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The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing [Hardcover]

Taylor Larimore , Mel Lindauer , Michael LeBoeuf , John C. Bogle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 3 2006
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing is a slightly irreverent, straightforward guide to investing for everyone. The book offers sound, practical advice, no matter what your age or net worth. Bottomline, become a Boglehead and prosper! Originally just the chat-line ruminations of Boglehead founder Taylor Larimore, and Morningstar forum leading cohorts Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf, their trusted advice has been brewed and distilled into an easy-to-use, need-to-know, no frills guide to building up your own financial well-being – so you can worry less and profit more from the investments you make. Invest like a Boglehead, and let their grassroots investment wisdom guide you down the path of long-term wealth creation and happiness, without all the worries and fuss of stock pickers and day traders. If you face a financial crisis or problem, or simply want to know what is prudent to do with the money you save, the Bogleheads will have the answers you need to help you gain your financial footing and keep it.

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Review

"The Bogleheads march readers smartly through the basics...[and] pepper the text with practical tips and Web links." (Bloomberg.com, March 2006)

"The book provides sound advice on a variety of issues including mutual funds, bonds, diversification and taxes." -- Lynn O'Shaughnessy, The San Diego Union-Tribune (July 2006)

" ... if you're planning on investing for the purpose of building a stable, lifelong economic backbone, I couldn?t recommend this book more highly. It's a well-conceived explanation, from top to bottom, of an investment philosophy that will create a life full of steady gains and sustainable wealth." -- (www.thesimpledollar.com March 2007)

Review

"Generically, the Bogleheads are folks who admire John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard mutual fund company . . . So, why did they write this book? Probably for a little ego boost. Also, perhaps, to share a lifetime of accumulated knowledge, to help other people achieve their financial goals, and to leave the world a slightly better place. Are these guys nuts,or what? Anyway, they did a good job. This is definitely a book for beginning investors, but the facts are solid, the advice almost impossible to argue with . . . . If you're looking for a financial book you can trust, we can't think of a better candidate than this, except possibly for one of the books by the Master (i.e., John Bogle) himself. If you want to get started investing, if you need a new investment plan, or if you'd like to validate an existing plan, we suggest that you sit down, read this book, and trust what you read. How rare is that?"
—Roy Weitz, FundAlarm.com (December 2005)

"The chief Boglehead is Taylor Larimore, 81, a former official at the Small Business Administration . . . He and a few other Vanguard fans started the Diehards forum in 1998. Now Larimore and two other longtime Diehards—Mel Lindauer, 67, a retired owner of a graphic arts business, and Michael LeBoeuf, 63, a former management professor—have written The Bogleheads Guide to Investing . . . . The book’s main themes should come as no surprise. In his own writing, Bogle emphasizes diversification, low costs, and index funds; here, his followers try to make those notions graspable for beginners . . . . Also, unlike most investing authors, the Bogleheads offer advice on topics from taxes to insurance to estate planning ."
Penelope Wang, MoneyMagazine (January 2006).

"The new "Bogleheads Guide to Investing!" Gotcha! A must-read!"
Paul Farrell, Marketwatch.com

"If you master the concepts laid out in this book, you'll do very well."
—Reuters News

"'The Bogleheads' Guide' is both a textbook for beginners and a refresher course for old hands. It blends elements of financial-planning primers like 'The Wealthy Barber' with tips on why it pays to be cheap, a la 'The Millionaire Next Door.' ... The Bogleheads march readers smartly through the basics of how much they need to save for retirement, how to allocate their assets and when to rebalance their portfolios. The authors steer through the minefield of taxes and warn neophytes to master portfolio-gutting emotions including greed and fear."
—James Pressley, Bloomberg.com

“If you are looking for a simplified and methodical do-it-yourself guide that will enable you to manage your investment portfolio, this is the book to turn to.”
The Economic Times


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Most people don't have time to read dozens of books about personal finance and investing. Even if people did have that much time, they would seldom be able to integrate what different authors had to say into a consistent approach.

For several decades, people have been asking me what one book they could read to be more successful with their personal finances. Until now, I've been reluctant to pick any one book. Instead, I would usually provide a list of 6-8.

Having read The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing, I can now safely recommend one book for the first time: This one!

Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBouef have five important advantages over other personal finance authors:

1. They are experienced investors.

2. They are well read on the subject of personal finance.

3. They've been answering questions for years from those who want to know what to do on Morningstar Vanguard forum and its related site, diehards.org

4. They are an expert writing team rather than a writer or celebrity trying to be supported by experts.

5. They aren't trying to sell you anything except their book which makes their advice more independent than usual.

The book's range is impressive. Part I looks at the essential elements of successful investing and includes looking at your financial lifestyle, how to start investing young and regularly, different types of financial instruments, inflation-protected bonds, investing minimums, avoiding complications that lose you money, asset allocation, reducing costs, minimizing and deferring taxes, diversification, market timing, money for college, employing a windfall and whether to retain a financial advisor.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful Oct. 6 2011
By Matt
Format:Paperback
Very useful. Lots of great description and advice about the different kinds of investments that exist, as well as how to build your portfolio and plan for the future. I learned a lot.

