Customer Reviews: A Beginner's Guide to Investing: How to Grow Your Money the Smart and Easy Way
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on March 25, 2012
I've read four investing books so far because I'm a beginning investor. I wished I had read this book first because the other ones were so dense, and starting with this book would have given me a better context of investing. "Less is more" is the author's writing style - clear and simple. It assumes that if you're a beginning investor, you'll do further research as you become more competent.

Two things I learned from this book that I didn't learn from the other four:
1. The actual number I need to save each year to meet my retirement goal. The formula is clear and immediately applicable.
2. How to create a truly diversified portfolio by investing in different types of assets. He taught me how much to purchase of each assest class and even suggested ETFs by their name.

What a deal for a $1.

Also, I emailed Alex, the author, and he wrote back with an answer. WOW! That never happened before.
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on March 20, 2012
If you're like me and have been blissfully ignorant about retirement accounts beyond putting money in them and choosing mutual funds based on the criteria you feel like at the moment, it's a really good primer. I already knew or had a vague idea of the basics, but it was good to read about them in a short, clear, format that was easy to understand.

The (kind of dumb) metaphors worked for me (comparing different methods of saving/investing to cooking yourself, getting take out, a private chef, or a tv dinner, for example) and the best part of the book, in my opinion, is that it is short and simple. The books I've been recommended are too comprehensive for me now, since I don't have millions of dollars to place in different accounts. Plus my attention span is not-so-good. Since financial stuff can change a lot very often, in terms of the tax rates, max contributions, types of bonds (so many these days!), etc, I think I'd prefer my information to come in a little booklet rather than an in-depth book to keep on my shelf.

It might not be the best book out there, but as I was telling someone today, as long as it contains valid investing strategies, even if not the "best", it can't be worse than what I'm doing now.
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on December 28, 2012
As I inch closer to retirement, I am becoming painfully aware that I have not done a very good job managing my retirement accounts. Don't get me wrong - I have always seen the value and contributed to my retirement, and I have my savings and my 401(k) and my company-sponsored ESOP. But the recent recession and fluctuations in the market helped me realize I haven't really been in control. I know I have options where to put my retirement dollars, I just don't know what the best options are. I purchased A Beginner's Guide to Investing (BGI) to help educate myself about my options.

The best thing about BGI is that is is very concise. It is difficult to find a book these days that doesn't seem to have a page count in mind, and an author who doesn't just keep writing to fill up that page count, when a much shorter book could convey the same information. Frey keeps things very simple and short, explaining what various market options exist, and how and why investing in a diversified portfolio can improve your chances of coming out ahead in the game. He uses everyday analogies to explain market concepts, which will be welcomed by many novice investors.

However, the tone was a bit too familiar for my taste - I would have preferred a more technical approach - and many of the concepts introduced seemed simplistic to me (e.g., compounded interest, the difference between stocks and bonds, and how tax deferral benefits an investor). But I understand this is supposed to be a primer, and not everyone has the same knowledge, so Frey had to hit all of the basics. Even with this approach, I also learned a great deal from BGI, especially the relationship of alpha and beta, the benefits of index funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs), and how diversification can improve returns and minimize risk at the same time.

It is important to note that the ultimate purpose of BGI is not to define the technical aspects of the market, but rather to introduce concepts that will educate the reader enough to support the long-view diversification investment strategy proposed by the author. This is not to say that Frey is pushing any particular fund or portfolio. His premise is that your primary purpose to be in the market should be controlled, minimal risk growth, and he lays out one plan to achieve that. Though Frey presents his case well, it is too early for me in my research to know whether I would agree or not.

I liked the book overall, as I did learn some market concepts I had not known, but I would have preferred more technical depth. I will continue to educate myself on how the market works, and perhaps revisit Frey's strategies later to see if I agree with them.
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on June 28, 2014
I did not find this book that useful and it wasn't quite what I was looking for as it was TOO basic. This book would be good for a teen or someone who just started working, to introduce them to some of the basic concepts. An informed parent could also explain these same concepts. A google search on how to begin investing would provide similar information contained in this book.

Maybe I am simplifying this too much but this is the takeaway I got: Save early and go open an IRA and 401k and invest in ETFs.
Author goes into details of why you should save early and gives example of potential gains from saving early and being informed vs not. This book does not teach you how to invest or how to double your money except for some good details on ETFs. It tells you how your money CAN double by using the rule of 72. Basically divide 72 by % gain = years your money will double. Introduced asset classes: (basic definition) bonds, mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, inflation protected bonds (TIPS), REITs, commodities, etc. Introduced sandbox/lockbox concept and how to keep your money safe and lower overall risk by not over-trading. I found chapter 9 (Putting it into practice using ETFs) and chapter 10 (Making it bulletproof) useful. That said, if you want to be reminded of the basic concepts and more motivation and reasons to save, this book would work for you and does the job well.
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on May 17, 2012
I read this book in one sitting on my kindle. The information was clearly laid out and explained. I feel I have a much better grasp on investing. My brothers invest in the stock market, and I can now understand a lot of what they are talking about and doing. So glad I came across this book!! Best $0.99 I ever spent. I plan on reading the author's other book, "Investing in the Stock Market: A Primer" since this one was so enlightening.
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on January 28, 2013
Book was well written and at the right level for beginning to moderate investors. This is not a day-trading book. Good solid advice for building an overall investment portfolio. Some nice advice regarding balance between pre-tax and post tax investments and reasons for both. Overall well worth its money.
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on February 26, 2016
Great book for learning the basics about investing!! My girlfriend and I read this and it opened our minds to want to learn more about investing for the long term. We are only 20 years old. The younger you start, the more money you have in the end!!! Buy and give to anyone in high school or college you know!!!!
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on March 15, 2014
I thought this guide was "too" remedial, even for a beginner. It mostly discussed "why" to invest, with a few basic introductions on "how" to invest. Definitely was NOT what I was expecting.
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on June 16, 2015
I started this book and couldn't put it down. I'm not into money ideas and not a practical person but I thought I'd try reading it. Great writing style and practical ideas. His ideas are realistic and honest. Able to be understood by any layperson with knowledge of business, stocks, etc.
A real potential life changer!
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on January 3, 2016
This book is a great step to start. It offers a lot more though if you follow the links, buy couple of the recommended books and Google or investopedia-search some of its contents.

It doesn't pretend to be a deep dive on investing and that's why I don't understand the concerned reviews about its simplicity and relevance when actually this is what this great book is all about.

In my opinion, this book helps a great deal by minimizing financial illiteracy (a huge issue in the US and around the world), while stimulates the average investor to think further or better on his investment options, decisions and actions.
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