A couple weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article that explained why the gap between professional and amateur-ish players is narrowing: the proliferation of information about every possible minutia and technique associated with poker playing gets debated endlessly on online forums accessible to everyone that the information asymmetry between the pros and the aspirational is quite small compared to what it once was.
That general trajectory applies to investing as well. The free, easily accessible information that we take for granted today—how much profit each Johnson & Johnson brand makes, IBM’s dividend history over the past century, profit reports from Chevron, are all easily available through a Google search. If you have a question about a company’s business model, you can find the answer in a couple mouse clicks in a second or two. Up until twenty or so years ago, that kind of information was only in the hands of the stock brokers and professionals that wanted to take 1-2% of your hard-earned wealth each year in exchange for managing your assets.