This is the book that started it all for me; to call it “life-changing” is no overstatement. Written by John Bogle, the creator of the index fund (for individual investors) and founder of Vanguard, this small book does more to explain the index investing philosophy and break down the stock market better than any other book I’ve ever read. I’ve committed to reading this once per year, and every time, I seem to pick up something more from it.
It is impossible to overstate how much JL Collins has done to help people get started down the road to financial literacy. Ask any investor for their personal recommendation on where to start, and there’s a good chance this book will be the first they mention. There is a reason for that. The Simple Path to Wealth is accessible, comprehensive, and packed with knowledge and insight for both beginners and experienced investors alike.
If you’re first hearing the term “Bogleheads,” this is a self-ascribed moniker used for those who follow the investing philosophy of John Bogle. And none have been more influential or beneficent than author and investor Taylor Larimore. While helping create and maintain the Bogleheads forum (see below), he has also authored several pivotal books on the philosophy. This one is a slim volume, but packed with information on how to get started with an extremely simple (comprised of only three funds), yet very effective portfolio.
In addition to writing the best-selling The Simple Path to Wealth (see above), JL Collins maintains a blog that is prolific and still very active. What originally started as a series of letters to his daughter on financial literacy quickly took off in blog form, and has been instrumental in helping countless investors over the years. Easily one of my favorites to read consistently—you will be the better for it, guaranteed.
Hosted by my friend Brian Beasley (CPWA) and Dan Alberth (MBA/CFP), the Fierce Fiduciary podcast is a phenomenal resource. Both Brian and Dan are finance professionals with extensive experience, and are able to lend perspective that is considerable as a result. They have covered topics ranging from the basics of portfolio construction, to risk (and how to manage it), to the psychology behind successful investing, to how to select an advisor, and more. You can even learn how to perform some killer jumping spin kicks (just check out episode 9). They also have some very well-researched historical episodes on monumental events in the market, such as the Dot Com Bubble and the stock market crash of 1929. Check them out! Every hour spent listening to these guys is an hour very well spent.
Bogleheads is an incredible resource for anything personal finance related, or connected to John Bogle’s philosophy of investing in broad-market, low-cost index funds. I have personally gained so much knowledge from interacting with members here, or reading through the forums during a free moment. If you want to expand your knowledge, or need very well-informed, prompt responses for any question, this is the place.
Vanguard has an excellent investor education section on their site. You can find all kinds of information on how to prepare an investment plan, asset allocation, diversification, the importance of minimizing costs, various asset classes and more. Highly recommended.
If you need to research mutual funds or ETFs, Morningstar should be your first stop. Here you can find up-to-date information on costs/fees, historical performance, composition, risk and so on.
EveryDollar is Dave Ramsey’s phenomenal budgeting app, and my wife and I have been using it for years. With an easy-to-use interface, and the ability to auto-import transactions from different sources, it makes planning a budget and tracking spending a snap.
Personal Capital is a fantastic, free-to-use resource for tracking your financial life. You can connect your accounts to it to auto-import data that is used to calculate your net worth, budgeting and cash flow, and it also has capabilities to assist you with retirement planning and more. My wife and I use it mainly for tracking our net worth in a single, easy-to-use interface.
With 94 years’ worth of historical data (1926-2020) represented, Vanguard has put together an extremely useful profile of various asset allocations, ranging from 100/0 (stocks/bonds) to 0/100. Curious how your planned allocation has fared historically on performance? Best year? Worst year? Number of years with a loss? Look here.
Any list of investing resources wouldn’t be complete without a good compounding calculator. Plug in your initial investment, periodic contributions, the length of your investment window and interest rate and it will give you your estimated future value.
Portfolio Visualizer has a truly fascinating suite of tools to gain additional insight on investing. “Backtest Portfolio” allows you to plug in portfolio allocations using specific funds to see historical performance (even compare multiple portfolios!). “Backtest Asset Allocation” allows you to do the same thing, but using asset classes instead of specific funds. Finally, check out “Asset Class Correlations,” which will show you correlation data between major asset classes. Very helpful when researching diversification potential.