The Retirement Corporation of America

Where To Find It In Black And White

INFORMATION HAS ALWAYS meant power on Wall Street and the other investment markets of the world. The Rothschilds made a fortune by being the first to know that Napoleon had been defeated at Waterloo. The news sent the price of British stocks soaring. Being first with the news meant that the Rothschilds could buy early, when prices were still depressed.

As a glance at any newsstand will show you, there are zillions of publications aimed at being among the first to deliver news to investors today. Some are slick, and some are drab. Some are full-blown magazines, while some are investment newsletters. Some are aimed at more sophisticated investors, and some are aimed at the growing army of Americans who invest their money today in order to get on the path to financial success.

Publications Aimed at Sophisticated Investors

These publications are aimed primarily at serious investors. They are rich in the detail that sophisticated investors want to know, and don't spend a lot of time simplifying things for the average investor. Still, none will be over your head and all will be of interest to you.

•  The Wall Street Journal. The Journal is the daily newspaper of record when it comes to reporting on the day-to-day changes in national and international economic and financial affairs. Plus—it stands alone among daily newspapers in covering individual companies, industries, commodities, tax issues, labor market news, government and regulatory developments. And it offers a comprehensive listing of trading in all major exchanges—both domestic and abroad.

•  The New York Times. This isn't a business-oriented publication, but a general newspaper. Still, the Times delivers a full business section each day, and a very fat business section on Sunday. The Sunday section does contain a lot of material useful to the average investor.

•  Investor's Business Daily. This is another national daily that offers both general economic news and stock, bond and mutual fund performance data.

•  Business Week. This weekly covers the global business scene, but has plenty of material specifically aimed at investors. Twice a year, the magazine devotes most of an issue to investing. More frequently, it publishes performance results for mutual funds.

•  Fortune. This publication, which appears every other week, tends to do fewer, but longer, stories than other business publications. Look it over occasionally to help understand the global business climate and to see what investment opportunities are being highlighted.

•  Forbes. This publication, which appears every other week, tends to be more investment-oriented than other business magazines. It has lots of short, punchy stories about companies and industries and has a whole stable of columnists who offer investment advice in each issue. It also offers mutual fund performance figures periodically.

•  Barron's. This is a highly respected weekly tabloid-style newspaper, published by the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. It provides a good wrapup of the preceding week's economic and stock market happenings. Each issue includes a full section devoted only to mutual funds.

•  The Financial Times. This British-owned newspaper, known for its distinctive peach-colored pages, covers the world of finance and investments in great depth. You may not read it on a regular basis, but it is widely available throughout the United States. Pick up a copy occasionally to refresh your view of the global investment climate.

•  The Economist. This London-based weekly magazine is unsurpassed when it comes to national and international news and analysis of economic and financial trends. Some investment experts say that reading The Economist on a regular basis is nearly all you need to do to stay fully informed about economic, financial and political developments that affect investment markets directly or indirectly.

Publications Covering a City or a Region

In addition, there are more than 200 city, state, and regional business publications that offer a focus on the business and financial news of their particular locale. A few examples would be magazines such as Alaska Business Monthly, Los Angeles Business Journal and Virginia Business, and newspapers such as the Houston Business Journal, Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's New York Business and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Unlike the business sections in the local daily newspapers, these periodicals are written for business readers, not for general consumer interest. However, remember that one way to find investment opportunities is to invest in companies in your own locale.

These local publications do a good job of identifying the most promising businesses in your city or region. Many publish stock tables showing the performance of companies in the area. You probably wouldn't want to subscribe to any of these publications. But, every so often pick one up at the newsstand, or read one in your doctor's waiting room. You'll certainly learn more about how business is done in your area, and you may gain some smart investing tips as well.

Financial Publications Aimed at the General Reader

The number of investors—in both stocks and mutual funds—has exploded in recent years and the number of publications aimed at those investors has grown apace. A glance at the magazine rack at your local newsstand will give you a quick take on these publications. Give them a try. Most offer subscriptions at prices far, far below what buying at the newsstand would cost. Here are the best known general readership financial magazines.

1. Bloomberg Personal Finance. This monthly magazine is published by one of the world's foremost suppliers of economic and investment information to financial market professionals. It is written for a general audience but contains some of the most useful investment information to be found in any personal finance magazine.

2. Money. This one really helped pioneer the field—appearing on the scene back when investing among the general public was far less common than it is today. It offers a broad array of financial and investment articles, with tons of recommended investments.

3. Kiplinger's. Another hardy pioneer of the field. It is less glitzy than some of its rivals and spends more of its space on good, solid, nuts-and-bolts financial advice.

4. SmartMoney. This publication is among the slickest of the general readership financial magazines. It contains lots of investment advice, plus a fair number of lifestyle stories.

5. Individual Investor. This publication began as a newspaper and has grown into a magazine—aimed at delivering lots of investment advice to moderately sophisticated investors. It provides a lot more coverage of smaller stocks than the other publications.

6. Mutual Funds. This magazine, as the name indicates, only covers mutual funds. But it is well done and provides broad coverage of funds.