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Investing 101, Updated and Expanded Edition

ISBN: 978-1-57660-307-9
260 pages
August 2008
Investing 101, Updated and Expanded Edition (1576603075) cover image


People wanting basic advice about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement planning, and tax strategies are often frustrated by information overload. Picking the right book seems as daunting as deciding what to do with their savings and investments.

Investing 101: Updated and Expanded removes both roadblocks, putting people on a path that they can understand and stick with. Kristof is renowned for taking the mystery and anxiety out of investing by keeping choices manageable.

Kristof walks readers through the entire investment cycle and the way they think of their financial lives, rather than presenting stand-alone concepts like stocks and real estate. This expanded edition has new information about 529 college savings plans, annuities, Roth IRAs, reverse mortgages, and why declining markets can be good for you. It includes a cautionary look at home mortgages as investments. There's even a portfolio for the lazy investor.

Kristof's loyal readership and the success of this book's first edition demonstrate that she understands what's on the minds of investors as intimately as she knows what’s happening in financial markets.

Winner: Cover and Interior Design, The Bookbinders Guild of New York/2009 New York Book Show Awards

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Table of Contents


1 Fixing Money Problems.
Finding and fixing the psychological ills that keep us from investing wisely.

2 Risk and Reward.
The basics about how taking a few risks can reap long-term benefits.

3 The Starting Point.
How to allocate your assets based on your goals.

4 Diversification.
Dividing your assets among different investment categories is easier when you think about what different types of investments can do for you, rather than what they are. When you boil things down that way, there are just five investment categories, each of which offers an array of specific investments. Here are the categories and the choices within them.

5 Picking Individual Stocks.
Using fundamental indicators of value to pick good stocks.

6 Tough Sell.
How to figure out when it's time to call it quits with an investment.

7 Investing in Bonds.
Where to put bonds in your portfolio and which bonds to choose.

8 Mutual Funds.
A primer on mutual funds, from what they are to where to find one that suits your needs.

9 Socially Responsible Investing.
What socially responsible investing is about and how to find socially conscious mutual funds.

10 Real Estate Investment Trusts.
REITs allow individuals to invest in commercial real estate to diversify their portfolio and stabilize investment returns.

11 International Investing.
The basics on investing outside of the United States.

12 Tax-Favored Investing.
Uncle Sam gives Americans lots of ways to defer taxes while we save. Using these tax-favored vehicles can give your portfolio a boost. Here are your choices and what they can do for you.

13 Starting Small.
Think you can't invest because you don't have a pile of cash to start? Never fear. There are several choices for people with as little as $20 or $25 a month.

14 The Lazy Investor's Portfolio Planner.
The quintessential hands-off portfolio for the wise investor with very little time on his hands. You can do well quickly and easily with only a few hours a year.

15 How to Fix Your Broken Records.
Record keeping is one of the most important—and widely ignored—steps in wise investing. But good records can help you monitor your portfolio and help you determine when to buy and sell. They can also save you a small fortune in taxes.

16 Getting Help.
Read it all, but still don't want to go it alone? Here’s a quick guide on how to hire someone to help you.

Definitions for commonly used jargon so you can interpret Wall Street speak.


Worksheet Reference.

Monthly Budget.

Risk Quiz: How Much Risk Can You Take?

College Cost Calculator.

Is It a Buy?

Calculating the Tax Implications of Selling Too Soon.

Picking a Fund That Suits You.

Determining What You Have.


Income Investments.

Growth Investments.

Real Estate.


Keeping Tabs on Your Investments.

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Author Information

Business writer Kathy Kristof is nationally known for her weekly syndicated personal finance column in the LA Times, which reaches 40 million readers online through more than thirty major newspapers. Cited as “maybe the best reporter of all the personal finance columnists" in the TJFR 1999 Blue Chip Newsroom ranking of the top 100 American business journalists, she has received numerous writing awards and honors, including the title of 1998 Consumer Advocate of the Year by the California Alliance for Consumer Education. She is a sought-after speaker for investment conferences and appears regularly on radio and television news programs. Kathy lives in Los Angeles with her two children.
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Praise for the first edition:

"Investing 101 by Kathy Kristof is a reader-friendly introduction to the basics of investing and personal finance. . . . If I had to suggest a book on investing and personal finance to an absolute beginner, it would be Investing 101." (BookPage)

"… [an] excellent primer about investing. Investors will get a clearer idea of how markets work and what you can realistically expect from your retirement funds." (The Boston Globe)

"Kristof's down-to-earth style and clear prose gives her writing a decidedly user-friendly quality. . . . The vast majority of us worker drones who haven't yet made complete sense of things will find Investing 101 an easy way to get started." (Miami Herald)

"Not only is this book more simple and straightforward than the typical book on investing, it's also more humorous and personal." (Today's Librarian)

"Investing 101 is a sensible, well-written, and comprehensive guide to investor options. I learned much from this book and am certain you can too."
Stephen Brobeck, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America

Praise for the first edition:

"In Investing 101, Kathy Kristof skillfully guides the novice investor, step-by-step, along the path to investment success. It's an ideal primer for anyone who wants to enter the financial world and would like a helping hand."
Myron Kandel, Founding Financial Editor, CNN

"Too many of us give too little thought to the underpinnings of investing: how much risk to shoulder, when to sell, etc. Kathy Kristof explains these basics in language we all can understand. Investing 101 is sure to become a great reference guide for novices and longtime investors alike."
—Steve Dinnen, Personal Finance Columnist, The Des Moines Register

"Kathy Kristof knows investing inside and out. She can take even the most complicated information and make it easy to understand—and entertaining."
Ilyce R. Glink, National Syndicated Columnist, Author of 100 Questions You Should Ask about Your Personal Finances

"If you're just getting started in the investing world, this is the book you need. Kathy Kristof's smart, sensible advice demystifies the markets and shows you exactly what you need to know to achieve your financial goals. Investing 101 offers a road map to financial success without gimmicks or secret formulas—and it's a whole lot of fun to read, besides."
Liz Pulliam Weston, Personal Finance Columnist, Los Angeles Times

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