Books are among the best resources to learn about investing. They will arm you with the knowledge that will empower you to make better decisions in your financial life. Every book will teach you something new and make you a better investor. Books are how we got into investing ourselves at Curvo!

To help you on your way, we selected for you the best books to start investing and grow your wealth. We chose a mix of Belgian books and foreign books. After all, some of the best books were written by Americans and other authors abroad.

Best books to start investing

These are what we think are the best books for Belgians to starting investing:

Book Topic Language
De hangmatbelegger
Yoran Brondsema and Tim Nijsmans
Introduction to ETF investing Dutch
Je bent jong en je wilt... beleggen
Cédric Proost
Introduction to investing for young Belgians Dutch
Investing Demystified
Lars Kroijer
Introduction to passive investing English
Money: Master the Game
Tony Robbins
Personal finance English (translated to French)
Robin Wigglesworth
History of passive investing English
Het grote pensioenbedrog
Mark Scholliers and Jef Vuchelen
The Belgian pension system and its future challenges Dutch

De hangmatbelegger - beginner's guide to ETF investing

by Yoran Brondsema (co-founder of Curvo) and Tim Nijsmans

"De hangmatbelegger" was released in September 2023.

"De hangmatbelegger" ("The Hammock Investor"), authored by Curvo co-founder Yoran Brondsema and financial advisor Tim Nijsmans, presents a unique and refreshing perspective on the world of investing. The book's central theme revolves around the concept of "hammock" investing – a metaphor for a relaxed, stress-free approach to managing your investments. The approach, based on passive investing through ETFs, is tailored for Belgian and Dutch investors who seek to navigate the financial markets without the common anxiety and complexity that often accompany investment decisions. Yoran and Tim emphasise the importance of a long-term outlook, advocating for proven strategies that promote steady growth and wealth accumulation over time. They challenge the prevalent mindset of aggressive trading and frequent portfolio adjustments, suggesting that a more laid-back, thoughtful approach is likely to be more effective.

In the second half of the book, Yoran and Tim delve into the practicalities of implementing the hammock investment strategy. They provide insights into building a well-diversified portfolio, focusing on asset allocation and risk management. The key is to avoid the pitfalls of market speculation and instead rely on a solid foundation of investment principles that withstand the test of time. To make things concrete, they give examples of model portfolios of ETFs, each tailored for a different type of investors and financial goals. They also address common misconceptions and fears that investors face, offering advice on how to remain composed and confident in the face of market volatility. Their philosophy extends beyond mere financial gain, advocating for a balanced lifestyle where personal well-being and financial health go hand in hand.

Although we're going to be slightly biased, "De hangmatbelegger" serves as an enlightening guide for Belgian investors who wish to enjoy the journey of investing while lying back in their metaphorical hammock, secure in the knowledge that their financial future is well taken care of. Note that the book is currently only available in Dutch. Learn more on the book's website.

Je bent jong en je wilt… beleggen - for young Belgians

by Cédric Proost

"Je bent jong en je wilt... beleggen" by Cédric Proost serves as a guide for young Belgians eager to step into the world of investing. Tailored specifically for his age group, Cédric demystifies the complexities of the stock market, offering practical advice and strategies that resonate with novice investors. The book emphasises the advantages of starting to invest early in life, highlighting how time and compound interest can significantly boost long-term returns.

Cédric navigates through various investment options, from stocks and bonds to more novel avenues like cryptocurrencies, providing a comprehensive overview of each. With a focus on risk management, diversification, and setting realistic financial goals, the book is an invaluable resource for young adults looking to make informed, savvy investment choices. It's a clear and engaging roadmap for anyone at the onset of their financial journey, underscoring the importance of informed decision-making and long-term planning in building a strong financial foundation. The book is only available in Dutch.

Investing Demystified - introduction to passive investing

by Lars Kroijer

We came across Lars Kroijer's work when we started our investment journey. His book "Investing Demystified" presents a straightforward and accessible approach to investment, challenging conventional financial wisdom. Kroijer, a former hedge fund manager, argues against the common belief that individual investors can consistently outperform the market. Instead, he advocates for a simpler, low-cost investment strategy centred around the acceptance that most investors cannot beat the market.

He emphasizes the importance of investing in broad, diversified, and low-cost index funds as a more realistic and efficient approach for the average investor. By demystifying the complex world of investing, Kroijer empowers readers with the knowledge to make more informed decisions, minimize risks, and achieve better financial outcomes. His approach is grounded in practicality and is particularly beneficial for those seeking to understand investment without getting overwhelmed by the myriad of choices and technical jargon in the financial world. We were fortunate to interview Lars back in 2019 when we first started with the idea of launching Curvo. His interview has some great insights into staying the course and sticking to low-cost index funds!

Money: Master the Game - (long) introduction to the world of good financial habits

by Tony Robbins

"Money: Master the Game" by Tony Robbins offers an insightful introduction into the realm of financial management and investing. This book, aimed at demystifying the often complex world of finance, serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals looking to gain control over their financial future. Robbins delves into the principles of saving, investing, and building wealth, providing actionable advice and easy-to-understand tactics. He emphasises the importance of developing good financial habits, making informed decisions, and understanding the psychology of money. By interviewing several financial giants, Robbins distils their wisdom into practical steps that promise to guide readers on a path to financial freedom. The book is not just about accumulating wealth but also about using it to lead a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Although it's a great way to get into the world of index investing, the book was written for an American audience. So Belgians will have to look to a book like "De hangmatbelegger" to get acquainted with the details of index investing in Belgium. Unfortunately, Robbins also has a tendency to repeat himself. But it definitely inspired us to get into the world of index investing and launch Curvo.

