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The Lies about Money: Why You Need to Own the Portfolio of the Future


RIC EDELMAN has helped more people achieve financial success than any other practicing financial advisor. In 2007, Wealth Manager magazine listed his firm as the largest in terms of number of clients. Barron's four times named him among America's top 100 financial advisors in the country, and in 2004, Ric was inducted into the Financial Advisor Hall of Fame. His books have a million copies in print, including several foreign languages, and have topped the New York Times bestseller list. His national radio show, ...

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The Lies About Money: Achieving Financial Security and True Wealth by Avoiding the Lies Others Tell Us - and the Lies We Tell Ourselves

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RIC EDELMAN has helped more people achieve financial success than any other practicing financial advisor. In 2007, Wealth Manager magazine listed his firm as the largest in terms of number of clients. Barron's four times named him among America's top 100 financial advisors in the country, and in 2004, Ric was inducted into the Financial Advisor Hall of Fame. His books have a million copies in print, including several foreign languages, and have topped the New York Times bestseller list. His national radio show, PBS television specials, syndicated newspaper column, and award-winning Web sites make him a house-hold name.

Consumers love Ric's unconventional yet common-sense approach to investing and personal finance. He revealed how everyday Americans achieve financial security in the #1 New York Times bestseller Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth. His first bestselling book, the personal financial classic The Truth About Money, was named Book of the Year. Now, Ric reveals the deceptive and manipulative business practices occurring in your retail mutual funds — practices that are causing you to suffer higher fees, greater risks, and lower returns than you realize. In The Lies About Money, Ric's provocative new work, he offers you a detailed yet easy-to-follow plan that lets you take back control of your investments — and your financial future.

Ric's unparalleled ability to explain complex financial concepts in a fun and entertaining way resonates with readers. In this book — his first in more than five years — he shares his most valuable lessons gained through two decades of working directly with individuals and families. He reveals the lies that have infiltrated your retail mutual funds and retirement accounts, and teaches you how to invest your money in your employer retirement plan, how to save for college, and for those who are retired, how to generate more income without sacrificing security. He shows you that proper money management has nothing to do with "hot tips" and everything to do with scientific analysis, bolstered by solid academic research and historical data. Ric explains exactly how the mutual fund scandal has caused him to change the way he manages his own money and the money entrusted to his firm by thousands of clients nationwide. Along the way, Ric shows you the secrets to investment success — a long-term focus, the importance of diversification, and the crucial need for (and methods of) portfolio rebalancing.

And the book doesn't stop there — it will actually help you build an investment portfolio, one designed specifically around your needs. The book features a 24-page color insert containing 43 portfolio models, each based on the Edelman Managed Asset Program, one of the largest and fastest-growing money management programs in the country. Ric's fun, interactive Guide to Portfolio Selection¨ will lead you on a fascinating journey through the book's pages, taking you to the portfolio that's right for you!

With insight and strategies that will change people's lives, The Lies About Money offers the truth that everyone is looking for.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Once again Ric Edelman has told investors the truth. Whether it's how to select an appropriate portfolio, invest for college, or recognize practices that are not in the investor's best interest, Ric arms investors with information they can use to make wise investment decisions and protect their assets. And he does it with wit and enthusiasm. Read The Lies About Money. You won't be disappointed."

—Don M. Blandin, president and CEO, Investor Protection Trust

"This is a thriller, a real page-turner! Imagine one of America's biggest, most successful financial advisors sells all his own retail mutual funds. Why? I couldn't put it down, had to find out more! If I sell mine, then what? You'll love Ric's solution. The Lies About Money is a must-read thriller...if you want to retire rich!"

—Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD, columnist, DowJones/ MarketWatch and author of The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing, The Millionaire Meditation, and Zen Millionaire

"Just when you thought the financial waters were safe, Ric Edelman shows that the mutual fund industry is like a shark waiting to be fed, and why you should be afraid, very afraid. But after reading The Lies About Money, you won't have to be afraid anymore."

