Heads I Win, Tails I Win

Why Smart Investors Fail and How to Tilt the Odds in Your Favor

Publisher: Portfolio
INVESTING IS ONE OF THE FEW AREAS IN LIFE WHERE EVEN VERY SMART PEOPLE LET HOPE TRIUMPH OVER EXPERIENCE
 
According to Wall Street Journal investing colum­nist Spencer Jakab, most of us have no idea how much money we’re leaving on the table—or that the average saver doesn’t come anywhere close to earning the “average” returns touted in those glossy brochures. We’re handicapped not only by psychological biases and a fear of missing out, but by an industry with multimillion-dollar marketing budgets and an eye on its own bottom line, not yours.
 
Unless you’re very handy, you probably don’t know how to fix your own car or give a family member a decent haircut. But most Americans are expected to be part-time fund managers. With a steady, livable pension check becoming a rarity, we’ve been entrusted with our own finances and, for the most part, failed miserably.
 
Since leaving his job as a top-rated stock ana­lyst to become an investing columnist, Jakab has watched his readers—and his family, friends, and colleagues—make the same mistakes again and again. He set out to evaluate the typical advice people get, from the clearly risky to the seemingly safe, to figure out where it all goes wrong and how they could do much better.
Blending entertaining stories with some sur­prising research, Jakab explains
 
·How a typical saver could have a retirement nest egg twice as large by being cheap and lazy.
·Why investors who put their savings with a high-performing mutual fund manager end up worse off than if they’d picked one who has struggled.
·The best way to cash in on your hunch that a recession is looming.
·How people who check their brokerage accounts frequently end up falling behind the market.
·Who isn’t nearly as good at investing as the media would have you think.
 
He also explains why you should never trust a World Cup–predicting octopus, why you shouldn’t invest in companies with an X or a Z in their names, and what to do if a time traveler offers you eco­nomic news from the future.
 
Whatever your level of expertise, Heads I Win, Tails I Win can help you vastly improve your odds of investment success.

PRAISE FOR

 “As Pogo used to say, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’ In this delightfully written book, full of wonderful anecdotes, Spencer Jakab shows us how to win the investment game by avoiding the stupid choices that even ‘smart’ investors make.”
—BURTON G. MALKIEL, author of A RANDOM WALK DOWN WALL STREET
 
“Treat this like a lengthy dialogue with a kind, funny, and very wise friend who takes you through all the key principles of how not to lose money, and does it in wonderfully simple language without ever getting bogged down in numbers or jargon.”
—JOHN AUTHERS, chief investment columnist at FINANCIAL TIMES
 
“Jakab has written a very clear guide to managing your money in a very clear, witty, and easy-to-read style. This is the book you should read and then give a copy to your kids and friends.”
 —JOHN MAULDIN, chairman of MAULDIN ECONOMICS
 
“Jakab provides readers with a road map of the numerous investing mine fields they’ll encounter on their way to financial independence. By avoiding them, readers can win by not losing. Read it and reap.”
—MEL LINDAUER, author of THE BOGLEHEADS’ GUIDE TO INVESTING and THE BOGLEHEADS’ GUIDE TO RETIREMENT PLANNING
 
“Spencer Jakab has distilled investing down to its most important parts, wonderfully explaining why so many investors go astray and how you can learn from their folly. Spencer’s columns amaze me for their ability to pack a punch in just a few paragraphs, saving readers from unnecessary jargon and fluff. He’s topped himself with this book.”
—MORGAN HOUSEL, columnist at THE MOTLEY FOOL
 
“This engaging and hugely insightful book helps individual investors understand how the markets really work and how they should think about their investments. Jakab takes a seemingly complex topic and makes it accessible to investors of all shapes and sizes.”
—BEN CARLSON, author of A WEALTH OF COMMON SENSE
 
“About once a decade a fun-to-read book comes out with good practical advice for investors. This book is it. It gets across the important points that investors need to know without being dry or dull. It is destined to become an investment classic along the lines of A Random Walk Down Wall Street.”
—JAMES ANGEL, Ph.D., professor of finance, Georgetown University