Slow and Steady

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The blurb of the book promises that it is written in ‘clear accessible English’ and that it will explain the risk behind each type of investment.

The book is split into two parts, part one is called the know how and part two is called the tools.

The first part makes you take stock of what you have and what your future goals are. It explains the effects of inflation, what products are tax free and how to choose an independent Financial Adviser. There are comparison tables for different types of products, and a risk pyramid so you can see what investments are more volatile than others.

The second part lists all the different types of investments. For each type it lists the pros and cons, the type of tax you’ll have to pay, what the normal timescale of keeping the product is, how they work, what they cost, and alternative investments.

The jargon alerts that are littered through the book are very helpful as are the trade secrets.

I learnt about the effect of inflation to savings and also learnt about annuities and stakeholder pensions.

I now have a clear idea of where I want to put my savings first, and what will be the best way to save tax payments.

I also have a better idea of the type of pension schemes that are available and it seems less daunting now.

I don’t have any criticism of this book at all, it does everything it says it will. The language is very clear and straightforward. It can be dipped in and out of instead of being read from cover to cover.

Of course some of the information is outdated, but that is to be expected.

Although I’m more interested in learning to invest, I thought that this book may give me more tips on managing my finances. It also had an introduction to investment chapter that I thought would be helpful.

The blurb says it’s for the general reader as well as students. It also states ‘this text provides a sound working knowledge in financial matters through straightforward explanations and constructive ideas, directing readers on the path to optimum personal financial health’.

There are 14 chapters in the book. The first chapter went through why you should master personal finance, and how having a clear purpose can help you in your aim to be wealthy.  The second chapter then goes into the definitions that will be used throughout the book.

The book covers tax, insurance, investments, wills, buying property, borrowing and pensions.

I dipped into the chapters of particular interest and am sad to say, I didn’t find the book interesting at all.

The information is all correct, and it is written impartially, however it’s just boring. It reads like student text book, definitely not for the general public.

The author has a habit of backing up his points by referring to different sections in the book, which gets quite annoying. Each chapter has a very long introduction where he states all his points he is going to make, and conclusion where he states the points he has made. It’s more of a dissertation than a guide book.

This book is very ‘old school’, it is very formal, and takes itself a bit too seriously in my view. The reasoning behind the book is fantastic though, Mr Gorham says he is ‘disappointed with the level of financial education offered to young people’, and I agree with him 100%.

I’m not sure those ‘young people’ would get past the first chapter though.

This book is so little, it’s 138 pages including the index and is about the size of a small diary. It has seven chapters.

The blurb promises that Alvin Hall will show you in a no nonsense style why and how to save and invest, and that he’ll be covering setting targets, where to save, understanding risk, and whether or not you can afford to invest.

There is no introduction, the first chapter kicks off with why people save and different saving methods. He also explains clearly why it is better to pay debt off before saving.

Each chapter is explained in normal everyday language, and he uses himself as an example frequently which not only helps you understand the point, but also makes the situation a bit more real as you try to imagine what you would do.

When it comes to explaining different areas of investing, it is broken down so simply you wonder why you never thought to try investing before. He encourages you to read the Financial Times and to try virtual investing before you use your own money.

He goes through each type of investment and explains the risk behind each one.

He covers a lot of ground in this tiny book, and while not in great depth,  it is enough for you to feel confident about reading the FT without feeling stupid.

It is very much a beginners book, and I am going to buy this as it would be a handy guide to have around and dip in and out for for reference.

A big thumbs up from me.


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