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Break Down Your Money: How to Get Beyond the Noise to Profit in the Markets

Tracy Byrnes, Liz Claman (Foreword by)
ISBN: 978-0-470-22680-3
224 pages
June 2008
Break Down Your Money: How to Get Beyond the Noise to Profit in the Markets (0470226803) cover image


Praise for Break Down Your Money

"Tracy Byrnes writes like she speaks on FOX-clearly, passionately, and yes, lovingly. She is that rare expert who helps enrich your portfolio and your soul. You can do both, and Tracy shows you how. Others talk about what your goals should be. For the first time, finally, someone who shows you how to reach them in finances, and in life."
-Neil Cavuto, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network

"Break Down Your Money is unique-smart, wisecracking market insights. You'll learn and laugh, a lot."
-Dan Colarusso, Managing Editor, Conde Nast Portfolio.com

"Tracy Byrnes is truly one of the best at helping investors get a grip on their finances. In Break Down Your Money, she delivers on that promise so eloquently-with the kind of bite-size information and entertaining flair that makes her a TV standout. This is one money book you won't want to put down."
-Jennifer Openshaw, author, The Millionaire Zone, host of ABC Radio's Winning Advice

"Being in the financial business, I have read plenty of books about the markets, and would never use the word 'fun' to describe any of them. Until now. Tracy paints a colorful picture of the markets. Her book is an entertaining, well-informed, fun read for the expert and the novice alike."
-Steven Grasso, Floor Governor at the NYSE, Managing Director, Stuart Frankel & Co.

"Tracy offers a comprehensive walk through the basics of finance in an easy-to-understand manner. A great read!"
-Todd Harrison, founder and CEO, Minyanville Publishing and Multimedia, LLC

"As a money manager, university professor, financial writer, and frequent media guest, I am constantly challenged with the objective of explaining complex concepts to an audience that is trained to focus on sound bites and instant messages. You have to boil down these complex concepts to a quick and digestible form accented by down-to-earth language and humor when necessary. Tracy Byrnes has accomplished these goals in Break Down Your Money and, in the process, makes learning about financial and money management more enjoyable to the reader. I wholeheartedly recommend Break Down Your Money to readers of all ages and investment skill levels."
-Scott R. Rothbort, founder and President, LakeView Asset Management, LLC, Professor of Finance, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, founder and Manager, TheFinanceProfessor.com

"Tracy has a unique knack of explaining the market to folks who are not 'in the market.' It is really a wonderful gift. A must-read for anyone wanting to invest and who is too overwhelmed to dive in."
-John Layfield, CEO, Layfield Energy, and, as WWE wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, the longest reigning World Champion in SmackDown history
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Table of Contents




Part I. Be An Owner, Not an Employee.

Chapter 1. To Market To Market, to Buy a… What?

So What Exactly Is the Stock Market?

Buy a Stock and Become a Restaurateur.

Look to the Indexes for the Scoop Market Scoop.


Chapter 2. The Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Roadster: A Lifetime of Dividends.

The Derivation of Dividend.

Dissecting a Dividend's Date.

Rev the Engine with Some Ratios.

Drive through the Financials.

It's All About the Little Things.

Get To Know a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Program).

What's a DRIP?

Of Course, the Company Benefits, Too.

So How Do You Find a DRIP?

DRIP Downers.

Wrap Up.

Chapter 3. Bond, James Bond.

Bond with the Family.

The Mature Bond.

A Bond's Yield.


Chapter 4. Mutual Funds and ETFs: For Folks on the Go.

Mutual Funds: Funds for Kegs.

Mixing in Exchange-Traded Funds.


Part II. Look under the Hood.

Chapter 5. Navigating the Financial Statement: Your “Just Get to the Good Stuff” Guide.

Find the Financials (Hint: They're in the Annual Report).

Where to Begin.


Chapter 6. Auditing Your Potential Investment.

Open the Company Checkbook: The Balance Sheet.

Check the Company Report Card: The Income Statement.


Chapter 7. Cash Is the Real Deal. Earnings Reports Are Not.

Find Your Two Dollars on the Cash Flow Statement.

Earnings Release: The Ultimate Optimist.


Chapter 8. Breakfast with the Federal Reserve: Getting the Economic Porridge “Just Right”.

Where Did the Fed Come from, and Why Do We Need It?

Inflation: Bad for the Porridge and the Economy.

Recession: Bad for Your Hairline and the Economy.

How the Fed Keeps the Porridge “Just Right”.

Adjusting Interest Rates: The Long, Slow Simmer.

Testing the Porridge.


Part III. Decisions, Decisions.

Chapter 9. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: Growth, Value, and Momentum Stocks.

Growth Stocks: Hidden Gems.

Value Stocks: Till Death Do Us Part.

Momentum Stocks: One Night Stands.


Chapter 10. Evaluating Cars and Stocks.

Price-to-Earnings Ratio.

Price-to-Book Ratio.

Growth Rate.

Knowing What's Important: A Case-by-Case Decision.

Hard to Get Good Help.


Chapter 11. The Ins and Outs of IPOs.

Pop Goes the IPO.

A Beneficial Blow.

Knowing When to Make the Move from Public to Private.

Take That IPO on the Road.

Sorting through the S-1.

Getting a Ticket to the Hottest Party in Town.

Leave the Stock, Take the Fund.


Chapter 12. Options and Futures.

An Introduction to Options.

Check the Expiration Date: Options Expiration Week.

Use the Futures Market to Foresee Market.


Chapter 13. Bringing It All Together.

1. Be Specific About Your Goals.

2. Spread the Risk Around.

3. Don't Marry Your Holdings.

4. Do Your Homework.

5. Don't Forget to Pay Uncle Sam.



About the Author.


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Author Information

Tracy Byrnes has been a financial journalist for over ten years, covering tax, accounting, and personal finance issues. She is currently an on-air reporter for the FOX Business Network. Prior to that, she wrote weekly finance columns for the New York Post and TheStreet.com, where she also did daily videos for the Web site, and was a regular guest on numerous financial television shows. Before diving into journalism, Byrnes spent five years as a senior accountant with Ernst & Young LLP. Byrnes has an MBA in accounting from Rutgers University and a bachelor of arts in economics and English from Lehigh University.

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