—Donald J. Farish, president, Rowan University

"Once again, Ric Edelman comes to the aid of investors everywhere. His new book is clearly written — informative and entertaining — and will be of great use to both novices and experts. His thought-provoking ideas are a refreshing challenge to conventional thinking, and you owe it to yourself to read The Lies About Money."

~Richard J. Koreto, editor in chief, Wealth Manager magazine

"If you're an independent-minded investor, don't miss this book. In it, Ric helps you understand how to build a low-cost, unique and diversified long-term investment portfolio based on your personal needs and goals — and he does it in plain English."


David Bach
"This is the best retirement planning book I have ever read."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416543121
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 323,714
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Ric Edelman, a New York Times bestselling author, has been providing financial advice to the public for more than twenty-five years and is a well-known, successful financial advisor. His television series, The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman, airs on Public Television stations across the country and his syndicated radio program can be heard from coast to coast. Ric’s bestselling books include The Truth About Money; Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth; and The New Rules of Money. His firm, Edelman Financial Services LLC, serves individuals and families across America. Visit Ric online at

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Read an Excerpt


"Why are you calling me? These children are only ten years old. You should be calling the high schools."

The year was 1986, and I was beginning my career as a financial advisor. Because I wanted to teach people about personal finance — more about that later — my wife, Jean, and I began offering college planning seminars to elementary-school PTA groups.

Every time I telephoned a PTA president, I got the same reply. "Why are you calling me?" he or she would say. "These children are only ten years old. You should be calling the high schools."

Back then, parents of young children never thought about college. The only issue pertaining to college was choosing one, a decision easily avoided until the child was a junior in high school. It never occurred to parents that college costs were skyrocketing and that they'd need many, many years to accumulate sufficient savings. It might be obvious to us now, but in the 1980s, college planning was a revolutionary idea. In fact, it wasn't just revolutionary — it was unheard of.

So too were the other aspects of investing and personal finance. For example, in 1989, as my reputation as a financial educator grew, I was invited for the first time to appear on the radio. After a brief introduction, the host presented me with a thoughtful question. "What's a mutual fund?" he asked.

My, how far we've come. Just two short decades ago, few people had ever heard of financial planning. Employers (not workers!) picked the investments for 401(k) plans; Individual Retirement Accounts were still fairly new (and when surveyed, most people said IRA meant the Irish Republican Army). Nobody worried that Social Security might go broke, and no one had ever heard of long-term care. College planning, retirement planning, estate planning — none of these concepts was a part of mainstream America.

Today, of course, all of this is well known, and everyone, it seems, knows the importance of saving for the future. This year's newborns will spend more than $250,000 to obtain a college degree, while today's middle class must accumulate millions of dollars if they want to retire in comfort and financial security.

Americans are rising to the challenge. They are spending more attention to personal finance than ever, and the marketplace has responded. When I started offering financial advice and education in 1986, the only consumer resource was Money magazine. Today there are dozens of magazines, two daily newspapers, an entire television news network, many radio programs, and literally thousands of books devoted to the subject. Personal finance peppers the general media as well — even sitcoms feature story lines around household finance issues. All this demonstrates an unprecedented level of consumer awareness.

And that awareness has led to action. Nearly 60% of all working Americans now contribute part of their paycheck to a retirement plan at work, and tens of millions have an IRA account. Section 529 College Savings Plans are very popular (for reasons you'll read about in this book), and at cocktail parties, people are as likely to talk about mutual funds as sports.

Retail mutual funds are, by far, the most popular investment vehicle in the country — more than half of all American families, or 54 million households — own them. With more than 8,400 funds holding $10 trillion in assets, it's not a stretch to say that retail mutual funds are almost as common and indispensable as automobiles.

So. You now understand the need to engage in financial planning, and you're investing to meet your long-term goals of college and retirement. That's great news.

But a new problem has developed, and this is why I've written this book — a book I never imagined writing. Just as I gave you the truth about money in my first book, I must now alert you to the lies that are placing your financial security in jeopardy. Some of these are lies you tell yourself, while others are lies thrust upon you by those in the financial services industry: the retail mutual fund industry, the brokerage community and its stock brokers, and even some in the media. You need to become aware of these lies so that you can avoid the pitfalls they create.

