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Financial Education
Old 12-02-2017, 06:51 AM   #1
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Financial Education

I'm looking to increase my knowledge in personal finance, particularly with regard to investing. This site is helping a lot ... thanks to you all. What material would you recommend I consume to further my understanding? I'd like to pick a couple of books and hopefully a good series of podcasts that I can listen to on the way to and from w*rk.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:06 AM   #2
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So I like a book called "the little book of common sense investing" by John Bogle.

One of the problems that I have is that I am one of those " Right side of the brain" individuals a bit more creative than analytical. I find finance and business boring and down right painful. so this book was relatively easy for me to ride.

I wasted more money on financial reads than I care to admit so depending on your background it maybe to watered down for you.

It's not very comprehensive though, which is not surprising because it's written by the king of index funds. lol but for a gal who knew nothing about investing 4 years ago I enjoyed it.

the millionaire next door was another good one.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:20 AM   #3
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Subscribe to Money magazine and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Just beware that they need to sell magazines so you'll need to separate the wheat from the chaff but their underlying themes of consistently saving and investing is no-load, low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs are valuable.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:36 AM   #4
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I listen to daily podcasts from UBS. Sometimes they discuss a particular sector; on Friday it's "The Week in Review/Preview", sometimes it's retirement savings or fixed income. Not all will be relevant but you can always skip the ones that aren't. They're good for a general overview. I also like Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" podcast, with one caveat: EVERY CEO he brings on his show talks a good game and makes you want to run out and buy the stock. They don't always pan out. Still, the first few minutes of the show when he talks about what drove the market that day are interesting. So are his responses to people asking about individual stocks.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:13 AM   #5
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Different people learn different ways, so it's a little hard to answer. But I will suggest one approach is to not get bogged down in details. Personal investing is actually very, very simple. Unlike most other areas in life, the less you do, the better off you will likely be.

You could do a little googling on "active versus passive investing", and look up some "lazy" or "couch potato" or "coffeehouse" or 2-3 fund portfolios. Simple does very, very well, and you avoid the mistakes that will likely cost you.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_portfolios

And you can test them here:

https://www.portfoliovisualizer.com/backtest-portfolio

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Old 12-02-2017, 08:17 AM   #6
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Personal Finance is such a wide topic. It really depends the areas of interest/need. Topics like investing, money management, retirement planning, etc. As pb4uski noted, keep in mind the other motivations.
Many financial adviser radio programs have good info, but usually are trying to suck you into investing with them. NPR use to have some good shows too on the topic.

Look at Morningstar, AAII, and your brokerage houses (for me Fidelity and Schwab). I've found good info at each place. I believe AAII will let you download a few article a month for free. If you need more basic spending control, Dave Ramsey maybe good to start with.

I periodically listen to financial advisor recorded shows. I have to ignore the sales pitch and capture the useful nugget.

Money magazine and Kipliner's are good general rags to read.

So what parts of finances do you think you have down pretty solid? And where do you think that you need some work?


You may want to look for some audio books as there are some services are becoming available. This might help for the commute.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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Here is the Boglehead's reading list. William Berstein's book, The Four Pillars of Investing, is one of my favorites.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:45 AM   #8
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I listen to the On The Money! Radio podcast with Steven Pomeranz. It is an NPR program. The program is general finance information with some investing and real estate coverage.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:28 AM   #9
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I found Andrew Tobias' classic "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" particularly good. It's been continuously in print for almost 40 years; the latest revision was published in 2016.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:07 AM   #10
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I agree with @flintnational; the Boglehead list is a great place to start, but it is a bit daunting. From that list, I suggest "Winning the Loser's Game" by Charles Ellis, and "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel to start. Both are classics and have been revised several times. Be sure to buy the latest revisions.

Again I agree with @Flintnational on the Bill Bernstein books (he has quite a few titles for you to browse) but be warned that Bernstein tends to dump his readers into the deep end of the pool, particularly if they are not technically/mathematically inclined. Read him for sure, but probably not as your first books.

One very basic book I have been recommending lately is "The Coffee House Investor" by Bill Schultheis. There are many books of this general ilk, but I met Bill on a financial advisor survey trip for a nonprofit I have been helping and can confirm that he is the real deal. I have not tried his recipe for pumpkin pie (in the book!) but based on the quality of everything else in the book I'll predict that it would be very good.

I do NOT recommend the popular magazines or web sites. In general they push the following two-part myth:

  • It is possible for smart people to consistently make money by finding and buying "undervalued" stocks.
  • The past history of a stock-picker is predictive of his/her future success.
The reason they push the myth is that there are about 1 million folks in the investment business (source: bls.gov) and the vast majority of them rely on the myth to fill their rice bowls. These are the people that support the popular magazines and web sites with their advertising dollars, hence making it almost impossible for the magazines and web sites to really tell the truth about the myth. It would put them out of business.

