During summer break I would ride my bike to the library and score about a half dozen books, then repeat the process every couple of weeks. Most summers, I was a top reader. I don’t know how many books you have to read to get a Blue Mountain Beach Summer Reading Club Gold Star, but I have a couple for your reading list.
Carl Hiassen’s “Razor Girl” is probably his best, but that is not a novel thought. Yes, it is risqué, R for violence, language, and sexual situations, but tastefully done. Without giving the plot away, Hiassen treats beach renourishment, reality TV, and fake comfort dogs harshly, but it is also a tale about redemption, love and one of the greatest lines in American lit, “You live in Florida, and you have never shot a gun?”
As a certified financial planner professional, I would be remiss to ignore The Institute for Financial Literacy’s 2017 Book of the Year, Jonathan Clements’ “How to Think about Money.” Most investment advice books are as boring as watching paint dry, but this one breaks ranks. Mr. Clements was part of the Mainstream Media long before Mr. Hiassen, but both have an uncanny ability to do magic with words (not unlike my friend Sean Dietrich, check him out on Facebook).
If you want to learn about finance, you have to turn off Facebook and pick up a real book. Thinking you can get financial literacy from a couple of courses or a podcast is like putting on a football helmet then pretending you are Tom Brady. The forward by William Bernstein is worth the price of the book.
Instead of rehashing old homilies like Americans don’t save enough, in his first step, Clements recommends spending more carefully to buy more happiness. Five or ten years after we are dead no one will remember us except for our family and close friends. Make sure your memories are good.
Prepare for a long life; for instance, there is a 50 percent chance either my wife or I will live to 91. Most Americans take Social Security too soon, but delaying Social Security, when possible, means more lifetime income assuming reasonable longevity.
Understand humans have to rewire our brains to have financial success. In step three, Clements lists 22 financial errors homo sapiens make. Newsflash: The secret to investment success is not hard work. Read the book for 21 others. Think big, for example, young parents have low automobile insurance deductibles but no life insurance.
Finally, to win, don’t lose. You cannot control the markets, but you can control how much investments cost. Your portfolio should be appropriate for your goals, time horizon, risk tolerance and risk capacity. The stock market is an expensive place to learn.
You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help find what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.