I have to tell you something about how I treat books: I have a great deal of respect for books. I have so much respect for books that you will rarely find a book in my possession that has writing in it (other than an author’s signature) or page corners turned down. I like my books to be pristine, so it’s against my own personal rules of conduct to do things like that to a book.
Occasionally though, I run across a book so important and useful that I am compelled to break these rules, in spite of myself. This particular book is just such a book. What I found so useful about this book is not the subject matter or the topic, as there are many, many books on the topic of how to be financially secure throughout your life, with most being far less impactful than this book.
I found that author Paul Merriman has such unique ways to explain the topic, I was immediately compelled to turn down page corners so that I can go back and reference them later. Mr. Merriman has captured some very useful explanatory methods that literally anyone can gain benefit from reading, and I expect I’ll come back to this book again and again.
Mr. Merriman’s many years of experience in the financial industry has provided him with an amazing wealth of knowledge about what works to help you become successful as a saver and investor. What’s unique is that he also explains what the average person faces in terms of distractions from the successful track (such as listening to your neighbors or Jim Cramer) and why those things can work against you. This kind of explanation is rare in this industry, but it’s critical to understand these things and avoid the distractions in order to ultimately be successful.
In addition, Mr. Merriman takes great pains to explain the process of investment portfolio construction – a topic that many folks spend far too little time on, but a concept that can literally have millions of dollars of impact.
If you’ve never read such a “how to be successful as a saver and investor” sort of book and you’re looking for answers, this is your book. If you’ve read other books in this category and haven’t found the formula that you need – you should read this book.
If you’re already fine with your investing strategy and are in good shape, there are still some great nuggets of information here. For one thing, Mr. Merriman includes as an appendix 20 pages of description of the top 50 401(k) plans in the industry… including sample recommended allocations for an aggressive, moderate, and conservative allocation within each of the 50 plans. This reference alone is worth the cost of the book. When you add in the fact that the same types of portfolios are listed in detail for six top mutual fund families plus a portfolio of ETFs, you’ve got a great value here.
If you’re saving and investing and have any questions at all about portfolio construction (or anything else about how to be successful at investing in general), you owe it to yourself to read this book. And go for it – turn down the pages, it’s really that important!