Tuesday, January 13, 2015

[Book Review] The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing + GIVEAWAY

I was approached by Andrew Hallam this past fall with the opportunity to receive a copy of his new book, "The Global Expatriate's  Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat" in exchange for a brief review on my blog.

Since I knew close to zip about investing—other than the initial research I'd done when opening my Roth IRA—and knowing I'll definitely be an expat again at some point, I was all in!

I'll start with a bit about the author, just so you know who's behind this book.

Andrew Hallam: The Millionaire Teacher

Andrew Hallam
Photo Source: CFF
Teaching Personal Finance at Singapore American School, Andrew Hallam has been an expat since 2003. He's also a personal finance writer who has been published in Canadian Business magazine, AssetBuilder, Reader's Digest and Personal Money, among other publications.

Hallam didn't grow up wealthy, but began to invest just before turning 20. After becoming rich on a middle class salary, Hallam shared his finance wisdom in his first book and bestseller, "The Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School."

Late fall of 2014 he published his second book, "The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing," which I finished reading this past December.

The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing

The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing
Image Source: Amazon.com

Written so that even newbies to the investment world can understand it, this book has 22 chapters, and shows expats how and where to invest. Most expats won't have much in a retirement account in their home country, since their income is coming from elsewhere, so the entire book is about this unique situation.

The last eight chapters are shorter sections with specific investment tips based on where you're from. These chapters are titled "Investing for ~ Expats" and include:

  • American
  • Canadian
  • British
  • Australian
  • New Zealand
  • South African and South American
  • European
  • Asian

Here are some elements I liked about the book:

  • Interesting introductions: Even though the topic matter is often inherently dry, Hallan makes things interesting by drawing connections to more exciting scenarios—usually in the introductions. His personal tone made it easy to read, despite the somewhat technical content.
  • Personal examples: Every chapter has multiple examples of real expats around the world. It uses their income, retirement, expenses, or real experiences with certain investment companies—good and bad. This makes it easier to think about your own situation, and to prevent making the same mistakes that some of these people made or be inspired/motivated by others' success stories.
  • Charts and graphs: I liked that when it made sense to do so, charts and graphs were included in the book. A few could have had a greater difference in color to make them easier to read, but overall the inclusion of such graphics was really helpful.

Sure, you can always read up on various investment articles online, but to have all of this well-researched (and tested) information from an experienced expat organized into a cohesive book: Yes!

My Big Take-aways

Seeing all of the various examples and chapters actually made investing seem simple, as the same concepts were drilled into your mind. So the big things I learned were the following (and pardon any incorrect lingo, this is how the main ideas rested in my mind):

  • Index funds are the way to go.
  • Buy more when prices drop, sell when your investment is doing well.
  • Charles Schwab and Vanguard are good U.S. companies to invest through on your own.
  • Couch Potato Investing exists and is a method you could use to invest.
  • Stocks can change drastically in a short amount of time, but over 10+ years indexes go up.

While reading this book, I picked up a Motley Fool investment guide (for teens!) that I saw for sale at the library. I figured the information would still be useful, even though I'm well past my teenage years, so I bought it for a quarter and that's what I'm currently reading.

There's a clear message I've already received from the first third of the book: The best time to invest was yesterday. 

Time's a ticking, so invest now. Since reading both of these books, I plan to invest in stocks this year, in addition to my Roth IRA contribution. I'll continue researching this field that's mostly foreign to me, and as always, share any knowledge worth sharing as I figure out how to do this.

Any downsides to the book? To be super nit-picky, I prefer paperback. There is a kindle version available for purchase, though, in addition to the hardcover (details below). A few of the graphs could benefit from a greater contrast in color as I mentioned above. And I did find one typo, and one repetition.

Title: The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing
Author: Andrew Hallam
Hardcover Cost: $22.19 USD
Kindle Cost: $14.90 USD
Pages: 336

Book Giveaway: The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing

I've done my reading, highlighting, and taken my notes—so I want to pay it forward and let someone else have a read. That means I'm giving a copy away!

Want a free copy of "The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing"?

To enter the giveaway:
  • Leave a comment letting me know where you're an expat, or where you'd like to live as an expat in the future.
And that's it! I'm not a fan of those super-involved, force-you-to-subscribe/follow giveaways, so I'm keeping it simple with a single comment.

A winner will be selected at random on January 27, 2014, so be sure to include your email in the email field, or click the box to be notified of follow-up comments.

I'll take care of the shipping as my thank you gift to you, dear readers!

Deadline to enter: January 26, 2014

Many thanks to Andrew/Wiley for the complimentary book! That won't influence my words, though, as all opinions are my own.
• • •


  1. I live in Switzerland and even before the Franc went crazy I was worried about how my time here would affect my long-term financial situation. The US-Swiss banking/finance relationship isn't exactly peachy.

    1. Congratulations! The Random Number Generator picked you!!

  2. I lived in China last year and am currently planning my next step to either Hawaii or China again! Thanks for sharing this book and your review.

    1. Thanks for reading and entering, Frank! Will be interested to follow along and see where you go to next!