Read Your Way to Millions
As Was-In mentioned in his Sunday AAR, we recently updated the Military Millions bookshelf. While we owe a lot of our financial success and knowledge to these books, a list of books isn’t much help on its own. Let me tell you which of these books to read and in what order so you can tailor your summer reading to your own financial goals.
You’re a Beginner
Hey, I was once a beginner too. Here’s what I’d read, in order:
- Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner – This book will give you a solid foundation in all aspects of personal finance. Despite the title, I think it would help those who are 40+. in addition, she does a great job of pointing out military-specific aspects of personal finance in a chapter dedicated to the topic.
- How to Think About Money by Jonathan Clements – This book provides a lifetime of experience in a very quick read.
- The Elements of Investing by Charles Ellis – This is a short book that gives you the basics of how to invest.
Frankly, I think if you read and acted on these three books you’d be in better shape than 99% of the people in the world.
You’re a High Earner
If your household earns six figures, here is what I think you should read, in order:
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley – This book will drive home one critical point – it isn’t how much you earn but how much you spend that determines your net worth. Too many high earners don’t understand this.
- The White Coat Investor by James Dahle – Written by a doctor for doctors, this is still applicable to anyone who is a high earner like dentists, lawyers, senior officers, and other professionals. His blog is amazing as well.
You Want to Deepen Your Understanding of Investing
Here’s how to gradually build to a deep understanding of the principles of successful investing:
- The Elements of Investing by Charles Ellis – This is a short book that gives you the basics of how to invest. It can be read in a few hours.
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle – The founder of Vanguard dishes infinite wisdom in another book that can be read in one sitting.
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel – If you read this investing classic you will wade into the theory that underlies successful investing. It cannot be read in a single sitting unless you are a speed reader, but it is well worth the investment.
- Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John Bogle – Bogle’s manifesto is for those who want to completely understand mutual funds and index investing.
- Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel – Like Was-In mentioned in his AAR, this one can take some time but is, again, well worth the read.
If you can make it through these five books, you’ll have a degree in finance.
You’re a Complete Do-It-Yourselfer
If you are doing it all yourself, here is what you should read to construct a complete financial plan:
- Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner – As mentioned above, this book covers it all at a beginner’s level.
- The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need for the Right Financial Plan by Larry Swedroe – This book covers it all at a deeper level than #1.
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator by William Bernstein – If you are going to be allocating your own assets, you need to read this classic.
- Guide to Personal Financial Planning for the Armed Forces – This book is perhaps a little dated, but still covers all the topics you need to have a complete financial plan with nothing but a military focus.
You’re Bored with Stocks and Bonds
Investing in only stock and bond mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) is boring you? You want to explore alternatives? Here’s what I’d read:
- The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need by Larry Swedroe – This book covers all alternative investments…and I mean all of them.
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham – Investing in individual stocks is what economists call an uncompensated risk. You don’t get compensated for it because it can be diversified away. But if you wanted to try it, this is where I’d start. This guy taught Warren Buffet everything he knows.
- The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner – I read this book and decided that I didn’t want to deal with tenants or be a landlord. Besides, I’ve already won the game. Plenty of people, though, have won the game with real estate, and this book will show you how if you’re interested.
There you have it! Get your learnin’ on and read your way to your own Military Millions.