Tackling the complex worlds of finance and investing can be intimidating, which may be why many shy away from it entirely. Danielle Town ’03, corporate lawyer and daughter of an investment guru, was one of those people. Then one day, she realized that her successful career was causing stress-induced health problems and leaving her little free time, not the financial freedom and happiness she desired.
Town turned to someone in her life who knew a thing or two about personal finance: her dad, Phil Town, best-selling author and successful investor. That conversation led to Invested, which details her 12-month journey from finance novice to making investments on her own. The book is set up to mirror that path: 12 chapters, each broken down into different concepts to master, with practice to do on your own. The financial information presented is valuable, but for anyone familiar with the investment advice of legends Warren Buffett or Charlie Munger, the book isn’t giving away any trade secrets. Rather, its benefits stem from how the information is presented: It’s tailored to those who are intimidated and fearful about taking financial matters into their own hands.
Town details the emotional and mental roadblocks she encountered while undertaking this 12-month investment practice, and although those are specific to her situation, many readers may find parallels in their own lives. Reading about the work she does to overcome those fears—of math, of wealth itself—is reassuring. Just because her dad knows this world doesn’t mean it comes easy to her. She has to take cupcake breaks at times, but her mantra seems to be: If she can do it, so can you.
Because the majority of readers won’t be able to just call up Phil Town with questions about investing, the book is peppered with numerous aids: monthly exercises for investing practice; checklists; Excel breakdowns; appendices with supplementary financial information; and more. Her website, danielletown.com, offers additional resources. And, if that isn’t enough, daughter and dad have created a prolific podcast called “InvestED,” which covers everything from the basics of investing to interviews with financial experts.
The book’s main message is one of empowerment. It makes no assumptions about age, income, or pre-existing financial knowledge, as the Towns argue that none of that is necessary to effectively invest on your own. What is necessary is a willingness to learn and to dedicate a certain amount of time to the process. With Invested’s easy-to-follow format, readers can do just that, and perhaps be on their way to their own sense of financial freedom.
Garrett, a freelance writer based in the Boston area, tackled her own fears of the financial section while she worked for years as an editor at a mortgage-industry magazine.