Now more than ever, you can appreciate the need for comprehensive investment education. All of a sudden, fifty percent of your nest egg has disappeared--- and the bad news? There never was a plan for income generation. Ouch!

Dwelling on coulda's, woulda's, and shoulda's isn't going to rebuild your portfolio. Attempting to become proficient in the speculation of the month will do little to decrease the long-term pain. Casting blame on government regulators and Wall Street scam artists does little to grow retirement income.

There are at least three things you can do to protect yourself now, and throughout your more quickly approaching than you realize retirement years:

(1) Actively support income tax code replacement surgery, be it Flat Tax, Fair Tax, or a combination; (2) actively support a Social Security reform plan with smaller mandatory contributions, higher guaranteed benefits, and trustee managed income portfolios; (3) attend investment web-workshops that prepare you for the long-term gyrations of economic, interest rate, and stock market cycles.

It's important to find non-product-biased investment education, so that you can knowledgeably choose the investment vehicles that are most suitable for your plan--- avoid education generated by product sales organizations.

If you choose to use packaged investment products, after you've gathered all the information you need, go for it. But spend some time (and a reasonable amount of dollars) on this six-pack curriculum before making any moves from where you are today:

One: Developing an Investment Plan. a) Identify personal financial goals, objectives, and timeframes for various interim achievements; b) Appreciate the importance of base income, and know what it is; c) Determine the appropriate Asset Allocation for personal goal achievement; c) Learn how to change an existing investment portfolio.

Two: Appreciating Basic Risk Minimization Techniques. a) Understand the purpose and use of Asset Allocation; b) Develop appropriate security selection criteria; c) Establish diversification and income rules; d) Adopt downward-only-flexible profit taking guidelines.

Three: Understanding the Investment Environment. a) Recognize and deal with the three cycles that impact investment portfolios; b) Formulate realistic expectations about investment securities... by class and by type. c) Identify and minimize the true risks inherent in investment securities. d) Win the war against fear and greed--- while others don't.

Four: Managing the Retirement Income Portfolio. a) Identify the different types of income securities; b) Formulate reasonable yield assumptions; c) Position intellectual and emotional blinders; d) Keep your eye on the ball--- spending money; e) Understand the "total return" shell game.

Five: Managing the Equity portfolio: a) Develop an equity investment selection universe; b) Understand that QDI rules, and study the rules of QDI; c) Formulate reasonable profit taking targets; d) Keep your eye on the ball--- realized capital gains; e) Setting up small portfolios.

Six: Exorcizing the Wall Street Demons. a) For Equities, using The Working Capital Model for calendar year performance evaluation and portfolio market value only for Peak-to-Peak performance monitoring; b) For Income Securities, using realized income alone for yield analysis; c) Using The Working Capital Model for all Asset Allocation and Diversification decision making; d) And the demons are?

Certainly, there are other things you need to know and appreciate before you will become comfortable as an investor. Terms like leverage, fundamentals, interest rate expectations, uncertainty, ADRs, and capitalization are a few of the hundreds that need, at the least, to be understood.

So an inter-active, Q & A workshop format might be more interesting and informative than a simple lecture or slide show. And you may find that the experience of a practitioner may be more practical and useful to you than the research and theories of the most erudite university department heads.

The important thing is to get started. When you're ready you'll understand--- consumers buy products; investors buy identifiable securities.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Selengut
Professional Portfolio Management since 1979
Author of: "The Brainwashing of the American Investor: The Book that Wall Street Does Not Want YOU to Read", and "A Millionaire's Secret Investment Strategy"