Cover Image for Invested Book Q&A With Phil & Danielle

Invested Book Q&A With Phil & Danielle

Phil Town
Phil Town

Over the past couple of years, I’ve hosted a podcast called Invested with my daughter Danielle. Danielle had spent her life avoiding the stock market for fear of losing the money that she worked hard for and I set out to teach her how to invest.

I’ve never feared investing like Danielle did and through recording the podcast, we realized that many people also share the same fears as her.

That’s why we wrote our book, called Invested: How Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Taught Me to Master My Mind, My Emotions, and My Money

Invested offers a step-by-step guide on how to go from having little investing knowledge to becoming a successful investor in the course of a year. The book is packed full of insights, strategies, formulas, and first-hand anecdotes that all serve as incredibly valuable information for investors of all experience levels.

We decided to sit down together and answer some popular questions about why we wrote the book and our feelings towards how we think it will change the way people look at investing. Enjoy.

1. How excited are you for the release of this book?

Danielle Town: I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s finally coming out! It’s been over two years in the making and is truly a labor of love. I knew I wanted to create a handbook for our InvestED podcast listeners and people newly on their investing paths but I had no idea how personal the process would become. A big chunk of my life went into creating this, both in the amount of time and research that went into it, and the emotional work I dedicated to discovering what my story around money was and how I could break free of my fears. I really hope it resonates with people and that they can benefit from everything I learned along the way.

Phil Town: While I’ve had two other books published and that’s always a surreal experience, this book is exceptionally cool for two reasons. First off, I think it’s the best book ever written for investors about how the best investors in the world figure out what to invest in and how invaluable that is. And secondly, because it’s mostly written by my kid! As a lifelong, passionate investor it was always my hope to teach Danielle everything I know and it’s amazing to see her take that knowledge and apply it to her own point of view which I think so many new investors can relate to. She does an incredible job of showing her journey from fear to confidence and as any parent out there can relate to, it means a lot that some of that journey was influenced by our father and daughter conversations.

2. As you both have mentioned, this is a very personal book about family and inherited attitudes about money. Have you let friends and family read it? What is the feedback?

Danielle: Gaining control of my finances was a very personal and often very scary experience for me and I was surprised to hear family members and loved ones admitting to feeling the same way. Apparently, many of them felt just as intimidated as I felt –  like the financial world was inaccessible to them, or simply too complicated to be interesting. So it’s awesome to hear that after they read the book they feel like they have the tools to begin enjoying the process. That’s really why I wrote this book, to make investing an enjoyable and positive experience for people. It’s so rewarding to see that it was the thing to make the lightbulb go off in their heads, like, “Wow! I’ve been listening to you talk about this for years but this book really makes me want to start investing!”

Phil: It’s been really awesome to see how this book impacts everyone in our lives but especially how the women in our lives are responding to it. As a dad to a brilliant daughter, I’ve admittedly tried to teach her everything I know for years, sometimes to no avail! So it’s inspiring to see her voice these teachings and resonate with an entirely different audience who really relate to her. Like Danielle, many people who are new to investing are afraid. Maybe they’re afraid they can’t retire someday, or that they aren’t doing it right. Danielle has been there and she knows exactly what people are going through and does a great job of communicating the principles that top master investors use but in an easy to understand way.

3. Why did you decide to write the book together?

Phil: It really all started with Danielle’s genuine desire to learn to invest and her fears around it. Particularly, her fear of learning to invest from her dad. So we first started doing the podcast, InvestED, as a way for her to ask me any questions she had about investing in a fun format that would be educational for not only her but anybody learning to invest. The podcast really blew up, we have over a million listens and we discovered there is really an audience for our discussions. So the book is a way to go deeper into the discussions we have on the show and shares her journey.

Danielle: Exactly, everything sort of lined up. The InvestED podcast grew into a successful series with a hungry audience looking to invest. And we kept getting questions from listeners of the InvestED Podcast that had answers that were too complicated or involved to answer well in an audio-only format. At the same time, I had started my own investing practice and I thought a window into my personal struggles and experience would be really helpful to people who were wondering how their own investing practices could fit into their lives and what a thriving investing practice really looks like.

4. How was working together and how long did this take?

Danielle: It was, alternately, absolutely wonderful and frustrating! It took about a year. We outlined the book together, which was wonderful. Then I wrote a first draft of most of it, which was wonderful. And then we edited together, which was initially frustrating! I don’t recommend deleting large passages of what your father or daughter wrote because it makes no sense and then emailing it back to them – that tends to make that person mad. Once we figured out that wasn’t working, we started editing together in real time by sharing computer screens and talking everything out, and that went much better.

