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The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You'll Ever Need: The Good, the Flawed, the Bad, and the Ugly Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomberg Press (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576603105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576603109
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A timely and valuable book. These are good-sense judgments that every investor should pay attention to.”—Jane Bryant Quinn, author, “Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People”



“There is plenty of good information in this book for sophisticated investors to consider. The authors make this information accessible to novices as well by explaining everything in plain language, including a long glossary that demystifies the terms used in the book, annotating their text with the sources of their research and offering a reading list for  ‘serious investors’ (even though they believe ‘there should be no other kind’).”—Hazel Becker, www.nuwireinvestor.com



“A major success of  [this book] is its demonstration of how to obtain the purported benefits of nontraditional asset classes more cost-effectively through adjustments to the reliable old stock-bond- cash allocation.”—Martin Fridson, “The Investment Professional”



"A timely and valuable book. These are good-sense judgments that every investor should pay attention to." (Jane Bryant Quinn 2008-09-01)

"There is plenty of good information in this book for sophisticated investors to consider. The authors make this information accessible to novices as well by explaining everything in plain language, including a long glossary that demystifies the terms used in the book, annotating their text with the sources of their research and offering a reading list for `serious investors' (even though they believe `there should be no other kind')." (Hazel Becker www.nuwireinvestor.com)

"A major success of [this book] is its demonstration of how to obtain the purported benefits of nontraditional asset classes more cost-effectively through adjustments to the reliable old stock-bond- cash allocation." (Martin Fridson The Investment Professional)

Review

“A timely and valuable book. The authors describe twenty alternatives to investing in traditional U.S. stocks and bonds, and how they work. They tell you which ones to walk away from, which to consider (carefully!), and how to get involved. These are good-sense judgments that every investor should pay attention to.”
—Jane Bryant Quinn
Author, Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People  

“Larry Swedroe and Jared Kizer have written a different sort of investment book, and one that has been sorely needed: a comprehensive guide to the theory, peer-reviewed literature, and practical nitty-gritty of actually deploying portfolio assets. It is a gold mine for even the most experienced of practitioners, and a vital lifeline for small investors. This volume is destined to become the most marked and Post-it–noted tome on the average investment shelf.”
—William Bernstein
Author, The Intelligent Asset Allocator and The Four Pillars of Investing

“What’s missing in your library? Larry’s new Alternative Investments! You’ve already got tons of books on stocks, bonds, and funds. The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need is all about the future of investing, the new stuff that’ll give you an edge in the twenty-first century. An absolute must-read!”
—Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD
Columnist, DowJones-MarketWatch
Author, The Millionaire Code, The Winning Portfolio, and The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing  

“Swedroe and Kizer provide a thorough analysis of the pros and cons of each alternative investment. They recommend ‘good’ alternatives to add to a diversified portfolio of high-grade bonds and stocks. Perhaps more important, they warn investors about the dangers of truly ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ alternatives."
—Dr. William Reichenstein, CFA
Pat and Thomas R. Powers Chair in Investment Management, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University    

“Swedroe and Kizer have sorted through the clutter and confusion of alternative investments to provide the authoritative voice on these much hyped and frequently misunderstood financial products. Kudos to them for sharing their wisdom in a manner that can be easily understood by all.”
—Bill Schultheis
Author, The Coffeehouse Investor  

“What a great service this book is to the investing community! As investors reach out for higher returns, many will venture into the higher-risk category known as alternative investments. For those who are so tempted, this book provides an invaluable guide.”
—Edward R. Wolfe, PhD
Professor of Finance and Director of the Financial Planning Program, Western Kentucky University  

“At the risk of being clichéd, Swedroe has done it again! I make it a point to read every book written by him. This time, it’s all about alternative investments, and Swedroe, running true to form, tells it exactly as it is. He pulls no punches, he holds nothing back. If he doesn’t like something, he says so. If emerging markets equities are downright risky, he doesn’t mince his words or try to put a puffy spin on it. That is what makes reading Swedroe so fascinating.”
—Stuart Kahan
Executive editor, CPA Wealth Provider  

“For investors looking to go beyond an S&P 500 Index fund and a bond fund—and every investor should—don’t make a move until you’ve read The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need. Full of historical evidence, practical advice, and specific investment ideas, this book provides a blueprint for what to include and what to avoid in an intelligently constructed portfolio.”
—Robert Brokamp
Editor, The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service    

“As a financial journalist, I’ve been recommending Larry Swedroe’s books for years because they are filled with invaluable advice that can make any reader a more successful investor. I will now be adding The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need to my favored reading list.
—Lynn O’Shaughnessy
Financial journalist and author, The College Solution

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book has lots of useful information for the experienced investor.
Wizard
If we buy them, they should be for the right reasons as performance-chasing occurs across all asset classes.
Allan S. Roth
His writing style is entertaining, informative and supported by solid empirical evidence.
Kenneth R. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Stuart-Little on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book to be sometimes poorly researched in the sense that the research is often incomplete. Some chapters are excellent and are fully worthy of five stars and others are poor and only worthy of two stars. The recent unprecedented (or at least unprecedented for the last 80 years) market conditions compel me to write an in-depth review.

