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Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes Paperback – January 10, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you had to summarize Fail-Safe Investing in three words, it would probably be these: Embrace the obvious. Look at your job, Browne advises. You get ahead because of your experience, education, and common sense. Your job is the reason you have money to invest in the first place. So the first of Browne's 17 rules is, "Build Your Wealth upon Your Career." Don't jeopardize your career; it's going to take many years of smart investing before your earnings will surpass what you earn at your day job--if they ever do.

The other rules aren't quite as obvious, but equally simple. Browne explains the difference between investing (making a long-term plan and sticking with it) and speculating (betting that you can beat the overall market during a specific period). He shows how life savings are easily lost when you borrow money to invest rather than investing only the money you already have. Browne also suggests a portfolio that he says is the simplest and safest possible for continual, steady returns above inflation: an equal division among stocks, bonds, gold, and cash. That covers an investor in times of prosperity (stocks), inflation (gold), deflation (bonds), and recession (cash). While many investment analysts would undoubtedly gag if you presented them with a portfolio that consisted of a 50 percent investment in gold and cash, Browne nonetheless makes a compelling argument that such an allocation makes it easier to sleep at night. And common sense tells you there are worse things than a good night's sleep. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Harry Browne is one of America's best-known investment advisors, the author of eight investment books, a radio personality, and the 2000 Libertarian candidate for president. He lives in Tennessee.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (January 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031226321X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312263218
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I rate this book five stars, less for the contents of this book on its own, but rather for the series of books that Mr. Brown put out in the '80's, _Why the best laid investment plans go wrong_ in particular. This book contains the heart of those earlier books without all of the explanation, which may be why the point of it missed the earlier reviewer. Browne suggests dividing ones portfolio into two sections -- a "variable portfolio" that you can speculate with and a "permanent portfolio" which should be set up to survive *any* possible financial disaster, war, revolution, natural disaster, or whatever. He achieves this by diversifying in several different classes of investment, at least one of which should be helped by whatever happens. So if it's hyperinflation that arrives, and stocks and bonds are tanking, the gold part of your portfolio will go through the roof -- if the great depression comes back, the bond part of your portfolio will skyrocket. Whatever happens, the overall value of your portfolio should move gradually upward. I know now that some people are laughing, what gold? Nobody invests in gold any more. You need to understand that Browne is advacating an investment strategy for the ages. So what if gold is in the dumps for a decade or two? When that disaster we can't even conceive of wrecks the world economy in 2020, won't you be glad you've got that gold bullion in an offshore account to help you rebuild your life. The "permanent portfolio" is not about getting rich quick, it's about avoiding becoming poor quick. The "variable portfolio" is about getting rich quick, if you can.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Honestly, while it takes longer than the thirty minutes advertised on the jacket and first few pages of the book to read through all seventeen rules, the extra time spent is well worth it. Mr. Browne offers the reader simple rules to learn and help one preserve and grow money wisely. As such, it tells you the easiest ways to lose money, and how to avoid them. Although I do not agree with his recommended approach to investing, I do agree entirely with the essence of his seventeen rules which superbly present common finance and investment misconceptions and skillfully refute them.
Speaking of his seventeen rules, the first five can be condensed into one simple rule: Forecasting = Fortune Telling. From Browne, we learn that no one can predict the future, yet many of us entrust our hard-earned money without any hesitation to modern day Gypsies- financial planners, emoneyf (mutual fund) managers and stockbrokers, who constantly tell us that they can predict the future using sophisticated eeconometricf forecasting tools. Browne reminds us that our wealth begins with what we earn, not with what we invest, and before we can invest, we have to earn. Although we can always borrow our way to bankruptcy with ease, we can borrow our way to prosperity only in our dreams. In the end, basing our earnings won through blood and sweat on the elaborate crystal-ball gazing of financial witch-doctors is the surest path to losses and total ruin.
Browne also delivers plain talk on risk, investment and speculation, and tells the reader that no one can ever hope to eliminate risk entirely. The best anyone can do is to develop realistic strategies for dealing with risk. As such, it becomes painfully clear that there is no such thing as a risk-free investment.
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Format: Hardcover
...according to Harry Browne, is the fact that "almost nothing turns out as expected." And yet, unlike in most other areas of their lives, in which they rightly view soothsayers as entertainers devoid of an inside track to the future justifying any go-for-broke departure from the straight and narrow of prudential common sense, somehow in the sphere of investing, perhaps driven by the fear of being "left behind" by the latest opportunities for speculative windfalls (and, need we add, spectacular losses?), millions of otherwise practical people are enchanted by one siren song or another: the claims of self-anointed "insiders" with "perfect" track records (i.e., a few lucky haphazard predictions from yesteryear masking the several dozen by the same advisor which turned sour), or the "scientific" systems of various gurus which start to fail the minute your money is on the line. By contrast, the desires of the great majority of us for the protection and enhancement of that part of our savings we cannot afford to lose as we prepare for retirement and beyond, can be best served by an investment strategy which emphasizes safety and simplicity - and which is diversified across four major investment media - stocks, bonds, gold and cash - so that, no matter what the uncertain future brings to the economy, our portfolios contain investments geared to respond well to each major trend - prosperity, inflation, tight money, or deflation. And with this strategy in place for those assets readers are counting on for their long-term survival, they still may, if they wish, speculate with that portion of their fortunes they know they can afford to lose.Read more ›
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