Below is a list of the some of the best investment tools and investment books I have found (and why I recommend them). Disclosure: I do NOT receive any financial benefit from the following companies or individuals. I make these recommendations based on the value they provide to investors.
Personal Capital (https://www.personalcapital.com/)
This free app is the king of investing tools. I started tracking my finances on Personal Capital in April 2013 and it has been incredible to have my entire financial history at my fingertips during the past few years. Personal Capital works by providing a central dashboard for all of your accounts (which you link, similar to Mint). It provides a snapshot of your spending and income as they occur along with a summary of your net worth and investments. I prefer Personal Capital because it is investor-centric and has many incredible investing tools. The “Portfolio Checkup” and “Retirement Planner” are worth your time even if you do nothing else.
The beauty of Personal Capital is how its value grows (pun intended) the longer you use their service. I recommend signing up, linking all your accounts, and forgetting about it (if you want). Come back later and you will be glad you started tracking.
Charles Schwab (https://www.schwab.com/)
These guys may not be the cheapest kids on the block in terms of trading, but they provide a lot of value as a bank and a fund provider (many of their ETFs are cheaper than Vanguard now). Additionally, Charles Schwab has some of the best customer service I have ever come across. They have real employees answering the phones and you can tell that they truly want to help. Lastly, if you get a checking account with Charles Schwab you can use their debit cards with any ATM with all ATM fees being reimbursed. While traveling internationally this is an incredible benefit!
If you want to be a great investor (or great at anything for that matter) I highly recommend you start reading more books. There is not one great business person that I have heard of that does not read a lot. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, Oprah Winfrey, etc., all recommend reading voraciously. If you really think about it a book is one of the best investments you can make. You get all of the best ideas from an individual in a fraction of the time.
The Intelligent Asset Allocator (by William Bernstein)
I would recommend just about every book by Berstein, and this is his best work. Asset allocation is the key to great diversified investment returns for most individuals. While there are some people who can pick stocks consistently over many years, you are likely not one of them. This book is somewhat dense with financial math, but it is well worth the read. Please also look through his other books. He is the best investment writer I have come across in the realm of asset allocation and life cycle investing. Read his website here if you are really into this stuff.
The Great Depression: A Diary (by Benjamin Roth)
If you thought the financial crises of 08-09 was bad, you ain’t see nothing yet. Benjamin Roth’s diary provides more insights on the Great Depression and the irrationality of the stock market than any other document I have ever read. One of my favorite parts was about how during the Great Depression it became in fashion to brag about how much money you lost in the stock market. You never learn little tidbits like this unless you read a primary source document like Roth’s diary. Roth tries to explain what it feels like to experience market turmoil. Given market declines are inevitable for all investors, this kind of document is essential reading for all serious investors.
What It Takes (by Charles Ellis)
This book isn’t an investment book, but if you ever need motivation to grind it out and work hard, this is it. Technically you need money to start investing, so this may be an investment book indirectly in that it will motivate you to earn more so you can invest more. “What It Takes” discusses all of the best professional service firms across a handful of industries and what factors these professional services firms have in common. After working for a few years in a professional services I have begun to appreciate all of the planning and strategy that goes into making a a great professional services firm that can stand the test of time.
Rather than overload you with recommendations I will say that there are many other great investment/business books out there. I recommended these 3 because each one teaches a particularly important point for investing: (1) diversify across asset classes, (2) be optimistic during market downturns, and (3) work hard if you want to build something great.
Please leave a reply below if you have any questions! Thank you for reading.
The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.