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Smarter Investing: Simpler Decisions for Better Results Paperback – 17 Sep 2009

37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 2 edition (17 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273722077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273722076
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


As featured in The Sunday Times: 'How to keep your head - and stay ahead. Most investors act irrationally and erratically. Are you among them? Ask yourself these searching questions from investment guru Tim Hale's new book. and find out.'

'... an informative new book on investment planning.' Financial Times

"Tim Hale has written a book of investment wisdom and common sense for the ages.  Investors who follow his simple advice will be richly rewarded" John C. Bogle, Founder, Vanguard.

"gives readers a solid grounding in investment markets, a structured approach to portfolio building and useful practical advice...a thought-provoking text that both inexperienced and informed investors could find useful." James Teasdale, Fund Strategy magazine

"Delightfully clear thinking and direct advice on how investors can get better results with simpler decisions." Charles D. Ellis, Author of "Winning the Loser's Game" and Founder of Greenwich Associates.

Amazon reviews

Brilliant, 12 Jan 2007

Reviewer: Voracious reader (Hong Kong, Asia) - See all my reviews

I am a senior executive who has worked in the investment industry for over 25 years and have read thousands of personal investment books in that time. I have three degrees including degrees in finance and economics and an MBA.


I speak regularly on retirement saving strategies and am frequently asked to recommend books for investors, and this is my choice. Although it quotes UK examples, its advice is relevant for any investor.


This book clearly summarises a huge amount of financial expertise from the most trusted academic sources in terms which can be understood by the layman. It does not 'talk down' to the reader but offers an excellent and comprehensive overview of personal investment strategy. This book offers you the best advice for building your wealth, period. It includes sound advice on how to build and execute your plan.


It is well illustrated and comes with good summaries. The bibliography is excellent.


I took the time to search on the internet for Mr. Hales address and personally congratulate him on this book - I have never done that before - the book is that good. Please read it, we need more people like Mr Hale to share their knowledge with the public.

 If you only read one book on investing make it this one, 13 Jan 2007

Reviewer: Peter Shield "" - See all my reviews

     "Smarter Investing- simple decisions for better results " by Tim Hale is the clearest, best written introduction to intelligent investing published in 2006. Hale reiterates the simple truth that the individual investor cannot beat the market over the medium term, nor should they try….…What makes Hale's book so persuasive is the fact that the author spent so much of his professional life working in active fund management companies, sort of poacher turned gamekeeper. The book is well written, draws the reader step by step into quite complex arguments without resorting to jargon and technique short cuts. At the end of book both the novice and the hardened investment specialist will come away better informed and armed with the tools necessary to make your money work harder for your future.

 If you only ever read one book on investing this should be the one.


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

…the information and advice on investing in our daily lives, on the television, in the press and from cyberspace, is often confused by fuzzy thinking, frequently tainted by vested interests and occasionally reeks of exploitation. This makes life difficult for anyone faced with making decisions about how they are going to invest. That nowadays means nearly all of us.

Make a difference where it really counts – invest in your investing skills

Smarter Investing reveals why you don’t need to worry about trying to make sense of the financial pages, trading shares or trying to work out where next to invest your money. Instead, follow Tim Hale’s watertight advice to simpler, smarter investment choices. The key to successful investing is to do a few straightforward things exceptionally well, and this book shows you how. It will help you to:

• Establish what you want and need your money to do for you

• Work out how much money you need to achieve your goals

• Maximise your chances of accumulating the money you need through smarter investing

• Build a balanced portfolio that is right for you and that you can live with, using the basic building blocks of equities and bonds