This is what the economists call an "agency problem." The magazines and web sites represent that they are your agents in honestly teaching you about investing and investment opportunities, but in fact their huge conflict of interest makes this completely impossible. IMO the Motley Fool is among the worst, but I have not attempted a detailed survey.

If you want a little more about debunking the myth, I humbly suggest the links in my post #6 here: Buying Mutual Funds based on previous results, in general, is a good approach

Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
Subscribe to Money magazine and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Just beware that they need to sell magazines so you'll need to separate the wheat from the chaff but their underlying themes of consistently saving and investing is no-load, low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs are valuable.
I've been taking both of these for decades. They are great for gaining some general financial knowledge.

Just ignore their stock picks. Every year they put out their Stocks to Own and Stocks to Sell for the next year. At the end of the year they tell you how they did. Rarely do they beat the indexes. They also recommend a lot of actively managed mutual funds, which you might want to ignore (or not).
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:26 PM   #12
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These Boglehead videos are a good start. There are also two Boglehead investing books I can recommend.

Personally, I think that Money magazine is just too much information for a beginner.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:01 PM   #13
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Videos! I forgot to mention this page: https://famafrench.dimensional.com/videos.aspx

The two videos with "interview" in the title are fairly dull, so don't start with them. Most of the rest are valuable, short, and easily accessible. The last one "Q&A With Fama ... " is to sit at the knee of the guru. Well worth the 37 minutes. Every time I look at it I get something new. The guy is simply amazing.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nightcap View Post
I found Andrew Tobias' classic "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" particularly good. It's been continuously in print for almost 40 years; the latest revision was published in 2016.


+1
Also, A Random Walk Down Wall St.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
I do NOT recommend the popular magazines or web sites. In general they push the following two-part myth:

  • It is possible for smart people to consistently make money by finding and buying "undervalued" stocks.
  • The past history of a stock-picker is predictive of his/her future success.
+1 on the list
I would add one more myth:
It is possible to time the market.

Really such simple concepts, but it took me a couple decades
to really understand them, why they have to be myths and why
I wasn't going to win the lottery in the stock market. Once I
finally settled for mediocrity (indexing), I started getting much better
results and better than my peers at the water cooler.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:59 PM   #16
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+1 on the list
I would add one more myth:
It is possible to time the market. ...
Agreed. I was trying to keep things simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
Really such simple concepts, but it took me a couple decades to really understand them, why they have to be myths and why I wasn't going to win the lottery in the stock market.
Agreed again. I tell people that I'm so dumb that it took me thirty years to figure out that no one in the investing business knew anything useful.

In our defense, though, it was really not until cheap computer power and the CRSP database came along that the myth could be examined and debunked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
... mediocrity (indexing) ...
Ack! I won't agree on this one. Over periods of five or ten years, passive investors will beat active investors 90% of the time. I don't think that's mediocrity at all. What sports team can you think of that consistently beats 90% of its opponents?
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:30 PM   #17
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The books I found helpful are these:

The Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam

How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan S. Roth

These first two are the ones I absolutely recommend.

I also have read these:

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – I found this very interesting!

The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich

Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig

The Investor’s Manifesto Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between by William J. Bernstein

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

And if you really want to get deep into behavior issues with money– Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, the only psychologist to win a Nobel Prize in Economics. It’s more than most people want to get into but I found it fascinating. It’s also a rather thick book.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
.....I do NOT recommend the popular magazines or web sites. In general they push the following two-part myth:

  • It is possible for smart people to consistently make money by finding and buying "undervalued" stocks.
  • The past history of a stock-picker is predictive of his/her future success.
....
Ok... find us three instances in the last 5 years in Money and/or Kiplinger Personal Finance where they have stated that. Just 3... the relevant quote, name of the article, page and issue would be nice so we can verify.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:21 PM   #19
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I found "The Truth About Money" By Ric Edelman very helpful in my financial education.

I also echo Money Magazine as a good source. I continually subscribed to it for over 35 years. I only stopped because at that point they were becoming repetitive for me (I'll still pick up a newsstand copy to read when traveling). But it is still a good mag for learning the basics and and them some of personal finance.

The important thing is to not rely on just a single source for guidance... they will all differ in some areas. But overall the good sources will be consistent in the basic foundational info.
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Old 12-03-2017, 05:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
The books I found helpful are these:

The Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam

How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan S. Roth

These first two are the ones I absolutely recommend.

I also have read these:

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – I found this very interesting!

The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich

Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig

The Investor’s Manifesto Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between by William J. Bernstein

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This sounds like a good list. I especially recommend

Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig.
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