In this book summary of The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.
The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need Summary
A penny saved is actually two pennies earned when you also consider taxes. So get creative on ways to save money in all areas of life.
The simple proven way to grow your net worth is to spend less than you make.
Never ever fall into the trap of piling up credit card debt by buying things you don’t need that you can’t afford.
Always buy in bulk for home supplies—it will save you more money than you imagine over the years.
Set up a financial plan for you, or your family, in this order: 1) Tally your net worth, 2) Set goals, 3) Figure your annual earnings, 4) Add up your expenses, 5) Take a second look at your expenses, 6) Refine your plan, 7) Find a way to track your progress (mint.com), 8) Give yourself a break.
Save a few thousand dollars in an emergency fund in case something bad happens—you lose your job, end up in the hospital, or face an unexpected high expense—before you start investing.
You shouldn’t trust anyone to take care of your money more than you should trust yourself. It’s your responsibility to know how to grow, protect, and manage your finances.
Investment professionals most often don’t perform like professionals. They are often just as good as you.
You most likely, it’s almost guaranteed, can’t outperform the market. So invest in index funds that cover the market as a whole.
Risky investments are often going to leave you heartbroken and broke. Don’t invest in annuities, commodities, penny stocks, and futures (unless you really know what you’re doing).
“The most common mistake 401(k) participants make is to deploy their 401(k) assets too conservatively.”
If you’re an employee, don’t invest only in your own company’s stock. That’s putting too much trust in one company when both your job and financial future rely on it.
Young adults in a low tax bracket should open up and invest the maximum $5,000 a year through a Roth IRA.
Real estate isn’t an investment, it’s buying a business. It can take a ton of work and be a pain, but also make a lot of money if you research and know how to run the numbers.
Stocks will significantly outperform bonds over the long haul.
If you can keep your money in the market when it all goes down hill, and invest more money, you’ll be in great position when it eventually turns around.
Capital gains, from stocks, are taxed less than income—another reason to invest in stocks and add that income stream.
Most people should invest in Vanguard index funds with low fees, and they will beat 90% of people without doing much work or research.
“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.” You don’t need to a broker. Please manage your own money.
The problem with mutual funds is they have high annual expenses and transaction costs that bring down their performance.
Once you get your own financial plan and money in order, then pass along your wisdom to your spouse, children, and parents.
The most certain way to become rich is to 1) save as much money as you can and 2) invest in the stock market for decades.
Save 10% of your income at least, ideally much more of your income, and invest that money. Invest specifically in index funds—because major odds say you can’t do better by picking stocks on your own.
Stay patient, continue to save and invest in inexpensive index funds, and watch your money pile up for a financially secure future.
Three Favorite Quotes
“No one wants to pass up something because he can’t afford it. But to pass it up because he wants to—because his eye is on a higher goal—well, that’s quite a different thing.”
“You have to take responsibility for your own money because no one cares about it as much as you.”
“The bottom line, if you want to cut straight to the chase, is that most people should do their stock-market investing through no-load index funds… If you do, you will outperform at least 90% of all your friends and neighbors—including many who work much harder at this than you.”
Action Steps For You
The big picture action step here is that you, no one else, have to get your money in order now. Stop waiting. And then establish a plan for your financial future.
Now how you do that is simple: spend less, save more money, set up an emergency fund, invest in boring Vanguard index funds and don’t sell them, and be patient.
Avoid all the risky investments because there are people out there who know more than you and still lose money in those investments. If you invest in risky penny stocks, for example, it’s as good as gambling your money at the horse tracks or casino.
To get more specifics here, I strongly recommend you buy the book (at least read the book summary above again).
And maybe your first action step is to fire your financial planner or broker you pay, because you won’t need them after reading this book. That’s already a huge win that’s going to save you tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
You have to take responsibility for your money and life. To do that, read this book. Then implement the tactics. Then relax, and watch your money pile up faster than you can count it.
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