My investment philosophy owes most to the writings of Benjamin Graham. I humbly cite him for a precise and definitive answer to the common question, "Aren't stocks riskier than bonds?"
[T]he idea of risk is often extended to apply to a possible decline in the price of a security, even though the decline may be of a cyclical and temporary nature and even though the holder is unlikely to be forced to sell at such times... This confusion may be avoided if we apply the concept of risk solely to a loss of value which either is realized through actual sale, or is caused by a significant deterioration in the company's position... Many common stocks do involve risks of such deterioration. But it is our thesis that a properly executed group investment in common stocks does not carry any substantial risk of this sort and that therefore it should not be termed "risky" merely because of the element of price fluctuation.
Following Graham's teachings and methods, I select individual securities, mainly common stocks, for clients' accounts based on each client's goals and investment time frame. I keep busy learning about the economic value of businesses in which we are invested or may invest. I closely monitor the risk of economic deterioration that Graham describes, but I am not moved by short-term market price fluctuations.
Please see two other pages on this website for more details on my philosophy: “Invest Like Graham,” and coming soon, “Share Ownership.”
Graham, Benjamin. The Intelligent Investor. Ed. Jason Zweig. Collins Business: HarperCollins, 2006.