Thursday, November 29, 2012

In a Free Society, Financial Literacy is Imperative

Americans are free to do as we choose with our money. It's a MOM thing.

Accordingly, that means we can buy, borrow, spend or invest as we wish and however we may choose to do so.

Unlike socialism, individual ownership of private property is an essential attribute of a freedom based capitalistic society. And investments connote private property ownership, pure and simple.

Over the long haul, how we choose to save and invest our money will have huge implications for our standard of living and later peace of mind.

So when an article like Financial Literacy 101: Where to Begin comes along, I feel it's important to share it. It's subtitled 'We asked the experts to recommend the best books for an investing novice. Here are five of them:'

"U.S. savers have some $10 trillion sitting in IRAs, 401(k)s and similar retirement plans. But how much do they really know about investing? When Americans are tested on their financial literacy, the results are troubling, at best.

Educational standards are starting to improve, with more states requiring personal-finance and economics courses for K-12 students. But if you graduated from high school a decade or three ago, where can you go for Investing 101?

We spoke to financial advisers, mutual-fund experts and academics to get their take on the best books and other resources for people who want to learn the investing basics. Many worthy resources aren't included here; consider this a starting point.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street | Burton Malkiel

Talk to 10 money experts and you're likely to hear 10 recommendations for Burton Malkiel's classic investing book, now in its 10th edition.

Mr. Malkiel, an investment manager and Princeton University economist, offers an easy-to-read yet comprehensive guide to markets and investing, including topics like why bubbles form and how to think about life-cycle investing.

This book is "a good introduction to the way markets and investing work," says Russel Kinnel, director of fund research at investment researcher Morningstar Inc. Plus, it "provides a little healthy skepticism, which can serve investors well.". . .

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing | John Bogle

The best books for new investors tend to be those that advocate index investing—it's simple to dive in, and costs generally are low. Who better to read on that topic than the man who created index funds for mass consumption, John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group?

This short but thorough introduction offers advice that is "simple and straight to the point,"....

Seeking insights into active investing? Morningstar's Mr. Kinnel suggests Warren Buffett's annual letters to shareholders, at

The Investment Answer | Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray

Gordon Murray was a former Wall Street veteran who, after a diagnosis of brain cancer, teamed up with his financial adviser, Daniel Goldie, to write a simple guide to investing, detailing five key decisions for investors to make. Mr. Murray died in 2011.

"I don't think you can get a better unbiased approach. The guy has nothing to gain other than to give his last and best advice," says Steve Lockshin, founder and chairman of Convergent Wealth Advisors.

Winning the Loser's Game | Charles Ellis

When you buy and sell stocks, you're competing against institutional investors who not only control the market, they "are the market," writes Charles Ellis in his book, "Winning the Loser's Game," which grew out of an influential article he wrote for the Financial Analysts Journal in 1975, "The Loser's Game."

Mr. Ellis is another fan of indexing. After reading his account of how difficult it is to beat the markets, you may agree. "It's just a really good overview of the reality of the investment world," says Harold Evensky, president of money-management firm Evensky & Katz in Miami."

Summing Up
The two above referenced books written by Burton Malkiel and John Bogle are absolutely worth taking the time to read for anyone interested in learning the basics of investing.
I also highly recommend Jeremy Siegel's "Stocks for the Long Run."
Of course, there are countless others worth reading as well.
Taking the time to read one or two of the above will undoubtedly help anyone interested in pursuing the DIY approach to investing.
Achieving a higher than basic level of investing knowledge is not that hard to do, and it has the potential to be a somewhat enjoyable exercise at the same time.
Most important, however, it will be great for your personal financial health and peace of mind in our free market society.
Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment