Sunday, January 20, 2008

Some Really Good Personal Finance Books

I'm a fan of personal finance, and what frugality and economic security can give a person.  And I really like to read personal finance books - even if I don't learn anything new, I always appreciate a new perspective.

Here's my top 5 faves, and why:

1. Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach
This is hands-down the best book on the basics for couples, in my not-so-humble opinion.  He really knows how to negotiate the emotional minefields surrounding couples and money.  His simple solutions really work, and the latte factor is a wallet killer for many of us.  

2. You Don't Have to Be Rich by Jean Chatzky
I love this book not for what it teaches, but for what it tells us about people and money.  Chatzky provides data from a survey she sponsored, and it is absolutely fascinating, especially the very clear stats on how money can't make you happy, but it can make you very UNhappy. 

3. The Overspent American by Juliet Schor
Schor, a Harvard professor, is also the author of The Overworked American.  After she wrote that book, she got many questions about how to get out of the cycle of 'work and spend'.  And she began to research why our desire for consumer goods is so insidious.  It really made me think, and it is a book I've gone back to several times.

4. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
This book is a fluff read, and much of what he says here is repeated from Smart Couples Finish Rich.  So why is it on my list?  2 reasons.  The first is that the story of Jim and Sue McIntyre, the original Automatic Millionaires, is so compelling.  If you think you don't make enough to save or become wealthy (or heck, even financially solvent) then read their story.  Then come back and tell me the same.  Number 2 is his approach to prepaying your mortgage, and I'll tackle that in a different blog.  Get this one from your library, it's worth it.

5. The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman
Okay, I can't listen to her talk on TV, she annoys me.  But before she was the Suze Orman Juggernaut, there was this book, and it is good.  I especially appreciate her 'people first, then money' approach - meaning if you owe any person - say a parent or a sibling - pay them first, before you tackle the other debts.  Money can kill relationships, and she talks a lot about how to not do that.  

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