• Understand the optional extras of return smoothers and return enhancers and build a portfolio for all investment seasons. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gregor on 14 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
As an ex-banker, I never normally read investment books aimed at a general audience as I normally find them somewhat unrealistic in the impression of investing (speculating ?) that they give the reader. This book is different. I was looking for something new to read about personal pensions and came to it because of the quality of the reviews on Amazon and in the press. Essentially, the author lays out a methodology which encourages the reader to *really* think about a number of factors before they invest. For example: What are they investing for ? Time-frame ? Returns required or planned for ? Risk tolerance ? etc. Asset allocation is really focussed upon and the importance of minimising costs (or 'losing-the-fewest points') is continually hammered home. The aim is to help the investor develop an investment framework they have confidence in and then stick to it and be consistent, even when the portfolio is not doing well. This may not seem particularly original but there is a clarity and authority about the writing which really helps make the case. The author is also consistent in always attempting to look at as much historical data as is possible (typically 100 years) which makes a change from so many books which only seem to go back as far as the 1970s or 1980s. This long-term viewpoint also has the benefit of really showing how much volatility there can be in different markets and how over- and under-performance can last for many many years. (This in itself is quite sobering.) In short, this is an excellent book and I am recommending it to friends as an essential read on investing in general and for personal pensions.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Andrew J. Herdman on 4 July 2006
Format: Paperback
A timely and very useful overview of practical recommendations, backed up by clear explanations and references to original research, on a wide range of personal investment and financial planning topics. The book should prove particularly valuable to UK investors who have only recently gained access to the competitively priced index and exchange traded funds which can form the basis of any investment portfolio. The book draws heavily on the writings of several US authors, notably Bernstein, Bogle, Ellis, and Swensen who have brought an understanding of the benefits of careful asset allocation, passive investment, and relentless focus on minimising taxes and transaction costs, to countless US investors. Based on personal experience as an insider in the fund management industry, the author does not pull his punches in describing the inadequacies of most retail investment products available in the UK market. In addition, his analysis of alternative investments including hedge funds brings an open-minded but healthy scepticism to bear on some current favourites. The only minor complaint is that the book stops short of recommending specific service providers or sample portfolios, although this is perhaps understandable given the rate at which new products are appearing in the market. Overall, a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any serious investor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By andy1980 on 18 April 2011
Format: Paperback
What I like about this book is that it is full of sense, and also it seems eminently honest.

What I mean is that the author doesn't seem to be selling the reader anything, and the investment strategy he recommends is clear and carefully argued for.

Also, this edition is written after the financial crash of 2008, which counts in its favour. Any investment decisions that you make should take into account the worst case scenario (e.g., another 2008 happening in twenty years)

His philosophy is simple, and the one I follow. Decide on your investment mix (bonds/equities) based on your age, your appetite for risk, and your long-term investment goals. E.g, for me, as a 30-yr old with a long, long time to retirement, I am putting 80% in equities and the rest in gilts. Once you've decided on your mix, buy the most efficient index trackers to implement this mix. The book recommends the best trackers for each index, and explains how to decide which are most efficient.

He argues against fund managers - basically, because picking them is a gamble and there are more losers than winners. If you're looking for managed funds then don't buy this book. Unless, of course, you're open-minded and are willing to consider the index-tracker approach to investing.

All in all, a great read. Well-argued, and with practical recommendations. It has fully convinced me and is the only book I've needed to plan for my retirement (without any need for an Independent Financial Advisor)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By F. Hamilton on 28 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Tim Hale's book gives readers the knowledge and tools to make good investment decisions. That alone is a significant achievement given all the "How to get rich quick" books lining the average set of shelves in any book shop. But the clarity of thought and clear writing is what really makes this book stand out - and what has made me much more confident and relaxed about my investing.

The book first cuts through all the noise that we read in the Sunday papers relating to what sector is doing best this month, what fund manager is this week's star, and whether the Footsie is up or down. He convincingly shows how strategies based on market-timing, chasing the next sector or region, and constant tweaking (trading) of your investments is a sure way to lose money. Like a bell chiming through all this noise, Hale explains how good investing is much simpler when you do a few things extremely well.

Hale gives direct advice backed-up with well-presented data. Whether your investment horizon is 30 years or 5 years, he explains how to construct an optimal portfolio that maximises your chances of making money and see you through periods of market trauma.

The meat of the book is a master-class in sensible investing: a step-by-step guide to the basics, and the complexities, of personal investing. Plenty of detail is given in the form of sample portfolios and tables that help readers to create a robust portfolio. Going beyond simple statistics such as "the stock market returns on average 5% a year", Hale gives the tools to help you work out how much you may need to invest if you want to be (for example) 80% sure of a retirement on 70% of your salary.
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