Professor says stocks are often too risky even for long-term investing.
As a scholar who lectures that stocks are more risky than people want to admit, Zvi Bodie freely admits that he's not making friends in the investment advisor community. But it's even worse than that.
In the world of active equity investing, the stuff that Bodie has been preaching lately probably has all the appeal of a stink bomb. Even that may be putting it lightly.
"That group views me as the enemy-basically a dangerous person," says Bodie, almost half-jokingly.
It's not that Bodie feels stocks are all bad. He feels they do have a place for people who have locked in their retirement savings and have some extra money to invest.
But that's not typical, and that's why Bodie, in his lectures and in his co-authored book, "Worry-Free Investing," feels that many advisors have got it all wrong about stocks and are putting their clients most vital assets at risk as a result.
The underpinning of Bodie's investment philosophy is that stocks are far riskier than advisors are leading their clients to believe. Too many portfolios, he says, are built on the fundamental belief that over the long run stocks are almost a sure bet. This view holds that if your investment horizon is ten years or more, stocks are a safe investment play and a better investment than bonds.
Advisors commonly use the buy-and-hold strategy for their most risk-averse clients, states Bodie, who is a professor of finance at Boston University School of Management. It was a view pushed heavily in the 1980s as the mutual fund industry grew, gained momentum during the historic bull market of the 1990s, and is still preached by advisors in the wake of the market's fall three years ago.
Advisors, Bodie maintains, have it all wrong.
Stocks are indeed risky no matter how far out your horizon, he says. Statistically speaking, he adds, scholars have always known this to be fact. It's just that practitioners have decided to ignore it. What advisors should be looking at, he says, are I Bonds and TIPS-inflation-protected products that ensure asset protection-for the core of their clients' retirement savings needs, with equity investments reserved for assets above and beyond retirement needs.
"Virtually 100%of the investment literature aimed at the mass market is in disagreement with me," he says. "All I can say is, they have it wrong."