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309 of 325 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for beginners
I read this book quickly shortly after I got it, and I was blown away. Many reviewers pick this as a book for "beginners", but I don't agree with that.

My background: I have read (and own) dozens of investment books. I have subscribed to many newsletters (including Morningstar's, which is decent but unnecessary after you read this book). I have owned many...
Published on October 25, 2007 by Amazon Customer

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64 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent overview, but didn't really learn anything new
I would say this is a good book for beginners. For someone with some understanding of investing and personal finance, it is likely that you will spend more time agreeing with the authors than actually learning anything new or insightful. It is a good overview of the investment ideas of John Bogle and his supporters, and has decent coverage of how to approach financial...
Published on March 18, 2007 by meltbanana


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309 of 325 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for beginners, October 25, 2007
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This review is from: The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing (Paperback)
I read this book quickly shortly after I got it, and I was blown away. Many reviewers pick this as a book for "beginners", but I don't agree with that.

My background: I have read (and own) dozens of investment books. I have subscribed to many newsletters (including Morningstar's, which is decent but unnecessary after you read this book). I have owned many individual stocks and for the last 2-3 years before I got the Boglehead religion I was lucky and beat the market averages buying individual stocks (although for most of my life I've lagged far below the market). I opened my first brokerage account in 1990, and I've been self-directed ever since. I've had 400%+ years as well as -70% years. I've even been in the top 100 virtual mutual funds on Marketocracy (out of 70,000), and I've written custom software to analyze the daily performance of the top 1500 stocks.

Having said all that, I wish that I had followed the investment principles laid out in this book from the very beginning. I would have a lot more money than I do now.

Before reading this book, I already had all my retirement money in Vanguard index funds. So you would think, end of story, you're already a believer. NOT SO! While I started out using the Target Retirement funds, which allocates your money properly for your age, I slowly deviated from those funds into the higher risk emerging markets index fund, because that fund was doing so well. It's easy to read this book and say, "oh that makes sense", stay the course for a year or so, then get seduced by the hot performance of a particular sector and lose your way. For these principles to work, you really have to apply them relentlessly, and I think that it takes either someone with an iron discipline or someone who's acquired "experience" in the market (i.e., losses that hurt) to recognize the wisdom of this book and follow it.

Years ago, I read John Bogle's book on index funds, and I agreed with the logic of what he was saying. Then I proceeded to ignore it for most of my investing career before I really "got" what he was saying.

Perhaps, if you're a beginner, you'll follow this book and avoid the pain and losses. The principles are easy enough to understand. In fact, if you want to save the price of the book, simply go to Vanguard, pick your retirement date, buy a "Target Retirement" fund for that date, and you're done. That's pretty much what the book tells you to do.

BUT, you'll need the book (and, in my opinion, the "experience" of following the 99% of the misleading advice out there) to really understand why this is the real way to go. You almost have to read this book every year as an antidote to the temptation that assaults you nonstop from Wall Street and CNBC and all the financial magazines.

If you're a beginning investor, this is it. This book is the mother lode. You can stop looking. Unfortunately, it may take you 10-15 years and many large losses to realize this (as I had to do), but take it from me (some random anonymous person on the Internet), this is the REAL DEAL.

Knowing what I do now, if at age 21 I'd had my choice of $2,000,000 or the wisdom to understand the concepts in this book, I'd choose wisdom. Here are two examples from this book to illustrate why. On page 13 of this book Jack Bogle relates a letter that he received in early 2005 about someone who's been investing with Vanguard for about 30 years, and whose portfolio had grown to over $1.25 million, but he'd never made more than $25,000 in any year in his life. Although they knew nothing about his specific investing history (maybe he just got lucky? we don't know), this figure is attainable investing $600 a month in a Vanguard stock index fund over 30 years.

On the other hand, according to an NBC News report related on page 180 of the book, more than 70 percent of lottery winners exhaust their fortunes within 3 years.

So, clearly, doing the right thing is going to have a huge impact on how much money you end up with.

Even the most experienced investors will benefit from this book (and in fact, may benefit more) by simplifying their portfolio. The chapters on asset allocation and taxes are extremely insightful, even to non-beginners.

After reading this book, I immediately re-balanced my Vanguard portfolio to better fit my age group, and to lower the risk that I was taking.

Even as an "experienced" investor already in Vanguard index funds, I learned something actionable that I was immediately able to apply. If you consider yourself an "experienced" investor, you will also benefit from reading this book. I highly recommend it. My ENTIRE retirement portfolio is in Vanguard index funds, allocated in the recommended amounts, so this is not an idle recommendation.

Read it and live it.

(Just so you know, I have never visited the Boglehead web site, and I have never corresponded with any of the authors. I'm just an uninterested third party who's a big fan of this book).
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased, Informed Financial Advice in Easy-to-Understand Form, October 12, 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Most people don't have time to read dozens of books about personal finance and investing. Even if people did have that much time, they would seldom be able to integrate what different authors had to say into a consistent approach.