Phil: Right! Neither of us has ever done a collaborative book. I’ve always written on my own with editors that helped me to get it right. But this is, you know, dad and a daughter going back and forth and oh man, we had some bumps! She’d leave a blank page for me and then I would write and write and write and I’d send it over to her and she would throw it all away and rewrite and it would come back to me and I’m like, where is all the brilliant stuff that I wrote? And she would have the same experience with me kind of chopping up her brilliant stuff that she wrote.

But then we started just focusing on really aggressively flowing without rewriting as we went. We churned out hundreds of pages without judgment. And then making it into the book was essentially a process of rewriting. Like I always say, sometimes you have to throw out your babies, you have to throw out the stuff that you love the most if it doesn’t fit.

5. What would you say you learned most during this process?

Phil: I learned that writing a book in a collaborative venture with your daughter is a great way to figure out anything in your relationship that hasn’t been figured out. Through the discussions and the hashing out of the writing process, our relationship came under a sort of crucible of creativity and very personal emotions come out in the process. But we really learned that part of the process of creativity is to open up to the truth. It was a cathartic process and a lot of what we discovered about ourselves and each other ended up in the book, so man, we hope you guys like it!

Danielle: Totally. I also learned how personal investing is. That was a total surprise but wow, did I learn that, in many ways. I learned how to trust my dad in many new ways – as my investing teacher, my co-author – and our relationship is much closer than it was. On a practical note, I learned that I can handle the math in investing if I do it my way; it’s really not that impossible!

6. How do you feel about the book after everything you’ve put into it?

Danielle: I kind of hate saying this because it sounds self-serving, but I honestly think this is the best investing book for people who are looking for financial freedom that’s out there. It covers everything a beginner investor needs: confidence, fear, how the market works, how to choose a company, how to avoid errors, how to build a portfolio, how to buy and how to sell. And most importantly, it’s a fun read! We can guarantee you that this is not a boring investing book.

Phil: Like I said, writing this book has been a journey out of my comfort zone. We have had our fair share of challenges. But I’ll tell you, man, I’m so proud of this book now, and I’m so proud of Danielle. I discovered I have a very tough-minded daughter who has my total respect, intellectually and creatively. She’s phenomenal. And through her will to understand every single thing that goes into investing she has brought something to the book that I couldn’t have done alone. Danielle ultimately approaches things from a different point of view and it’s been pretty darn enlightening to see her start to embrace investing but make it entirely her own.

7. What do you want people to get out of this book?

Danielle: I want them to enjoy reading it, most of all. If they have a good time with it and maybe want to do some of the things I do in the book, I’ll be happy. If they start their own investing practice and start voting for their values with their money so that we change the market and support great companies, I’ll be ecstatic.

Phil: I want people to realize that their fear only comes from a lack of knowledge and that they realize the entire financial industry is out to keep people ignorant but knowledge is truly power. Believe me, investing is a very simple process. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but anyone with a brain and the right approach can become a very good investor. I hope people discover their individual power and realize that the entire financial services industry is locked into a paradigm that builds fear in people, but the truth is anyone can be successful at investing by themselves.

8. What is one tip you’d want to give your followers for life: happiness or investing?

Danielle: Be yourself, which means pay attention to your own experience and skills: what you like and don’t like, what’s hard for you and what’s easy for you. Then, instead of trying to change yourself so that you fit into someone else’s mold, take the investing practice and shape it to suit your strengths. Maybe that means practicing in the morning, or the evening. Maybe it means starting research with numbers, or maybe it’s more fun to look at management. Noticing what industries you already have expertise in and using that to develop your Circle of Competence.

Be yourself and trust yourself, because you already have the skills and all you have to do is learn the tools set forth in the book and utilize your strengths. And yes, that’s true even if you’re afraid of financial stuff and bad at math. If I can do this, you can do it too.

Phil: Be fearless. Really, don’t let fear rule your decisions or actions. You can be patient, you can control your capital and you can wait patiently for great opportunities to come along. If you follow what is taught in this book, you will be ready when the time is right. I hope that by learning how to invest properly people will have the freedom they need to live the life they want to live.

About the Book: Invested: How Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Taught Me to Master My Mind, My Emotions, and My Money

In this essential handbook—a blend of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Happiness Project—the co-host of the wildly popular InvestED podcast shares her yearlong journey learning to invest, as taught to her by her father, investor and bestselling author Phil Town.

Capturing a warm, charming, and down-to-earth give and take between a headstrong daughter and her mostly patient dad, Invested makes the complex world of investing simple, straightforward, and approachable, and will help you formulate your own investment plan—and foster the confidence to put it into action.

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