The authors start the book out by listing real estate as one of the best investments, but barely mention real estate/housing bubbles and the crashes that follow. (They devote one paragraph to real estate price declines. I can't wait for the next edition.) While I am not knowledgeable on all the alternative investments listed, such as the chapter on "Private Equity (Venture Capital)," those investments I am knowledgeable about I found often to be incompletely or superficially covered or even misleading to a lesser or greater degree. I consider this book to be just another investment resource that has to be critically examined and should only be used as a starting point for one's research or investment strategy.

None the less the book is valuable as it covers twenty asset classes and explains which asset classes are flawed or dangerous and why. Six good asset classes are covered, along with eight flawed, three bad and three ugly classes. The six good classes are: real estate, inflation protected securities, commodities, international equities, fixed annuities and finally stable-value funds. The eight flawed classes are: high yield (junk) bonds, private equity (venture capital), covered calls, socially responsible mutual funds, precious metal equities, preferred stocks and convertible bonds and finally emerging market bonds. The bad consist of hedge funds, leveraged buyouts and variable annuities.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Allan S. Roth on November 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With the stock market in turmoil, investors are looking for alternatives. Larry Swedroe's latest book with Jared Kizer suggests some alternatives that probably belong in our portfolios regardless of what the market decides to do.

Larry Swedroe and Jared Kizer examine twenty different alternative investments, and arrive at six that may be keepers for your portfolio. They also point out those that should be avoided like the flu, regardless of how exciting the sales pitch is. Professionally and personally, I've always found that advice on what to avoid can often be more valuable than advice on what to buy.

Swedroe and Kizer note the roles that real estate, TIPS, commodities, international stocks, fixed annuities, and stable-value funds can successfully play in our portfolios. If we buy them, they should be for the right reasons as performance-chasing occurs across all asset classes.

Current market conditions make this book very timely as it does a great job of explaining how you can implement alternative investments into your portfolio now and in the future.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By An Educated Investor on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so well written and educational that I read it from cover to cover in only a few days. I found the arguments for the "good" investments well supported, and the explanation for the "flawed," "bad" and "ugly" convincing and supported by facts and research. I only wish that this book was available before I bought some of the bad and ugly investments in the past. As with Swedroe's other publications, he has again provided the average investor with valuable knowledge without any hype or noise.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth R. Smith on November 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an investment advisor and co-host of a financial radio program I have read a voluminous amount of investment material from a host of authors over the years. Larry is clearly one of the best financial writers I have come across. This book illuminates the reader on a myriad of investment strategies that are rarely understood by most investors and financial professionals. His writing style is entertaining, informative and supported by solid empirical evidence. Summarizing a quote from Larry Swedroe, "there is a difference between information and knowledge, information is a fact or piece of data, knowledge is information that can be put into practical use to make better decisions". This book provides the reader with practical knowledge on less understood, alternative investments. I recommend this book to all investors and I would also recommend checking out Larry's other books.

Kenneth R. Smith. CFP®, MS
CEO Empirical Wealth Management LLC
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Stratton on February 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really like how this book covers a lot of assets that other books don't touch or look at fairly shallow. One nice thing is the illustrative simple test portfolios to show the effects of the assets under discussion and how they can be used. Alternatively for the "Flawed", "Bad" & "Ugly" the test portfolios show how to achieve similar effects/goals with less expensive "Good" assets and eliminate most of the gigantic fee drag and many of the disadvantages in the product being replaced.

Here's the table of contents.

Introduction

Part 1. The Good
1. Real Estate
2. Commodities
3. International Equities
4. Inflation-Protected Securities
5. Fixed Annuities
6. Stable-Value Funds

Part 2. The Flawed
1. High-Yield (Junk) Bonds
2. Private Equity (Venture) Capital
3. Covered Calls
4. Socially Responsible Mutual Funds
5. Precious Metals Equities
6. Preferred Stocks
7. Convertible Bonds
8. Emerging-Market Bonds

Part 3. The Bad
1. Hedge Funds
2. Leveraged Buyouts
3. Variable Annuities

Part 4. The Ugly
1. Equity-Indexed Annuities
2. Structured Investment Products
3. Leveraged Funds[/code]

One area that is missing is Gold as an investment. Author Larry Swedroe does have an article that covers that subject.

[...]

One issue I've noticed with this book is it appears to be out of date on products that came out after particular chapter(s) were written. In this case for PME the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) inception date was in May 2006. This the only PME fund that is an index with sufficient assets ($2.7 billion), trading volume and decent 0.55% ER. All the other ones in the book are actively managed funds.
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