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Value Averaging: The Safe and Easy Strategy for Higher Investment Returns Paperback – Oct 27 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (Oct. 27 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470049774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470049778
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Gravelle on April 5 2007
Format: Paperback
Unlike many books that explain theoretical concepts but offer little in terms of practical advice, Michael Edleson's Value Averaging lays out a clear roadmap to help reach your goals. Based on his 1991 article, Value Averaging (VA) offers a viable alternative to Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA).

The author provides a convincing argument to show that VA tends to beat DCA on a single fund. Herein lies the catch. According to Mr. Edleson, the secret to the VA system is the selling of funds when the investments exceed our expectations for the given period. What's missing from the book is a scenario that includes an entire diversified portfolio, as opposed to just one fund. In that case, the periodic rebalancing would take care of the selling of funds. While I have not run test simulations like the author has, I have no reason to doubt that contributing to a diversified portfolio using DCA in conjunction with periodic rebalancing would provide returns that equal or even surpass VA in some instances.

Another minor issue is that the case study provided suffers from the same overly optimistic view that afflicts most investment books. In this case, the one fund that it used to demonstrate both DCA and VA in practice returned an annualized return of 17% over ten years! Such better than average figures tend to make any system look good!

Despite these minor flaws, Value Averaging provides some highly useful tools for planning and executing a sound investment strategy. My personal recommendation would be to read William Bernstein's "The Intelligent Asset Allocator" (he actually wrote the preface!), construct a portfolio that suits your individual goals and risk tolerance, using low MER funds. Then apply the skills you'll acquire through Edleson's book to set up a DCA plan with periodic rebalancing either 2, 3, or 4 times a year. In my opinion, this remains the surest road to financial success.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
A sensible, systematic approach June 1 2000
By Tom E Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, this is not it. Dr. Edelson is currently Chief Economist for the NASD and was a Harvard finance professor when he published this book. In it he presents a variation of the well-regarded dollar cost averaging method and provides statistical evidence to suggest a 1% annual return advantage over DCA. A key difference is that it will, when valuations are high, employ sales. I think the hidden jewel in this book, though, is his technique for answering the crucial and reoccurring question, "Am I investing enough to meet my goals?" As the cornerstone of all my investments (401K, IRA, and brokerage accts) for several years, these methods have given me peace of mind and solid results. Requires no more than high school math skills, access to a spreadsheet, and as little as 30 minutes every 3-4 months. The noted finance analyst William Bernstein is also a big fan and provides additional perspective on his web site, Efficient Frontier.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Personal Investment Experience With This Book June 1 2002
By Thomas H. Rekdal - Published on
Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of this book from the author about 6 years ago and have found it to be the most useful investment manual I have yet discovered. It played an important role in planning for an early retirement, and I continue to use it in maintaing my retirement portfolio. Two chapters will appeal to an investor at almost any level of sophistication--one dealing with a program of dollar cost averaging adjusted for growth in market values, and one outling a system of "value averaging." The first helps investors to keep their contributions on track to meet their investment goals, and the second provides a rational basis for investors to sell shares, if they are so inclined, when the market departs significantly from a projected "value path." Both programs can be adjusted periodically to reflect changed assumptions about probable market returns.
I hardly know how to praise this book highly enough. My own mathematical skills are so poor that I periodically re-read the central chapters to remind myself of the logic I am following. But Edleson helpfully supplies some step-by-step examples of spreadsheet programs that will fully deploy the formulas he explains. This is a first rate book that deserves to be back in print at a reasonable price. But even at [the price], it's worth it.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Graduate course for the AIM investors Nov. 1 2006
By Riccardo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be of intense interest to followers of Robert Lichello's "AIM" (Advanced Investment Management), "Twinvest", and "Synchrovest" dollar-cost averaging methods from 2 generations ago, but Lichello and Prof. Edleson seem to have been unaware of each other's work (understandable given the lack of an internet at the time; their books lived on different sides of the bookstore aisles, "academic" and "popular" works) and no cross-pollinization took place. In any event, Value Averaging is a graduate-level discussion of all the issues about dollar-cost averaging that the AIM students have been struggling toward.

Value Averaging can be tough going for anybody without solid undergraduate math skills, but is deliberately constructed to be utilized by anybody trained in algebra, so my suggestion would be to read through the narrations for the concepts and then go back to the chapters covering the methods you think you would like to use to attack the math. I would suggest not bothering to construct the Excel simulator unless you really think you are going to get different results than a Harvard professor and former chief economist at NASDAQ did in hundreds of tries.

Several chapters are of universal value to practical students of the stock market: a modern recalculation of performance and volatility for the market for the whole historical period of 1926-2006 is given (each generation needs this exercise to renew the debates about what type of investing produces the best yields), universal volatility ranges for the whole market are derived (a simple single range which can save you countless dollars of subscriptions to simulation softwares), and instructions are given for how to construct simulations in Microsoft Excel (most of the new content in the 2006 paperback edition describes how to translate the original spreadsheeting instructions into excel). This little book is packed with permanent value for students of all stock market systems.

Lichello's AIM investors must have this book if they are to take their ideas to the next level, and Prof. Edleson may find himself inheriting the mantle of a movement he may have been wholly unaware of before republishing his method.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Effective Systematic Method Jan. 21 2007
By Phillip Degenhart - Published on
Format: Paperback
Michael E. Edleson's updated book is well worth the investment. His well researched and documented Value Averaging strategy can be implemented by anyone with access to a computer and the will to follow through. Mr. Edleson also provides numerous examples and variations of the basic theory to aid in both understanding and implementation.

In Value Averaging you determine the amount of "Value" you need to add to your investment over time based upon your goal and projected rate of return. You then add money systematically, as required, to ensure you are on track. The "twist" in Value Averaging is that if your investments exceed your target, you remove money to bring your investments back to the target level. This allows you to build a pool of money to compensate for any market corrections while profiting from any bubbles. This twist resulted in a 1% annual performance boost over Dollar Cost Averaging in the case studies.

In addition to providing an effective methodology for implementing Value Averaging, this book provides information on setting your goal(s). This is an important point which is often glossed over in other books. I would limit the amount of downward revisions I allow in the goal over time, but this is a matter for individual assessment and does not detract from the methods value.

The only thing lacking in the book is an effective guide to choosing your investment vehicle(s) (although several mutual funds are mentioned). For this I recommend that you refer to The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein (who also wrote the Foreword for this book).
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Kindle edition sucks Nov. 12 2010
By Adam Helberg - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the content of this book and would give it 5 stars, but unfortunately the Kindle edition is plagued not just by the usual hard to read tables and graphs, but also lack of hyperlinks to the footnotes and tables.

This book has lots of references to footnotes and tables and graphs, and without clickable links it's very awkward to refer to these and get back to your text.

I recommend just getting the hard copy of this book.

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