I’ve long been a fan of the writings of Bill Bernstein. In fact, “The Four Pillars of Investing” stands as (probably) the best investing book that I’ve ever read. It’s both informative and accessible. I recommend it to all.
I was thus intrigued when I saw that Bernstein had published a short e-booklet called “If You Can: How Millenials Can Get Rich Slowly” (see below for access). In it, he provides a simple (but not necessarily easy) strategy for building wealth.
The short version is that you should save 15% of your salary and invest it using a three fund portfolio. But he delves much deeper, breaking the problem into five main chunks, including:
- our tendency not to save;
- our ignorance of financial theory;
- our unawareness of financial history;
- our dysfunctional psychology; and
- the rapacity of the financial industry.
Bernstein suggests reading the booklet straight through the first time (it shouldn’t take long, the text of the pdf spans 14 pages) and then re-reading it as you plow your way through the “homework” assignments. These assignments comprise a series of books that drive home the each of the points above. They include:
- The Millionaire Next Door
- Common Sense on Mutual Funds
- Devil Take the Hindmost
- The Great Depression: A Diary
- Your Money and Your Brain
- How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street
- All About Asset Allocation
These books are an excellent complement to Bernstein’s concise and insightful summaries and (imho) well worth reading.
So… How do you get your hands on Bernstein’s booklet? Well, you can download it for free in a variety of formats, including pdf, mobi, and Kindle. Or you can download it directly to your device for $0.99 via the Kindle store.
Note that the $0.99 price for the direct Kindle Store download is a byproduct of Amazon’s pricing policies as opposed to Bernstein’s desire to charge for this booklet. But he makes it available for free there as often as possible.