An Investor's Manifesto
Brian Gongol

I'm tired of being treated like a jerk when I deal with Wall Street.

I'm tired of mutual-fund returns that lag the market average -- even before they subtract management fees.

I'm tired of paying "professionals" who think that putting 2% of a mutual fund's assets into a single stock is "betting big".

I'm tired of getting reports mailed to me 30 days late -- telling me that a fund was liquidated 15 days ago.

I'm tired of watching 1%, 2%, or even 3% of most mutual fund assets get consumed as "management expenses" by managers who don't even have the decency to put out a two-page letter explaining what they did in the previous year.

I'm tired of writing letters to mutual-fund managers requesting more information (which is my right as an owner) and getting zero response.

I'm tired of watching the croupiers of Wall Street take multi-million-dollar salaries for delivering poor performance while millions of Americans have jack squat to show for their retirement savings.

I'm tired of paying penalties and fees because the market value of my mutual-fund account has fallen below an arbitrary number -- because of poor management by the people charging me the fees.

I'm tired of putting money under the management of people who think a stock is a piece of paper to be traded -- often as frequently as possible -- instead of a slice of ownership in a business.

I'm tired of entrusting capital to managers who wouldn't vote against a board recommendation if their very lives depended upon it.

I'm tired of getting substandard returns from overpaid, full-time analysts -- and outperforming them on my own using nothing more than a few good rules and completely public information.

I'm tired of handing over money to people who think it's more important to watch Jim Cramer than to read Benjamin Graham.

I'm tired of "professional" money managers who think three months is the long term.

I'm just plain tired. Now I need to decide what to do about it. It's easy enough to withdraw my own money and manage it on my own, but what about everyone else? Everyone I know and like is still getting a raw deal, and the obstacles to starting up a mutual fund of one's own or creating an investment partnership that can be joined by anyone -- particularly from within an IRA or a 401(k) program -- are considerable. Something needs to be done to offer better choices to the investing public.