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Laying a Firm Financial Foundation

February 17, 2017

Hard as it is to believe, it’s been nearly a decade since the end of the Great Recession. Despite the intervening years, I know many of you feel as uncertain of the market now as you did in 2009. That’s why I’m so pleased we’ve devoted a special section of this issue to Schwab’s Investing Principles—a collection of seven fundamentals essential to investing success.

Our “7 Investing Principles,” are more than the obvious maxims, like “let your winners run.” Instead, they reflect our understanding of what it takes to be successful in good times and bad, learned during 46 years in business, serving millions of investors just like you.

My belief in these principles stems from personal experience. After graduating from college with a degree in finance—and, in retrospect, an inflated sense of my own expertise—I bought my first investment: an actively managed mutual fund with the strongest historical returns in its category.

What I failed to understand then was the fund’s excessive management expenses, 1% annual 12b-1 fee and back-end surrender charges. My naiveté cost me dearly—and points up the importance of principle number four: “Minimize fees and taxes.”

Today, we have an abundance of information about markets and how to manage our personal finances. At the same time, it’s easy to get caught up in the day’s headlines.

Which brings me to principle number seven: “Ignore the noise.” After all, sticking to your plan is sometimes the best approach of all.

Walt Bettinger's signature

Walt Bettinger

President & CEO

Important disclosures

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.