Trillions - a readable history of index investing

by Robin Wigglesworth

"Trillions" delves into the world of index funds and their monumental impact on investing. The engaging narrative chronicles the evolution of index investing from its inception to its rise as a dominant force in the financial world. The book explores the origins of the first index funds, highlighting the innovative thinking of pioneers who challenged traditional active management strategies. It emphasizes the significance of index funds in democratizing investing, making it more accessible and cost-effective for the average investor.

The narrative weaves through the technicalities of index fund creation and management, explaining how these funds track market indices and offer diversified exposure to various asset classes. "Trillions" also addresses the broader implications of the growth of index investing, including its influence on financial markets, corporate governance, and global economic trends. It's a captivating read for anyone interested in understanding how a simple yet powerful idea transformed the investment world, making it possible for millions to participate in market gains more efficiently and equitably.

Bonus: Het grote pensioenbedrog - a warning on the future of our pension system

by Mark Scholliers and Jef Vuchelen

Another book that prompted us to launch Curvo was "Het grote pensioenbedrog" by Mark Scholliers and Jef Vuchelen. We interviewed Mark when we first came up with the idea for Curvo. Mark provides a critical and insightful examination of the pension system, particularly focusing on the challenges and inconsistencies in the context of Belgium. Scholliers delves into the complexities and shortcomings of the current pension schemes, arguing that they are unsustainable and unfair to future generations.

He scrutinises the promises made by politicians and policymakers, suggesting that these assurances are often misleading and may lead to significant financial problems for individuals in their retirement years. The book also explores the impact of demographic changes, such as an aging population and declining birth rates, on the viability of pension funds. Scholliers advocates for a more transparent and equitable system, urging reforms that would ensure the long-term sustainability of pensions. His analysis is aimed at raising awareness among the general public and encouraging active engagement in the discourse on pension reform.

The book provides a significant contribution to the ongoing debate on social security and retirement, offering a thought-provoking perspective on a topic that affects millions of people. It also drives our mission at Curvo to solve the pension crisis for our generation. To us, index investing offers a way for young people to take their financial future into their own hands, rather than having to rely on an uncertain state pension.

Questions you may have

What is the best book on investing?

"De hangmatbelegger" by Curvo co-founder Yoran Brondsema and Tim Nijsmans provides a practical and accessible guide for any Belgian to start index investing. However, we acknowledge our bias. In the end, the "best" book on investing is a subjective choice and depends on your goals, experience level, and investment philosophy.

What is the best way to learn how to invest?

Reading a book is a great start! Our guides can also help you on your journey:

There also some communities online that can help you start. There's the Beleggen group on Facebook, or else the Vlaamse Federatie van Beleggen (VFB) organises many events on investing.

Does it still make sense to invest?

Yes it does. There's real long-term growth potential and you see it in one form or another through the books above. Historically, the stock market has provided substantial returns over the long term, outperforming many other types of investments. Also, investing your savings in stocks can help protect your money from the eroding effects of inflation. Over time, a well-constructed stock portfolio can offer returns that outpace inflation, maintaining or increasing the purchasing power of your money!

What is best to invest in as a beginner?

Index investing, also called passive investing, is a tried and tested method for growing your wealth. It’s based on the observation that rather than picking individual stocks and trying to buy and sell at the right time, it’s usually more profitable to invest in the stock market as a whole. Instead of finding the needle in the haystack, you buy the entire haystack. We've written a guide if you wish to learn more on the topic.

Can you make a lot of money investing?

Yes, it is possible to make a significant amount of money through investing, but it's important to approach this with realistic expectations and an understanding of the risks involved. Historically, investing in assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate has yielded substantial returns over the long term. The stock market, in particular, has consistently provided strong returns over extended periods and been able to benefit from the power of compounding. One of the most powerful concepts in investing is compound interest, where you earn interest not only on your initial investment but also on the accrued interest over time. This can lead to exponential growth of your investment, especially if you start early and reinvest dividends or earnings!

Can you make a living from investing?

Yes, it is possible to make a living from investing, but it's important to approach this with a clear understanding of the challenges and risks involved. It requires a lot of planning and quite a significant capital to begin with. There are several key factors to consider:

  1. Significant capital required: to generate enough income to live on, you typically need a substantial amount of capital invested. The exact amount depends on your lifestyle, expenses, and the rate of return on your investments.
  2. Understanding risk and return: higher returns often come with higher risks. Living off investments means balancing the need for sufficient returns to cover expenses with the risk of significant losses.
  3. Stable and reliable income sources: focusing on investments that provide a steady income can be crucial. This might include dividend-paying stocks, bonds, real estate (rental properties or ETFs), or other assets that generate regular income.
  4. Market volatility: the financial markets can be unpredictable. Your ability to make a living from investing may be challenged during periods of market downturns. It's essential to have a strategy to manage these periods, possibly including having a cash buffer.

Remember to keep your long-term goals in mind!