Only downside for me was the large amount of US-specific advice (I'm Canadian). I would still suggest this book to Canadian readers, but it should probably be supplemented with another book (or just online info) describing Canadian investment and savings options.

Would recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  160 reviews
314 of 330 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for beginners Oct. 25 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book quickly shortly after I got it, and I was blown away. Many reviewers pick this as a book for "beginners", but I don't agree with that.

My background: I have read (and own) dozens of investment books. I have subscribed to many newsletters (including Morningstar's, which is decent but unnecessary after you read this book). I have owned many individual stocks and for the last 2-3 years before I got the Boglehead religion I was lucky and beat the market averages buying individual stocks (although for most of my life I've lagged far below the market). I opened my first brokerage account in 1990, and I've been self-directed ever since. I've had 400%+ years as well as -70% years. I've even been in the top 100 virtual mutual funds on Marketocracy (out of 70,000), and I've written custom software to analyze the daily performance of the top 1500 stocks.

Having said all that, I wish that I had followed the investment principles laid out in this book from the very beginning. I would have a lot more money than I do now.

Before reading this book, I already had all my retirement money in Vanguard index funds. So you would think, end of story, you're already a believer. NOT SO! While I started out using the Target Retirement funds, which allocates your money properly for your age, I slowly deviated from those funds into the higher risk emerging markets index fund, because that fund was doing so well. It's easy to read this book and say, "oh that makes sense", stay the course for a year or so, then get seduced by the hot performance of a particular sector and lose your way. For these principles to work, you really have to apply them relentlessly, and I think that it takes either someone with an iron discipline or someone who's acquired "experience" in the market (i.e., losses that hurt) to recognize the wisdom of this book and follow it.

Years ago, I read John Bogle's book on index funds, and I agreed with the logic of what he was saying. Then I proceeded to ignore it for most of my investing career before I really "got" what he was saying.

Perhaps, if you're a beginner, you'll follow this book and avoid the pain and losses. The principles are easy enough to understand. In fact, if you want to save the price of the book, simply go to Vanguard, pick your retirement date, buy a "Target Retirement" fund for that date, and you're done. That's pretty much what the book tells you to do.

BUT, you'll need the book (and, in my opinion, the "experience" of following the 99% of the misleading advice out there) to really understand why this is the real way to go. You almost have to read this book every year as an antidote to the temptation that assaults you nonstop from Wall Street and CNBC and all the financial magazines.

If you're a beginning investor, this is it. This book is the mother lode. You can stop looking. Unfortunately, it may take you 10-15 years and many large losses to realize this (as I had to do), but take it from me (some random anonymous person on the Internet), this is the REAL DEAL.

Knowing what I do now, if at age 21 I'd had my choice of $2,000,000 or the wisdom to understand the concepts in this book, I'd choose wisdom. Here are two examples from this book to illustrate why. On page 13 of this book Jack Bogle relates a letter that he received in early 2005 about someone who's been investing with Vanguard for about 30 years, and whose portfolio had grown to over $1.25 million, but he'd never made more than $25,000 in any year in his life. Although they knew nothing about his specific investing history (maybe he just got lucky? we don't know), this figure is attainable investing $600 a month in a Vanguard stock index fund over 30 years.

On the other hand, according to an NBC News report related on page 180 of the book, more than 70 percent of lottery winners exhaust their fortunes within 3 years.

So, clearly, doing the right thing is going to have a huge impact on how much money you end up with.

Even the most experienced investors will benefit from this book (and in fact, may benefit more) by simplifying their portfolio. The chapters on asset allocation and taxes are extremely insightful, even to non-beginners.

After reading this book, I immediately re-balanced my Vanguard portfolio to better fit my age group, and to lower the risk that I was taking.

Even as an "experienced" investor already in Vanguard index funds, I learned something actionable that I was immediately able to apply. If you consider yourself an "experienced" investor, you will also benefit from reading this book. I highly recommend it. My ENTIRE retirement portfolio is in Vanguard index funds, allocated in the recommended amounts, so this is not an idle recommendation.

Read it and live it.

(Just so you know, I have never visited the Boglehead web site, and I have never corresponded with any of the authors. I'm just an uninterested third party who's a big fan of this book).
70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased, Informed Financial Advice in Easy-to-Understand Form Oct. 12 2006
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Most people don't have time to read dozens of books about personal finance and investing. Even if people did have that much time, they would seldom be able to integrate what different authors had to say into a consistent approach.

For several decades, people have been asking me what one book they could read to be more successful with their personal finances. Until now, I've been reluctant to pick any one book. Instead, I would usually provide a list of 6-8.

Having read The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing, I can now safely recommend one book for the first time: This one!

Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBouef have five important advantages over other personal finance authors:

1. They are experienced investors.

2. They are well read on the subject of personal finance.

3. They've been answering questions for years from those who want to know what to do on Morningstar Vanguard forum and its related site, diehards.org

4. They are an expert writing team rather than a writer or celebrity trying to be supported by experts.

5. They aren't trying to sell you anything except their book which makes their advice more independent than usual.

The book's range is impressive. Part I looks at the essential elements of successful investing and includes looking at your financial lifestyle, how to start investing young and regularly, different types of financial instruments, inflation-protected bonds, investing minimums, avoiding complications that lose you money, asset allocation, reducing costs, minimizing and deferring taxes, diversification, market timing, money for college, employing a windfall and whether to retain a financial advisor.

Part II looks at how to track your progress and rebalance assets, staying immune from daily "news" about investing, being in control of your emotions, building up enough money for retirement, asset protection through insurance and estate planning.

The book tackles head on a lot of the bad advice you get about investing, while also being realistic about how much time and effort most of us want to put into financial planning. The tone is friendly, the advice is good and the warnings are appropriate.

What more can you expect from the only personal finance book you'll ever need?
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative for a beginner May 31 2011
By Zach Pugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Over all, extremely informative and entertaining. I was not expecting the guide to cover as much as it did. I was expecting a basic run-down on how to invest in the stock market, period. What it covered was:

-Basics of financial management
-Types of investments
-The most reliable investment choices (risk management)
-The most cost-efficient investment choices (taking taxes and fees into account)
-How to manage taxes economically
-How to separate the garbage on Wall Street (the "investment pornography") from genuine and helpful advice
-Stuff outside of the stock market. I was surprised to read about college finance, retirement planning and insurance management. Extremely informative, albeit for a 22-year-old those were the more boring parts.
-Did I say entertaining? It's got a lot of candor, but it's difficult to review something like candor. It is not too tightly wound up in professional language. It is certainly not text-booky.

My one criticism is the seemingly contradictory angle from which the authors are arguing, and perhaps this is inescapable for these authors, being that they are self-proclaimed Bogleheads. I summarize a theme that shows itself persistently: "Never take financial advice from somebody who's trying to sell you something; those people have conflicted interests! By the way, did I mention that Vanguard's no-load index mutual funds is a great long-term investment?" You may not think it's as poignant as I make it out to be, but I found myself thinking this over and over again for just about every chapter, and I eventually got to the point where I could see it coming around the corner. On the other hand, it is the "Boglehead's Guide," so at least they don't try to hide it. And given the quotations and literature they bring in, I don't think their particular angle eclipses the value of what they are saying. That said, I will certainly seek out other sources of information to contrast and supplement.

I can't stress enough that after reading this my brain feels saturated, like another part of me has been suddenly awakened. So many new ideas I get to play around with in my head! I will give this book another read, picking up little details that I misplaced along the way.

Like I said, very informative and entertaining.
64 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent overview, but didn't really learn anything new March 18 2007
By meltbanana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would say this is a good book for beginners. For someone with some understanding of investing and personal finance, it is likely that you will spend more time agreeing with the authors than actually learning anything new or insightful. It is a good overview of the investment ideas of John Bogle and his supporters, and has decent coverage of how to approach financial goals throughout one's lifetime. But after reading it, I felt like I did not gain any original insights, other than to ponder whether I should get my family an umbrella insurance policy. On the other hand, great books from Malkiel, Swensen, Swedroe, and W. Bernstein absolutely provided me with much material and original insights to ponder and consider.

So if this is not very helpful for readers with some investment knowledge, how is the book for novice? I would say it is merely decent. A novice reading this book would be pretty much following the advice of John Bogle, who is no question a GREAT man. But the authors seem to be constrained to agree with Bogle on everything, and do not allow themselves to further explore areas that probably deserve more time. One example would be Bogle's views on international stocks, where the authors of this book tread very lightly and conclude by agreeing with Bogle (almost seemingly hesitantly). When reading Bogle's own writings, his strong opinions serve his readers well. But when his ideas are rewritten into a broader personal investment guide for novices, I feel like the result is inferior to books by Frank Armstrong, William Bernstein, or Larry Swedroe, which seem to provide a broader perspective to help investors make decisions.

This is a pretty good book and has good advice on personal finance. But it is hard for me to get as excited as the other reviewers on this site. I think 3 stars is fair, as it is above average.
53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Straight Forward Investing Guide That Works Sept. 14 2006
By M. Larimore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been saving for 20 years - The first ten years I discounted my father's "conservative" advice and bought the hot sector funds, stocks and gold coins. I thought I was doing well. Now I'm a little smarter - I see that my returns during the great bull market of the 90's were only single digit, while my father's approach produced far better returns. Now my Dad's advice is common sense to me and I know that I missed-out on a large chunk of the bull market because I thought I knew it all. I should have followed his straight-forward, common sense advice.

Fortunately this does not have to happen to you - My father(and his friends) wrote the book...Its all the advice I wish I had followed during my first ten years of investing.
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