TAGGED: I’m It — One Step Personal Finance (Finding Somebody to Follow)

Prime Time Money tagged me with the challenge to “Find one step you can take to make your financial system better or more organized.”

Being the philosopher I am, I turn to Confucius,  who is rumored to have said (did I tell you I’m a skeptic, a cynic, and sarcastic?)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

My single step was buying a little software program in the late 80s (I was still a kid! Really, I was) called Managing Your Money which led me to the inspiration and contributor to the software, Andrew Tobias. I found out that Tobias was a personal finance author (what are those? You mean there were experts before blogging?); one of his books was humorously called “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need.”

In this book, I can truly say that I learned at least 95 percent of what I know today about personal finance, investing, banking, and saving money. I also learned 100 percent of what I know about wine (which is still very little, by the way).

Tobias is an advocate of index fund investing, buying in bulk (he provides the ROI calculations, too), yet only investing money that you can truly afford to lose.

And he’s lost a lot! He’s lost his shirt in Broadway and off-Broadway plays, futures and options, commodities of all sorts, real estate, collectibles, and limited partnerships in oil and gas. You name it, he’s invested in it, and he’s lost money in it.

He goes through the various ways he’s lost money to illustrate the idea that you just cannot win in the investing game by going for broke and paying tons of fees. The experts in commodities, for example, will always clean your clock. These speculative “investments” are zero sum games: One guy wins, you lose.

Contrast this with the stock market, where one man’s gain isn’t necessarily another man’s loss. We can all win; or, in other words, a rising sea lifts all boats. The stock market, even though it’s sucky now (financial term for “underperforming”), is your best bet for long-term growth of your money.

I still follow Andrew Tobias. Though he talks a lot of politics on his site, the focus still is on financial planning, frugality, and investing. He’s funny, witty, and smart.

So that was my first step:

Finding somebody to follow.

Many choose “gurus” like Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer, or Ric Edelman. I found Andrew Tobias. It’s been a great find!

Now, whom shall I tag?

brip blap

Frugal Dad

How to Make 7 Million in 7 Years™

Quest For Four Pillars

Generation X Finance

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PT - July 29, 2008 Reply

I still need to read that book. I think once I start maxing out my tax sheltered accounts, and need to find other investments I’ll have more motivation. Although, I’m sure the book covers much more and should probably be read asap. Have a good one.

billspaced - July 30, 2008 Reply

PT, it’s the BEST book on the subject. It covers a lot of ground: Investing, frugality, insurance, speculation (don’t do it), index funds vs stocks. You name it, it’s there. It should be available in your local library, but if not, I’ll lend it to you.

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