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The Shortest Investment Book Ever Giveaway

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The Shortest Investment Book Ever: Wall Street Secrets for Making Every Dollar Count by James O'DonnellIf you read my review of The Shortest Investment Book Ever by James O’Donnell then you’ll know that I’m a fan of this book because it simplifies retirement and investing. I had the opportunity to ask James O’Donnell a few questions in what turned out to be a great, albeit brief, interview.

The publisher sent me five copies to give away and I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Jim some more questions. So, in this giveaway, I’ll be taking questions you want to ask Jim in the comments below, selecting the best five, and sending each a copy of Jim’s new book, The Shortest Investment Book Ever.

The only requirement to win is that you must have a shipping address is the United States and the contest will end at noon on January 23rd 2009. Void where prohibited.

The contest is now closed, I’ll be notifying the winners in the next few days once Professor O’Donnell has selected the five questions.

{ 30 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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30 Responses to “The Shortest Investment Book Ever Giveaway”

  1. Jfunk says:

    I would ask him what his future career plans are. Does he plan to write more books that are investment-related, or branch out into different areas? Are there any projects of importance he will be working on?

  2. MP says:

    Most authors used to tell young people in their 20’s to diversify and to take more risk such as by having portfolios comprised of 90/10 or 80/20 (stocks/bonds). Given the current economy (and many people’s fears that there is worse to come) do you think that this is a good allocation for young people still today? I’ve maintained this portfolio but I’ve avoided looking at my financial statements b/c the -47% drops are freaking me out. I just want to know if it’s time to start buying up more bonds.


  3. Modder says:

    My question: is modern portfolio theory (markowitz – efficient frontier based analysis) useful in today’s environment? the bases for the analyses such as risk and return data have to be totally skewed or noisy at this point given the recent volatility – what other approaches would you suggest to someone concerned with asset management short of putting all $$ under the mattress.

  4. Michael Kennedy says:

    My question is what is the best way to take advantage of both the 401k/403b and the Roth IRA? If I am investing 15% of my income how should I split the percentages between the two (my company automatically sends 3% to the 403b whether or not I contribute or not)?

  5. Jeanette says:

    Question: Have you always been financially educated or did you have to go thru what many of us have went thru… the hit rock bottom then educate/action plan your way to the top? If so how did you do it and if not what are some key things you learned early on that stopped you from joining that cycle?

  6. Eric says:

    My question for James O’Donnell is, “Where did you learn the most valuable lessons about investing? Was it in school, from a mentor, on wall street, through teaching, or some other way?”

  7. Since the book covers quite a bit, my question would be:

    what have been your three biggest financial mistakes? how did each one mold you to your current position.

  8. Can you make the book shorter?

  9. Jon says:

    Warren Buffett says that diversification is for “know nothing” investors because it mitigates risk. What is your opinion on diversification? When is it useful and when is it not?

  10. Robert says:

    I would ask if it matters how much in dividends a portfolio should make as compared to capital gains, from an investment standpoint and a tax standpoint. And does this change over time?

  11. thomas says:

    I have not read the book, so maybe this is being covered but what do you specifically find attractive or unattractive about target based retirement funds? These are being pushed out to small investors as easy ways to take advantage of low cost funds and adhere to the rebalancing of an account automatically.

    My vote goes to weakonomist as a winner because I enjoy smartass humor, although he actually answered that question in Jim’s interview.

  12. MC says:

    My question is, how would a person who knows nothing about investing get to know what it takes to invest? How does one research stocks?

    As a beginner investor, I’ve tried to read up all I can before buying, but I still don’t understand what people are doing for research.

  13. Dan says:

    I recently read an article in the WSJ ( which said most “experts” don’t practice what they preach. It mentioned several people, including John Bogle.

    This seems to be more of book explaining different investment options and terms as opposed to providing a strategy. However, if Mr. O’Donnell does provide recommendations (as in lifecycle funds), does he follow his own advice?

  14. Angie D. says:

    My question is this: I am an at-home mother of three in my mid-thirties, and I have no savings or retirement. My husband has a modest pension, works full-time, and has major health problems. How can I best plan for the future (including educating myself about wise investing) if my husband is unable to work (or worse)?

  15. Lightningbugaboo says:

    I’d love to know what Jim thinks about peer-to-peer lending (such as Lending Club) as a way to invest money. I’ve done some modest investing there (less than $2000) and have done OK. Of course, there are no guarantees… but the stock market isn’t guaranteed either.

  16. Arlene Aughey says:

    My husband and I are both age 60, and currently retired. We have saved all of our lives, and have quite a good amount in IRA’s and SEP’s. The problem is that – instead of being in a lower tax bracket in retirement, as we were always TOLD we would be – we are not finding this to be the case. We understand that we must take the money outof these accounts by the time we are 70 1/2, and I am truly searching around for what would be the best way to do this, without paying even more taxes. Can you help us with any ideas? Thanks!

  17. Sanjeev says:

    The usual investing guidelines have been around investing in low-cost index funds, maintaining an age/risk appropriate asset allocation, and rebalancing once or twice a year. I have been following these for a good time. But I am starting to doubt the guidelines now. All the technology advances in the last 10 years have fuelled easy availability of trading platforms to almost everyone and rapid information delivery has led to larger trading volumes with volatile market swings. My question would be – are we witnessing a shift that will render the long-term buy-and-hold strategy ineffective? Will holding and rotating sector based ETFs based on momentum yield better returns (as one would still keep the cost to minimum by buying these sector ETFs once in a while)? Or a hybrid approach combining the two? What are your thoughts?

  18. Derrick says:

    What is your time tested investing advice for a college graduate starting to build a portfolio in the current market? What fundamentals or foundation would you suggest building a lifelong portfolio on?

  19. john says:

    What is the one piece of info you would repeat, repeat, repeat? Something that people hear about, know about, but always tend to overlook it, or gloss it over as not that important. The past few years of my studying personal finance and planning details for retirement in a few years, I completely overlooked taxes on my pension and IRA withdrawals, as well as on Social Security – now it’s part of my plan, but what a big mistake that would have been…

  20. Austin says:

    Drawing upon your experiences as a teacher and a writer, how would you organize and present a class lesson plan to educate people who are just getting started in their study of investing?
    (e.g. how long? what topics? format?)

    As a person who has been a caregiver for a family member, what advice would you give people who may be facing the possibility of becoming caregivers for their parents?
    (e.g. what are some realistic expectations? What resources would you recommend? What is the financial impact?)

  21. jen says:

    I am always wondered if we have enough insurance–whether it’s on the house or ourselves. I have short and long term disability as well as long term care coverage. My husband is not offered this coverage through his work. Should we have all 3 for him?

  22. Simon says:

    Sign me up for the drawing… seems like a worthwhile addition to my financial library.


  23. zach says:

    i’ve been putting an extra 5% into my supplemental retirement annuity every month for the past 4 months (i started my job in sept 07, and was eligible to contribute in sept 08, when i contributed 5% to get a matching 7%, and an additional 5% in a separate account but the same fund). that said, i also have $6600 in credit card debt (and a small but growing emergency fund of $4300).

    is it a good idea to invest heavily now while stocks are low, or take that money and pay off any outstanding obligations? on one hand i hear from people that now is the time to buy because stocks are so low, and then others say this is the worst time to be in debt and that i should pool all of my efforts towards paying that down.

    thanks in advance, and i look forward to seeing the answers to everyone’s questions and learning from your interview. 🙂

  24. mindy says:

    what is the best way to avoid financial mistakes

  25. Carol says:

    My question is what does he think of this generation’s attitude toward money?

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