DIY Investor is an unabashed fan of Dan Solin. I just want that out front. In fact, when I detect a person is searching for a DIY investment philosophy or even when I feel they would benefit from considering a different approach to investing, I strongly recommend Solin's The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read. The book can be read in a weekend and presents the case for low-cost indexing. For those who don't like to read, DIY Investor directs them to Solin's talk on YouTube as part of Google's author series.
Solin stands out from the "how to invest" crowd because he is a securities arbitration lawyer. He has seen first hand the portfolios and lives destroyed by unscrupulous brokers.
One of the cases he has come across is presented in this post from Arianna Capital Management. The Salomon Smith Barney broker took a conservative portfolio of muni bonds and used it as collateral to buy stock on margin. In the process, he lost over $2.0 million for the client. The interesting point is that, for an account that had an average value of $3.6 million, "...the brokerage firm gained $1.3 million (in commissions and margin interest) for “managing” this portfolio." Although admittedly an extreme case, Solin points out this is how wealth is transferred from clients to brokers.
It is also well worth noting that the $1.3 million portfolio would have been worth in excess of $5 million, on a conservative estimate, if it had been managed with low-cost indexed funds.
If you are seeking investment help, look at the video here on my services. If you are seeking a different approach to managing your assets, you have landed at the right spot. I am a fee-only advisor registered in the State of Maryland, charge less than half the going rate for investment management, and seek to teach individuals how to manage their own assets using low-cost indexed exchange traded funds. Please call or email me if interested in further details. My website is at http://www.rwinvestmentstrategies.com. If you are new to investing, take a look at the "DIY Investor Newbie" posts here by typing "newbie" in the search box above to the left. These take you through the basics of what you need to know in getting started on doing your own investing.