Why You Should All Be Reading INVESTED Yesterday 💰📔
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
If someone recommended that I read a book entitled Invested a year ago, I'd have nodded politely, assuring them “I’d check it out.” However, I’d probably be doing an internal eyeroll, because come on, I basically had a full season of everything on Netflix awaiting me. This sounds like something that maybe I’d read if I was stuck at an airport for six hours with no alternative source of entertainment. But a year ago, I had not started my Investing Practice. I did not use the majority of my time after work to immerse myself in the fascinating worlds of 10Ks and shareholder letters. I did not spend my hour-long commutes listening to investing podcasts, and I certaintly did not do things like Google search:
“What did Warren Buffett look like at 25?”
Okay I see you Warren
Last fall, I resolved that 2019 would be my year of intensely educating myself on personal investing, but I had no clue where to begin. There is a wealth of information out there, and I felt extremely overwhelmed. So, when Leanne (who had years of a head start on me with investing) recommended that reading the book Invested by Danielle and Phil Town would be a fabulous start, I grabbed a copy right away. As it turned out, my sister was right. It was a fabulous start indeed.
WHY IS INVESTED A FABULOUS START, YOU ASK??
1. It tugs at your desires for financial freedom
Before beginning Invested, I assumed that it would be some kind of investing manual or textbook of sorts, providing definitions of Wall Street jargon, thorough explanations of market cycles, and dry, step-by-step company valuation instructions using intense calculations. However, upon reading the book, I quickly realized this was not the case. Instead, I was reading a story. A story of a woman (Danielle) in her early 30’s who genuinely enjoyed her profession but was burning out from the insane number of hours she was on the clock. She overworked herself to physical sickness and couldn't imagine sustaining this kind of working lifestyle 30 more years. She desperately wanted to create an unrestrained life, not dictated by how much money she made from her lawyer salary. To do that, she needed a solid plan. Invested isn’t just about a woman learning to invest, it’s about something more that many of us can relate to: the desire to achieve financial freedom to liberate ourselves from being wage slaves at the mercy of a manager, and to create the lives we truly want to live (preferably before we are 70 and have spent 50+ years stressing about money and retirement).
2. It makes you realize how Mom and Dad really did a number on your money psyche
Admittedly, when I learned Danielle was a daughter of a multimillionaire hedge fund manager/investing guru, I questioned her authenticity as a sympathetic protagonist. She clearly had all the advantages possible to become a successful investor and was probably just writing a book because she was already rich, using her father’s name to propel that wealth (I know, I’m savage).
Growing up in a household where Saving was King, yet investing was rarely talked about, I thought to myself: “this is not a woman to whom I can possibly relate.” HOWEVER, my preconceived notions were, well, preconceived (Danielle PLEASE forgive me). In Invested, Danielle describes her complex and unexpected relationship with money, largely a product of her very financially successful father. Danielle’s father, Phil, was a huge believer in the power of investing, which had radically changed his life, and he had pushed this notion on his daughter from birth. Having sat through many a long car ride of investing lectures that bored her as a child, she was turned her off by her dad's world. Additionally, her childhood wasn’t perfect; while her father provided her material comforts (earning him the backhanded title, "Disneyland Dad"), Danielle saw money as something that pulled him away from her. Because of these factors, she had some negative emotions associated with investing. She didn't want to invest, in fact, she was dead set against it, despite her father’s pleas.
Upon hitting her breaking point, Danielle embarked on her journey of learning investing not because she wanted to, but because her well-being depended on it. Her story made me realize how much our upbringings can affect our attitudes toward money, and our emotional ties to money can run pretty deep depending on our experiences. This book was incredibly eye-opening as it connected the way money was regarded in my own household growing up, to my feelings about money today – but that’s a story for another blog.
3. It inspires you to take control of your life
In addition to Danielle’s negative emotions associated with money, her lack of confidence in her mathematical abilities also serves as a bit of a mental roadblock. At first, she doesn’t have faith in herself to value a company, which requires leveraging multiple numbers from various sources, pushing her to an emotional break down. However, she eventually realizes that her struggles stem more from negative internal dialogue rather than any legitimate intellectual short-coming. She is able to value a company, and it’s a significant victory for her self-confidence. When I first considered investing for myself, I was intimidated, and frankly I didn’t think I was smart enough. Although I had excelled at a very competitive university and had a budding analytics career, I never felt that my personal finances were particularly stellar. Many women out there feel insecure about their financial acumen, so they hesitate to make substantial financial decisions like investing. However, Danielle shows us that if we trust our own abilities and put in the work, nothing stops us from intelligently taking control over our finances and changing our lives for the better.
Successfully valuing a company is an important individual achievement for Danielle, but what really resonates with me is how empowering beginning her investing practice was for her. Through her investing education, she is regaining control of her life even before taking one real action with her money, and I completely feel the same. The process of learning to take care of your money, not only to preserve it, but to grow it in a way that provides additional income for yourself, is super empowering in of itself. I’m now truly taking control of my life by self-creating financial freedom, and I honestly haven’t felt this happy, confident, and genuinely excited in a long time.
4. It motivates you to DIG IN
What I love about Invested is that it isn’t the typical “How To” book. It isn’t that step-by-step technical guide lacking personality, making no attempt to connect with me and my life. This book has a voice that speaks to me as a young(ish) woman who feels stuck hanging on a rung of an infinite corporate ladder dreaming to let go. While reading Invested, I felt Danielle completely understood where I was at. She acknowledges life is already hard and educating yourself on investing seems like an additional, daunting chore. And so, she provides a fresh approach. Rather than cramming all this foreign information down your throat at once, she allows herself a whole year to learn investing, giving us a roadmap to follow along the way. She splits up basic principles to tackle every month, making for a very digestible practice.
Danielle sees investing as a practice upon which she can continuously improve. The concept of investing as a practice makes me feel like there is no set amount of information that I need to master in a set amount of time. Instead, I can work the practice into my daily routine with the simple goal of just getting better - similar to a yoga practice. Although Danielle likes to work on her investing practice in some way everyday (as do I with listening to investing podcasts during my commute), there is no pressure to force yourself through some intense, rigorous curriculum. However, as you follow Danielle on her journey, you see that learning investing becomes less of a chore and more as something she truly enjoys and embraces into her life. I have also found this to be true in my life.
As I read, I felt like her roadmap was actually something I could follow. She teaches us very important, basic concepts, serving as the foundation of her father’s investing philosophy. The information she provides is very digestible even to the investingly-ignorant (like me), and is also incredibly interesting (nerd-alert). I found myself wanting to dig into the concepts further and seek supplemental material. I even ended up purchasing her father’s book Rule #1, which provides much more in-depth and technical information on his distinct investing strategy.
At first, I didn’t think I’d possibly have the time to learn something new outside of my job and winced at the thought of having to give up my nightly Netflix routine. However, I now look forward to my daily podcasts and coming home to a book rather than a screen. I find myself interested in business news, and my world has opened up to a whole new realm of knowledge about what is going on around me. Invested served as an integral part in launching my investing journey and expanded both my financial knowledge and ability to take control of my life. This book was the perfect, non-intimidating entry point to personal investing, and I highly recommend it to anyone asking themselves:
“where the f*ck do I begin?”
💋 💋 💋 Jenise