A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

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A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Taylor Larimore » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:06 pm

Bogleheads:

For more than 25 years, The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias has been a favorite financial guide for millions of readers. I first read it many years ago and have benefited from its friendly design and easily understandable advice. Below are excerpts from the book's paperback (2005) edition. Enjoy and learn:

"The welter of investment choices and the thicket of jargon and pitches have grown a great deal more dense. Perhaps this book can be your machete."

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means." Calvin Coolidge quote

"It is a fact that 90% or more of the people who play the commodities game get burned."

"The simplest, safest, most sensible way to earn 18% or 20% on your money is to pay off your credit cards."

"Buy a used car. That 'new-car smell' is the most expensive fragrance in the world."

"Insurance salesmen are eager to sell whole-life policies because their commissions are so much higher. But you would be wiser to buy renewable term insurance and do your savings separately."

"Don't miss fairmark.com to help you with tax questions."

"Trust no one. You've got to take responsibility for your own affairs."

"The simple investments are very often the best. And that goes, too, for the simple loans, the simple insurance, and the simple financial plans."

"A very basic thing to know about your money is that, over the really long run, people who by stocks will almost surely make a lot more money (if they're at all sensible in how they do it) then people who make 'safer' investments."

"I have never bought a Treasury bill in my life. For me, it's easier just to use money-market funds."

"If anything, you should shy away from bonds that pay exceptional interest: there is a reason they pay so well."

"The one thing on which there is nearly unanimous agreement is the difficulty of predicting interest rates."

"Never buy long-term bonds unless they are 'noncallable' and the general level of interest rates is very high."

"Picking individual stocks doesn't make sense for most people. The way to invest for stock-market appreciation is by investing in no-load mutual funds."

"A terrific alternative or supplement to the education savings account is the Qualified Tuition Program, known as a 529 plan. -- Right now, the Nevada plan offers my three favorite mutual funds from Vanguard: a domestic stick stock index fund, an international index fund, and a fund that invests in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities."

"If you're young and/or in a low tax bracket, but even if you're not, you should probably open a Roth IRA and fund it to the maximum every year."

"If you were thinking of a variable annuity, buy a no-load stock-market mutual fund instead. You'll save sales fees and insurance charges; you'll suffer no penalty for early withdrawal; and you'll enjoy considerable, albeit different, tax advantages."

"If you write large checks to charity each year, you can save a lot of money in taxes by giving appreciated securities instead."

"There are three compelling reasons to invest a large portion of your funds in stocks: 1) Unlike bonds, stocks offer at least the potential of keeping up with inflation; 2) Over the long run--and it may be a very long run--stocks will outperform 'safer' investments; 3) If all goes well, stocks can act as a tax shelter."

"Most people should do their stock-market investing through no-load index funds--mutual fund that don't attempt to actively pick the best stocks, but just passively invest in all the stocks in the index they are designed to match. If you do, you will outperform at least 90% of all your friends and neighbors."

"A lifetime of periodic investments--adding to your investment fund $100 a month or $750 a montrh or whatever you can comfortably afford--is the ticket to financial security."

"Buy and large, for your long-term money, 'buy and hold' is the way to go."

"Just because it's easy to buy and sell stocks on a moment's notice, or get an up-to-the-minute quote, doesn't mean you should."

"Don't waste money subscribing to investment letters or expensive services."

"If you have both taxable and tax-sheltered portfolios, keep your riskiest holding outside your tax-sheltered accounts."

"There are no brokers who can beat the market consistently and by enough of a margin to more than make up for their brokerage fees."

"If you get 256 people into a room and give them each a coin to flip, -- one will flip heads eight times in a row. What talent! What genius! What nonsense."

"The random walk theory naturally is anathema to the men and women whose livelihoods and self-esteem depend on convincing clients they know which way stock prices will go."

"There is an old joke on Wall Street: 'The broker made money and the firm made money--and two out of three ain't bad."

"If you get a hot tip, make a note of it and pretend to be very interested. But don't buy."

"Charts look like they should work, but they don't. Everybody uses them anyway, just as everyone consults astrology columns in newspapers.--To quote Malkiel: 'The results reveal conclusively that past movements in stock prices cannot be used to foretell future movements. The stock market has no memory.' "

"Internet investing positively teases you to play. It make you feel powerful--moving thousand of dollars in and out, click, click, click. Talk about computer games! -- Four things will surely get you: the commissions, the spreads, the taxes, and human nature (addictive gambling)."

