New investors are bombarded with advice from everywhere. Financial television, magazines, websites, financial professionals, friends and family members all have advice on how to structure your investment portfolio. Beginning investors are much more likely to give credence to investment tips than experienced investors. While the advice is meant to be helpful, it may actually be detrimental to the investment newbie. (For more, see Investing 101: A Tutorial For Beginner Investors.)

Here are five examples of the types of dangerous advice given to beginning investors:

1) "Buy Companies Whose Products You Love"

How many times has someone told you that when investing, you should buy companies that make products you love? This can be a risky and expensive proposition.

For example, let's say you want to buy shares of Apple because you love your new iPhone 4G. You buy shares of Apple at its market price and wait to reap the rewards from all of the iPhone sales. The problem with this strategy is that it fails to take price into consideration. Apple may be a great stock to buy at $200, but it could be a pricey investment at $300.

New investors tend to overpay for companies that they really want to own. This buy-at-any-cost philosophy can leave you regretting your stock purchase at the end of the day.

2) "Invest In What You Know"

Investing in what you know is an old investment axiom. This works well for experienced investors who are familiar with lots of companies in different sectors of the economy. This is terrible advice for the investing novice, because it limits your investments to only businesses that you know a lot about.

What if the only companies you know about are in the restaurant industry or retail industry? You may find yourself overinvesting in one or two sectors. Not to mention the fact that you would end up missing out on some great companies in the basic materials industry or technology sector. (Evaluate the past performance before investing in technology sector gadget funds; read Technology Sector Funds.)

3) "Diversify Your Stock Portfolio"

Diversification is supposed to help protect your portfolio from market drops and control risk. It's a great concept, but proper diversification can be difficult to achieve and expensive to do. New investors have difficulty building a properly diversified portfolio because of the costs. If not using an index fund to diversify, constructing a properly balanced portfolio in stocks requires thousands of dollars and may require buying at least 20 individual stocks. (For more on index funds, read Go International With Foreign Index Funds.)

It can also be difficult for new investors to maintain a balance between being diversified and not being overly diversified. If you aren't careful, you could end up owning 50 different stocks and 50 mutual funds. An investor could easily get overwhelmed trying to keep track of such a portfolio.

4) "Trade Your Brokerage Account"

Since the market crash of 2008, more investors are abandoning a buy-and-hold strategy and turning to short-term trading. Financial television shows and market experts have even been recommending that investors trade their accounts. Short-term trading may work for sophisticated investors, but it can crush the confidence of new investors.

Short-term trading requires the ability to time buy and sell decisions just right. It takes lots of available cash to hop in and out of positions. It can also decimate your entire portfolio because of trading fees and bad decision making. Daytrading stocks is a strategy best left to the experts. (To dig deeper into this topic, read Buy-And-Hold Investing Vs. Market Timing.)

5) "Buy Penny Stocks"

Emails, advertisements, friends and even family members often trumpet penny stock investing for new investors. The attraction of penny stock investing is that it seems like an easy way to get rich quick, since penny stocks are subject to extreme price volatility. If shares of ABC Company are selling for $1.50 per share, you could buy 1,000 shares for $1,500. The hope is that the stock goes to $3 or more so that you could double your money quickly.

It sounds great until you realize that penny stocks trade in the single digits for a reason. They are normally very flawed companies with large debt burdens and whose long-term viability is usually in doubt. Most penny stocks are much more likely to go to zero than to double your money.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, sometimes investment tips can do more harm to your portfolio than good. One size fits all may work for ponchos and raincoats, but it does not work when it comes to investment advice.

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Unrelenting Claw Of Bernie Madoff.

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Automating Your 401(k) is Easier Than You Think

    If you like automation, you should check out these features that many 401(k) plans offer.
  2. Investing Basics

    Explaining Delivery Versus Payment

    Delivery versus payment is a common procedure for settling the exchange of securities.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: United States 12 Month Oil

    Find out more information about the United States 12 Month Oil ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: First Trust Dow Jones Global Sel Div

    Find out about the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund, and learn detailed information about characteristics and suitability of the fund.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: U.S 12 Month Natural Gas

    Learn about the United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund, an exchange-traded fund that invests in 12-month futures contracts for natural gas.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Floating Rate Bond

    Explore detailed analysis and information of the iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF, and learn how to use this ETF as a defense against rising interest rates.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares US Healthcare

    Learn about the iShares U.S. Healthcare exchange-traded fund, which invests in a wide range of health care providers, hospitals and home care facilities.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 5 Japan Mutual Funds

    Discover five of the most popular and best-performing mutual funds offering investors direct exposure to equities of Japanese companies.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares US Basic Materials

    Learn about the iShares US Basic Materials exchange-traded fund, which invests in the equities of chemicals, metals and industrial gas companies.
  10. Term

    What is Passive Income?

    Passive income is earned by someone from ventures in which they did not actively participate.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

    A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets ...
  3. Series 6

    A securities license entitling the holder to register as a limited ...
  4. Passive Income

    Earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited ...
  5. Good Student Discount

    An auto insurance policy discount available to young drivers ...
  6. Whartonite

    A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect net asset value (NAV) in mutual funds?

    Distribution of dividends reduces the net asset value (NAV) of mutual fund shares. However, this doesn't mean that fund investors ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are mutual funds considered retirement accounts?

    Unlike a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), mutual funds are not classified as retirement accounts. Employers ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do mutual funds invest only in stocks?

    Mutual funds invest in stocks, but certain types also invest in government and corporate bonds. Stocks are subject to the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why are mutual funds not FDIC-insured?

    Mutual funds are not Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured because money invested in funds are not considered ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can mutual funds invest in commodities?

    Mutual funds can invest in commodities. In fact, mutual funds may provide a better way for investors to gain exposure to ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can mutual funds invest in IPOs?

    Mutual funds can invest in initial public offerings (IPOS). However, most mutual funds have bylaws that prevent them from ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!