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I just finished reading One Hour Investor, a book by Vishal Reddy. This book is an investing guide for beginners. The idea is that you can learn all the basics of investing in about one hour through the book.
The book is really fast to read and keep its promise of one hour guide, at least if you are a quick reader.
The book contains a lot of useful information about the basics of investing. Stocks and bonds are covered in details. The book even goes over the various strategies used for picking stocks.
Then, the book goes more into mutual funds and ETFs. It is explained why most people should favor them instead of picking individual stocks. Various investing strategies are also covered. And finally, it goes on into how to optimize investment taxes.
Stay tuned if you want to know if you can learn to invest in about one hour.
One Hour Investor
The idea of One Hour Investor is fairly simple: it wants to teach you about all the basics of investing in about an hour. It is made for beginners of the market. But it also contains some more advanced notions that could be helpful to more people.
The book starts with the value of money and time and their relation. It shows the great effect of compounding over time. And it shows really well the power of investing early. Indeed, compounding is getting better and better the more years you keep your money invested!
The book then goes on to cover the assets you can use to get interests from your money. They start with covering savings account and certificate of deposits. Then, the author covers stocks and bonds in great details.
The book describes quite well how stocks are working. What is really interesting is that the author spends time explaining the most important information about stocks:
- Market Capitalization
- Beta: There is a really good explanation for something that not many people know.
- Earnings Per Share (EPS)
- Price per Earnings (PE)
The book also goes into details as to how dividends are working. I found it really well explained.
After having explained all the details about stocks, the author goes into details as to how to analyze a specific stock. There are two main ways of doing that:
- Fundamental Analysis: Analyze a company and details and try to predict how it will do in the future.
- Technical Analysis: Analyze a stock price in details to try to predict where it will go in the future.
These two analyses are covered in details in the book.
Bonds are seemingly very simple. However, they are more complicated than it seems because they are also correlated to the interest rate. And this is something that a lot of people do not understand correctly.
The book has an entire chapter about bonds. It explains really well what is a coupon and how to compute the yield of a bond. And it also explains well the correlation between the interest rate and bond prices.
Finally, several kinds of bonds are also explained. The different types of bonds issued by the U.S. government are covered in details. And Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are also detailed. This is important because many people chose to invest in them. Finally, international bonds, municipal bonds and corporate are also explained.
Of course, an investing book needs to cover mutual funds these days.
The book does a good job explaining how mutual funds are working. It also covers passive mutual funds versus active mutual funds. Even though an active fund tries to beat the market (hint: it does not!), they charge more. Therefore, they are not worth it. You should prefer passive index funds.
One thing that I do not agree with the author is that he mentions passive index funds as having about 0.5% fees. I think this is bad to present it like this because you can find funds with much cheaper Total Expense Ration (TER)! These days, I consider that a fund with more than 0.25% fees is too expensive!
Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
And of course, the book also has to cover Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). I just think that the book could have gone in more details on this subject.
And there is another thing I did not like here: the author states that ETFs are for short-term investing while mutual funds are for the long-term. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding ETFs for the long-term. In some cases, it is even better since many ETFs have lower fees than their equivalent mutual funds.
The author also describes the standard American retirement accounts. The book covers the 401(K), the Roth 401(K), the IRA and Roth IRA. These are the most used retirement accounts in the U.S.
This is very standard information about these retirement accounts. It shows that you should use them. But I feel this is lacking a bit of substance honestly.
Finally, the book is covering a few investing strategies. It basically covers how much bonds and international allocation you need for each strategy. The author talks about the following investing strategies:
- Conservative: Mainly bonds, some stocks, some money-market, and little international exposure and some cash.
- Moderate: Some bonds (corporate and treasury), more stocks (split between value and growth) and medium international exposure and some cash.
- Aggressive: little bonds, most stocks with large emerging markets position and still some cash.
These are interesting configuration. But I honestly think that they are too conservative. An aggressive investor is unlikely to need bonds. And an aggressive investor should probably not hold 10% of cash unless it is for an opportunity fund.
And even the conservative strategy is a bit weird for me. I do not think 5% of international exposure will make any difference. A conservative investor should probably forego international allocation if living in a country such as the United States.
This chapter would have been much better with at least one example portfolio for each investing strategy.
What I liked
One Hour Investor did a good job covering the basics of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It gets into details but not so much that it becomes long and complicated. I think the author did a really good job of keeping it in focus.
It is really good that the author explained many terms about stocks. For instance, not many books cover the Beta of a stock. This is something you see in many places. But it is very rarely explained.
Also, I liked the explanation about bonds. This is something that a lot of books are not good at. A lot of people think that bonds are very simple. But bonds are not as simple as people think they are!
What I did not like
Although One Hour Investor is a good book, there are still a few big things I really did not like about it.
The first big thing I did not like is that it completely ignores inflation. It only shows the power of compounding interest in investing but does not take into account inflation. Inflation also compounds. This is why we need more than a few percents returns year after year to beat inflation. And this is often the main reason we should invest.
The lack of inflation means also that the author recommends savings accounts as a good way to invest.
Then, I also did not really like the chapter on ETF. It does not go into enough details. And I do not agree with its conclusion that ETFs are for short-term. I would also not have mentioned 0.5% fees for passive investing. This is already too much and will make people think 0.5% is okay while it is not!
The book starts with a few formulas on how to compute some basics interest. But then, it completely goes away and only depends on calculators. It would not have taken a lot to provide the formulas into the book.
I think it is quite poor practice to make the reader rely on an external calculator to make the same things as the book. We are not even talking about complicated formulas. All these formulas are fairly simple and should be present in the book.
Finally, I think the author should insist more on the dangers of stock picking. Most of the chapters are about investing in single stocks. The author covers some of the advantages of mutual funds and ETFs. But I should he should have put more emphasis on the risks of stock picking.
Overall, One Hour Investor is a good book. It will not make you a genius at investing. But it will teach you most of the basics you need to know if you want to start investing in the stock market.
If you do not have much time to go through a very large book, you may want to read this book. You should be able to read this book in about an hour. And it contains most of the information you will need to get started.
But there are some things in One Hour Investor about which I do not agree. The investing strategies proposed in the book seem a bit random and too conservative for most people. And they are lacking real examples.
Moreover, the retirement chapter is really lacking some substance as are some of the other discussions. I feel like some things should have been removed while others were discussed more if the author wanted to keep the book short.
If you are interested in this book, you can purchase it on Amazon: One Hour Investor.
Thanks a lot to TCK Publishing (also on Facebook) that gave me a copy of this book for review. It was a nice book to read. If you are interested, you can also find its author, Vishal Reddy, on Twitter @Kevinhorsley.
To discover more great books, read about the best personal finance books.
Did you ever read this book? What did you think? Do you have another book to recommend?