Monday, May 28, 2012

“Millionaire Teacher” by Andrew Hallam - Book Review

I have been wanting to read this book for a while now and I so regret I didn't read it sooner. I am very curious when authors from a non-financial background write personal finance books. I wonder what possible secrets they have discovered that all the money gurus and financial planners haven't already come up with.

Andrew Hallam Is an English teacher who currently resides in Singapore. When he was a young man he met a millionaire that bestowed the wisdom of investing to him. The millionaire told him he needed to invest $100 a month in the markets. Andrew balked and said he couldn't afford that amount. The millionaire said it's only $3.33 per day, you spend that much on fries and Cokes every month. Andrew saw the light and 20 years later he is a millionaire.

Andrews Hallam's natural curiosity got the best of him, he caught the bug and learned the right and wrong ways to invest. He has earned that millionaire status not by sitting on his hands but by investing over and over again. A good lesson I wish I could of learned 20 years ago.

"Millionaire Teacher" is much more than a shopping list of things to do to grow wealth. It's a lesson in lifestyle. The lifestyle Andrew Hallam teaches, is what the millionaire's secret actually is. In his "Nine Rules" he lets the secret out. Rule 1 is "Spend Like You Want To Grow Rich. This one rule is the foundation to all that follows in his book. Without it all the fancy investing practices you come up with not get you where you want to be.

I found the book very easy to read with its casual and down to earth style. It's like your having a conversation with a friend. Andrew uses lots of charts and statistics to back up his ideas. What I can relate personally is his use of low expense index stock and bond funds. This investing style is growing more and more popular every day. I like his philosophy of it's hard to beat the market in the long term consistently, so why try to beat them when you can just join them.

His nine rules should be plastered to your wall so you don't forget them. 

Hallam’s 9 Rules of Wealth:

Rule 1 is to spend like you want to grow rich, wasting your money on today's wants postpones your potential wealth growth. So why do it.

Rule 2 is to take advantage of compound interest by starting investing as early in life as possible. Here is the another great rule that you only realize when your to old to do something about it.

Rule 3 he emphasizes the negative impact of high fees and makes the case for low fee index funds.

Rule 4 is to “Conquer the enemy in the mirror.” It looks at the problems of stock-picking and market timing, fear, greed and other emotions that can sabotage investing.

Rule 5 is to build a “responsible portfolio” that includes both stocks and bonds. Here Hallam introduces what he terms the Couch Potato Portfolio.

Rule 6 looks at indexing in the U.S, Canada,and worldwide.

Rule 7 is entitled “Peek inside a pilferer’s playbook.” It looks at common sales practices of financial advisors and brokers. He says to watch those advisors that want to nickel and dime your portfolio.

Rule 8 is “Avoid Seduction,” and looks at the various distractions that some term “financial pornography” — investment newsletters and magazines, junk bonds, gold and hedge funds, which Hallam describes as “the rich stealing from the rich.”

Rule 9 is for those who love to pick their own stocks if “they can’t help themselves.” Hallam’s solution is to stay 90% indexed but to allocate 10% to individual stocks if you find it enjoyable.

Overall I found the book keeping my interest and a lot of fun to read. Many things I read in the book are already well know practices for an old hand couch-potato investor like myself. I feel the main take away is the philosophy and foundational concepts that keep you on track during your investment process. We all know things we should be doing, concerning investing, but staying on track and not bailing out in the down markets takes a core understanding of knowing yourself and having a plan. Thats what separates the million teachers from everyone else. Read this book you'll learn something.

Get the book Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School


Visit Andrew Hallam's website at  AndrewHallam.com
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