The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing Book Review

For a while now I’ve been wanting to be more active in my financial endeavors and get more into investing. You always hear all these stories of people getting their money working for them with solid investments. Meanwhile my money had been sitting in lousy mutual funds that bank reps had somehow convinced me to choose.

You can read more about how my stance on investing has been evolving since becoming a finance blogger.

While I have had some good chats about investing with some fellow bloggers giving me advice on how to do this and that, and which company or companies to invest in, I’ve already accepted that to really get started I would have to do plenty of reading on my own. Already I was seeing that different investors will have different strategies with regards to trading and buying shares. So to establish my own strategy I was going to have to read more into these different strategies on my own.

One of the first books I started with was ‘The Millionaire Teacher‘. While that provided a good passive strategy, I knew that would be potentially leaving money on the table.

Luckily I stumbled upon another book that provides a much more comprehensive strategy. This book is called ‘The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing‘ by Jason Kelly. The great thing about this book is that it is especially geared towards the novice investor who is still learning the ropes. It doesn’t assume you are an experienced investor or that you already know all the various terminology. For me this was perfect.

I wouldn’t be so quick to disregard this book if you do have investing experience though. The author highlights several investment strategies that are easy to employ with the clear instructions provided. So it very well could give you some ideas on how to adapt your strategies to achieve a higher return on your investments and protect yourself against losses. It might be just what you’re looking for to better streamline your strategy.

In my case I started this book knowing very little about investing other than the basics. Now I feel like I really understand the ins and outs of investing. Plus I have some solid strategies that I can put to use without the help of anyone. If I do want to get more advanced with my investing strategy, this book provides a game plan for that route too. When I gain the confidence to make that move I’ll be sure to reread some key chapters of this book.

While Jason Kelly does push specific strategies that he’s had success with, he doesn’t insist that his strategies are the only way to prosper. He also highlights the strategies of some other very successful investors as well as some strategies that have been proven by the history of the stock market. With this diversified approach, we are sure to find some strategies that suit our personalities and specific situation.

The part that I found most interesting is when the author covered how well certain strategies would’ve worked if employed over the years. Granted the research was done by someone else and published in another book, but Jason Kelly did a great job of summarizing it and explaining how those strategies could be used. Personally I’m all for techniques that have stood the test of time.

I also really enjoyed his explanation of how to research stocks. The author provides a worksheet to use to keep track of stocks and tells you exactly where to find the necessary info. You find out what you should be looking for in each piece of information that you compile.

Overall it was just an easy to understand book which was still highly informative. I just wish I had read more investing books in the past to truly compare this book. In my opinion it’s a pretty solid book, but I admit I don’t have a whole lot of perspective. That shouldn’t take anything away from this book though. I still highly recommend it.

Now read more about the author Jason Kelly in his words…

I began as a technical writer, not an investor, focusing on how to explain the intricacies of hardware and software to IBM customers. The experience showed me how to teach people about complex topics in a way that was interesting to them.

I’d always been fascinated by finance and helped my mother manage her retirement account of mutual funds. One Christmas, I decided to write a book for her about mutual funds, which I called “The Neatest Little Guide to Mutual Fund Investing.”

Photocopies of it made their way around the family and into the community, and before I knew it I sent the book to my agent in New York. Until then, she represented only a novel of mine. We’d never discussed non-fiction, much less an investing book. In one of the great coincidental boosts of my career, her husband turned out to be a European equities expert at Goldman Sachs. He later started his own hedge fund in New York. So, the book found a good home with my agent. She placed it at Plume, and The Neatest Little Guide series was born.

After that, I devoted myself to investment writing. I met regularly with traders, managed both my own and private client money, started a newsletter to monitor the market, and wrote more books. My angle in the beginning was to show people how to prosper in the market without getting screwed by brokers and other hucksters, so my outsider status was valued.

I’m not much of an outsider anymore, having provided advice for two decades and ranking among the top 5 pct of market forecasters tracked by CXO Advisory, but I do still like to offer a fresh perspective in The Kelly Letter and in media appearances.

I wrote The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing to put everything a newcomer could want in one book. Part of the challenge with stocks is that there are so many ways to approach the market. Beginners are overwhelmed with the volume of information. This is not unique to stocks, though. It’s true in computing and other fields, as well, and my experience distilling such information works perfectly with stocks.

I culled advice from the best market books, seminars, and other sources into a list of bullet points, found common ground among them, then pulled them together in a logical order that takes readers by the hand through the basic terminology of stocks, what the masters teach us, what market history has demonstrated, and some easy portfolio systems that put these lessons to work.

As investors venture into new territory to try their own ideas, they need resources. I gathered the best ones I’ve found in print and online so people know where to turn. The book is now in its fifth edition, the 2013, and is a helpful combination of timeless truths and updates to what’s constantly changing, such as performance numbers and websites and more perspective on the crash of 2008.

A new reader to this book should expect to understand the stock market better, and know concrete steps to take to open his or her first account, buy their first investment, and manage it through the ups and downs that follow. The progression from plans that are safe to plans with higher risk is a good one in the book, helping people learn with small amounts of money rather than big.

This is one aspect of the book that separates it from others. While respecting the intelligence of the reader, I also keep in mind that the stock market is dangerous, and go to great lengths to protect them from their own unseasoned judgment. We’ve all been there. The goal with educating newcomers in the market is to limit the damage during the learning process. Pay $1,000 to learn from losses and unexpected outcomes, not $100,000. Believe me, more people than will admit have lost six figures to stocks before finally learning basic truths.

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