Put these 20 top investing books on your 2020 reading list for everything from beginner investing to understanding our shared financial history
The stock market has been uncharacteristically kind to investors for more than seven years. In fact, the current bull market is the second longest in history. That’s not to say that everything is set to fall apart in 2020 but you may want to get back to the basics with this list of 20 top investing books.
I say these are the top investing books for 2020 but many are some of the best investing reads you’ll find for any year. Some are decades old while others are hot off the press but all offer an opportunity to meet your investing goals.
I’ve categorized these books for beginner investors, advanced investors, millennials, real estate investors and for those looking for a general understanding of money and finance. In truth, you’ll find something valuable in each no matter what kind of investor you are and I’d recommend any of the books to anyone.
Top Beginner Investing Books for 2020
I envy beginning investors. They haven’t learned the bad investing habits that lose money and fill the pockets of Wall Street brokers. The top investing books below offer a great basic-level understanding of how to start investing and avoid the traps you’ll learn from the ‘experts’.
The Intelligent Investor is one of the few that appears on every list of best investing books. Published by Benjamin Graham in 1949, the current edition includes commentary by financial journalist Jason Zweig with guidance from Warren Buffett. The book is the first source on value investing and should be on every investor’s reading list.
Step by Step Investing: A Beginner's Guide to the Best Investments in Stocks (Volume 1) is the first in my series of investing books offering a quick read and a customized approach to your investing goals. The book will help you customize a simple investing strategy not based on Wall Street lies but on your own need for return and investing risk tolerance.
You’ll get the 10 investing basics that I use in my own investing decisions and the secret to beating the stock market game by playing by your rules.
Besides the beginner investing book here, I’ve also got books in the series that go farther into a specific asset class or investing strategy. In all, they cover everything I’ve learned over more than two decades as an equity analyst and everything I learned working for private equity investors.
Get paid to invest with dividend investing, Check out Step-by-Step Dividend Investing
Create a crash-proof portfolio with bonds, Check out Step-by-Step Bond Investing
A Random Walk Down Wall Street is one of the most successful investing books written with more than 1.5 million copies sold since 1973. The book’s life-cycle guide to investing will help you tailor your investing strategy to your age and your needs. The focus of the book is on a long-run plan in low-cost, internationally-diversified group of funds to find the investing opportunities you need to meet your goals.
Candice runs the Young Yet Wise blog and has recently released her Young Urban Investor’s ebook. Through ten chapters, she walks young investors through how to start investing in the stock market from budgeting to picking individual investments.
Top Investing Books for Advanced Investors
Over ten years as an analyst, I’ve learned that sometimes all you need are the basics to meet your goals. Following the eight stock market basics is 80% of my decision when I decide whether to buy or sell an investment but that still leaves some room for deeper analysis.
These top investing books won’t be for everyone but can help advanced investors dig a little deeper into the analysis that’s used by money managers to eke out a little extra return.
One Up On Wall Street is another of the legendary investing books that all analysts read. Written by Peter Lynch, who managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund and outperformed the market in a stunning run for 13 years through 1990, the book helps to show regular investors how to beat the pros by investing in what they know.
Lynch coined the term ten-baggers for stocks that increase ten-fold from the original investment and the book helps you find the few runaway stocks that can help boost your returns.
This is one of the first books I read as an equity analyst and almost required reading for anyone serious about stock-picking. It goes further than just general investing knowledge and takes you into a little more about understanding what you see when researching a company and investing in a stock.
The idea that you can’t beat the market is definitely busted in this book and is proven in Lynch’s long track record of investing for higher returns.
Most investors are seriously under-invested and under-prepared for bond investing. The Handbook of Fixed Income Securities is the most trusted resource for fixed-income investing. The author, Frank J. Fabozzi, is editor of the Journal of Portfolio Management and on the board of directors of asset manager Blackrock. The investing book includes everything from education on how bonds work to risk analysis and fixed income strategies.
CFA Level I and II curriculum are not investing books but some of the best investing education you’ll ever receive. Each set of books is designed to prepare candidates for a six-hour exam given every June, an exam that less than half the candidates pass.
The curriculum covers ten topic areas including professional standards, financial statement analysis, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives investing, alternative asset investing and wealth management.
Yeah, I’m a little biased having passed all three exams and holding the CFA designation since 2011 but if you want to learn how the professionals analyze investments, there’s no better source than these investing education books. Getting the current year’s books will mean registering for the exams but you can get prior years’ in just about any library for free.
If you are serious about stock-picking and investing in individual stocks rather than simply buying a group of ETFs, I would highly recommend reading the CFA curriculum. It won’t all be an easy read because it goes deep into the financial statements and financial accounting, but this is what investment analysts do every day. If you want to compete with Wall Street to find those best investments, then you need to know how they do it.
Invest and Beat the Pros is a great resource for implementing index fund investing into your strategy. Barbara includes several index fund investing approaches for different goals and enough investing knowledge to create your own strategy. You’ll get a clear picture of which investments to choose and some sample portfolios to guide you.
My Favorite Books to Understand Finance and Money
These books aren’t necessarily just about investing but can help give you perspective on the world of finance and wealth. When I’m tired of reading investing books and company 10-k reports, I turn to these books for entertainment and information.
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World is one of my favorite books whether it be investing books or otherwise. I’m a nerd for history anyway and love reading how the world of finance and wealth has shaped our world.
Niall Ferguson reaches all the way back to Mesopotamia to show the essential backstory to understanding how money has affected human progress. Some of the material around previous financial bubbles like the Tulip craze and one stock market bubble caused by a convicted murderer offers warning signs for present day investors.
