The Single Best Investment
Lowell Miller, the author, is the President and lead portfolio manager of Miller/Howard Investments Inc. a firm that manages over $1 billion of other people’s money. He’s been a professional investor for more than 30 years. In his spare time, Miller is a sculptor, a writer and holds a 5th degree black belt in Aikido, all pretty cool for a money guy.
After hearing about this book from various bloggers I figured I’d buy it and put it on my nightstand. I finally got through this a few months ago. It took some time, but it was worth it.
The title of the book, first of all, certainly intrigued me but the pages that followed were more than enough to keep me captivated. One of the things that made this book enjoyable to read was the writing style of Miller. He speaks plainly and openly with little technical jargon. There are no complex terms or theories to decipher. There are no graphs to be hoodwinked by. The graphs that are included are pretty much common knowledge: when inflation is factored in fixed-income investments always lose to equity investments, and holding cash does even worse. Instead labouring on these facts, Miller instead wrote a book for financial builders, people who want to understand how best to leverage the forces of time, modest, reliable and compounding growth to their advantage. Miller reminds his readers that investing is really, investing – a methodical accumulation of capital through a sensible, disciplined plan that recognizes “shares” are not as he puts it “little numbers that jump around in the paper every day. They represent a partnership in a real business.”
Miller prescribes than any investor, can and should have a reasonable set of financial goals to work towards because they will always be plagued by financial doubts and uncertainties. Unlike many aspects of one’s life, price and market changes can’t be explained away. “They just are”. Therefore, because the market is always beyond our control and will frequently give us some emotional discomfort, you are wise to select a strategy that avoids playing the market but being an investor in it. Buying and holding established companies that have a great history of rewarding investors in good times and in bad through consistent dividend payments, can be one such strategy Miller explains. “Like a well-made old wool blanket, investing can be solid and comfortable, if you approach it sensibly.”
Overall, I found The Single Best Investment an enjoyable read. It galvanized many dividend investing concepts and also highlighted a few new ones for me. The novice or experienced stock investor will enjoy this book. Each chapter is summed up quite nicely with key messages extracted from the chapter’s essays. Although the book has a distinct U.S. stock market bias, Canadian investors will benefit from Miller’s plain, blunt mantra – invest in the compounding machine that is dividend paying stocks and avoid story stocks or what the talking heads will praise. Stick with what has worked (and rewarded investors) and don’t look elsewhere Miller claims. Steady and dependable (dull and boring) will undoubtedly win the race.
What about you, have you read The Single Best Investment? If so, what was your take? If not, are you intrigued?
My Own Advisor