For several decades, people have been asking me what one book they could read to be more successful with their personal finances. Until now, I've been reluctant to pick any one book. Instead, I would usually provide a list of 6-8.

Having read The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing, I can now safely recommend one book for the first time: This one!

Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBouef have five important advantages over other personal finance authors:

1. They are experienced investors.

2. They are well read on the subject of personal finance.

3. They've been answering questions for years from those who want to know what to do on Morningstar Vanguard forum and its related site, diehards.org

4. They are an expert writing team rather than a writer or celebrity trying to be supported by experts.

5. They aren't trying to sell you anything except their book which makes their advice more independent than usual.

The book's range is impressive. Part I looks at the essential elements of successful investing and includes looking at your financial lifestyle, how to start investing young and regularly, different types of financial instruments, inflation-protected bonds, investing minimums, avoiding complications that lose you money, asset allocation, reducing costs, minimizing and deferring taxes, diversification, market timing, money for college, employing a windfall and whether to retain a financial advisor.

Part II looks at how to track your progress and rebalance assets, staying immune from daily "news" about investing, being in control of your emotions, building up enough money for retirement, asset protection through insurance and estate planning.

The book tackles head on a lot of the bad advice you get about investing, while also being realistic about how much time and effort most of us want to put into financial planning. The tone is friendly, the advice is good and the warnings are appropriate.

What more can you expect from the only personal finance book you'll ever need?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative for a beginner, May 31, 2011
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Over all, extremely informative and entertaining. I was not expecting the guide to cover as much as it did. I was expecting a basic run-down on how to invest in the stock market, period. What it covered was:

-Basics of financial management
-Types of investments
-The most reliable investment choices (risk management)
-The most cost-efficient investment choices (taking taxes and fees into account)
-How to manage taxes economically
-How to separate the garbage on Wall Street (the "investment pornography") from genuine and helpful advice
-Stuff outside of the stock market. I was surprised to read about college finance, retirement planning and insurance management. Extremely informative, albeit for a 22-year-old those were the more boring parts.
-Did I say entertaining? It's got a lot of candor, but it's difficult to review something like candor. It is not too tightly wound up in professional language. It is certainly not text-booky.

My one criticism is the seemingly contradictory angle from which the authors are arguing, and perhaps this is inescapable for these authors, being that they are self-proclaimed Bogleheads. I summarize a theme that shows itself persistently: "Never take financial advice from somebody who's trying to sell you something; those people have conflicted interests! By the way, did I mention that Vanguard's no-load index mutual funds is a great long-term investment?" You may not think it's as poignant as I make it out to be, but I found myself thinking this over and over again for just about every chapter, and I eventually got to the point where I could see it coming around the corner. On the other hand, it is the "Boglehead's Guide," so at least they don't try to hide it. And given the quotations and literature they bring in, I don't think their particular angle eclipses the value of what they are saying. That said, I will certainly seek out other sources of information to contrast and supplement.

I can't stress enough that after reading this my brain feels saturated, like another part of me has been suddenly awakened. So many new ideas I get to play around with in my head! I will give this book another read, picking up little details that I misplaced along the way.

Like I said, very informative and entertaining.
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64 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent overview, but didn't really learn anything new, March 18, 2007
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I would say this is a good book for beginners. For someone with some understanding of investing and personal finance, it is likely that you will spend more time agreeing with the authors than actually learning anything new or insightful. It is a good overview of the investment ideas of John Bogle and his supporters, and has decent coverage of how to approach financial goals throughout one's lifetime. But after reading it, I felt like I did not gain any original insights, other than to ponder whether I should get my family an umbrella insurance policy. On the other hand, great books from Malkiel, Swensen, Swedroe, and W. Bernstein absolutely provided me with much material and original insights to ponder and consider.

So if this is not very helpful for readers with some investment knowledge, how is the book for novice? I would say it is merely decent. A novice reading this book would be pretty much following the advice of John Bogle, who is no question a GREAT man. But the authors seem to be constrained to agree with Bogle on everything, and do not allow themselves to further explore areas that probably deserve more time. One example would be Bogle's views on international stocks, where the authors of this book tread very lightly and conclude by agreeing with Bogle (almost seemingly hesitantly). When reading Bogle's own writings, his strong opinions serve his readers well. But when his ideas are rewritten into a broader personal investment guide for novices, I feel like the result is inferior to books by Frank Armstrong, William Bernstein, or Larry Swedroe, which seem to provide a broader perspective to help investors make decisions.

