When Gene F. Lee began brainstorming titles for his 282-page, self-published book, he wanted to title it “The Investing Handbook for Millennials” because it was written with his two millennial-aged daughters in mind. However, one of his daughters quickly shot down the idea.
“When I told my daughter that, she said, ‘No. We millennials don’t like to be called out as millennials,’” the Los Altos resident said. “So I changed it.”
Lee spent four years writing his book, now titled “The Investing Handbook for Almost Everyone,” and published it in February 2018.
He was inspired to write the book for his daughters when they were beginning their first jobs. He noticed they had a lot of questions about choosing the best 401(k) plan and investment in general.
“They really had no experience with investing, even though that was my work,” said Lee, a retired financial adviser. “They had some questions and it became apparent they needed something to refer to or read, and I wanted to pass along information to them.”
Publishing his own book was not what originally came to Lee’s mind. He first went to the library to check out a book for them but couldn’t find one that was oriented to people like his daughters who were just beginning their careers.
“Most of the books out there were for people who were already dabbling in stocks and how to get rich in two months, that kind of stuff,” he said.
Instead, he wanted to write a book that was more about the practical stuff, such as choosing the best 401(k) plan and what to do after making your first sizable paycheck.
“I’m trying to lay the groundwork for it, so someone could do it themselves, to learn, or they can go with professional help,” Lee said. “But even then, you need to know a little bit more to ask the right questions.”
“The Investing Handbook” is divided into several chapters that each covers an investment topic. They include establishing what type of investor you are, defining the basic elements of investment (such as risk and stocks), determining the assets you own, finding reliable information and choosing stocks.
Lee looked at questions his clients had asked and mistakes he had seen made as a financial adviser to help write the book.
The hardest part, he noted, was organizing his writing in a clear and concise way that everyone would understand.
“A lot of the ideas can seem complicated, and that’s because you don’t have a natural way to explain it,” Lee said. “I had to come up with examples and analogies (and) pictures that would make it clear to people.”
Lee emphasized that his book is a learning tool and not meant to be a one-sided illustration of investment, because there are many ways to approach investing.
“It’s not the kind of book where I’m going to tell you how to invest and what stocks to invest in kind of thing,” he said. “I think it will give (readers) a grounding to move forward. They won’t be able to ... pick their own stocks day one, but it shows you how to start doing it.”
Lee recommends investing early.
“One of the key things you learn is the amount of time you spend investing makes it much easier if you start young than if you start late,” he advised. “You can get rich slowly or you can try and get rich fast, and it’s a lot easier slowly.”
Lee doesn’t see his writing career ending with “The Investing Handbook” – he wants to try a different genre.
“I might try poetry or some kind of fiction writing,” he said, “but that’s harder than this.”
“The Investing Handbook for Almost Everyone” is available at Amazon.com.