About the FAQ


The Investment FAQ is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions and answers about investments and personal finance, including stocks, bonds, options, discount brokers, information sources, retirement plans, life insurance, etc. I invite you to use the FAQ as a comprehensive, unbiased introduction and reference to investing. Complete beginners might want to take the tour for beginners, which includes pointers to pages with advice, introductions to stocks and bonds, and helpful reading material.


The FAQ was originally developed in late 1992 to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in the Usenet newsgroup misc.invest. The newsgroup misc.invest.stocks was created later, around 1994. The newsgroup misc.invest was renamed to misc.invest.misc in mid 1996. The Technical Analysis FAQ was added in late 1996.


For some background information, browse these links:


Both this site and FAQ are works in progress. The articles get updated when I spot something good or when someone sends me new information. If you would like to contribute an article, or if you find information that is vague, outdated, or just plain wrong, please drop me a line.

Accolades and Publicity

Remember when web sites were giving each other icons back in the late 1990s? Well, here are a few relics of those days.
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TopTenLinks StudyWeb WebThisWeek 300Incredible
Here are some kind words that various people have written about The Investment FAQ.
  • Ted C. Fishman, a writer for Worth Magazine, mentioned The Investment FAQ in an article that appeared in early 1994 on how investors can use online sources creatively.

  • Elias Crim, a financial journalist in Chicago, mentioned the saga of misc.invest and recommended the FAQ in an issue of Futures Magazine in April, 1995.

  • In October 1995, The Investment FAQ was nominated as a finalist in the Amateur Division of the GNN Best of the Net for 1995, Personal Finance Area. The editor of the Personal Finance Center was Robert Carroll.

  • Russell Shaw, the author of The FAQ Writers' Handbook, mentioned the FAQ in his new book (as told to me in April, 1996).

  • John C. Freed, editor of the CyberTimes column in the New York Times, was kind enough to mention The Investment FAQ in his column of August 23, 1996. Here's an excerpt:

    One of the oldest is the Usenet newsgroup misc.invest, which in one recent week received 500 postings, with topics from the infamous "Make Money Fast!!!" schemes to a debate on how the Reagan Administration affected the national debt. One recent thread discussed possible security flaws in online trading. That newsgroup's FAQ has a wealth of information about trading in general and trading on the Internet in particular.

  • This site was kindly mentioned in Fortune Magazine's Technology Buyer's Guide 97. They wrote:

    The Investment FAQ site answers all of your frequently asked questions on investing--and some that you'll probably never get around to asking. There's comprehensive information for the individual investor on everything from stocks and mutual funds to life insurance and 401(k) plans. You'll also find an impressive list of books about investing here.

  • Fortune Magazine listed this site again in their Technology Buyer's Guide 98. They wrote:

    Can't find an answer to a particular question about investing? This is a good place to look. Investment FAQ, for frequently asked questions, offers soup-to-nuts information on investing, and a few side courses you've probably never heard of. If you can't find it here you probably don't need to know about it, but the site offers links to a host of other resources on the Web nonetheless. A varied investing bibliography will help you if you want to continue your research offline. There are also links to free charts from StockMaster and free research reports from Zacks. A useful site to have on your bookmark list.

About the compiler

I've been compiling the information in this FAQ during my spare time since 1992. No, it's not my day job, but keep clicking through on those ads and we'll see! If you would like to reach me, please use the Contact link below.


Many thanks to all the FAQ contributors for their efforts. Art Kamlet and Rich Carreiro deserve extra recognition for their many insights and explanations. Dan Waylonis shared his talents with page design and graphics. Mark Torrance of StockMaster was a great partner in the early years. Pair.com provides excellent web hosting.