People wanting basic advice about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement planning, and tax strategies are often frustrated by information overload. Picking the right book seems as daunting as deciding what to do with their savings and investments.
Investing 101: Updated and Expanded removes both roadblocks, putting people on a path that they can understand and stick with. Kristof is renowned for taking the mystery and anxiety out of investing by keeping choices manageable.
Kristof walks readers through the entire investment cycle and the way they think of their financial lives, rather than presenting stand-alone concepts like stocks and real estate. This expanded edition has new information about 529 college savings plans, annuities, Roth IRAs, reverse mortgages, and why declining markets can be good for you. It includes a cautionary look at home mortgages as investments. There's even a portfolio for the lazy investor.
Kristof's loyal readership and the success of this book's first edition demonstrate that she understands what's on the minds of investors as intimately as she knows what’s happening in financial markets.
Winner: Cover and Interior Design, The Bookbinders Guild of New York/2009 New York Book Show Awards
The "Your Money" syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Kristof has written a primer for novice investors, but despite her accessible prose she misses the mark here. Her opening chapter, "Exorcising Your Demons," examines the various psychological reasons people make dumb investing decisions: for example, the "money-lover" agonizes over every penny spent and is always working for more, while the "ostrich" refuses to alter an investment strategy until it's too late. Other chapters--"Risk and Reward," "Investing in Bonds" and "Mutual Funds"--cull standard advice found in countless books, Web sites and magazines. Yet her presentation of the material is too abbreviated, which may mislead beginners. For example, Kristof describes mutual fund prospectuses as "long, boring legal documents that spell out all the details about investing in a particular fund. Like most long, boring documents, they contain a handful of fascinating tidbits of information that can tell you whether the investment you're looking at is likely to be a boon or bust before you put your money at risk." Then, albeit briefly, she discusses the significant data found in a prospectus. However, after reading about something that is "long and boring," readers may well skip the useful information that follows. There's a chapter on socially responsible investing--it's an important topic, but not for readers new to the game. Kristof's writing style is friendly, but readers may be shortchanged by her breezy approach.