Book Cover Design Contest For How To Value Invest, Answering A Reader’s Email To Me, Graham-Newman Letters, And A Mini Review of The Einstein of Money

Started A Book Cover Design Contest For My Upcoming Book How To Value Invest

I started a book design contest on 99designs.com yesterday for my upcoming book How To Value Invest.  The first several submissions are excellent and I am extremely excited to see what I finally decide on.  The contest winner will win a portion of the $299 prize so if you know anyone who is creative please pass this along to them.  The contest for my book can be viewed here.  Seeing the potential book covers with my name as the author on the cover and the title is very surreal and exciting thing.

Answering  A Readers Email To Me

I received this email yesterday and wanted to share my response with everyone.  I have edited out this persons name, place of residence, and the university they are studying at to keep the persons privacy intact.

Dear Mr. Jason Rivera,

I really appreciate your hard work you are putting in your site and I am an avid reader of it. I would like to seek your advice regarding a decision I am facing. My goal is become a value investor and establish my own asset management firm to manage my own money and other people’s money. Right now, I have the opportunity to pursue partnership in my family business and be able to run it along with my father. I am 23 years old, and I am a freshman student at the blank university. If I am to be a partner in my family business, I have to drop out from the university and travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where the business is. I am still a freshman student because when I was 19 years old, I dropped out to establish my own business in the same industry as my family in blank country. I had an experience running a business and I had the opportunity to sell my business after two years of operation to my cousins, and, thankfully, it was a profitable venture.

My family business is somehow facing sales shrinkage and cash flow problem due to low capital (my family made terrible mistakes in managing it) and economic downturn. They are specialty contractors and manufacturers of fenestration products (windows, doors, kitchens, curtain walls, and rolling shutters). If I am to work with them, I can be able to help them in reorganizing the company. It might be risky for me, but if everything worked out well enough, I will have earnings that I believe is better than being an employee.

I am facing a decision that I need to make. You might not be able to advice me, but whatever advice you give me, I appreciate it. If my goal is to manage my own money and other people’s money by establishing my own asset management firm, is it helpful to have a university degree or the experience of having ran a business? Shall I drop out and pursue my family business opportunity? If I am to continue studying, I will incur student loan debt which I won’t prefer. But, alas, I will do it if it need be to accomplish my goal. Thank you a lot.

My response below to this very important question.

Nice to make your acquaintance and thank you for your kind words about my blog and work, I greatly appreciate it.

I will let Warren Buffett give you some advice before I give you my thoughts. “I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am an investor.”

I am admittedly biased against college due to how much money you have to pay, for classes that you do not want to take, and for the return that you get on your money after graduating.  I have not been able to go to college due to health reasons.  Most of my friends and family have gone to college, finished with at least a Bachelor’s degree (or sometimes even a Master’s Degree) and almost all of them have had problems finding jobs or being paid what they should be getting paid, all the while being saddled with hundreds of dollars a month payments due to student loans payments.  From all the people I know who have gone to college I do not think it is worth it unless you want to become a doctor, nurse, engineer, teacher, or a related field like those.  Almost everything else can be learned online for free/cheap now.  Almost every person I know who has gone to college and has graduated with Bachelor’s or Masters degrees have been told when they look for a job that the reason they weren’t being hired, or weren’t getting paid more, was because they didn’t have ENOUGH EXPERIENCE.  Experience is still king in most cases. I have been told many times that I know more about investing than most MBA’s and professional level investors and I am completely self-taught from mostly free resources I have found online.

The only reason you will need a degree is if you want to work at an investment firm since most people won’t even look at your application unless you have a Bachelor’s degree or are a CFA.  If you want to be your own boss this isn’t necessary.

If you want to open up your own investment firm it is most likely going to be better for you to quit school (You can always take classes online if you do want a degree) and gain all important experience and contacts by working at your family business.  I would also recommend taking some of the money you do earn, invest it, refine your processes, get better, and keep track of your returns.  The main thing potential investors in your firm will be looking for won’t be degrees, it will be your investment track record and how well you have done over time in your own portfolio and the portfolios that you manage.  I would also recommend starting a blog so your record can be public and people can see how you have done over time as well.  You will also get great feedback and improve a lot faster this way as well.  Since starting a blog I have improved more in the last year than in I did in all the previous four years combined.

Remember that I am very biased against going to college because in most cases I do not think that it is worth it so keep that in mind when thinking about what I have said.

I also have packages of my upcoming book where I will give you advice and critique your work as well if you would want me to help you on the investment front.  If you would like further instruction let me know and we can work something out as well.  I love to teach and help so please let me know if this interests you at all.

I hope this has helped, please let me know what you decide, keep me up to date with how things are going, and let me know if you would like me to help you in any way that I can.

Jason Rivera

Value Investing Journey

After I sent that email I realized that I forgot to include a few things that I wanted to but forgot to include.

  1. Treat everything that you do as a learning experience.
  2. Do the best that you possibly can at everything.
  3. Give 100% effort and focus to everything that you do.
  4. Try to improve yourself every day.
  5. Learn something new every day.
  6. Push yourself out of your comfort zone every day.

If you can do the above things on a consistent basis you will do very well in whatever you choose to do.

Do any readers have any other input on this situation, maybe someone who has a contrasting point of view to mine or maybe something that I missed about this situation.

If anyone else has any other questions you would like to ask me I would love to have you email me and converse with you and I will try to help you out in any way that I can.

Graham-Newman Letters

While I was finishing up listening to the audio book of The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Wisdom of Benjamin Graham the other day the conclusion part of the audiobook mentioned that some of Benjamin Graham’s shareholders letters from his partnership had been transcribed and circulated.  I immediately searched for them and found the Graham-Newman partnership letters and wanted to share them with you.  As I tweeted out the other day I cannot believe that I did not know about these before and I am going to start reading through them immediately.

I would also like to mention that if you have ever been interested in listening to an audiobook before I highly recommend Amazon affiliate Audible.com.  They are offering two free audiobooks when you sign up for a free trial right now.

Mini Review of The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Wisdom of Benjamin Graham

I only got to listen to one book on my trip and it was one I had wanted to read for a long time and I am glad that this was the audiobook that I picked.  The Einstein of Money is a must read for Benjamin Graham admirers or value investors of any stripe.  The book is a biography of one of my personal investing heroes and chronicles his personal and investing life.  Even though I have read a lot about Graham and his investing methods I still found the book worthwhile, even for more advanced investors.  The book will be a great introduction to beginning value investors as well because it goes over most of his investing philosophy and techniques.  The book is a lot shorter and less dry than Security Analysis (Which I still recommend every serious value investor to read) and the Intelligent Investor (Still one of my all time favorite books) and since it is a biography delves into Mr. Graham’s personal life a lot.  I found a lot of the stuff on his personal life very interesting because I knew almost nothing about Mr. Graham outside of the investment world.  The book chronicles his failings as a husband, how he got started in investing, his outside interests (Who knew the man wrote many other books that weren’t related to investing and even wrote a couple plays), his college years, etc.

If you are even remotely interested in Mr. Graham the investor, his value investing philosophies, and learning more about his personal life than I highly recommend that you read or listen to this book.