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Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On With Your Life Paperback – May 1, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This little how-to-invest book, which elegantly summarizes our common worries about how to build wealth, was initially published 11 years ago. This updated, revised, and revamped edition stands the test of time—and of updating. Seattle-based Schultheis states his three principles of investing—allocate assets, approximate stock-market average, and save—then proceeds to expand and expound with personal stories and provocative questions. When is enough enough? What’s behind this Wall Street obsession to beat the market? Why do we need to lead a penny-pinching life today for a high retirement style tomorrow? Forget the complicated formulas, the diversity of spreadsheets. Concentrate instead, he advises, on understanding your burn rate, the meaning of diversification, and the value of being on financial autopilot. Like his peers (Suze Orman et al.), the author exposes two myths: “no load” mutual funds and “great companies make great investments.” All in all, solid and comfortable investment counsel that will help balance (and, eventually, grow) your balance sheet. Appended: partial list of index funds; notes; additional reading. --Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“It is a wonderful book. Indeed, I’m tempted to say, ‘It looks like I wrote it myself.’ Now, if people will not only read Coffeehouse but act on its message.”
JOHN C. BOGLE, founder of The Vanguard Group

“The best investment book you’ve never read.”
THE SEATTLE TIMES --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Palouse Press (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976585707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976585701
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,044,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Artephius (. VINE VOICE on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be on point. The majority of people do not have the time to thoroughly research stocks in order to build a portfolio that will earn the 12%+ per year needed to retire. Also, the book makes the correct point that it is very hard to beat the market in the long run, and by investing in indexes, a person can do just as well at a lower cost as an investment professional. If you are looking to become the next Buffett, Soros, Lynch, etc..., buy another book. If you are looking for a simple, inexpensive, less time consuming way to build a portfolio, this is a good book to buy. To comment on the one negative review, yes the author could have explained everything in 20-30 pages, but the writing is easy to read and when you get down to it, most books can be condensed to fewer pages. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
This review will be short... Simple, and to the point. This should be a must read for anybody even remotely looking at investing. Period. End of Review. You can stop reading now. I read it, and checked it against my portfolio and was horified to see that he was not only right, he was right on. Our Indexed funds consistantly aproximated the market average, while all my other funds were way up one year, way down the next one or more, while year for year, I did better with the indexed than with any other investment vehicle.
It is common sense for all of us. Of course wall street doesn't want you to know this, if you did you would stop pissing money away buying into this fund or that one.
More importantly the time I will save not putzing around with my investments, (usually to their detriment) I plan on investing in writing a book. In short, getting on with my life.
Great advice, Heed it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE COFFEEHOUSE INVESTOR is written for those of us who recognize the importance of the investment process to achieve our financial goals but don't want to take a lot of time from family, careers, and recreational passions to obsess on the matter. This is a book that can be easily read in a couple of sittings. In fact, the book's brevity is a function of its message. Commit to a few basic investment strategies and "get on with your life". For the author those life passions include cooking and mountain climbing, so you will want to indulge him a bit (bite?) to digest the book's message. Contrived, perhaps, but I for one will take my tips where I can find them. Schultheis' advice is to diversify our investments, approximate the stock market's long-term results by using index funds, and save. These are themes that other investment writers have worked in detail, but a 'coffeehouse investor' is not about overwhelming us with detail. Schultheis chooses his statistical references and charts sparingly, but they are persuasive. Charts showing the average annual returns of large company stocks over a one-year, rolling five-year, and rolling ten-year period in Chapter 2 clearly show how risk in the stock market diminishes over time. On the subject of savings, I recommend his 'retirement worksheet' in Chapter 7 as a good working model. Why index funds? The majority of actively managed funds under-perform the benchmark indexes, and that's before annual expenses, management fees, and taxes resulting from portfolio turnover. Investing as equity owners in the stock market is ultimately an investment in the "collective" creativity of our fellow human beings.Read more ›
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