And there's no greater pitfall than the one created by the retail mutual fund industry. There's no other way to say it: The retail mutual fund industry is ripping you off. You are incurring greater risks, lower returns, and higher fees than you realize, and as a result, you are in danger of not achieving your financial goals.

The situation is shocking — and no one is more astonished than me. My firm, one of the largest and best-known investment advisory firms in the nation, has placed $4 billion of our clients' assets into retail mutual funds. On my radio and TV shows, through my books, newsletter, website, and seminars, I've been the retail mutual fund industry's biggest proponent. For more than twenty years, I've said that retail mutual funds are the best way to save for college, retirement, and every other important financial goal you can name.

No longer. Jean and I have now sold all our investments in retail mutual funds. All my colleagues at Edelman Financial have done likewise, and our clients are following our advice. You need to sell all your retail mutual funds, too.

All this is painful to say and will certainly be distressing for you to read, but you need to know what's happening with your investments. So excuse me for being blunt, but the fact is that the retail mutual fund industry is now flush with liars, crooks, and charlatans. Daily business activities include deceit, hidden costs, undisclosed risks, deceptive trade practices, conflicts of interest, and fundamental violations of trust — all at your expense. Since September 2003, the retail mutual fund industry has paid out more than $5 billion in fines, and more than eighty executives have been barred from the industry or thrown in jail. Despite this, state and federal regulators say that investors are still being abused.

The disgrace of the retail mutual fund industry poses a huge challenge for everyday investors like you and me. You're struggling to get your kids through college and provide yourself with a comfortable retirement, and you've been counting on retail mutual funds to help you achieve these goals. Your needs haven't changed, but your strategy must.

And so, in this book I'll reveal exactly how Jean and I have changed the way we manage our own money and how our firm now manages our clients' investments. You'll get complete behind-the-scenes details of our investment strategy — why we invest with a long-term focus, the importance of diversification, and the crucial need for (and methods of) portfolio rebalancing. Our investment strategy is simple, yet comprehensive and remarkably effective. I'll show you how to develop, implement, and maintain your own portfolio step by step. You'll be surprised at how straightforward it is, and the advice and information in this book makes it easy.

You'll also take a tour of the academics behind the world of investing, to show you that proper money management has nothing to do with "hot tips" and everything to do with scientific analysis bolstered by historical facts. Your fears of investing will melt away as you discover how easy it is to invest successfully, and your enthusiasm will build as I show you how to create your own highly detailed portfolio in sync with the latest academic research — just like we do for our own clients.

To understand the mess created by the retail mutual fund industry, we'll go back in time to the beginning of the industry, from Alexander Hamilton and Scottish sea merchants all the way to today's "bad boys" who are operating today's retail mutual funds.

Along the way, you'll learn how to invest the money in your employer retirement plan and how to save for college (with a special note for doting grandparents). And for those who are retired, I'll show you how to generate more income than is possible from bank CDs, without sacrificing stability. You'll also see the role insurance and annuities play in the investment game — watch out for more surprising lies! — and you'll get my six insights that are essential to your investment success.

And we won't stop there. Not only will you learn everything you need to know about building an investment portfolio, this book will actually build one for you. The Edelman Guide to Portfolio Selection that weaves through these pages — it starts on page 193 — will take you on a journey that ends at one of forty-three portfolios. Each one is based on the investment strategies and guidelines used by the Edelman Managed Asset Program, one of the largest and fastest-growing investment services in the country. You'll be able to use this portfolio on your own or in conjunction with your financial advisor, secure in the knowledge that you are enjoying the advantages of highly sophisticated portfolio modeling based on the latest academic research, delivered to you in a completely objective manner.

By the time you're finished reading, you'll know how to avoid the lies about money that are hurting your efforts to achieve your goals, so that you can regain control of your investments and return to the path of financial success quickly, easily, and cheaply, just as we have done for ourselves and our clients.

As astonishing as it is to read that we are completely abandoning the investments offered by the retail mutual fund industry — investments that we have long admired and endorsed — our doing so (and my telling you about it) is consistent with how we've always handled our investments.

