Brian (digibri) wrote,

James E. Stowers - Achieving Financial Independance

I went with a friend to hear James E. Stowers (who is a Founder and Chairman of the Board of American Century Invnestments)speak about his book at Unity Temple on the Plaza. For those of you who don't know, American Century Investments is not only a huge mutual fund company, but as I've heard from numerous unrelated sources, it's probably the one with the most integrity.

Mr. Stowers was a delight to listen to. His vocal style was very similar to Jimmy Stewart, though deeper. His voice broke several times with emotion when he would explain that his goal has been, for many years now, to help as many people as he can improve their lives financially.

For those of you who don't know, James and his wife Virginia have been funding a passion of theirs in the Stowers Institute, which has become one of the world's leading pure research institutes for gene related and other diseases.

Here's the story he told of why the book was written (he started it in 1989 and the first edition made it out around 1992.) A number of years ago, Stowers and the others at American Century realized that they had a group of clients who would put $10 into a fund, and then move it around in $1 increments to other funds they offered. As one might imagine, all this shifting of tiny amounts of money raised the expenses of the funds and fund managers. The board discussed this "problem" and were about to make a rule that would basically give "the boot" to anyone with less than a certain account size. Mr. Stowers spoke up and explained that he felt the problem
was these customers really didn't undersand how mutual funds worked. He proposed that he'd write a book to explain the fundementals of financial planning in general and mutual funds in particular.

Three years later they had something. He had help, there were over 92 other people who co-wrote, volunteered to read and give feedback, and help illustrate. The next hurdle was to work with the SEC and convince them that the book was not sales material. Finally, after a lot of back and forth (which mostly consisted of trying to get the people at the SEC to actually read the book) and a few minor changes, Mr. Stowers was allowed to publish the book. It is now in it's 4th edition.

I read the first edition of his book back when it came out in 1992 or 1993.
It's very easy to understand and even has amusing cartoons drawn by an artist who worked for Mad Magazine. After listening to Mr. Stowers speak and answer questions, I decided to purchase two copies so that I could share them with my friends.

So, the first of my friends in the (greater Kansas City / Lawrence metro area) who would like to borrow one of the books gets "first dibs". Once I've read the other one, it will become available to borrow. I ask that if you borrow a book, please return it relatively soon so another person can borrow it. These books are both autographed, so please be gentle. I encourage everyone to read this book, as I found the first edition a great boon in understanding these concepts. He makes simple what often seems difficult.

Yes, You Can...Achieve Financial Independence
(A New Diet for Financial Independence!)
4th edition

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