OWNING MAIN STREET: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market
Who would have thought six hundred plus pages of investment wisdom could read like an action adventure? Somehow, author Patrick Pappano pulls it off. This excellent, excellent book is not only the only book you need to start building your retirement nest egg; it is also a brisk, entertaining, and even funny page-turner!
Author Pappano, finding himself frustrated in his search for a good stockbroker, decided to become one himself. His experiences on Wall Street taught him that everything Wall Street tells you is wrong. You don’t need a broker; you don’t need insider knowledge; you don’t need to watch the market; you don’t even need a lot of money; all you need is a reasonable plan and the will to let it work. Here’s the plan: Buy a fixed dollar amount of a few discrete, common stocks of good, solid companies, automatically every month, then close your eyes, walk away, and let the market do its work.
Pappano is a great writer. He liberally sprinkles his tome with great illustrative anecdotes, and he has a wry, dry, understated humor that is a delight to read. He has a wealth of experience and he isn’t trying to sell you anything (except perhaps this book, which is worth every penny and more); investing can be a win for everyone, and he wants you to succeed. It’s like you have a great friend standing next to you, patiently holding your hand while he tries to convince you to do what is in your own best interest.
First, Pappano exposes the smoke and mirrors behind Wall Street brokerage agencies. So, he says, pick a set of a few stocks from the S&P 500, invest over time, and let the market work.
‘But wait!”, you say. “What about Mutual Funds? Hedge funds? Commodities? Etc.?” Pappano covers each type of investment with its pros and cons (tax and/or accounting issues, for example), then reminds you that just investing in a few discrete stocks over time will be much more secure and simple.
All right then, how do I go about doing this? Pappano answers by suggesting how to examine companies for good governance, what to look for, and how to diversify; but, once again, the easiest and surest strategy is to dollar-cost-average (buy a certain dollar amount each month) a few discrete stocks from the S&P 500 or the Dow 30.
Completely thorough, the book covers how to divest at retirement, and even gives a suggested list of solid companies for investment, picked from those exchanges. 401K plans and annuities and life insurance are also investment strategies Pappano covers in detail.
This book is written for the beginning investor, of which I am one; some of the investment types really are befuddling. But as soon as I started to feel lost, my investment advisor Pappano whispered over my shoulder, “Yes, this is very confusing. If you will just invest in a few discrete stocks of solid companies over time, you won’t have to worry about this.” His point is well-grounded and well-supported and constantly reiterated, but in the most entertaining and friendly way; following his advice and just letting the market do its work will allow anyone to achieve his or her retirement goals.