You see, Jean and I founded Edelman Financial out of self-interest. Like you, we were ordinary consumers and investors, and, just like you, we had been subject to the bad investment advice that is all too pervasive throughout the industry. And, probably like you, we became fed up.

Finally, we said to each other, "Let's figure out how to make the right investment decisions for ourselves. Then we can build our own financial planning practice to share what we've learned." In other words, we went looking for investments that we could buy personally, and then we began to share what we learned with other consumers. Today we provide investment advice to more than eight thousand families.

This explains one of the most unique aspects of our firm: The investments that our clients own are the very same ones that Jean and I and all the financial advisors in our organization own. This approach has always struck us as common sense: If it's good enough for our clients, it ought to be good enough for us, and vice versa.

So, Jean and all the advisors of Edelman Financial, join me in inviting you to read, learn, and benefit from this book.

Copyright © 2007 by Ric Edelman

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Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Chapter 1

The Most Proven, Successful Investment Strategy There Is 7

The Importance of Saving Regularly 8

Why We're Long-term Investors 10

Why We Diversify 25

Why We Rebalance Periodically 33

Chapter 2

The Academics Behind the Strategy 41

Concept #1: Actual Return 43

Concept #2: Rate of Return 43

Concept #3: Average Returns 44

Concept #4: Risk 47

How to Measure the Risk of an Investment 49

How to Compare the Risks of Different Investments 52

The World is Round — And Why That Matters to Your Investments 55

Concept #5: Terminal Wealth Dispersion 62

Chapter 3

Why You Should Use Mutual Funds 83

Less Filling, and Tastes Great 87

Scotch, Golf, and...Mutual Funds 89

Chapter 4

The Demise of the Retail Mutual Fund Industry 93


The Three Key Abuses 120

A Different Point of View? 164

Turn Your Outrage Into Action 165

Chapter 5

How to Beat the Retail Mutual Fund Industry at Its Own Game 167

The Best of Both Worlds: Active Selection Combined with Passive Management 174

Chapter 6

The Greatest Invention Since Mutual Funds 179

Chapter 7

Creating the Investment Portfolio That's Right for You 185

Follow the GPS with Three Points In Mind 186

Can a Book Eliminate the Need for an Advisor? 188

Building and Managing an Investment Portfolio

Using the Edelman Guide to Portfolio Selection® 192

Chapter 8

Three Important Insights to Insure Your Investment Success 199

Insight 1: Never Let Your Investment Decisions Be Determined by Taxes 199

Insight 2: Never Let Investment Decisions Be Determined by Fees 202

Insight 3: Keep Your Portfolio Consistent with Your Current Circumstances 203

Chapter 9

Applying This Strategy to Your Employer Retirement Plan 205

What to Do with Your Retirement Account after You Leave Employment 215

If You're Not Saving for Retirement 217

Chapter 10

Applying This Strategy When Saving for College 221

If You're Not Saving for College 223

Why Grandparents Should Not Save for College for Their Grandchildren 228

Chapter 11

Applying This Strategy When Investing for Income 231

Should You Adjust Your Portfolio Model Due to a Pension? 235

Chapter 12

Three More Important Insights to Insure Your Investment Success 241

Insight 4: You Will Retire One Day, and Probably

Sooner than You Anticipate, No Matter How Much You Protest 241

Insight 5: Do Not Underestimate the Amount

of Income You'll Need in Retirement 242

Insight 6: Do Not Overestimate Your Investment Returns 253

Chapter 13

Implementing This Strategy with Life Insurance 257

Chapter 14

Implementing This Strategy with Variable Annuities 269

Are Principal Guarantees Worthwhile? 272

Is Tax Deferral All That Valuable? 274

Should You Invest in a Variable Annuity in

Your Retirement Plan at Work? 280

What to Do If You Want to Get Rid of Your Variable Annuity 281

Chapter 15

Should You Adjust Your Portfolio

Because Baby Boomers Are Retiring? 283


Lessons Learned 289

Sources 293

For Further Reading 295

About the Author 303

Index 307

Copyright © 2007 by Ric Edelman

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