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Index Funds: The 12-Step Program for Active Investors Hardcover – January 30, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Using a 12-Step Program for Active Investors, author Mark T. Hebner delivers investing facts straight-up, with supporting quotes from Nobel Prize winners. The dozens of original art paintings throughout the book (by Lala Ragimov) lend humanity and humor to a serious and thought-provoking subject.

Hebner begins with the little-known fact that markets usually outperform managers, and he sets out to prove this conclusion in a modern, understandable, and intelligent book. After his "lack of understanding of how markets worked had cost me a mind-boggling amount of money, " Hebner researched his portfolio's performance and realized his knowledge could help investors "break these destructive patterns of investing."

The author makes a profound argument for going against the common assumption that investors need to actively manipulate their portfolios in order to out-guess the unpredictable and random attributes of the movements of stocks, markets, managers, and styles.

--Joan Phelps - Forward Magazine

About the Author

Mark T. Hebner is the president of Index Funds Advisors in Irvine, California. His flagship Web site, ifa.com, is considered the leading Internet source of information on index funds. He led a team of over 60 writers, artists, graphic designers, mathematicians, statisticians, and researchers to build the Internet's most comprehensive Web site on index funds. Hebner has been founder, president, and CEO of three companies, one of which became a publicly held corporation. Since discovering the index funds philosophy, he has worked tirelessly to educate the investing public on the advantages of investing in index funds.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: IFA Publishing (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976802309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976802303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.4 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,454,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Stone on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author takes complex topics and makes them easy to understand ... with an intent of saving others from the mistakes he had made as an active investor -- trading stocks, investing in a variety of mutual funds, etc. Instead the book lays out the many benefits of index investing and provides a framework for someone to begin doing so through the highly regarded passive/index investment firm Dimensional Fund. This is the only investing book I've ever been able to read and enjoy every page of.
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Format: Hardcover
I spent a weekend reading this book cover to cover and I couldn't be more pleased. This book eloquently summarized my four years of Masters coursework, not to mention decades of academic research, in a style that is compelling and easy to grasp.

Reading this book will help you understand why a globally-diversified, risk-capacity-matched, small-value-tilted, low-cost, tax-efficient index portfolio is the only smart way to invest. You will understand exactly why stock pickers, mutual fund managers, and market timers mathematically cannot beat the market over 10 or 20 year periods... while the very few that do are the result of chance, despite their claims to the contrary.

You may also want to watch the Nova special, "The Trillion Dollar Bet".
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Format: Hardcover
If you are like me, you have spent far too much time and money learning the ugly truth about investing. Nobody can consistently over time beat the market. Nobody. This book is about a revolutionary idea and an obvious one: Invest with the market and win with the market.

This does not mean that "one size fits all," that there is just one strategy everyone should use. In fact, the author puts forward 20 separate portfolio strategies, each with a "play with the market" approach. Each with its own risk/return specifics. Each one a winner over the past 35 years.

This attractive book is literally worth it's weight in gold. Actually, it's worth well more than that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(FYI: The book can be read online, and pdf's of each chapter downloaded, for free, at the IFA website)

In part the book is an advertisement for the author's IFA investment company. It also provides the evangelical gospel about index investing in a very clear fashion. It's perhaps the most artistic book on investing ever published, and for me, very educational. The diversified portfolio examples alone are well worth the price of the book. Vanguard could learn a whole lot from the IFA website about how to present complex information to the public in an easy to understand way.

Here's the lowdown. There are two main index fund companies, Vanguard, and Dimensional Fund Advisors. Vanguard provides, for better or worse, true index funds. Dimensional Fund Advisors ($100 Billion company) provides mostly true index funds. One article termed it "DFA's brand of passive investing is not quite indexing. It eschews reliance on stock picking and market timing, which indexers also do, but it doesn't tie itself slavishly even to its own custom-produced indices." DFA seems more sophisticated in their ways than Vanguard.

As a side note, DFA is partly owned by the Governator Mr. Arnold, along with a bunch of genuinely smart people.

DFA doesn't sell funds directly to individual investors, preferring to sell their funds via independent advisors, of which there are many. IFA, owned by the author of this book, is one such independent advisor.

Best case scenario, DFA "may" outperform a comparable Vanguard Index recipe by as much as 2%. However, IFA's fees (IFA + DFA's + Schwab or Fidelity fees), on average, seem way higher than Vanguard's, to my figuring 5- 10 times higher depending on the fund.
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1 Comment 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Mark Hebner continues the service he has performed so well for investors that started with his outstanding web page[..]. In this book, he takes much of the material that can be found on his web page and puts it in his book, in an easy to understand, and overwhelmingly convincing manner. It is impossible to believe that any objective person reading this book could fail to be convinced that the investing public continues to be deceived by the financial services industry. I would urge every investor to buy this beautifully designed book, read it carefully and implement the investment philosophy explained with such care and precision in it. Not only will investors reap the rewards of being in the top 5% or so of all professionally managed money over the long term, but they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they will no long fall prey to the avarice of the brokerage community and other advisors who profess to have skills that neither they, nor anyone else, possess. Daniel R. Solin, author, Does Your Broker Owe You Money?
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Format: Hardcover
Having worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years, I have known about our "dark secret" for a while. Over the years I have provided thousands of "addicts" with their fixes, thinking if I don't, someone else will. Now, having come out of the closet of "smoke and mirrors", I can only hope that a book like Mark Hebner's 12 Steps gets a huge following among all types of investors. It wouldn't hurt many of my colleagues in the industry to read it too. Who knows, our profession might even get back some of the respect which we have succeeded in loosing totally. I am finally able to meet my clients with a straight face.
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