Retirement Ready Income Programs

More Brainwashing Book Reviews

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"My partner and I love your book. We are enrolled agents, do around 800 business, personal, and trust income tax returns per year. The way it has been in the past, when folks ask who they should seek for investment advice, I have said that I don't really trust anybody, and then I tell them to educate themselves before they trust their money to an advisor. That way they will know enough to keep from being taken. Your book validated what I already know and added more information to increase my cautions to my clients. Thanks."

"I don't think that everybody is ready or able to become a trader, but the first part of the book where you describe what the investment industry is up to is a real eye-opener and a great item to read to begin an investing education." (Bob M, CA, 12/28/04)

I feel safer, more in control, and more confident running my Investment Portfolio than ever before.

"On April 29, 2002, having recently finished "The Brainwashing of the American Investor", I liquidated some of the mutual funds I owned and for the first time in my life purchased some individual stocks. It's now 9 months later and since then (which I've heard described as one of the worst periods in the stock market since World War II) -- using nothing other than "Brainwashing" for guidance -- I've bought and sold 24 individual stocks profitably, increasing the value of my portfolio by 9.9%. Not unexpectedly, during this same period my remaining mutual funds have plummeted. (I can't say by exactly how much since I couldn't bear to look at my last statement.)

As the author makes clear, this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme, and he isn't promoting a cookbook approach to buying stocks that you can follow mindlessly on the way to a guaranteed retirement. What he does do is describe a strategy that his own personal experience over the course of decades has shown will consistently generate profits, year in and year out, whether the market is on its way up (seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?) or on its way back down (sounds more familiar.)

I've got to admit that I was extremely skeptical at first. For example, I found it hard to believe that despite the fact that the author manages roughly a hundred portfolios, he claims to spend only about two hours a day going through the market listings in newspapers preparing a daily action list of potential trades - and spends virtually no time at all once the market opens. But as it turns out, now that I'm extremely comfortable working with the author's method, I now find that I rarely spend more than 30 minutes per day on activities relating to the market. (Admittedly, that's more time than I spend thinking about my mutual funds, but then, I'm not making a profit on my mutual funds.)

And truth be told, during the deep valleys the market went through in July and October I really began to have second thoughts. All I can say now is that for me, everything the author predicted panned out and I'm way better off than if I'd left all my money in those mutual fund turkeys.

If you're not satisfied with how your portfolio has been doing, or if you simply want to get control over your own financial destiny, my suggestion is that you read "The Brainwashing of the American Investor", work with some seed money for six months to a year, and see what happens. As I say, it worked for me." [M S Norwalk, CT]

I started following the methodology in Mr. Selengut's book in March 2002, just before the market began to collapse. Luckily, I was able to minimize the damage because I had begun to diversify my holdings. Then, despite the market's implosion, I began to make money off a few stocks I purchased based on "strict criteria" found in the book. I'm not saying I wasn't anxious about the whole process of making these decisions, but I was encouraged by the intelligence and logic behind the methodology. I started VERY slowly and carefully. To date, I have yet to make less than 10% on any stock I have sold. Of course, I am holding stocks that are down, but I am waiting patiently (sort of!) for these stocks to begin to creep back up, which they invariably seem to do.

          The book is a good read, as well as packed with what I would call Mr. Selengut's "intellectual capital." And, I would give this book 5 gold stars if it had an organized appendix in which the methodology were outlined. I'm guessing the author didn't provide one because it IS important to read the entire book, cover to cover, before you get started investing on your own. So it is merely a case of taking notes along the way! (L. S., East Hampton, NY)

In a nutshell, Steve's asset allocation system works like a charm. The system described in his book makes sense and it actually works when applied. Imagine that. I lost half of my life's savings by trusting an ivy league broker with very fancy charts, college investment theories, and poisonous words like puts, options, and average downs. I now win or lose on my own terms. I do this by using Steve's system and philosophies religiously. I constantly buy his top picks of the day to save research time. I can honestly say that I no longer fear the confusing broker statements because I now know what my statements contain -- results. Steve and his system have changed my work and investment life from gloom and despair to hope and dreams. Thanks again Steve!!   NIK,  TAMPA, FL (12/15/01)

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Steve Selengut is registered as an investment adviser representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of any business entity; the information is only intended to be educational and thought provoking.

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Risk Management: Income, 401k, and IRA Programs

Take a tour of a professional investment managers' private SEP IRA program during ten years surrounding the financial crisis:


In developing the investment plan, personal financial goals, objectives, time frames, and future income requirements should all be considered. A first step would be to assure that small portfolios (under $50,000) are at least 50% income focused.

At the $100,000 level, between 30% and 40% income focused is fine, but above age 50, the income focus allocation needs to be no less than 40%... and it could increase in 10% increments every five years.

The "Income Bucket" of the Asset Allocation is itself a portfolio risk minimization tool, and when combined with an "Equity Bucket" that includes only Investment Grade Value Stocks, it becomes a very powerful risk regulator over the life of the portfolio.

Other Risk Minimizers include: "Working Capital Model" based Asset Allocation, fundamental quality based selection criteria, diversification and income production rules, and profit taking guidelines for all securities,

Dealing with changes in the Investment Environment productively involves a market/interest rate/economic cycle appreciation, as has evolved in the Market Cycle Investment Management (MCIM) methodology. Investors must formulate realistic expectations about investment securities--- by class and by type. This will help them deal more effectively with short term events, disruptions and dislocations.

Over the past twenty years, the market has transitioned into a "passive", more products than ever before, environment on the equity side...  while income purpose investing has actually become much easier in the right vehicles. MCIM relies on income closed end funds to power our programs.

To illustrate just how powerful the combination of highest quality equities plus long term closed end funds has been during this time... we have provided an audio PowerPoint that illustrates the development of a Self Directed IRA portfolio from 2004 through 2014.

Throughout the years surrounding the "Financial Crisis", Annual income nearly tripled from $8,400 to $23,400 and Working Capital grew 80% $198,000 to $356,000.

Total income is 6.5% of capital and more than covers the RMD.

Managing income purpose securities requires price volatility understanding and disciplined income reinvestment protocals. "Total realized return" (emphasis on the realized) and compound earnings growth are the key elements. All forms of income secuities are liquid when dealt with in Closed End Funds. 

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Please read this disclaimer:
Steve Selengut is registered as an investment advisor representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own and do not represent the views of any other entity. None of his commentary is or should be considered either investment advice or a solicitation of business. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be or should be construed as an endorsement of any entity or organization. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or investments mentioned are any more than illustrations --- they are never recommendations, and others will most certainly disagree with the thoughts presented in the article.