Book Review: Investing for Dummies

book review

I’ve just finished the latest edition of Investing for Dummies by Eric Tyson.

Tyson, who holds an MBA from Stanford, claims to have worked as a management consultant to fortune 500 financial service firms before founding the nations first fee only financial counseling firm. He is widely quoted in media outlets and has authored several other books.

The Good

Tyson does an excellent job supporting the Cash Cow Couple’s favorite wealth building strategy – spending less than you earn. He spends some time giving good, common sense advice, such as you need to save money to invest, and that you should fund tax-deferred retirement plans before paying down a low-interest mortgage.

Tyson recommends keeping cash reserves, commonly called an emergency fund, in a money market fund instead of an ultra-low-yielding checking account. He is a big fan of “ownership investments”, which he defines as stocks (equities), real estate, or your own small business.

There is even a good section devoted to mutual funds. Tyson likes the idea of exclusively investing in mutual funds. Him and I both dislike the idea of an average Joe trying to pick winning stocks. He instructs readers to avoid those pesky “financial gurus” on CNN who consistently try to sell expert advice on timing the stock market. He half-heartedly praises index funds, and encourages investors to choose no-load mutual funds with low operating expenses. I have to question how he has chosen to allocate “some” of his stock portfolio to index funds with the remainder placed in actively traded mutual funds.

He provides a brief look at international investing and it’s place in the average portfolio, and mentions exchange traded funds (ETF).

Tyson devotes a few chapters to real estate and starting small business, but it’s far too topical to stand on its own.

Here is the issue, all of the above content is common sense personal finance which can be found on this site or a multitude of others, for free. So what does Investing for Dummies offer that is unique?

Honestly, I’m not really sure.

The Bad

He runs out of steam on investing topics and things get weird. He decides to tackle Rush Limbaugh’s views on global warming, hemp, handgun control, Inc, and even ham and cheese croissants. Remember the title Eric, Investing for Dummies.

I found Tyson’s Investing for Dummies to be a long winded, but possibly worthwhile read for individuals without a sufficient understanding of basic investment concepts. It is filled with solid, topical information presented in easy to read, layman terms.

It is available for purchase on Amazon-> Investing for Dummies

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