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147 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer on Investment Strategy and Implementation, December 26, 2005
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This review is from: Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On With Your Life (Paperback)
I was pretty impressed with this book. I give it an A+.

As hard and complicated as Wall Street tries to make investing..... to make you think you need a broker or active mutual fund manager, the steps for successful investing are very basic. This book does hit most of the basic steps correctly.

#1 is to live below your means so you can save at least 10% of your gross each year and invest it. This sounds easy, but it apparently is not since the average U.S. household credit card debt is now around $8,000 saving rates are below 1%, and average household net worth is below $100K. The book should have mentioned the classic book The Richest Man in Babylon with regards to the merits of living below your means so you have money to invest.

#2 is to use automatic investment so you pay yourself first. If you set up an automatic way of investing, then you can't spend money you don't see. After all, the U.S. government adopted automatic payroll deduction to pay income taxes right after WWII because it was concerned people would not save to pay their tax bill. The government using automatic payroll deduction to assure they always get their share of your money, so why not use this method to keep some of your money for yourself? If you use automatic investment, you get the advantages of dollar cost averaging as well. Automatic savings would have been a good addition to this book.

#3 is to invest your savings in stocks and use low cost index funds for your investments. The book got it right in saying that stock brokers are not your friends. Often their objective is to move your money into their hands per the classic book Where are the Customer's Yachts?

#4 is to focus on asset allocation, not which stocks or mutual funds to pick. This book does an excellent job of explaining asset allocation.

As a yardstick measurement of how well one saves and invests, the book should have referenced The Millionaire Next Door's expected net worth formula of 1/10 of your age times your income. This gives you a frame of reference to how well you have saved and invested.

A visit to this book's web site reveals how successful a good asset allocation has been the last 5 years. A good asset allocation helps weather the storms we occasionally see in the U.S. stock market......like 3 down years in a row in 2000-2002. The example portfolio in this web site includes a 10% allocation to the real estate area using a
Vanguard REIT.

All-in-all, a great primer on successful investing strategies. I would suggest companion books to supplement this book including The Richest Man in Babylon, Bogle on Mutual Funds, The Millionaire Next Door, The 4 Pillars of Investing, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Wealth of Experience: Real Investors on what Works and What Doesn't.
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