"You can find a fee-only planner through napfa.org or garrettplannningnetwork.com."

"What to do, then, should you have the ill fortune to inherit a million dollars? Do not buy a boat."

"A U.S. investor in 1929 who was wise enough to place 50% in foreign stocks would have needed only five years to recover from the worst crash in American history."

"What you are looking for is that rare mutual fund that does better than average in both up and down markets. Many elaborate studies have been conducted to identify such funds. None has worked. -- Studies have shown that funds with low expenses consistently outperform funds with high expenses."

"This is a very simple concept but profound: just by investing all the money you have earmarked for the stock market in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund, you will generally do better than most bank trust department, mutual fund managers, and private investors--with far less effort."

ETFs vs. Mutual Funds: "When all is said and done, it largely comes down to what's most convenient: If you already have a deep-discount brokerage account, buy VIPERs. If you already invest with Vanguard, buy its fund."

"John Bogle founded Vanguard in 1974 with the clear intention of making it the low-cost provider in the mutual fund field. He succeeded brilliantly."

Thank you Andy Tobias!

MORE INVESTMENT GEMS

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby LadyGeek » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:33 pm

It's now in the wiki: Taylor Larimore's Investment Gems
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby scouter » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:02 pm

Thanks for this, Taylor. I've read all of Andrew Tobias" books many times, and they made me a Boglehead before anyone was called that. Very entertaining writing, lots of humor, and lots of common sense.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby retiredjg » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:12 pm

I stumbled on this book way back when I was a young-un. It showed me the better choices and helped keep me on the right path for many years. It was only after I retired that I became a Boglehead.

I recommend this book for anyone looking for sound financial advice, much of which is stuff you need to know or do before you start investing.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby oragne lovre » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:42 pm

Better yet, it's now available for Kindle download.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Beagler » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:53 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

For more than 25 years, The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias has been a favorite financial guide for millions of readers. I first read it many years ago and have benefited from its friendly design and easily understandable advice. Below are excerpts from the book's latest paperback (2005) edition. Enjoy and learn:

"There are three compelling reasons to invest a large portion of your funds in stocks: 1) Unlike bonds, stocks offer at least the potential of keeping up with inflation...."



"On this we can be categorical. There is no close time connection between inflationary (or deflationary) conditions and the movement of common-stock earnings and prices. The obvious example is the recent period 1966-1970. The rise in the cost of living was 22%...but both stock earnings and stock prices have declined since 1965. There are similar contradictions in both directions in the record of previous five-year periods." -- Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor, 4th revised edition.

"For many years, the conventional wisdom insisted that stocks were a hedge against inflation. The proposition was rooted in the fact that stocks are not claims against dollars, as bonds are, but represent ownership of companies with productive facilities. These, investors believed, would retain their Value in real terms, let the politicians print money as they might. And why didn't it turn but that way? The main reason, I believe, is that stocks, in economic substance, are really very similar to bonds." -- Warren E. Buffett, How Inflation Swindles the Equity Investor
Last edited by Beagler on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Jerilynn » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:38 am

There is a newer edition published in Jan 2011. It's updated from the 2005 book. I'm not sure why it doesn't show up on Amazon when using the URL Taylor posted in the OP. Well, the kindle edition does, but the paperback is the 2005 version. Sometimes Amazon is kooky.


http://www.amazon.com/Only-Investment-G ... 020&sr=8-2
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby snyder66 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:10 am

This was one of the first investment books I have ever read. I loved it! It's simple to read, great fro beginner as well as expeienced investor. It does not talk over your head like some investment book seem to do. I may have to revisit.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby nisiprius » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:47 am

ETFs vs. Mutual Funds: "When all is said and done, it largely comes down to what's most convenient: If you already have a deep-discount brokerage account, buy VIPERs. If you already invest with Vanguard, buy its fund."
While I love this book, I feel it has not aged well; it simply hasn't received the degree of revision it needs. This quote is a case in point. There's nothing wrong with it, it's perfectly accurate, but Vanguard ETFs haven't been called VIPERs in years. Some people might not even know what he's talking about.

My copy of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need is the 2005 edition and I don't know what's changed. But when I reread it circa 2005, I felt that it still had the 1970s flavor--overemphasis on buying individual securities, underemphasis on selecting mutual funds.

