need in retirement. CHAPTER 5 HISTORICAL STOCK MARKET RETURNS Jen has decided to invest only in things she understands.