Learn how to invest with these books for beginners.
If there is one thing we can say about 2020, it’s that it is the year of learning new things — and not just how to wear masks and accurately measure 6 feet. Virtual learning and sheer boredom have driven many to expand their knowledge. Where better to focus your learning than on a topic that will pay dividends — literally and figuratively — for the rest of your life? That is, by learning how to invest. The biggest hurdle to start investing is figuring out how. But investing needn’t have a steep learning curve. In fact, as many of these great investment books will show, simple investing strategies are often better. If you’re ready to start investing and are looking for a guide, here are some of the best investing books for beginners.
“Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” by Erin Lowry
Technically, you can start investing even if your financial life isn’t “together,” but you’ll have a far better time if you first get all of your ducks in a row. This is exactly what Lowry’s book will help you do. “(Lowry) does a fantastic job of understanding her target audience,” says Michael Kelly, a chartered financial analyst, certified financial planner and equity analyst/financial planner at Beck Bode in Boston. She keeps things conversational and steers clear of technical jargon so it’s easy to follow along and explain what you learned to your friends or partner later, something Lowry would encourage you to do. “The best part is she is honest and tells people that if they have budget and debt issues, they should start there first, which she has a book on as well,” Kelly says.
“How to Buy Stocks” by Louis Engel
“This timeless classic on investing incorporates everything an investor would need to know to get started,” says Andrew Crowell, vice chairman of wealth management at D.A. Davidson & Co. Engel explains all basic investment types — not just stocks — and provides an overview of the financial markets. The book takes you into the inner workings of the capitalist system and how investors can use it to grow their wealth. It’s “an excellent primer for all who want to begin investing or simply want to have a better understanding of how the system works,” Crowell says.
“If You Can” by William J. Bernstein
No, this is not a Berenstain Bears picture book, but it’s almost as easy of a read and not much longer. Bernstein’s 16-page investment book for beginners breaks successful, long-term investing into a strategy “a 7-year-old could understand,” according to Bernstein. It’ll also “take you 15 minutes of work per year, outperform 90% of financial professionals in the long run and make you a millionaire over time.” A tall order for a small book, but Bernstein’s pamphlet may just be up for the task. As an added bonus, “If You Can” is available for free in Adobe Acrobat, Mobi and Kindle formats on Bernstein’s website, efficientfrontier.com.
“A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing” by Burton G. Malkiel
Beginning investors and experts alike have found wisdom to invest by in this iconic book on investing. “If you have no idea about how to invest for your retirement, ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’ gives practical and sound advice for the average saver, and we’re all average,” says Bryan Ruiz, a certified financial planner in Atlanta. “It introduces dollar-cost averaging, index funds, the importance of fees and getting rich slowly.” Like Bernstein, Malkiel offers a simple, long-term strategy for investing success you can use at any age. He also teaches you Wall Street’s lingo so you can talk the talk and walk the walk. The latest edition includes a chapter on cryptocurrencies and tax-loss harvesting, a strategy for minimizing taxes on your investments. For step-by-step guidance on how to invest, take a gander through this great investing book for beginners.
“The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby
To be a successful investor you need to master not only investing, but also your emotions. “‘The Behavioral Investor’ confronts the truth that most investors are unwilling to admit: that we’re emotional around investments,” Ruiz says. Unfortunate though this truth may be, the good news is there are people like Crosby, a psychologist and behavioral finance expert, who have done the research to understand why our money makes us tick so much. And best of all, Crosby shares his research in his book. “It lays out how to find your behavioral blind spots and avoid the biggest threat to your nest egg: yourself,” Ruiz says.
“The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing” by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf
Bogleheads, not to be confused with bobbleheads, are investors who follow the investing strategy of Vanguard founder and the grandfather of index funds, John C. “Jack” Bogle. The book assumes you have no prior financial knowledge — the authors even advocate ignorance so there won’t be any false beliefs to unlearn — making it one of the best investing books for beginners. It’ll walk you through everything you need to know to put a Boglehead index fund strategy into action yourself. It even comes with a foreword written by the master himself.
“Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor” by John C. Bogle
If you want more than a foreword’s worth of Bogle’s writing, check out “Common Sense on Mutual Funds.” Its 10th anniversary updated edition takes a closer look at the myriad investment options available to investors today. Bogle walks readers through asset allocation, evaluating investment performance, equity styles, bonds and, of course, how indexing works. The book also provides a deep dive into fund management, so you can learn what’s going on behind the scenes with your mutual funds. Most of all, this investing book teaches beginners why simplicity and low cost always beat complexity.
“Making the Most of Your Money” by Jane Bryant Quinn
Beginning investors really need to read this one, though it is not strictly an investing book. Named one of the best personal finance books, Quinn’s book covers everything you need to know to get your financial life on track — including how to invest. She guides you through every stage of your life, from that first job to starting a family to retirement, and lays out the pros and cons of every major financial decision you’ll face along the way. As far as financial gurus go, Quinn is one of the best.
“The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On with Your Life” by Bill Schultheis
As the subtitle suggests, this book on investing is perfect for those who don’t want managing their money to take over their lives. Schultheis, like many others on this list, found that simpler is better when facing investing decisions, and this easy read is here to prove it. Instead of giving ourselves a headache trying to pick the best stocks and beat the market, Schultheis advocates total stock market investing using index funds. Once you’ve finished his book, you’ll advocate it, too.
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
Graham’s book may very well be the investment book to rule them all. Even Warren Buffett has called it “the best book about investing ever written.” It hasn’t earned its reputation as a sacred text on investing by being a lightweight, however. At 640 pages, it’s the longest book on this list, but don’t let that deter you; it reads closer to a Harry Potter book than the Bible (if Harry Potter had been written pre-1950, that is). Graham covers how to analyze investments, different investment principles, comparisons of various investment options, and then some. In short, everything a beginning investor needs to know about investing.
Best Investing Books for Beginners
— “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” by Erin Lowry
— “How to Buy Stocks” by Louis Engel
— “If You Can” by William J. Bernstein
— “A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing” by Burton G. Malkiel
— “The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby
— “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing” by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf
— “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor” by John C. Bogle
— “Making the Most of Your Money” by Jane Bryant Quinn
— “The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On with Your Life” by Bill Schultheis
— “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
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