In the 1970s, the emphasis in "investing" was very much on individual stocks, with mutual funds being something you could also do. This is very evident in the original 1973 edition of Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street. Mutual funds only get one chapter, and half of it is about closed-end funds. Most investors in this forum probably think of the bulk of our investing as being in mutual funds.

Yes, it's a gem, even today, but I still wish it were better.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Cosmo » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:34 am

Finally, after your constant posts about this "gem", I downloaded the book to the iPad. Thank you, Taylor, for all that you do!

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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Stonebr » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:19 am

snyder66 wrote:This was one of the first investment books I have ever read. I loved it! It's simple to read, great fro beginner as well as expeienced investor. It does not talk over your head like some investment book seem to do. I may have to revisit.



Same here.

Another quote I think is in it somewhere is the one often attributed to Sophie Tucker: "I've been rich and I've been poor, and baby, rich is better."
"have more than thou showest, | speak less than thou knowest" -- The Fool in King Lear
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby LadyGeek » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:05 am

Jerilynn wrote:There is a newer edition published in Jan 2011. It's updated from the 2005 book. I'm not sure why it doesn't show up on Amazon when using the URL Taylor posted in the OP. Well, the kindle edition does, but the paperback is the 2005 version. Sometimes Amazon is kooky...http://www.amazon.com/Only-Investment-G ... 020&sr=8-2

Thanks. Your link in human readable form: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need (amazon.com referral added)

I updated the wiki: Taylor Larimore's Investment Gems and Only Investment Guide
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Peter Foley » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:18 am

I have a copy of the 1978 edition, the first I believe. It was one of the first books about personal finance that I ever read. It contains good solid advice and is easy to read. I often recommend this as a "first" book for readers as an introduction to personal finance topics.

Thanks Taylor for providing the "Gems". I find them helpful.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby FRANK2009 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:01 pm

I have the 1996 update. I especially like page 181. The author suggests a portfolio comprised of "a third, a third, a third among a broadly diversified US stock fund, a broadly diversified international fund, and a money market fund." A portfolio that I think, would have stood the test of time. Maybe the original 3 fund portfolio?
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby metabasalt » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:45 pm

1999 edition on my bookshelf, I think the first investment book I ever read. I feel lucky that it was the first. In retrospect I realize that there are some other books that might have been better, e.g. Common Sense on Mutual Funds, but at that time something as simple as this was probably the best I could chosen.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby RyeWhiskey » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:36 pm

nisiprius wrote:
ETFs vs. Mutual Funds: "When all is said and done, it largely comes down to what's most convenient: If you already have a deep-discount brokerage account, buy VIPERs. If you already invest with Vanguard, buy its fund."
While I love this book, I feel it has not aged well; it simply hasn't received the degree of revision it needs. This quote is a case in point. There's nothing wrong with it, it's perfectly accurate, but Vanguard ETFs haven't been called VIPERs in years. Some people might not even know what he's talking about.

My copy of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need is the 2005 edition and I don't know what's changed. But when I reread it circa 2005, I felt that it still had the 1970s flavor--overemphasis on buying individual securities, underemphasis on selecting mutual funds.

In the 1970s, the emphasis in "investing" was very much on individual stocks, with mutual funds being something you could also do. This is very evident in the original 1973 edition of Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street. Mutual funds only get one chapter, and half of it is about closed-end funds. Most investors in this forum probably think of the bulk of our investing as being in mutual funds.

Yes, it's a gem, even today, but I still wish it were better.


I agree entirely.

I found Tobias' book to be fantastic when it came to everyday practical savings tips and how to put together a budget to invest with, etc... It was also quite humorous. In short, it gives you a good basis for learning how to think about investing.
I found Malkiel's book to be fantastic when it came to a history of the stock market and how the market reacts, etc... in short, it gives you a good basis for understanding the market.

But when it comes to actual investment advice, that is allocation, equity selection, etc... I have to say that Bogle's Common Sense on Mutual Funds and Graham's The Intelligent Investor are the two best books I've read. They were totally comprehensive and left me, as a reader, with a firm understanding of risks/rewards, cost, time, and general investment strategy.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Barry Barnitz » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:11 pm

Hi:

We have a review of the book in the wiki. Note that the ==Readers comments== section allows individual reviewers to make comments on the book.

