Financial Book Club – Homework Optional

Sandy Balick of Consensus Point Mediation LLC ( provides some online resources to help with long term financial planning.Long term financial planning (LTFP) is a wise undertaking for most anyone. For those newly emerged from a divorce, the time to start, assuming you haven’t already, is now.

Empower yourself with some solid self-education before reaching out for professional investing and tax planning assistance. It won’t cost much and it will enable you to ask good questions. With luck, you can avoid bogus advice (which, sadly, is widely available, but potentially at a great cost to you).

Potential sources include non-credit courses and seminars at local colleges and libraries. Of course, there’s a huge trove of potentially helpful online resources to keep you locked to your screen for the foreseeable future, not to mention, a steady stream of new books to add to a list of “evergreen” or always popular titles.

While I intend no endorsement of a particular investment product or strategy, a good, book-based basic training program might include the following:

A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Dr. Burton Malkiel: Essential basic knowledge is to be found in this highly regarded book. While it won’t tell you precisely whose stocks and bonds should line your investment portfolio, you’ll gain important insight that would otherwise take years of (potentially hard) experience to acquire.

Please don’t run for the exits when I say that a dash of some practical economic theory will be useful to you. Fret not – theory is made enjoyable in the hands of books by two New Yorker Magazine writers, James Surowiecki in The Wisdom of Crowds and John Cassidy’s How Markets Fail.

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham is a respected source of concrete investment knowledge. It’s not a quick read but, taken in appropriate doses, it provides a good education in fundamentals.

Online possibilities are too numerous to mention and separating the good from the bad would take some time. However, take a look at some of the readily-absorbed material from John Bogle, the retired founder of Vanguard Funds. While not everyone is a fan of his index fund centered approach, there’s some good material to consider under the entry Bogleheads® Investment Philosophy, a summary treatment.

While online you might take a look at Savvy Ladies,  an online educational resource. Although it’s targeted to women, the programs available online, from a variety of speakers, should be helpful to your knowledge quest.

Readers of this blog may have other favorite titles and sources – worthy additions to the list above are welcomed, so don’t be shy.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator, NY Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434
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