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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Taking it to the new level.
I have read and applied all four of Dan Solin's books. This is a terrific addition to his previous three. In a nutshell, one can maximize return, minimize risk, and quit gambling with one's life savings.

During the past four years I haven't had the lows or the highs of the equity markets but maintained an honest return that allows me to sleep at night...
Published on September 19, 2011 by Grant Hiesterman

versus
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, only a mixed bag
Dan Solin's previous works in this series demonstrated the wisdom of constructing a globally diversified investment portfolio comprised of low-cost stock and bond index funds in accordance with a long-term asset allocation suitable to your needs. Where Solin has fallen short in the past is in the translation of this approach to specific investment recommendations, such...
Published on September 11, 2011 by Benjamin Graham


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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, only a mixed bag, September 11, 2011
Dan Solin's previous works in this series demonstrated the wisdom of constructing a globally diversified investment portfolio comprised of low-cost stock and bond index funds in accordance with a long-term asset allocation suitable to your needs. Where Solin has fallen short in the past is in the translation of this approach to specific investment recommendations, such as his previous advice to avoid TIPS (U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) and ETFs (exchange-traded funds).

In his latest book, Solin has apparently overcome his aversion to ETFs and utilizes several of them to construct his `SuperSmart' and `Smartest ETF' portfolios. Tragically, his bond recommendations fall woefully short of the mark. For example, Solin suggests investing 50 percent of the total bond allocation in the SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF (BWZ), a relatively small, thinly traded ETF which allocates almost 15 percent of its holdings to the potentially risky bonds of Italy and Spain.

Investors would be better served consulting the books of William J. Bernstein, John C. Bogle, Larry Swedroe and others for specific investment recommendations consistent with this philosophy.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Better books available (better investment ideas, too), February 11, 2012
By 
Al Dente (CO United States) - See all my reviews
If you are a dyed-in-the-wool passive indexer, Paul Merriman's "Financial Fitness Forever" is a much better book overall. Both Merriman and Solin reach the same basic "ultimate" portfolios - not surprising since they both start with Fama and French's academic work. I find Paul's writing to be more informative and less snarky. Paul also uses longer timeframes to evaluate portfolio performance, which is essential to getting a feel for how a portfolio works in other investing environments. Paul goes back to Jan 1970 for his portfolio development. Solin goes back to 1990, which I find statistically insignificant since it doesn't include the inflation and bad markets of the 70's. Merriman does a much better job showing how he develops his top portfolios and even shows investors in Fidelity, Vanguard, TR Price which specific funds to use in establishing his ultimate portfolio for their accounts. And he even goes one step further by showing employees of 50 top companies how to invest their IRA fund choices to best match is top portfolio. Merriman's book outperforms Solin's by a wide margin.

On the other hand, if you are a new investor, an open-minded and inquisitive investor, or if you were a passive investor who got totally burned by the false promises of 'diversification of a long-only portfolio' mantra, the best book I have read in a very long time is called "Jackass Investing: Don't Do It, Profit From It". The author takes aim at the 20 big investing myths (hint: "Buy and Hold works well for Long Term Investors", "You Can't Time the Market", and "Passive Investing Beats Active Investing" are 3 of the first 4 myths) and does a superb job of explaining, in clear language and easy to understand examples, why each of these are just plain wrong.

I highly recommend reading the "Jackass Investing" book before deciding on how to invest your money. Even if you don't agree with the author, I guarantee that you will have a new appreciation for just how tenuous the foundation is under the "passive investing with long-only index funds" mantra and why you may not want to tie your retirement to this leaky boat. As the author of Jackass Investing so comically states, 'Buy and hold is really not a "strategy" at all, but merely a way to rationalize losses'.

Also, Mr Solin is an example of someone who will make money off investors by convincing them they have no hope of ever learning how to invest their money successfully, and his company will pocket anywhere from .5 to 1% of your assets per year giving you access to the vaunted (and overhyped) DFA funds. Imagine your $1M portfolio providing Mr Solin and his company $5k to $10k/yr for doing virtually nothing to manage your money. And if your portfolio is down 15% (like it might have been in 2008), his company will still get $5k to $10k for that year. Wow, nice gig you have, Mr Solin! Ironic that he disses others in the financial industry.

