Since it is the holidays and some people are looking for gift ideas, I thought I would write a couple of short recommendations on personal finance books that really helped us on our way to financial independence and retiring early (FIRE). Don’t worry, this isn’t some online scam to have you click through to Amazon and line my pockets. I just wanted to share some definite wisdom that I believe can help anyone figure out their finances.
Today, I will start with the most trusted book on my bookshelf, which is Jane Bryant Quinn’s Making The Most of Your Money. She writes regularly for AARP and other news outlets. I think of her as the Dr. Spock of personal finance because her book covers personal finance from A-Z and she writes in a very straightforward, easy-to-follow, conversational tone. The book jacket says that this was the top recommended personal finance book by Consumers Union, which I believe is the group that publishes Consumer Reports.
Making The Most of Your Money is a real do-it-yourself book for anyone who wants to learn how to better manage your money. I first checked it out of the library when I was in college and have bought several revised editions of the book over the years and shared my older copies with friends. As thick as a dictionary, my current copy is also stuffed with about a dozen personal finance newspaper clippings that I found insightful over the years. Several of them were also written by Jane Bryant Quinn.
The book starts with the basics – how to get your financial files and life organized. It runs through more than a dozen chapters including debt, credit, saving for college, buying a house, saving, investing, insurance, estate plans, and working with a financial advisor. People planning for retirement will be interested in her thoughts on retirement plans and asset allocation. Overall, the book is as much of a reference book as a book you read cover to cover. There are parts of the book that have been so useful that I practically have them memorized.
Lastly, I would recommend this book because she also does a great job calling B.S. on financial hucksters that pervade the financial services industry. She flat out tells you when she thinks something is dumb and what to watch out for. There isn’t a time I meet with an insurance agent, for instance, when I don’t quickly review the chapter on buying insurance. She does a great job making complex topics simple to understand. In general, her approach to personal finance is that ‘you can do it’. Financial advisors have their place, but personal finance need not be complicated.
Here is a link to the book (again, I don’t benefit if you buy it or not):