New Personal Finance Book Asks the Right Questions and Answers Them
I’ve read several books about investing, and while I’ve gleaned some small wisdom from them, certain of my questions were never answered. But in “A Good Financial Advisor Will Tell You…” authors Robert Luna and Jeremy Kisner ask many of the same questions and then provide clear and insightful answers. One thing I didn’t expect to find in this book was that some of the answers I already thought I knew were not necessarily true, or not as simple as I had thought, such as the Rule of 100. The authors explain in convincing detail why these simple answers do not work.
Both Kisner and Luna have years of experience between them, from working on Wall Street to operating their own investment firms before they merged their businesses to form a partnership and co-author this book. They have worked with numerous clients and focus especially on helping “middle-class millionaires” who find themselves with portfolios ranging from half a million to ten million dollars. Many of these people, who were very successful at accumulating assets in the first half of their lives, are not prepared to manage those assets in retirement. They frequently make the same mistakes, which are predictable and avoidable. Beyond “what not to do,” Kisner and Luna offer practical advice about the problems with investing only for safety, trying to live off the interest and not touch principle, and where investors go wrong when trying to play and beat the market.
In this book’s pages is everything the person preparing for retirement needs to know to make the most of retirement, including at what age to claim Social Security benefits, how to estimate your life expectancy, how much money you’ll need to retire, how to plan your investments to keep pace with inflation, the seven steps to a lower-risk portfolio, why insurance can be a valuable part of your retirement portfolio, and perhaps most importantly, how to interview and find a good financial advisor, as well as when to fire him.
While I found all of “What a Good Financial Advisor Will Tell You…” to be interesting, insightful, and even entertaining because of the many stories told to illustrate the main points, what fascinated me most was the section on “The Psychology of Investing”. Learning about the psychology behind financial decisions made me realize that despite being an educated person who has always been careful about his money, I am still prone to making irrational and emotional decisions. I feel I have a better idea now of what questions to ask my financial advisor and also to ask myself when making investment decisions. Here is one short passage about the psychology of investing that I especially found illuminating:
Perhaps the most common mental shortcut we see is called Recency Bias. In short, you may feel that recent past performance (good or bad) will continue. The human mind is wired to see the world linearly. We seek out patterns even when none exist. We convince ourselves that whatever is the most recent pattern will continue indefinitely—even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it won’t. The result is an ongoing cycle of booms and busts.
The media tends to feed our recency bias by focusing on recent performance and spotlighting the biggest winners and losers of the day, week, month, or year. You always have to keep in mind that the media is in the business of selling advertising, not making you a better investor.
What I also appreciate about the book is that the authors use simple language—I never felt they talked over my head, and whenever they used technical terms, they adequately explained them. That said, this book is far more than a simple starter for investors. Certainly, people beginning to invest will benefit from it, but so will people who have been investing for years. “A Good Financial Advisor Will Tell You” contains that extra dose of advice and knowledge that separate it from other personal finance books.
“Effective Financial Planning is crucial both for creating and preserving wealth. Luna and Kisner provide practical applications and real-life examples that help the reader understand how to avoid the typical mistakes of “retail investors”. If you want to understand the psychology behind successful investing, this book is must read!”
“This book is balanced, well researched and well written. It is really nice to find a personal finance book that combines academic research with valuable in the trenches experience. This is the type of book people will want to keep on their bookshelf and refer back to for years to come.”
“I believe that this is one of the greatest books ever written on retirement and investing. Most personal finance books are very basic and simply promote a certain style of investing or a specific type of financial product. This book really surprised me. It’s filled with interesting facts and genuine insights for all levels of investors. I learned a lot. ”
Jeremy / Robert, thank you for writing one of the greatest book in personal finance. It is very educational, very informative especially for retirees like us. I could not stop reading it, as all the topics you mentioned are very real and easy to understand. It gives me better understanding of our financial situation now and gives me insight and ideas how to approach whatever we plan to accomplish regarding our investments. It also guides us how to proceed in planning our legacy and working on our own financial inventory. This is the book that I am keeping in our shelf for reference for years to come. We will tell our friends how good this book is and to read it too.
A Great Book. This book takes the time to go into great detail on how to hire a good financial advisor. I would never consider hiring one without reading this first..
I am in my thirties and found this book helpful. I found myself doing many of the mistakes mentioned in the book and it is refreshing to know I have identified them now rather than wait 30 years down the road. My background is finance and accounting; I am trained for a corporate perspective and not for family financial planning. Robert and Jeremy's book helped frame my family's investment, retirement, and insurance needs and will shape my family's financial planning decision process in the future.
I have heard most of the myths discussed in the book but not all. I believe all the contents of this book will be helpful, but the "myth section" will be especially helpful to people new to the world of finance.
I bought this book for my parents who are of retirement age and I will be giving this books to friends and relatives as gifts this year no matter what age they are.
If retirement planning scares you and "you bury your head in the sand" because it is overwhelming, do not fret. Buy this book, read it and think about it and the knowledge you gain will calm you down and help you start planning for your future.
I've been in the financial services industry for 26 years and I've read all the "must read" investment books out there. "A Good Financial Advisor Will Tell You..." is now on the top of my list as a book that any person concerned about their retirement future should read. The chapters on the Psychology of Investing and the Myths, Misconceptions, and "Stupid" ideas really make you think about your reasoning process and help you understand why you should be working with a respected Financial Advisor. There is one line on page 149 that sums it all up for me and that is "Work with a Financial Advisor who understands how to plan properly for income distribution". All the hard work you do saving for retirement can be destroyed by not adhering to this one simple rule. Don't assume that all Financial Advisors know how to effectively distribute your assets during retirement. Many of them just continue doing what they did for you in the accumulation phase - but have you take out income. I will certainly recommend this book to friends and family who are wondering how they are going to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.