Learn about investing your money and investing in yourself with the help of Managing the Bull by David Christianson.
A good investment isn’t always easy to identify — especially if you are looking for an investment that will benefit your finances in the long term. If you want a little extra help managing your finances and your investments, Managing the Bull: Detect and Deflect the Crap is a great resource.
First off, realize that it’s a book written by a Canadian, so not all of the information in it (some of the tax planning, and GIC investing tips) applies to Americans. Even so, there are plenty of great insights into better managing your money, as well as how to invest in yourself so that you live the life you want, rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses (and probably their debt). Almost anyone can benefit from this book.
Decide What’s Important to YOU
One of the reasons I like Managing the Bull is the fact that the author, David Christianson, starts from a place I can relate to: Picking your priorities and deciding what’s important to you. Before you start trying to figure out what to put in your investment portfolio, Christianson suggests that you figure out what you want to do with your life — and what sort of financial situation you need to cultivate to make it happen.
As an illustration, Christianson tells the story of a teacher who fills a jar with rocks. many of the students looking at the jar perceive it as full. However, the teacher can still pour sand into the jar, and the sand fills in around the rocks. NOW the jar seems truly full. But what happens when you add water? You realize that there is still room in the jar.
Christianson points out that the rocks are the most important things in your life and your finances. If you fill your jar with sand and water first, there isn’t room for the rocks. Put the rocks in first, though, and you still have room for the other stuff — later. If you want to live a life that satisfies you, your finances need to reflect the “rocks first” mentality. Christianson starts out the book by focusing on your mindset, helping you figure out what you want, and providing you with a process for setting achievable financial and life goals.
Before you can really get to work on your ideal life, you need to decide what you want to accomplish, and stop trying to fit in with what those around you are doing. Start by investing in you, and figuring out what you want your life to look like later, and build your financial plan around your personal preferences and priorities.
Because he is a financial advisor with all sorts of credentials, Christianson does go over the basics of choosing someone to help you manage your finances. And he does have a good point; it can be worthwhile to work with a financial professional — as long as you choose wisely. Putting together a good team, if you decide to go that route, is part of your long-term financial success.
Better Investing with Managing the Bull
After setting you up with the basics of setting priorities, and going over how money works (something that is very valuable to understand), as well as providing you with actionable tips on creating your own financial plan, Christianson gets into investing.
Christianson takes it step-by-step, offering practical insight and actionable ideas that can help you build a better investment portfolio. He takes a look at different types of investments suitable for most people, addresses stock market timing, and offers guidance on appropriate diversification and automatic wealth accumulation. All of his ideas are those that are on a basic level that almost anyone can implement, no matter income level. These are the strategies — from asset allocation to protecting your wealth — that are most likely to help “regular” folks build wealth for the long-term.
I enjoyed this book immensely. The chapters are bite-sized, most only two to four pages long. This provides you the opportunity to break it down and digest the information before moving on to the next concept. Christianson writes in a down-to-earth manner that is easy to understand, and that puts things into perspective.
Managing the Bull is a great resource for anyone looking to build a preferred lifestyle with the help of sound financial principles and realistic investing strategies.