Testimonials & Reviews
“How much investment risk should I take? How much should I spend, and how much should I save?"
We all want answers to these questions, and financial economists have them, but the answers need to be translated into practical language. That’s exactly why you should read this enjoyable and insightful book, to understand and apply the best thinking about risk-taking and lifetime financial planning.
“Through years of dialogue with Victor and James, I have put into practice the ideas described in this book, and to great effect.”
They present a framework which encompasses many of the important principles I have learned through my nearly four decades of trading experience. The Missing Billionaires should be required reading at every bank, hedge fund and investment firm focused on enduring success.
“This book provides a thought-provoking, straightforward introduction to some of the most important questions in personal finance, and an engaging, non-technical description of some of the answers provided by financial economists over the past fifty years.”
“Haghani and White persuasively explain that to make good decisions under uncertainty, not only must we think probabilistically, but also we must apply those probabilities to the appropriate objective function."
Thinking beyond the plight of the ‘missing billionaires,’ perhaps human history would have followed a gentler and more peaceful path if our leaders had made decisions with the ideas of this book in mind.
A beautiful statue of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the 19th century rail and shipping tycoon, adorns the outside of Grand Central Station in New York City. It’s there because “the Commodore” ordered the station’s construction. Although partially obscured today by an eyesore called the Park Avenue Viaduct, the statue sits right at the heart of midtown Manhattan, the global center of finance, regularly visible to many of today’s financial titans.
When Vanderbilt died in 1877, he was the wealthiest man in the world. His eldest son, Billy, received an inheritance of one hundred million dollars – 95% of Cornelius’ fortune. Unfortunately, it came without even the most basic of instructions on how to invest and spend this wealth over time. Within seventy years of the Commodore’s death, the family wealth was largely dissipated. Today, not one Vanderbilt descendant can trace his or her wealth to the vast fortune Cornelius bequeathed.
The Vanderbilt clan grew at a higher rate than the average American family, but even so this outcome was far from guaranteed. If the Vanderbilt heirs had invested their wealth in a boring but diversified portfolio of US companies, spent 2% of their wealth each year and paid their taxes, each one living today would still have a fortune of over five billion dollars.
What went wrong?