My suggestions on where to learn how to invest successfully: Bill O'Neil and Michael Covel. They each have proven systems that work, and there is overwhelming evidence from the large number of people succeeding with those systems to disprove much of what Mr Solin talks about in his book. Yes, it takes time and effort, but your successful retirement depends on learning how to manage your money and earning an acceptable absolute return every year. Being a passive index investor and losing 15% to 20% in 2008 (like I know some DFA portfolios did), or having to wait 3 to 5 years for your account to rebound isn't the path to success, at least not for me. Read Covel's books to see how trend followers actually made good money in 2008, and will continue to make money in up or down markets.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Taking it to the new level., September 19, 2011
By 
Grant Hiesterman (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read and applied all four of Dan Solin's books. This is a terrific addition to his previous three. In a nutshell, one can maximize return, minimize risk, and quit gambling with one's life savings.

During the past four years I haven't had the lows or the highs of the equity markets but maintained an honest return that allows me to sleep at night.

The format of Mr. Solin's book makes it easy to read and the takeaways (What's the Point?) at the end of each chapter help keep the reader laser focused. Love it!! You can read chapters in varying order if you can't wait to look at a subsequent section also.

The documentation is superb. My favorite section is the Glossary. I read it a few times to help keep my thinking accurate. I went online and checked the references and they were accurate. I furthermore checked a couple of books out from the library to document the simple underlying premise.

Having read "The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read" before this book probably put me in a little better position to understand passive versus active investing than a first-time reader. However, the book is clear and eloquent with a wonderful sense of wit and dry humor.

I can prove my passive, dull, drab portfolio of index funds (with no fees or minimal fees) beat 95.5% of all investors since 2007. Can you? Buy the book. Read it. Do it. Sleep better. It is great to be in control for a change!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Smartest Portfolio You'll Ever Own, October 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's a very good book to get you started with investments. It teaches the value of diversification and asset allocation which is 95% of your returns. The media and Wall Street want to confuse investors and make them think they can stock pick and market time, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Investing for the long term and staying invested is the only way to go. The only thing to add is rebalancing. You have to keep your risk levels in check. That in essence is buying low and selling high.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, readable advice, March 31, 2013
By 
Roy (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This guy is terrific. Each chapter is 3-4 pages long and focuses on a single point which is emphasized in bold-faced typed at the end. Solin's work is grounded in extremely well-seleted details and evidence without ever becoming bogged down the way some books on investment do. The book also contains a glossary with clear definitions of all those aracane terms you thought you'd never understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Advice, November 19, 2012
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This book provides clear and practical advice on setting up your investment portfolio. The portfolios are based on research findings and they can be implemented readily. The advice offered will provide investors with a 'set and forget' strategy that only requires an annual or biannual review to ensure their asset allocation is still on target.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science of Investing, June 15, 2012
I am grateful to Dan Solin for writing his books. The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read changed my life. I realized that my investment advisor had no evidence that his recommendations were or could be helpful. I stopped paying his 1% and my returns have improved. I now feel much more secure about my retirement. The Smartest Portfolio You'll Ever Own has helped me see more about how modern portfolio theory works and that a rational index portfolio can, and has, helped me keep and accumulate more of my money with less risk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good smart little book, October 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the few books that give the amateur investor a good idea on what to invest in. Looking forward to seeing what the results are.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply presented. Easy to execute., November 23, 2011
Daniel Solin does a great job of providing practical examples of portfolios that can be applied by anyone to outperform the majority of highly paid fund managers on Wall Street. The average investor would benefit greatly from allocating assets as advised by Mr. Solin.

Despite Mr. Solins advocacy of the simple index fund approach, there seems to be good evidence in other financial literature that diversity in asset classes with the addition of alternative investments will create a more efficient portfolio. Mr. Solin does not completely dismiss active trading as he posits that one would not choose to be on the opposite side of a Goldman Sachs (GS) trade. This implies that their success extends beyond luck.

While I am wary of accepting any one strategy as being perfect, Mr. Solin's work is a straightforward approach for a practical and prudent investment style.

(From Dr. Michael Morgenstern @ Medwiser, Sanemoney...)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 4, 2014
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Buy it and follow the advice.
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The Smartest Portfolio You'll Ever Own: A Do-It-Yourself Breakthrough Strategy
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