The Wealthy Boomer by Jonathan Chevreau
My curiousity was piqued by Global Strategy's recent Informed Approach TV ads, so I checked out their website. As an earlybird I was eligible to receive a free copy of Jonathan Chevreau's new guide, The Finacial Post Smart Funds 1999. After reading it I e-mailed Jon some comments, mostly to do with the omission of information on index funds and also about his own Rip van Winkle portfolio.
Jon replied by pointing out that his other new book, The Wealthy Boomer, covers both topics in some detail. Being the frugal investor that I am, I responded to Jon with my standard unabashed, tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek solicitation for free books: send me a review copy, and if it passes my taste test, I'll add it to Bylo's [in?]famous list of recommended books on investing. If the book is free, then so will be the listing.
Well Jon took me up on the offer and the book more than passes my taste test. TWBoomer not only made my list but I'm so impressed with it that I feel it deserves an official review.
TWBoomer is divided into three sections. The first points out some of the drawbacks in owning mutual funds by discussing such issues as high MERs, loads, DSCs, adviser remuneration, conflicts of interest and the like. We've covered this material exhaustively [to say the least!] on the FundLib discussion forum. But instead of wading through the numerous threads (that by the way are archived here), you'd be far better off by just reading Jon's well-organised treatment of these topics.
The second section explores the gamut of alternatives to traditional open-ended, actively-managed mutual funds, including index-linked GICS, segregated funds, "wrap" programs, closed-end funds, individual stock selection, and indexing. While Jon gives indexing fair and comprehensive coverage, dealing with both the advantages and disadvantages, I get the feeling that he's still not yet amongst the converted. Oh well, maybe by the next edition.
Finally the third section covers money management topics for high net worth investors -- the truly "wealthy boomers" -- including pooled funds, fee-only planners, and discretionary money management using investment counsel.
Unfortunately the book doesn't describe how investors who find themselves trapped in DSC funds and/or unrealised capital gains should make the transition to more enlightened investing approaches. But if you understand the issues now, you'll be able to avoid some of these pitfalls and thus ease the pain later. That's one reason why TWBoomer has broader appeal than its title might suggest.
This is the book I wish had existed when I embarked on the DIY investing journey a few years ago. Even if you're not yet wealthy or will never be a "boomer," TWBoomer has the potential to save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your investing career.
Run, don't walk, to your nearest book store or Internet book site. If you're not sure if you really need to read it, run even faster.