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How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street: Golden Rules Any Investor Can Learn


Praise for How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street

"Meet Kevin Roth: financial savant, successful money manager, and second grader. Kevin, you see, possesses several unfair advantages over the rest of us: he doesn't read the Wall Street Journal, worry about the economy, or watch James Cramer (well, maybe he does, but only with the sound off). But he solidly understands the principles of investment management. How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street, which can be consumed almost as ...

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Praise for How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street

"Meet Kevin Roth: financial savant, successful money manager, and second grader. Kevin, you see, possesses several unfair advantages over the rest of us: he doesn't read the Wall Street Journal, worry about the economy, or watch James Cramer (well, maybe he does, but only with the sound off). But he solidly understands the principles of investment management. How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street, which can be consumed almost as quickly and enjoyably as the chocolate milk on Kevin's lunch tray, will let you in on his profitable secrets."
—William Bernstein, author of The Four Pillars of Investing

"There has been no time in our financial history when implementing the simple investment plan in this book has been more important."
—Dan Solin, author of The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read and The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read

"The 'Second Grader's Starter Portfolio' is one of the eight great 'Lazy Portfolios' we feature and update on Dow Jones/MarketWatch. Why? Because it's a winner, regularly beating the S&P 500. It's perfect for all Americans, young and young-at-heart, who are starting small and want to retire a millionaire someday."
—Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD, author of The Millionaire Meditation

"You can make investing as complicated as you want. Or you can make it simple. The beauty of Kevin Roth's elegantly reasoned approach is not just that it's clearer and easier to execute than most investing advice today. It's also that in the long run, it's likely to put more money in your pocket."
—Eric Schurenberg, former Managing Editor, Money magazine

"One of the greatest gifts any author can bring to their reader is the ability to capture simplicity from complexity and convey the essence in a readable, understandable fashion. Allan Roth does that with his book How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street. His book will help readers realize that fads and fashion are trumped by the steady, less risky returns that come from rational diversification and a disciplined commitment to it. Everything in Roth's book has special relevance in today's turbulent and treacherous times."
—George G. C. Parker, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford Business School

"Don't be put off by thinking the title is too cute. The great lessons of life are simple (but, as Warren Buffett advises, not easy). If you follow these important rules, successful investing is 'child's play'."
—Charles D. Ellis, author of Winning the Loser's Game

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Financial adviser Roth uses the example of his second-grade son to hammer home the point that investing is simpler than the experts want us to believe. Roth explains that keeping investment costs low with wide diversification has historically beaten the vast majority of professional money managers. He makes specific recommendations on index fund investments and keeps his explanations clear and concise. Not to be overlooked are his many significant insights into market mechanics and psychology. Like Bill Schultheis's The New Coffeehouse Investor(reviewed below), Roth's book is heavy with metaphors, but don't let this distract you from the author's detailed insights. Recommended.

—Lawrence Maxted
From the Publisher
"This book acts as an apt reminder that simple can be good" (CEO Middle East, April 2009)

"Kevin Roth, the author’s son, is eight years old. He’s probably got a better investment portfolio than you do. This book reveals his secrets. Our take: Explaining how a second grader can whip most adult investors is a fun way to demonstrate the benefits of a simple indexed portfolio."
MoneySense magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470919033
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 243,621
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan S. Roth

Allan S. Roth is the founder of Wealth Logic, LLC, an hourly-based financial planning and investment advisory firm, that advises clients with portfolios ranging from $10,000 to $50 million. His expertise is in portfolio construction and performance benchmarking, and he is frequently quoted in the financial media. An adjunct finance faculty member at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Colorado College, he teaches behavioral finance at the University of Denver's GraduateTax Institute. Mr. Roth is a CPA and CFP with an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. During the course of his professional career, he has held the position of finance officer for multibillion-dollar companies and has been a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Roth writes a personal finance column forthe Colorado Springs Business Journal. In spite of thesecredentials, Roth claims he can still keep investing simple.

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Table of Contents


Introduction. The Seeds of Financial Success.

Chapter 1: The Claw Will Take Your Money: "10 – 2 = 8."

Chapter 2: Own the World: “Don't Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket.”

Chapter 3: The Advantage of Having Wall Street Marketing Blinders (and Where Can I Get Some?): “I Don't Watch Cramer, I Like Sponge Bob.”

Chapter 4: Adults Behaving Badly: “Don't Act Silly When Something Is Important.”

Chapter 5: Can You Beat a Second Grader’s Portfolio?: “I’m Not Going to Win All Three Spins.”

Chapter 6: Beyond the Second-Grader's Portfolio: “If Dad Says There's a Better Way I Might Try It, but I'm Not So Sure.”

Chapter 7: Bonds—Your Portfolio's Shock Absorber: “Don't Lend Money To Someone Who Won't Pay You Back.”

Chapter 8: Better Than Bonds: “If the Teacher Promises You’ll Be Paid Back, Then It's Okay to Lend Randy Money.”

Chapter 9: Simply Brilliant or Brilliantly Simple—Building Your Portfolio: Don't Bet Your Lunch Money.”

Chapter 10: Investors Who Love To Pay Taxes, and the IRS Who Loves Them: “Don't Pay the Tax Man If You Don't Have To.”

Chapter 11: Nightmare on Wall Street—The Scary Tale of Trick-or-Treat Investing: “If the Game Is Too Hard to Understand, I'm Not Playing.”

Chapter 12: Increase Your Return No Matter What the Market Does: “If You Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit, You Don't Have to Climb the Tree.”

Chapter 13: Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS): “Why Do Grownups Have to Make Things So Complicated?”

Kevin's Postscript.


About the Author.


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