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Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes (9780312263218): Harry Browne: Books. If you had to summarize Fail-Safe Investing in three words, it would probably be these: Embrace the obvious. Look at your job, Browne advises. You get ahead because of your experience, education, and common sense. Your job is the reason you have money to invest in the first place. So the first of Browne's 17 rules is, Build Your Wealth upon Your Career. Don't jeopardize your career; it's going to take many years of smart investing before your earnings will surpass what you earn at your day job--if they ever do. The other rules aren't quite as obvious, but equally simple. Browne explains the difference between investing (making a long-term plan and sticking with it) and speculating (betting that you can beat the overall market during a specific period). He shows how life savings are easily lost when you borrow money to invest rather than investing only the money you already have. Browne also suggests a portfolio that he says is the simplest and safest possible for continual, steady returns above inflation: an equal division among stocks, bonds, gold, and cash. That covers an investor in times of prosperity (stocks), inflation (gold), deflation (bonds), and recession (cash). While many investment analysts would undoubtedly gag if you presented them with a portfolio that consisted of a 50 percent investment in gold and cash, Browne nonetheless makes a compelling argument that such an allocation makes it easier to sleep at night. And common sense tells you there are worse things than a good night's sleep. --Lou Schuler

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