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Review: If You Can

Book written by: William J. Bernstein

YES, this is just what millennials have been looking for… a “get rich slowly book”!

The author, William Bernstein, is a brilliant economist and statistician and a pioneer in managing risk with investing, so it is no surprise he gave this book it’s riveting title.  I have read some of his more technical books, and anyone picking this one up will appreciate it is written in a conversational tone AND available FREE as a printable 16 page PDF (see below). 

This book is a great starting point for someone wanting to learn more about how to save and invest.  The author wrote this book for millennials and communicates his ideas candidly as if he is talking to his own kids or grandkids.  He saves no punches in clarifying that most millennials have the responsibility to save for their own retirement “so they won’t have to move in with their kids or sleep under a bridge in the rain”. 

I love that he spells out a good retirement savings rate for millennials.  Bernstein says, if someone saves 15% of their income through all their working years, and invests it in three types of funds, most will retire comfortably.  While this advice is simple, doing it for 30 years is really difficult. 

There are some hurdles…this is where the work begins.  The author gives a reading assignment (another book or two) to help manage each hurdle.  Several of them address the psychological issues and mistakes we make when investing. 

The Hurdles:

  1. “People spend too much money.
  2. You’ll need an adequate understanding of what finance is all about.
  3. Learning the basics of financial and market history.
  4. Overcoming your biggest enemy-the face in the mirror…
  5. As an investor, you must recognize the monsters that populate the financial industry.”

Check it out, and at least you will have a reading list to address the above hurdles.  It is available as a free download from the author’s website www.efficientfrontier.com or available in digital or paperback from Amazon.