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337 of 353 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Want to improve your life in more ways than you know? Buy this book! Its quite simply the best advice out there. I wish I had this book twenty years ago and followed the great wisdom within. Read and have a happy life of investing and have more time to do all the other things that are priorities in your life. Successful investing is actually quite simple and this book lays out what you need to know.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are going to read one investment book, I hope you are lucky enough to read this one. Its the only investment book that you need. One of the thing I like about the book is the authors give actual advise and tell you a great approach to investing. They don't claim to be #1 but give time tested strategies to make smart investment descions and spend the rest of your time where you need to.

Also trying to beat there strategy may only work for a small lucky percentage. So read this book and you really do not need to read any further.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
If you're an investor looking to "beat the market", don't bother reading this book; you'll find the advice far too boring; much too safe. You want adventure and love rolling the dice on some high flying venture that has about a 10% chance of panning out. In my younger days, I was that guy. I earned a very nice income and thought it only made sense to risk most of it on some wild scheme; investing was a rush; an e-ticket ride with wild aspirations and unreasonable expectations.

I learned my lesson, the hard way. The truth of the matter is, adhering to the simple, methodical strategies professed by the Bogleheads is your best bet to financial independence; it's a process that evolves over time; there's no get rich quick formula, but there is a "get rich eventually" formula which is practically guaranteed to work, every time, if the investor is patient enough to stick to the game plan.

This book was first published when the stock market seemed to be a safe haven, and owning your own house seemed to be a wonderful way to build equity. The latter part of 2008 and most of 2009 have been anything but an investor's paradise; rather, it's been a nightmare for most; a time of troubled investment waters where many have drowned in a tidal wave of portfolio disaster.

If you stuck to the principles of Boglehead Investing, chances are, you weathered the storm better than most; the advice given in this wonderful book is even more valuable now than ever. For anyone trying to build a financial plan that will weather the storm of economic downturns, this is the one book to own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Some people have commented that the advice in this book is sound and logical, but the flaw is that times have changed and therefore the information is outdated. How incredibly wrong and short-sighted! Yes, the days of 8-10% returns may be gone (it may be more like 6-7% according to Jack Bogle), but the information is still as relevant as ever. What gets to investors is that they've been burned by not one, but TWO huge bear markets in a single decade. They look at the paltry returns (1-2%) over the last 10 years, and then they look at the volatility and the uncertain times caused by the Greek debt crisis, and they postulate that stocks will never be the same again. Again, how short-sighted. One just needs to look at the history of the stock market, going back 100, even 200 years. How many past decades have had 2 horrendous bear markets like we've seen from 2000-2010? Not many! Times were tough the past decade, but things WILL get better, and in the past, they have! And let's look at the volatility we see now. It has ALL happened in the past before! Would you seriously think stocks have not been driven by negative headlines? How have World War 1 and 2, the great depression, and the cold war affected stocks? How about in more recent decades, i.e. in the 1980s? Stocks will typically go up, down, up, down, up, down, driven by headlines day to day. But if you buy your indexes and stick to them through the thick and thin, your portfolio WILL rise. Time is your best friend. It's certainly much better than saving in a bank savings account and have your money just sit there.

Extremes in volatility we see now are not unprecedented, and things WILL get better. Many investors invest emotionally, and that is one of the biggest things that will burn you. Don't fall for it. Hold fast, hold tight, and you will be just fine. Read this book and heed its advice!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a gem and eye opener for novice investors or people planning begin investing. Inherently it is biased as the title suggests for making a case about Vanguard and its product offerings though a bias that is useful, credible and most of all truthful. The essence of the investment advice is that you have an 80% chance of loosing your investment in the market if you are looking for a short-term bullish miracle and you have a 80% chance of growing your investment if you are looking for a long-term investment strategy and willing to stay immune from bad advice and impulse investing or as the books puts it Ivestment Pornography. It explains the different investment products offered on the market with the Pro's and Con's of each. Most advice is based on research studies of the market. Patterns that prove one investment strategy against another. If you are a novice investor you should feel confident about making your first investment after swimming through this book. Naturally you will make the conservative yet lucrative choice but thats exactly what the book teaches. If you cannot find enough detail about any one product, the book definitely leaves trails for further study and learning. It also discussed briefly about insurance and investment planning in the case of your death, absolutely read this information as it is just as important to know besides your investments because you could loose a great portion of your investments if not handled properly. It provided some very useful insight and left the ground open for more research. The book also covers tax implications of your investments, though a little more research to supplement what the book says should fill in gaps in understanding it.

One of the best capital gains you will come out with by having started your investment journey with this book is the Bogleheads forum.

What this book doesn't do is promote too many investment styles. For those people who buy this book, surely read all of it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2008
Format: 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I will not write a detailed review since many smart readers have written excellent reviews on the book already. I will just add my experience reading the book.
- It is extremely well organized and written. There are small chapters on all the key investing topics without going too technical and overboard with terms that will confound the reader. Instead there are short technical pieces supplementing everyman-talk that makes it a fun read.
- I didn't write it wrong. It is actually a fun read. Before you know, like a nice fiction novel, you are more than half way through with the book and have actually learnt a lot in the process. Cant ask for more from a book on such a topic.
- I am fairly investing savvy but I still found this book to have a lot of good tips and information worth learning.

Highly recommended for the first time investor or anyone who wants to read "The One" book before jumping in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous book. It's all you really need to know about investing. It's basic, but you don't need to go deeper than this if you don't want to. I've always felt like I didn't know what to do when it came to investing, and never trusted 'financial advisors'. Now I can confidently do it all myself (and probably outperform those that pay an advisor a percentage to manage their money).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I just graduated college and was reading a few blogs that recommended this book. I needed something for a new gradurate to get started on the right foot. However, after reading it I can see where it can be great for everyone. One of the biggest concepts I retained was regarding commissions and fees. That 1% in there really doesn't seem like to much. However, adding it over time really has a substantial effect. One of their recommendations was to have other sources of income. I took that to heart, and developed a book club like blog, which reviews books about increasing your wealth. I started out with this one. If you want to read it with me head over to [...] . If not, enjoy the book, it is well worth your time.
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