A well-written, simple—at times too simple—treatise on investing, with an emphasis on the value of financial planning.
There’s a legitimate point in this compact book by Curran, a certified financial planner: Financial advice need not be filled with technical mumbo jumbo; rather, it should be conveyed in forthright, straightforward terms. The author does so with skill, doling out bits of wisdom about stocks, bonds, cash and asset allocation. Curran writes engagingly, spouting one truism after another. For example, about investment strategy, he writes, “the decision of the balance between stocks, bonds, and cash is one of the most, if not the most important portfolio decision you can make.” When it comes to stocks, the author believes that “what matters is how long you are in the market, thus the phrase that ‘it’s not timing the market, but time in the market.’ ” As for using a financial planner, Curran advises the reader to “find one that is not encumbered by systemic conflicts of interest.” Some of the content, however, is a bit unusual for an investment book. In a chapter entitled “Let the Woman Make the Decisions,” for instance, Curran suggests that “men tend to be more susceptible to fear and greed—the two primary emotions that pervade every aspect of finances, especially when it comes to the stock market.” In discussing estate planning, the author adds to a traditional list of estate documents something he calls a “loving letter”—a letter he suggests writing to one or more loved ones in which he urges readers to “take the opportunity to tell them what you truly cherished about them.” Curran doesn’t spare the rod in discussing some of his financial colleagues, skewering Wall Street investment firms who offer investment advice with “add-no-value layers of management.” The author’s breezy style makes for a pleasurable, easy reading experience, as does his clever technique of ending each chapter with a sentence that neatly transitions to the title of the next chapter. Still, this short overview is less useful as an in-depth investment guide than as an endorsement for consulting a financial planner.
Nicely structured and insightful but by no means comprehensive.