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Covering investing, retirement: Move beyond the Dow

You must look at historical trends to really tell the story of the stock market.

Sounds simple, but it’s a complicated matter.

“Markets are going to be volatile and it’s really hard to predict,” said Gary Trennepohl, president of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, to 15 fellows at Reynolds Business Journalism Week in Phoenix.

Writing for the popular press, I think the fear index or VIX, the CBOE Volatility Index, can be interesting. Yet the fear index is just one of many ways to measure what is happening or may happen to the market.

Gary Trennepohl Strictly Financials

Gary Trennepohl, president of Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, leads a session during the 2010 Strictly Financials Seminar in Phoenix. Photo by Robin J. Phillips

“Volatility is highly volatile,” Trennepohl said with a smile.

The fellows spent 4 days learning about covering financials in a Strictly Financials seminar put on by the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism.

During the morning session, Trennepohl stressed that there is no simple way to look at or report on the market.

Sometimes professionals make sweeping statements trying to capture what the market’s doing …  make statements like “the market was lost in the 2000s. That’s not necessarily true. You have to look closer at the index.”

“You have to dig deeper,” Trennepohl said.

On retirement investing.

Timing is very important in retirement investment.

“I don’t want to say it’s a matter of luck, but it’s really a matter of luck.”

On longterm investing.

“When somebody promises you that you’ll make 20 or 30 percent in the market, that’s bogus. You’re not going to get that over time.”

Global connections

“Technology is changing everything.  There’s a whole lot more data and information available and its really bring all of these markets together. Policies set in the Eurozone translate quickly back to the U.S.”

“Investors need to get a much broader focus and invest in more than just the U.S. markets.”

And on a personal note.

“Time is on your side when you are young but it’s against you when you’re old.  So start saving now so you have a greater probability of gaining over time.”

Some articles, Tennepohl suggested to learn more:

In Basics, Investing | Banking, Reynolds Week.

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