Investment advisors write books for many reasons.Some have practice management techniques that they feel could help others. Some have a particular planning or investment expertise. Others just want to see their name on the dust jacket. Check your cost benefit analysis calculators before starting, say veteran scribes: The task is a monumental one, and the benefits often come quite indirectly.

High-profile advisor Roger Gibson wrote the first edition of Asset Allocation: Balancing Financial Risk in 1989. For that and each of the two successive editions he carefully recorded the hours he spent on the task. He was surprised that the load didn't diminish with the updates. "Each edition has taken 800 hours," said Gibson, CFA, CFP, of Gibson Capital Management Ltd., in Pittsburgh. "Checking, double-checking, and triple-checking, even after the writing and data manipulation is over, is what takes the bulk of the time."

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