Here is another book review of an investing book. This is the second book I read in my way to personal finance enlightenment: The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf.
This book is a complete guide about personal investing, how to save money and how to invest it. I think it is a really good book, well-written and full of very good advice. The book is full of quotes from other financial figures and uses facts to support every argument. It is not perfect. It is very well suited to U.S. investor, less practical for international investors. But it still is a book I would recommend to anyone serious about investing.
What is really good about this book is that it is very complete, it covers a lot of different subjects and contains really tangible advice that you can follow.
This book contains several very important messages:
- Avoid debt: This one is a no-brainer :P The first thing you can do to improve your finances is to get rid of debt. If you can, you should, of course, avoid debt in the first place.
- You should start to invest early: By the power of compounding, starting early even with small sums will amount to a large amount. If you get some percent of improvement each year, this improvement should be compounding each year. That means that each year the interest is getting better.
- Know what you are buying: This one is very important. You should only consider investing in assets that you actually understand. If you do not understand an asset, you should not invest, you should always research before you invest or seek advice
- Know how much you need for retirement: If you plan to retire early, you should know exactly how much money you will need and how much expenses you have each month. It is important to realize that your current expenses are not necessarily the same as your retirement expenses. You may need more or less money in retirement.
- Keep it simple: Invest in few index funds that are replicating the entire stock market and stick with your strategy. This is a simple strategy that works very well on average.
- Minimize the costs of your investments: Only use no-load funds with very low fees. You cannot control the returns on your portfolio. But you can control how much you are losing to fees.
- Do not try to time the market: Market timing is not possible in the long-term, simply stick with your long-term strategy. It is almost impossible to beat the market in the long-term. Therefore, the smart strategy is not to try.
- Rebalance if necessary: When the market is going well, some of your assets will be doing well. For instance, stocks will be doing better than bonds in a strong bull market. In that case, you should rebalance by selling some of your stocks and invest them into bonds. This should help you by buying low and selling high automatically. Not everybody likes this rebalancing idea, so you need to be careful about that. The important thing is to be aware that unbalance will occur eventually.
- Diversify: Do not put all your eggs in the same basket. There is no point in investing in two funds that have the same assets inside. If you only invest in one stock or one market and that stock or market crashes, your entire portfolio will crash.
The book explains all these messages (and a lot more) quite well. The book uses many strong facts to support the messages. It is well explained.
Overall, I think this is a great book. If you are willing to invest but do not know exactly how to start, you should definitely take a look at this book. You can profit from its advice to elaborate a sound investment strategy.
The only thing missing from this book is some advice for non-US investors. That is the case for most books. You cannot invest exactly like an US investor when your country is many times smaller than the US! But that is only a small point.
If you are interested, you can buy it on Amazon: The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
If you already read that book, I would be glad to hear your point of view. Also, if you have more recommendations for books :)