Taming the Bear
Two of the best books are part of Wiley's Little Book, Big Profits series that focuses on all things financial, from investment strategies to long-term economic trends. My favorite is The Little Book That Saves Your Assets: What the Rich Do to Stay Wealthy in Up and Down Markets by David M. Darst, a managing director at Morgan Stanley. Darst says to thrive financially today you must practice asset allocation, compiling a financial portfolio with assets that make money when the economy is doing well, but also including assets that make money when the economy slows down. He says it's the approach the wealthy use to maintain their lifestyle even in tough economic times. Darst writes in a reader-friendly manner, often using football analogies to make a point. One of his strongest chapters is called "Building Your House," which compares a financial portfolio to a person's home. He writes that much like a house, a portfolio should reflect an investor's personality and should be "built" to have a mixture of assets that are functioning (steady and reliable, like bonds) and fun (riskier, but with a potentially bigger payoff, like stocks). In another compelling chapter called "The Road Less Traveled That You Should Take," Darst rightly argues that most people no longer have any choice but to be actively engaged in managing their financial portfolio because the days of a guaranteed pension are gone forever. Now all the responsibility rests on the individual.