Understanding how money works and some of the history behind it not only will make you a better investor but also makes it all more interesting. You can see yourself in the history of money.
The Richest Man in Babylon, I hesitated adding this to my list of top investing books but it’s a great read in personal finance and wealth. Originally published in 1926 as a series of pamphlets, the book is a compilation of parables set in ancient Babylon. The characters’ experiences in business and managing finances are just as relatable today and offer timeless and simple financial lessons.
Todd Tresidder has several books out on investing from books for beginners to other financial topics. I’ve included his book on Investment Fraud: How Financial Experts Rip You Off because fraud in investing is something that most investors aren’t even aware is happening. It actually happens more often than you think!
Best Real Estate Investing Books
I got my start after college as a commercial real estate agent and developer. I flipped and rented houses before the housing bubble burst and still own a rental property so I’ve always had a special place in my heart for real estate investing.
Besides great returns, you get a sense of accomplishment and ownership from real estate investments and these real estate investing books are great ways to get started.
I’m a sucker for real estate investing books and will usually read one even if I’m not planning on using the strategy in my own portfolio. I like to hear other investor’s strategies, their story and most of all their mistakes in real estate investing.
Real Estate Investing Sucks! is a three-book series details Rachel's personal story of finding her niche and success in real estate. The book answers all the biggest questions and helps you form a plan from start to finish.
Rachel walks you through property types, funding, how to build a team and several questions you won't find in other real estate investing books. Besides the info included in the book, you'll also find additional resources to help find your own path.
BiggerPockets Presents: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing is a fixture at the #1 spot for real estate investing on Amazon and free on Kindle. Apart from other free investing books, it’s not an upsell strategy but a real starter guide on real estate investing. Brandon and Joshua run the BiggerPockets blog and one of the largest real estate followings on the ‘net.
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor represents the collected wisdom and experience of over 100 millionaire investors. This investing book not only includes the fundamentals and models that will help you be a successful real estate investor but also the myths about money and investing that hold people back.
Something you won’t find in most investing books is the section on developing a ‘dream team’ that will help you build your investment business. Putting together a team of contractors, builders and other advisors is critical to real estate investing.
Best Investing Books for Millennials
I generally don’t put too much in the supposed differences between generations. Maybe there’s something to it, owing to the trends when you grew up, but I think the investing basics are pretty constant for everyone. I guess you have to have the perspective from someone in the generational group so I picked two investing books from a top millennial authors.
Millennial Money bucks the conventional market wisdom to help millennials succeed as investors. Ok, so maybe Patrick O’Shaughnessy isn’t a millennial but he’s an investor I’ve followed for years and I’d bet he got some valuable insight from some of his millennial investors at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management. He’s also a fellow Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) so I trust his research methods and professional values.
The Broke and Beautiful Life offers practical strategies to make smarter financial decisions today as a means to fulfill your goals for tomorrow. While it’s not strictly an investing book, it will help you answer the question of how to budget and save for investing when you don’t have many options.
Stefanie O’Connell is a guru in the personal finance space and the quintessential “broke girl”, writing everything from a perspective to which millennials will be able to relate.
Top Investing Books for Baby Boomers
Data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows the average retirement account balance of people approaching retirement is less than $215,000 and boomers in their 50s have far less than that saved.
That will provide less than $9,000 a year on a 4% withdrawal rate and is going to mean a tough retirement for many investors. While there might not be much you can do to make up for decades of under-investment, these retirement investing books will help make your money last.
The All-Weather Retirement Portfolio makes the analogy of investing for the perfect financial storm and offers nine steps to build a portfolio that will withstand the meteorological pain.
Beyond steps to manage your own investments, the book also provides 10 essential questions to ask a financial advisor before you hire one. Author Randy Thurman is a Certified Financial Planner and has made Worth’s top financial advisor list six times.
Retirement Investing for Income goes beyond other investing books to examine all the investments that can provide a reliable source of income through retirement. Bruce Miller uses his years as a Certified Financial Planner to explain core income investments in a way that’s easy to understand for any investor.
The investing book makes good use of examples to bring practical skills to boomer investors or anyone wanting to plan out their own retirement portfolio.
Few groups of stocks are more popular with investing retirees than dividend stocks. My Step by Step Dividend Investing is a quick guide on how to invest in both dividend stocks and other income-producing investments.
I cover the reasons dividend stocks beat the market and how to take advantage of tax loop-holes to get the most of your investments. The book is part of my four-part series on how to start investing and customizing a plan for your needs.
Best Investing Books for Stock Market Trading
I don’t generally recommend stock trading but investors always going to try and beat the market. It’s difficult (impossible?) to beat the market on a very short-term basis so make sure you have the right tools if you’re going to try. These top investing books for stock trading will help with technical indicators and charting.
The Honest Guide to Stock Trading is a nice change from the stock trading books that are more sales pitch than trading methods. The book won’t make you a day trader but will help with some of the most common trading strategies, establish position sizes and plan your entry and exit points.
Particularly useful is the material on psychological barriers that keep traders from making money. Llewelyn James is a prop trader with more than 13 years of experience trading the financial markets.
Stock Trading: The Definitive Beginner's Guide is a good investing book for learning the technical analysis and signals for stock trading. The 15 ‘rules’ for successful stock trading are easy to follow and apply to both trading and long-term investing.
These top investing books for 2020 aren't the only ones you should put on your radar but should definitely be on your short-list. Even the ones focused on stock market trading offer a sound basis in the stock market basics and the timeless rules that apply to successful investing.