This is a pretty good book and has good advice on personal finance. But it is hard for me to get as excited as the other reviewers on this site. I think 3 stars is fair, as it is above average.
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Straight Forward Investing Guide That Works, September 14, 2006
By 
M. Larimore "RatingsFan" (Coconut Grove, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I've been saving for 20 years - The first ten years I discounted my father's "conservative" advice and bought the hot sector funds, stocks and gold coins. I thought I was doing well. Now I'm a little smarter - I see that my returns during the great bull market of the 90's were only single digit, while my father's approach produced far better returns. Now my Dad's advice is common sense to me and I know that I missed-out on a large chunk of the bull market because I thought I knew it all. I should have followed his straight-forward, common sense advice.

Fortunately this does not have to happen to you - My father(and his friends) wrote the book...Its all the advice I wish I had followed during my first ten years of investing.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Investing, July 26, 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Thurmont, MD USA) - See all my reviews
The Bogleheads'Guide is easy to read and can help investing "newbies" develop a plan that works for them (rather than just for investment salespeople). The Guide also contains quite a bit of information of interest to more advanced investors, including an entire section on follow-through strategies to keep you on target (including chapters on tracking progress, keeping your focus, keeping your emotions from undermining your investments, making your money last through retirement, keeping adequate insurance, and passing on your estate). The book is backed up by the "Bogleheads" web site that provides friendly and comprehensive assistance on investment issues and concerns. I have recommended this book to my extended family and recommend it highly!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for New or Experienced Investors!!!, January 4, 2006
By 
Brian M. (Hollywood, FL) - See all my reviews
The Boglehead's Guide to Investing offers all the essential ingredients toward building a solid financial future for anyone who takes the time to read and apply its' principles. Written from the perspective of three successful investors who have no motivation other than to share their wealth of investment experience with their fellow readers, they provide the reader with an easy to read primer on all aspects of building a successful financial portfolio.

A striking example of the successful principles outlined is noted in the book itself, when it refers to a letter written to Vanguard's former Chairman, Mr. Jack Bogle, by a longtime Vanguard investor. In the letter he thanked Mr. Bogle for allowing him to build a portfolio worth over 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS, while never earning more than $25,000 per year!

So I ask, who can NOT AFFORD to read this book?

In summary, if you are new to investing, or would like to further your knowledge of all the critically important aspects of investing, this book may very well be the best investment you'll ever make!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a beginner at investing, just go buy this book rightaway !!!, March 21, 2007
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I never knew investing books could be so well written in a simple to understand manner. The authors did a fantastic job at covering a wide variety of investment options and the pros and cons of each one of them. The most enlightening chapters were about how index funds were important and how costs, taxes & fees mattered in affecting the bottomline. They also suggested sample investment portfolios based on various age group categories to simplify things. The book simplifies and presents a no non-sense view of the basic steps one has to follow while investing. I was impressed to see the authors cover some additional topics like getting life insurance, the importance of having a will etc, which was an added bonus.

I only wish I had read some book like this 5 years back but it is not too late even now. At the end of reading this book, I am definitely a much better informed investor and am convinced that a simple common sense approach and a little research is all it takes to make anyone a decent investor.

If you are new to investing and are baffled by hundreds of investment options available around you, just go and buy this book rightaway...I should warn you that this book is not for short-term investors who like to time the market but for buy-and-hold investors only.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bogleheads' Guide is a winner!, January 7, 2006
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Hey Taylor, Mel and Michael and fellow DieHards,

I sincerely enjoyed your book. I learned more in 10 hours about investing than I learned in the past twenty years! Shame on me.

I ordered 12 more copies to give to close friends with an encouragement for them to re-gift it if they don't learn anything new or gift two new copies each to their friends if they did learn somthing new. This is an idea I "borrowed" from the movie "Pay It Forward" where if someone does you a favor you pay it back by paying it forward to someone else who could use a favor, and so on and so on, etc. Worst case, you sold 13 books. If the encouragement runs three full generations, you sold 85 books.

Hope you don't mind but I also recommended that they read chapters 19 & 23 first to "whet their appetite" before reading the whole book. Most of them have not yet been to the Diehards.org web site and therefore may not have the zeal for reading an investment book that I picked up from reading all the posts.

I have a question to ask and I'd rather not wait til you appear on C-SPAN's Book Notes with Brian Lamb to hear the answer. I know you three live great distances apart. How in the world did you collaborate in writing this book? In-person, phone, email, file forwarding, etc?

Another Diehard very accurately said it was written with one voice. I was impressed with that and with the humor and quotes used to teach the lessons.

Congratulations guys - This one's a winner - I think you'd better get ready for the second printing.

Pat

aka psquared
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for all investors, January 18, 2008
By 
K. A. Mills (Greensboro, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing (Paperback)
Of all the books I've read on investing (and there've been many), none were as straight-forward and enjoyable as this one. It's an excellent book for new investors, longtime investors who want to invest with more confidence, and young adults just heading out into the world. I wish I'd had been given the advice in this book years ago.
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The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer (Paperback - September 28, 2007)
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