the earlier you start thinking about retirement savings, the better off you’ll be later in life. the mathematics of compound interest favors those who start sooner rather than later. most people are intimidated by the stock market and don’t realize just how easy it is to invest for retirement without having to correctly pick winning individual stocks. there’s a brain-dead approach called “indexing” that anybody can do. indexing involves passively investing in the entire market and requires very little effort. indexing involves investing for the long term, rather than speculating to get rich quick.
the following books have been helpful to me when i started out. i am offering extra credit for reading any of these books. let me know which ones you are interested in and you will have three years time to read the books for 1 extra credit point each. i started out with malkiel’s book, which is a fine classic to begin with, but roth’s book and bogle’s book are probably the most accessible here. bernstein and malkiel also dive into some interesting financial history in their books and they consequently give a more in-depth overall picture. the “bogleheads’ guide to investing” is perhaps the most practical in this collection. all of the books on this list are worth reading.
when you’re ready and understand the basics, i recommend opening a suitable retirement account at vanguard as well as checking out bogleheads.org, a forum where fans of the indexing approach (“bogleheads”) help each other out.
on the other hand, if you are interested in picking individual stocks, then you should read benjamin graham’s classic. graham’s approach of “value investing” inspired warren buffett, the most successful of the value investors. graham’s book is interesting to read if you want to see how much effort it truly takes to “beat the market” on a consistent basis through skills rather than luck.