‘Investing 101’ Gives First-Timers the 411

September 20, 2012

These days, you don’t have to be uber-wealthy or major in finance (or both) in order to enter the investing arena. The perception that only the Vanderbilts, Hearsts, and Fords of the world (in other words, industrialists and entrepreneurs) can successfully invest in stock, bonds, and son on has changed so that now nearly anyone with a few hundred dollars can dabble in the stock market. And thanks to user-friendly websites like E-Trade, you don’t even need a broker in order to make transactions. Of course, even though anyone can invest in this day age, many people are still hesitant to go it alone, and with good reason; the money they gamble with is their future. But if you understand basic investments, including how they can benefit you and the risks involved, then you can go into the process with the ability to make informed decisions. And ‘Investing 101, 2nd, Updated, and Expanded Edition’, by Kathy Kristof, can give you simple, relevant information to get you up to snuff.

The major detractor for most people when it comes to investing is the mountain of information that must be absorbed before the first trade can be made. Add to this the fact that there are literally hundreds of guides to investing out there and suddenly the task seems nearly insurmountable. And then, of course, there is the fear and uncertainty faced by many novice investors when it comes to putting their hard-earned money on the line for investments that may not pay off. Kristof looks to do away with these difficulties in her audio book by providing a compendium of knowledge in easy-to-understand language that even self-proclaimed financial failures can grasp.

There’s a lot to like about this audio book, starting with the fact that Kristof clearly and concisely explains everything, from terminology to techniques. For first-time investors, this concession is an absolute must (despite the fact that many financial tutorials fail to provide such basic information, or do so in a way that comes across as condescending). In addition, she provides real, situational strategies that not only help investors figure out how to differentiate between stocks, bonds, real estate, and other types of investments, but also the role that each can play in taxation, retirement planning, and so on. Kristof takes a unique approach to investing by describing it as a lifelong process and going through it step-by-step. Lest you think there’s little more to investing than putting some money into an online account in order to turn a quick buck, Kristof also covers accounts that can help you to save for a distant future (including Roth IRAs, 529 college accounts, and even reverse mortgages).

And throughout it all she offers planning advice that will give listeners the best opportunity to invest wisely from the get-go, with the ultimate prize in mind rather than a short-term gamble. She may not hit every niche of the investing world (like recommending megatrader tutorials or specific stocks, for example). But she does offer the nuts and bolts of investment strategy as well as providing a working knowledge of the options that are available to the modern investor. And this foundational information is just what first-timers need to overcome their feelings of intimidation and make the most of their investment dollars.


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