Though I don’t necessarily agree that her approach to picking individual stocks is suitable for a beginning investor, it is easy to see why author Gail Bebee has earned plaudits from Ellen Roseman, Larry MacDonald, Jon Chevreau and others. This self-published, slim book running a mere 194 pages largely delivers on the promise to provide its readers with the knowledge to “cut through the investment industry hype and profitably invest your hard-earned money”. Ms. Bebee is not a financial insider; she has a graduate degree in engineering and relates a regrettably common experience on how she became a d-i-y investor after she learned that her RRSPs were best investments for her broker, not her family.
A newbie investor would find the book invaluable as no prior familiarity with investing is assumed. Ms. Bebee starts with the basics (rule of 72, compounding etc.), talks about service providers such as financial advisors, progresses to asset classes, dishes out the dirt on cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs etc. and finally discusses RRSPs, RESPs and model portfolios. You can find the full Table of Contents on her website.
I do have a few quibbles with her book. I cringed when I read the section on “Ten Steps to Select Winning Stocks” and an entire chapter on market timing. Also, a list of books for progressing beyond the Investing 101 stage would have been useful. Still, the list of positives found in the book far outweighs my nit picking. The book earns a strong recommendation just for the long list of investments (principal-protected notes, high-fee mutual funds, venture capital funds etc.) the author thinks are terrible for the average investor.
The book retails for $23.95 and is available from the author’s website.