Only Investment Guide - Bogleheads

regards,
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby LadyGeek » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:23 pm

To be clear, only wiki editors can make the updates. However, we'll add comments as requested.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby scouter » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:43 pm

I highly recommend his other books, some now out of print but available used (try Amazon)-

The Invisible Bankers (an amazingly entertaining history/expose of the insurance industry)
The Only OTHER Investment Guide You'll Ever Need (great title)
Getting By On $100,000 a Year (back when $100,000 a year was living pretty well)
Money Angles

All of them funny and entertaining, but full of common sense wisdom. Invisible Bankers in particular is a must-read.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby hq38sq43 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:14 pm

Many thanks, Taylor, for spotlighting my favorite book on personal finance. It is a fun read and chock-full of sound advice on most financial matters of concern to most people. It is a gem of the genre.

Best regards,
Harry at Bradenton
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby steve_14 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:03 am

This has to be the funniest, and one of the most practical investment guides ever written. To Tobias' credit, he even considered shorting Japanese stocks in 1989 in one edition (he couldn't find a way to do it).
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby CrossOverGuy » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:29 am

I think if I ever meet Mr. Tobias, I would love to be able to say to him, "COME OOOOOOONNNNNNNN, WILLOWWWWW" *


*Referring to one of his hilarious stories in his book about his bet on a horse-race.

It's a really funny and useful book, and it has indeed been updated a bit in the 2011 version.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby nisiprius » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:56 am

CrossOverGuy wrote:I think if I ever meet Mr. Tobias, I would love to be able to say to him, "COME OOOOOOONNNNNNNN, WILLOWWWWW" *


*Referring to one of his hilarious stories in his book about his bet on a horse-race.

It's a really funny and useful book, and it has indeed been updated a bit in the 2011 version.
Does it still call Vanguard ETFs "VIPERs?"
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Andy Tobias Website

Postby StoneReader » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:37 am

Someone might not know that Andy Tobias also runs a website that is updated daily and which usually contains some of his current stock speculations. He seems to be a closet speculator rather than a closet indexer. He seems to be well connected in NYC to the hedge fund crowd.

http://andrewtobias.com/column/
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby burgrat » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:14 am

I just got an older copy (2005 edition) and I'm looking forward to learning more. I'm building my knowledge base thanks to you guys and the Wiki!
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby Jerilynn » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:13 pm

nisiprius wrote:Does it still call Vanguard ETFs "VIPERs?"



I don't think so. At least I can't find any mention of VIPERs in the 2011 edition. It's not listed in the index of the book and I'm don't see any mention of VIPERs in the ETF section.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby neurosphere » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:23 pm

Here are a couple of other quotes which hopefully were updated:

Internet investing positively teases you to play. It make you feel powerful--moving thousand of dollars in and out, click, click, click. Talk about computer games! -- Four things will surely get you: the commissions, the spreads, the taxes, and human nature (addictive gambling).


The concept of "internet investing" has changed from the old days. Now just about ALL investing is via the internet. I'm surely not going to pick up a phone and call my broker to place a trade. I realize he was likely talking about day trading, but...

If you get 256 people into a room and give them each a coin to flip, -- one will flip heads eight times in a row. What talent! What genius! What nonsense.


I don't want to start a "do the math" probability tangent, but, if 256 people in a room each flip a coin 8 times, what are the chances that at least one of them will flip heads 8 times in a row. I do not think it's 100%. That said, I'm sure most readers would (should?) understand the general point that an event with low probability (8 heads=beating the market) is very likely to happen given enough attempts (many people flipping=thousands of active mutual funds).

NS
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby joe8d » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:29 pm

Jerilynn wrote:There is a newer edition published in Jan 2011. It's updated from the 2005 book. I'm not sure why it doesn't show up on Amazon when using the URL Taylor posted in the OP. Well, the kindle edition does, but the paperback is the 2005 version. Sometimes Amazon is kooky.


http://www.amazon.com/Only-Investment-G ... 020&sr=8-2


Yes,I've seen the 2011 revision come though my library as a requested item.
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Re: A Gem: "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need"

Postby ArthurDent » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:32 pm

neurosphere wrote:if 256 people in a room each flip a coin 8 times, what are the chances that at least one of them will flip heads 8 times in a row. I do not think it's 100%.
Each person is flipping coins independently so it is a binomial distribution with 256 trials, and the probability of any person tossing 8 heads is 1/2^8 = 1/256. The probability of no occurrence of 8-heads in the room is then (255/256)^256 = approx 37%, so that the probability of at least one 8-header is about 63%.
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