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Book recommendation for spouse
Old 08-05-2010, 07:59 PM   #1
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Book recommendation for spouse

My spouse has decided that she wants to understand our investments and has asked me to get a book for her to read that explains everything. I need to get something that is easy to read, or as easy as possible for an investment book, and most importantly, explains the terminology before using it. If she starts reading about bonds, mutual funds, etc, without a prior description, it's going to be a hard read.

I pretty much follow Bernstein's approach to investing and I'm thinking of getting her his latest book, Investor's Manifesto, but I'm wondering if there might be a better choice.

Any recommendations?
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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I like Swedroe's " the only guide" collection. I think he does a good job of explaining various investments.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:07 PM   #3
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Solin's books are succinct and right on, IMHO.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:09 PM   #4
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I would start with something a little easier than Bernstein . My first investment book was Financial Planning for the Utterly Confused by Lerner . It explains everything in simple terms . If you give her too complicated of a book she may lose interest .
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiki View Post
My spouse has decided that she wants to understand our investments and has asked me to get a book for her to read that explains everything. I need to get something that is easy to read, or as easy as possible for an investment book, and most importantly, explains the terminology before using it. If she starts reading about bonds, mutual funds, etc, without a prior description, it's going to be a hard read.
We might be in-laws!

My wife is very visually oriented when it comes to learning (she's an artist and suffers from dyslexia) so when she asked me the same question it took a while to find the right kind of books. I didn't want anything childish (she was also a banker with dyslexia -which still amazes me) but it would help if it explained things from the ground up, and included diagrams and pictures.

Here's the one that she said was easy for her to understand and she enjoyed learning from it: Amazon.com: The Wall Street Journal Guide To Understanding Personal Finance (9780743216968): Kenneth M. Morris, Alan H. Siegel: Books

It may be a little dated on some things, but it has been a good place to get started.

I will also add that I am discovering that, at least in the case of my wife, doing rather than reading helps a lot. So, we don't just talk about capital gains, I dig out a blank Schedule D and show her how to fill it out using an end-of-year statement. Also, working with a certain concept from different angles seems to help also. So, when we talk about something different, I always find a way to tie it back into something she's already learned, even if it's just a contrast, and it helps her create a better picture in her mind.


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Old 08-05-2010, 09:36 PM   #6
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I agree that Bernstein would be too much at this point. I think Swedroe also fits into that category. She needs something that's a bit more approachable and if she finds finance interesting enough, then she can move onto these books.

This is a great list to start with. I found them all at the library and I put them on hold. This way she can try a few of them out and see which one she likes best.

Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:49 AM   #7
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The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias. I read the first edition 20 years ago, it's one of the three things I credit with being able to retire early (the other two are luck and the asset allocation theory).

He's a good writer, the book has a conversational tone, like your friendly uncle is explaining it to you. I've been recommending this book since I read it.

Amazon.com: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need: Newly Revised and…
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:06 AM   #8
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It has been ages since I read Tobias's book, but I do remember it fondly as one of the first investment books I read and quite good.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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Personally, I do not think there is anything better than The Coffeehouse Investor for simple and easy. Short, visually oriented.

Amazon.com: The New Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on with Your Life (9781591842453): Bill Schultheis: Books
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:15 AM   #10
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One of the best points is made very simply here--Outfox the Box:

The Coffeehouse Investor Outfox the Box
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:12 PM   #11
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Another vote for Tobias' Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need. I think it's great for someone completely new to investing.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:38 AM   #12
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I recommend "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" I have given it to my teenager to read. It's simple, but very thorough.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:54 AM   #13
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I also like Andy Tobias' book.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:55 AM   #14
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Yet another vote for Tobias, The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need.

Just as excellent for people new to investing are Larimore, et al, The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing and Chilton, The Wealthy Barber.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:22 AM   #15
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I'm also a Bernstein follower and while Investor's Manifesto is the most basic, it's probably too much to start with. I too would recommend the ORIGINAL Coffeehouse Investor for a beginner. The NEW Coffeehouse Investor is NOT as good a choice IMO - I was very surprised reading it, he added unnecessary complexity to what was an excellent first book from my POV. I also have the Tobias book and it was good, but it's pretty dated now...
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:10 AM   #16
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I agree with Coffehouse Investor. I remember reading the original book after Bernstein, etc, and felt that it was too basic, but that's because I read all of the other stuff. For someone starting it out, it couldn't be better: it's short and to the point.

I think that'll be book #2 after a more general personal finance book.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:10 PM   #17
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Get the 1998 edition of Coffeehouse here:
the coffeehouse investor - AbeBooks

And Andy Tobias' book has been updated from time to time (he says):
Andrew Tobias: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:15 PM   #18
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I'm not sure I've read books on this subject but everything I have read in both the Idiots and Dummies series of books has been excellent. Check them out at your local library.
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