There is nothing like the Christmas holidays for sinking your teeth into a book or two that helps with the finances. From buying and selling real estate to investing in shares, there are some great reads that could also be one of those gifts to friends and family that keeps on giving.
Australian's love of property has helped to keep How to Achieve Property Success by Margaret Lomas on the best-seller list at Dymocks book stores year after year. It is published by Major Street Publishing with a RRP of $39.99. Lomas is a best-selling author and a qualified financial investment property adviser whose books have sold more than 200,000 copies. She is a property investor with a large property portfolio. Chapters include "Due diligence to avoid buying a lemon" and "Creating an income for life".
Louis Christopher, the managing director of specialist property researcher SQM Research, recommends Real Estate Uncovered by Sydney real estate agent Peter O'Malley and published by Simon & Schuster with a RRP of $24.99. Real estate agents are towards the bottom on any list of professions Australians consider ethical (somewhere near journalists).
O'Malley lifts the lid on the tricks of the trade and traps for those buying and selling property. But it is far more than just advice about dealing with agents. O'Malley says, for example, that over-styling a home in preparation for sale can actually lower the sale price achieved. The book also covers the ins and out of property investing. There are warnings for investors thinking of plunging into overheated property markets in the hope of making quick capital gains.
"It is written with an accessible style and alerts readers to the pitfalls of buying and selling property, the tricks of some agents and what to watch for," Christopher says. Top Stocks 2014 by Martin Roth with a RRP of $29.95, published by John Wiley, is Dymock's best seller in the finance category. Roth, a finance journalist based in Melbourne, applies his criteria to find the best shares from among Australia's listed companies. He assesses companies with a focus on profitability, debt levels, and dividends. Roth's book is updated each year and is usually Dymock's best-selling finance book in the lead-up into Christmas.
Peter Thornhill, the principal of investment educator Motivated Money, recommends The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, RRP $27.95 in paperback, and published locally by Harper Collins. Thornhill says the book, first published in 2009, is "an easy read for beginners and younger people". The book is written by two Americans but is no less relevant to Australians.
The book does not focus so much on the "how and where" to invest, Thornhill says. It shows how ordinary people get rich without an inheritance or winning the lottery.
Nathan Bell, research manager at Intelligent Investor, recommends The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks with a RRP of $37.95 in hardcover, published by Baker and Tayler, which is available to order on the Dymocks website. Marks is a fund manager at Oaktree Capital Management in America, and known by sophisticated investors from his posts on Oaktree's website. The book is the distilled wisdom from these memos. Bell says this book is in the "top five or three" of the best investment books written.
"I learnt a lot in a very short space of time from the book about share investing," he says. It pitched at more experienced investors, rather than novices, Bell says.