Day 188: Malkiel’s Introduction to Treacherous Derivatives

So I finished “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.” I am quite appreciative of this book. Yet I admit it surprises me a little bit that the father of the index fund has a forty-page appendix devoted to derivatives. Especially after reading Malkiel’s explanation, derivatives strike me as excessively risky to the point of being dangerous, or at the very least, highly problematic for the average investor. I wonder if working with derivatives is even consistent with the philosophy of buy-and-hold, long-term index fund investing. Admittedly I have no actual…

Day 181: Back to Investing Basics

In re-reading “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” I am reminded of the basics of how to succeed as a long-term, buy-and-hold index fund investor. These basics could be summarized as follows: It’s not a flashy formula, but it has worked for millions of people. Let’s take each item one at a time: Save a good portion of your income. Like much of the financial literature, Malkiel makes the all-too-important point that if you don’t save, you don’t have anything to invest: Without a regular savings program, it doesn’t matter…

Day 179: Re-Reading “Random Walk Down Wall Street”

I am re-reading (again) “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” by Burton Malkiel (2012 edition), the investing classic that champions buying and holding index funds for investors rather than trying to beat the market. The last time* I read “Random Walk” was late 2019, before the Pandemic, before inflation reared its ugly head, before interest rates rose, and before the current Bear Market that started last year. 2019 feels like a whole other world. Having gone through the past three years, I now have more understanding as I read the…

Day 70: Taming the Reading Hobgoblin 2.0

I wrote a post a few years ago called “Taming the Reading Hobgoblin.” In that post, I both accepted and lamented the fact that I was not following my reading game, in which I made a point to finish reading books. For several year, I kept a log of the books I read, and I generally read 20 to 30 books a year. This was quite satisfying for a long time. Yet I reached a point where I wanted a break from the game. I did not want to force…

Day 67: Tony Robbins, I Appreciate You

One of the surprise benefits of re-reading “Money: Master the Game” is to really own what it means to me. I have repeatedly written about it in glowing terms (here and here), yet recently I realized that I have in fact been self-conscious about how much I love it. This seems to have begun when I first read and saw other people’s take on this book (on online blogs and discussion groups). Said feedback was overwhelmingly negative. Incredibly, some people hate this book! Case in point: last week I searched…

Day 57: Your Personal Mount Everest

As I wrote a few days ago, there are many wonderful insights in Tony Robbins’ “Money: Master the Game.” Yet at its core, its message is essentially the same message repeated time and time again in investing books from Burton Malkiel’s “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” to JL Collins “A Simple Path to Wealth.” Tony succinctly says it here: The core concept of successful investing is simple: Grow your savings to a point at which the interest from your investments will generate enough income to support your lifestyle without…

Day 54: Tony Robbins’ Fabulous “Money: Master the Game”

I’ve been re-reading (re-re-re-reading is more like it) Tony Robbins’ “Money: Master the Game.” As always, I appreciate its fine messages and am grateful that it came into my life. Since reading it for the first time in 2015, I have read dozens of personal finance books, yet Tony’s* passionate and open-hearted style still stands out. In his book, he lays out a financial blueprint to help ordinary, “non-financial types” (which is what I would have called myself) create an empowered financial future by becoming investors. There are so many…

Day 32: Habits of “The Richest Man in Babylon”

Today I listened to part of an audio book of George S. Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon,” a classic of mid 20th Century prosperity literature that includes titles such as “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” As much as I have enjoyed many wealth-related books, I have always loved “The Richest Man in Babylon” because it really is a personal finance book first and foremost. Personal finance is where I shine! “The Richest Man in Babylon” really drove home for me the point about…

Day 23: Staying in the Sweet Spot of “Important but Not Urgent”

A long time ago, I read a book by Stephen Covey called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” In it, he suggested that the things we humans spend our time on fall into four categories, like this: TYPES OF ACTIVITIES HUMAN BEINGS ENGAGE IN: Important NOT Important Urgent NOT Urgent In other words, we spend our time on things that are either important or not, and urgent or not. Some things are not important but urgent, such as taking a random call or answering the door bell, which interrupt…

Day 18: Pursue Your Own Personal Version of Greatness

I think it’s important to believe that you are capable of great things. I’m not talking about doing what other people think is great. I’m talking about pursuing your own personal version of greatness. What is important to you? What inspires you? What do you care about? Somewhere in your answers to these questions you will find it. For me, greatness is closely linked with personal happiness. Yes, I want to be my BEST in all areas that matter to me. Yet even more, I want to enjoy myself each…