The Four Pillars of Investing This William Bernstein book is the most comprehensive primer on building a portfolio for self-directed novice investors I have seen. It does an excellent job putting asset-class returns into a long-term historical perspective, clearly stating that asset allocation is the most crucial factor contributing to long-term success.
A college professor recommended it to me, and it triggered my interest in the financial services industry, which led me to become an advisor almost a decade later. —
Leo Marte, CFP, Abundant Advisors, Charlotte, North Carolina
A Random Walk Down Wall Street I like this book because it is accessible for the casual or beginner reader but thorough enough to be very actionable. It’s a good beginners book whether someone wants to take care of everything themselves, or just better understand the help they are getting from a financial planner. —
Brandon Renfro, CFP, Brandon Renfro LLC, Marshall, Texas
Intelligent Investor For me, the crown jewel will always be this Benjamin Graham book. Written in 1949, it may be a little technical and dry for some, but, for those that want to learn timeless investing techniques and care not about being entertained, this is the Holy Grail.
The book is a bulletproof classic because it is pure investment teaching at its core. It is our gospel. Every great investor including Benjamin Graham’s mentee, Warren Buffett, has built their careers off the principles in this book. Skip the Harvard business class and read this book. Those who are brave enough to follow such a simple and clear strategy will be rewarded with success, and that’s what it is all about. —
Matthew Stearns, CFP, Millennial Money Management, Meadville, Pennsylvania
The Behavioral Investor This book by Dr. Daniel Crosby speaks to the very real role emotions plays in all of our lives! It’s infused with the author’s personality and flows really well! —
Sidney Divine, CFP, Divine Wealth Strategies, Atlanta
Liar’s Poker This is my favorite 'investment' book by my favorite writer, Michael Lewis. This as a 'must read' for people entering or considering work in the financial industry. It is a fascinating and consistently funny 'insiders' look at the personalities, dangers, behaviors (mostly bad!) and occasional genius of folks attracted to this business. A bit dated now, [Lewis’] consistently worthwhile newer works have often approached the greatness of this one, but it remains a standout, to my way of thinking. —
Thomas J. Terhaar, Conrad Siegel Investment Advisors, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Little Book of Bulletproof Investing I've been a financial advisor for 20 years and read many wonderful books on investing but this book by Ben Stein provides clear advice to help investors navigate the biggest risk to their portfolios ... themselves. It also encourages the most hardened "do it yourselfers" to hire a financial advisor that they would trust to help their families make wise decisions when they are not around. —
Roger D. Oprandi, CFP, Oprandi Wealth Group, Miami
Thinking, Fast and Slow Apart from all the classic investment books, I've always been a fan of this book as a great way to think about how our brains screw up when we think about money. It is a great introduction to the ideas behind behavioral finance. —
David W. Shotwell, Shotwell Rutter Baer Inc., Lansing, Michigan
The Psychology of Money This Morgan Housel book is an eye-opening account of real stories of the strange things that humans do with money. It makes behavioral finance come to life. —
Chris Chen, CFP, Insight Financial Strategists, Newton, Massachusetts
Winning the Loser's Game "Winning the Loser’s Game" by Charles Ellis is the last book in the CFA program to read when I became a CFA 100 years ago, but it should be the first book you read. Timeless advice and observations. —
Leon C. LaBrecque, CFP, Sequoia Financial, Troy, Michigan
Asset Dedication: How to Grow Wealthy With the Next Generation of Asset Allocation I love this book because it teaches investors how to utilize stocks and bonds at their highest and best use: bonds to generate income and stocks for growth. By following the liability matching strategy this book advocates, investors learn what is in my opinion the best strategy for generating retirement income. The book lays bare the many problem with the systematic withdrawal plan strategy followed by so many. ...
If you’re concerned about generating a reliable retirement paycheck, this book needs to be on your list. —
Michael Peterson, CFP, Faithful Steward Wealth Advisors, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You Author Liz Davidson (the CEO of Financial Finesse who created the financial wellness program as an employer-paid benefit) writes an easy-to-understand guide on all the behavioral decisions that support good investment decisions, such as how clients can maximize the value of employee benefits, which is where most have most of their savings, why paying off debt can be the best investment, how choosing the right or wrong life partner has a big impact on finances, how minimizing investment fees can lead to a higher net worth and how to determine and choose the best financial advisor. —
Cynthia Meyer, CFP, Real Life Planning, Gladstone, New Jersey
Selecting a favorite book is a very personal choice. Often people have favorite books from different topic areas. When we asked Echelon’s Carolyn Armitage her favorite book, she named several, providing a topic area for each. For example, for leadership, it was “Leadership and Self-Deception,” or for understanding wealth, “Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth.”
Here, we asked advisors through XY Planning Network and the Financial Planning Association what their favorite books on investing were and why.
Check out the gallery above, whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or a little education for yourself.