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Develop a healthy skepticism
Ed Zore
President and CEO, Northwestern Mutual

I started out as a stock trader in Northwestern Mutual's investment area. I was very young and eager to learn everything I could. I remember looking through a list of stocks in the company's portfolio and wondering why we didn't buy more of the highest-yielding stocks.

When I asked the portfolio manager, he informed me that when a stock offers a dividend that's high for its category, it can mean that the dividend is in jeopardy. That's when I learned that if a stock looks like it's offering you a free lunch, you should find a different restaurant.

NEXT: Ignore short-term market swings

Last updated July 22 2008: 11:27 AM ET
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