8 Books that will teach you more about investing than you ever learnt at school.
A little warm up on the importance of surrounding yourself in quality content and why we need it – before I reel off a bunch of book titles buzzfeed style.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember learning about investing or attending a finance class at school.
We had plenty of English, maths, art, random religion classes – but nothing on how to manage money when you get a job, support a family budget or even contemplate the idea of investing in stocks.
At 14, I knew more about the Indian god Ganesha than about how to save and spend my money.
Fast forward 20 years and looking at my son’s school timetable for the next year ahead, it appears that sadly, little has changed.
Money basics are nowhere to be seen.
And thus, financial literacy remains at zero for another generation.
We continue to rely on our parents, and our parents parents, on the ‘correct way’ to mange money and grow our wealth. Our habits are based on theirs.
If your parents didn’t invest in the stock market, chances are you’ll view it as risky gambling and won’t either. If they did, you likely understand the opportunity to increase your wealth and reduce your retirement age.
For some, that education might mean putting away 25% of your income every month into an index fund. For others, it means living for the weekend, paycheck to paycheck, and borrowing money (but at 0% APR for 12mths!) to buy a bigger TV.
Great for the few that get the opportunity to consider a savings mindset. Less so for those who aren’t as fortunate.
But unlike maths, science or geography class – there is no ‘penalty’ in life for not remembering the capital city of Switzerland (answer at the end of this article btw) from your geography lesson, or PI to 7 decimal places from maths on a Wednesday with Mr Jenkinson.
But on the subject of finance and investing, you do pay for this knowledge gap. Bigtime.
Leaving your cash in a bank account. Taking out a car loan. Not bothering to check your fund fees. Not living within your means. Not checking your employers pension fund contribution. Not setting a budget.
…Thousands and thousands of CHF left on the table.
» Related reading: ‘8 Common Investing Mistakes to Avoid‘
Which ultimately means, you’ll work more and have less options later in life.
And that sucks.
How can we bridge that gap?
You could campaign for policy change and school reform. Become a pain in the ass at parents meetings. Or even setup a website to reach beginners on investing basics – shameless plug 😊
Maybe in the long term that’ll pay off. But let’s be realistic – these are long term strategies.
What can you do now?
As Jim Rohn said in relation to the law of averages:
Which means, hang around with 5 people that don’t exercise, chances are you won’t exercise either.
Fat guys that eat pizza? Chances are, you’ll start to eat pizza and get fat.
But that also flips to the positive things. Surround yourself with 5 quality sources, which you interact with regularly, and you’ll lean toward that positive dialogue.
And that includes books, websites, blogs, and newsletters too.
You get the idea. Build a positive circle of quality learning.
Please, I came for books. Just give me the books.
Ok – here are a selection of 8 books to immerse yourself into in order to balance out your ‘average’ negative investing experience through school into the positive, and level up your investing knowledge. In no particular order.
1. Your Money Or Your Life
Author: Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
A simple to follow, common sense approach to fundamentality understanding what wealth means to you and what you’ll have to pay, not just in CHF, to attain those goals. “Consumerism” is a way to die, and not a way to live.
2. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Author: Ramit Sethi
Don’t let the spammy clickbait title fool you – Ramit packs a tonne of extremely valuable content into a step by step process to get a handle on your finances and set your investing plan in motion. While tailored to the US, there are plenty of takeaways for Swiss readers.
3. The Millionaire Next Door
Author: Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
Another enlightening book revealing what the ‘typical’ millionaire really looks like, and how attainable this is for the regular guys and girls who live below their means and invest well for long periods of time. The book cites plenty of data and studies, and is real eye opener.
4. Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover
Author: Dave Ramsey
Dave is no stranger to the investing circles with over 8million listeners a week to his radio show, and a huge YouTube following. He’s authored 5 best selling books, and the Total Money Makeover is a great primer if you are wanting to invest, but stuck with looming debt or on the paycheck to paycheck treadmill.
5. Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Author: Scott Riekens
FIRE is a trending topic that is gathering awareness in Switzerland through the likes of books such as this. The concept that you can leave the rat race and live off your investments is an attractive goal for many, and this book is a fun and engaging read from start to finish.
6. Why didn’t they teach me this in school?
Author: Cary Siegel
An easy to follow guide packed with 99 ideas for the younger generation on how to live below their means, and start to invest and build a nest egg. While some of the information might appear a little obvious, no single book really collects all these ‘obvious tips’ into a single resource. Take some of them with a pinch of salt mind you – I’ll let you figure out which ones.
7. A Random Walk Down Wall Street
Author: Burton G. Malkiel
A little more technical, but Burton goes into detail on how no one really knows, even the professionals on Wall Street, what is coming next in the market and where the stock prices are heading. Apparently chimpanzees (seriously) have a better chance. Hence the guiding principle in this classic (first printed in the 70’s) is to simply ignore the noise, invest in index funds and stay the course.
8. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
Author: John C. Bogle
John needs no introduction – the founder of Vanguard and creator of the worlds first index fund that enabled millions of individual investors to enter into investing, his work revolutionized the financial market place in the 70’s. While a little dated now, the book is from one of the founding fathers of the index fund and a worthy read.
Bonus – The life changing magic of tidying up
Author: Marie Kondo
Quite a random pick at first glance with strong roots in minimalism, but the book relates to getting your house neat (literally) and living clutter free. It is a good combination alongside working out your budget and questioning expenses, and a great addition to getting your financial situation in order.
I hope that list helps you fill the void of financial education you missed through school, and enables you to work out the next steps with your investing plan.
With the power of averages, you might even start to become one of the 5 positive influencers on the topic for a close family member or friend – just from a few books!
Ps, the answer is Bern.