Personal-finance guru Andrew Tobias slams online trading and praises the Roth IRA in his newly revised The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need. This investment bible remains as stimulating and meaningful as it was when it was first published 20 years ago. It's packed with ideas about stocks, living beneath your means, tax planning, retirement, and just about everything else in the financial world. And all of it is presented with Tobias's trademark brevity and ingenuity.
Last revised in 1995, the guide takes aim at a new game in town--online trading. By all means, use the Internet for buying a car or for research, Tobias says. But avoid cyberspace brokers, he says. Point and click enough and you will get slaughtered by commissions, spreads, taxes, and human nature. "It's so easy to click 'OK' a few times and make a $10,000 bet," he warns. "Look how mesmerized we become on a stool in front of a slot machine. Internet investing positively teases you to play." Tobias's favorite new entry is the Roth IRA, which allows you to withdraw your money tax-free when you retire. It's far better than a traditional IRA, he asserts. "Save yourself the trouble of agonizing over the choice and go with the Roth IRA," he writes. "Forget the worksheets." Sometimes caustic and always a skeptic, Tobias believes readers can shape their own financial futures. Just stick to the basics, he says. "By and large, you should manage your own money, via no-load mutual funds," he writes. "No one is going to care about it as much as you." It doesn't matter if it's 1978, 1998, or even 2008. The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need still is exactly that. Some things never change. --Dan Ring
Since it first appeared two decades ago, Tobias' entertaining, commonsense guide has become required reading for the beginning investor. This is the "only . . . guide you'll ever need" because books that tout zero coupon bonds or titanium futures are too narrowly focused, and as Tobias suggests, books that promise wealth are a "fraud." Tobias last updated his guide in 1996. Little has been changed this time around, but information on inflation-adjusted bonds, education, Roth IRAs, and using the Internet to invest and to purchase goods has been added. Moreover, a 288-page, first-time, Spanish-language edition (0-15-600599-9) will also be available for $14. David Rouse
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