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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

Description

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

Foreword xi

Introduction xiii

Acknowledgments xv

PART I Be An Owner, Not an Employee 1

Chapter 1 To Market to Market, to Buy a . . . What? 3

So What Exactly Is the Stock Market? 3

Buy a Stock and Become a Restaurateur 7

Look to the Indexes for the Market Scoop 10

Wrap-Up 16

Chapter 2 The Lamborghini Murciélago LP6 40 Roadster: A Lifetime of Dividends 19

The Derivation of Dividend 21

Dissecting a Dividend’s Date 23

Rev the Engine with Some Ratios 25

Drive through the Financials 25

It's All About the Little Things 26

Get To Know a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Program) 28

What's a DRIP? 28

Of Course, the Company Benefits, Too 30

So How Do You Find a DRIP? 31

DRIP Downers 32

Wrap-Up 33

Chapter 3 Bond, James Bond 35

Bond with the Family 36

The Mature Bond 37

A Bond's Yield 38

Wrap-Up 39

Chapter 4 Mutual Funds and ETFs: For Folks on the Go 41

Mutual Funds: Funds for Kegs 41

Mixing in Exchange-Traded Funds 53

Wrap-Up 59

PART II Look under the Hood 61

Chapter 5 Navigating the Financial Statement: Your "Just Get to the Good Stuff" Guide 63

Find the Financials (Hint: They’re in the Annual Report) 64

Where to Begin 66

Wrap-Up 68

Chapter 6 Auditing Your Potential Investment 69

Open the Company Checkbook: The Balance Sheet 69

Check the Company Report Card: The Income Statement 77

Wrap-Up 85

Chapter 7 Cash Is the Real Deal. Earnings Reports Are Not. 87

Find Your Two Dollars on the Cash Flow Statement 87

Earnings Release: The Ultimate Optimist 93

Wrap-Up 99

Chapter 8 Breakfast with the Federal Reserve: Getting the Economic Porridge "Just Right" 101

Where Did the Fed Come from and Why Do We Need It? 102

Inflation: Bad for the Porridge and the Economy 103

Recession: Bad for Your Hairline and the Economy 104

How the Fed Keeps the Porridge "Just Right" 106

Adjusting Interest Rates: The Long, Slow Simmer 108

Testing the Porridge 113

Wrap-Up 115

PART III Decisions, Decisions 117

Chapter 9 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: Growth, Value, and Momentum Stocks 119

Growth Stocks: Hidden Gems 120

Value Stocks: Till Death Do Us Part 122

Momentum Stocks: One Night Stands 123

Wrap-Up 125

Chapter 10 Evaluating Cars and Stocks 127

Price-to-Earnings Ratio 127

Price-to-Book Ratio 130

Growth Rate 132

Knowing What’s Important: A Case-by-Case Decision 135

Hard to Get Good Help 136

Wrap-Up 136

Chapter 11 The Ins and Outs of IPOs 139

Pop Goes the IPO 140

A Beneficial Blow 143

Knowing When to Make the Move from Public to Private 146

Take That IPO on the Road 147

Sorting through the S-1 149

Getting a Ticket to the Hottest Party in Town 152

Leave the Stock, Take the Fund 156

Wrap-Up 157

Chapter 12 Options and Futures 159

An Introduction to Options 159

Check the Expiration Date: Options Expiration Week 165

Use the Futures Market to Foresee Market 167

Wrap-Up 172

Chapter 13 Bringing It All Together 175

1. Be Specific about Your Goals 176

2. Spread the Risk Around 176

3. Don’t Marry Your Holdings 179

4. Do Your Homework 181

5. Don't Forget to Pay Uncle Sam 184

Wrap-Up 186

Appendix 189

About the Author 193

Index 195

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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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