Three Investment Books That Self-Directed IRA Investors MUST Read

For many of our clients – most of whom are experienced Self-Directed IRA investors, the run-of-the-mill financial information they get from the glossy consumer magazines isn’t very relevant. Most of the people we work with are far too sophisticated to get much from articles or news spots about the “top five hottest mutual funds to buy now” or “7 Hot Stocks That Will Blow You Away” kinds of articles that unfortunately pervade so much of today’s financial media.

Our clients prefer to go off the beaten path, and find value in their Self-Directed IRA that is under-reported in the financial press. The freedom to set yourself apart from the crowd is among one of the advantages of self-directed retirement strategies. After all, by the time you read about a hot stock in a glossy monthly money mag, the opportunity has already passed you by.

Furthermore, Self-Directed IRA investors are frequently on their own: They can’t rely on outside investment bankers and their Wall Street analysts for analysis. They can’t rely on a mutual fund manager or anyone else to do their thinking for them. They must become informed and wizened, risk-aware investors

Fortunately, there are some truly fantastic books out there that can provide terrific insight and information for our clients, and have become very popular with them. While some are relatively new, most of them deal with fundamental principles of investing, and as such have stood the test of time.

Great Books for Self-Directed IRA Owners

Security Analysis, by Benjamin Graham – Warren Buffett’s professor and mentor during his days at Columbia University in the 1950s – and David Dodd. This classic text was first written in 1934 and still remains the gold standard of its type.

Security Analysis walks readers through a deep dive in a variety of annual reports and other financial statements of the time, coaching readers how to discern things like deteriorating earnings quality, intrinsic value and the real sources of safety of capital.

It’s a serious book for serious investors. It’s not exactly breezy and can be quite dry. But those with a solid understanding of market history will be amazed at how much information from 1934 transfers directly to markets today. Whoever reads and understands this book will be well on his or her way to being a savvy and informed investor in both public and privately traded investments.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing, by Benjamin Graham. It is a testament to Graham’s intellect and mastery of his subject that he has written two of the greatest books for self-directed retirement investors.

This book has undergone several updates, but the essence remains the same: Concentrate on earnings quality and buying investments at a discount to their intrinsic value, paying particular attention to safety of capital. This one is more accessible to casual readers than Security Analysis and makes for much easier, though no less compelling reading. Editor Jason Zweig has done a terrific job of annotating and updating this classic text and keeping the book relevant to current investors, even though it was first written generations ago.

Ed Slott’s Retirement Decisions Guide, by Ed Slott, CPA. There are retirement experts, and then there’s Ed Slott, a CPA and author. Ed’s on a very short list of professionals who the experts call when they need an expert. Yes, there are a lot of tax experts out there who know the tax code and IRA rules inside and out. Slott is unique in that he has a knack for explaining complicated tax rules in a way that the average reader can understand and digest them.

He’s authored several books, which are excellent though some of the information in books written years ago is becoming dated as retirement rules gradually change. But the basic principles still apply.

The Retirement Decisions Guide is the latest from Slott – the most recent edition is 2016 and little has changed since then (though read up on the new self-certification process for those who miss the 60-day window on IRA rollovers, which is new since Slott published his book).

Whether your emphasis is Self-Directed IRA investing or conventional retirement investing, you’re sure to get some valuable insights from Slott’s guide that are well worth the cost of the book.

What else belongs on this list? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a note via our website,

If you are a self-directed investor, or just want to learn more about the advantages of self-directed investments, we’d also love to hear from you! Please visit our website above and download our exclusive e-Book or one of our specialty guides on self-directed investing. Or call us today at 866-7500-IRA.

We look forward to working with you!