Favorites from Florida

02/28/2003 12:00 am EST


"Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected," said legendary investor George Soros. While uncertainty has always played a role in the financial markets, there have been few times in memory where it has taken on such an overriding position in investor decisions. Indeed, nothing represented the general consensus at last week's Florida Money Show more than geopolitical uncertainties created by Iraq. In this special Money Show issue we hope to clear up some of that uncertainty and give you better insight into the financial road ahead.

Last week's Florida Money Show in Orlando was a milestone event, representing the start of the 25th anniversary year for The Money Shows. A quarter of a century ago, a 19-year old, naively-confident Charles Githler walked into the offices of Denis Waitley , the internationally renowned author, seminar operator, and motivational speaker. Charles saw the potential in running a major seminar, and asked Waitley for advice on how to proceed with his business ideas. That first meeting led to a partnership that helped launch what eventually became The Money Shows, which are now the world's most respected and widely attended investor forums. That meeting also led to a lifelong friendship, so while Waitley is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world, he gladly showed up at The Florida Money Show to surprise Charles and present him with an award to honor his long-term dedication to investor education. Waitley's appearance was a great kick-off to an incredible three days of seminars, speeches, workshops, and panels.

Personally, I have been attending Money Shows since 1982, and I believe this latest event was the single most important I have ever experienced. We are at a critical crossroads. Decisions being made today regarding both domestic and global politics will have dramatic consequences for investors tomorrow. The war on terrorism, and the conflicts with Iraq - and North Korea - and fears of biological and chemical warfare have added elements of uncertainty to the investment equation that few could have previously considered. We are also at an economic crossroads. Beyond terrorism, investors are debating such issues as changes in economic policy, taxes, deficit spending, state budget shortfalls, Homeland security costs, corporate scandals, rising oil prices and ongoing problems in Venezuela, plunging consumer confidence, rising unemployment, a falling dollar, and the continuing decline in equity values. It is not surprising that many investors came to The Florida Money Show with a noticeable sense of frustration and confusion. While they did hear a diversity of opinions at the show, astute investors left with a much clearer outlook and a better understanding of how these issues might impact their long-term portfolios and investment decisions. For those who watch the financial news, there tends to be a frenetic pace that more than likely is a disservice to most investors. What struck me most during the recent Money Show was a return to basics and the emphasis on long-term investment planning and portfolio building. I fully believe that if you take the advice in these articles to heart, it will greatly improve your long-term chances for financial success. 

There is a tremendous wealth of information in this issue, and I would suggest that it be read slowly and over several sittings. Some of the items are extremely long, but I felt the information was too important to "edit down". For example, Steve Forbes' brilliant one-hour speech at the Opening Ceremonies is reprinted in its entirety. There was not a single sentence that I felt could be left out. For anyone looking for reasons for optimism, Joe Battipaglia spoke on the year ahead; his commentary is essential reading. And Phil Orlando of Value Line Asset Management gives an in-depth analysis of why the market is poised to turn for the better. For those with a more cautious outlook, Jim Jubak presents a fascinating look at investing over the coming decade. Jim Collins provides an exceptional overview of the outlook for small-cap stocks, including an exciting list of favorite small-cap stocks.  Chuck Carlson presents an educational seminar that takes the mystery out of financial analysis. Also on the educational front, money manager Ron Muhlenkamp of the Muhlenkamp Fund creates an intriguing analogy between farming, weather, and climate with the basic principals of long-term investing. His comparison helps put some very difficult concepts into an easy-to-understand light.

"In addition, this issue is also filled with a wealth of individual stock picks - favorites from the leading advisors, including long and short recommendations from Bernie Schaeffer, favorite nanotech picks from Josh Wolfe, and current lesser-known favorites from Nancy Zambell. These are all the specific recommendations that these top advisors believe you can add to your portfolio now, even in an uncertain climate.

We would also note that there was such an incredible amount of information shared at The Florida Money Show that there was no possible way of including everything we would have liked to see. This issue is already two to three times the Digest's usual length  As such, we will feature additional highlights from The Money Show in next week's issue. In particular, we will provide in-depth coverage of the InvestorPlace.com All-Star Roundtable as well as the market outlook and top stock picks from the Phillips Publishing family of advisors, such as Money Show favorites including Louis Navellier, Michael Murphy, Richard Band, Mark Skousen, Tobin Smith, John Dessauer, Jim Lowell, and others.Finally, I'd like to thank all the Digest readers who came up to me at The Money Show to offer their favorable comments about this publication. I always welcome your comments and suggestions, which can be sent to DigestEditor@intershow.com. The Money Show Digest is made possible through the generosity of Charles and Kim Githler  - who have dedicated their careers to promoting investor education. I hope this Digest will continue to play a role in furthering that goal.

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