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13 top books on personal finance, investing, paying for college and more

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By Richard Eisenberg

This article is reprinted by permission from  .

Whether 2022 is the year you’ve resolved to manage your money better or you have an adult child or grandchild you’d like to learn some personal finance basics, have I got some books for you.

Actually, they’re 13 money book recommendations from my “Friends Talk Money” podcast co-hosts Pam Krueger, Terry Savage and me and come from our most recent episode (you can hear it wherever you get podcasts.) They’re an eclectic bunch of books — some newly published and others that are classics. But I promise that all are helpful.

As Kruger said on the podcast, these are “books that might actually help you realize that goal of making yourself financially stronger” and “can be life-changing when it comes to how you approach your personal finances.”

Incidentally, Krueger, Savage and I are all personal finance authors and we’re voracious readers of this ilk. So, we know a thing or two about money books that are worth the price.

That leads me to two caveats about personal finance books that I shared on the “Friends Talk Money” podcast.

1. If the book has advice about taxes or retirement planning, check the publishing date. You don’t want to purchase a book with outdated financial advice.

2. Read the author’s bio. Some personal finance books are little more than cleverly disguised sales come-ons for insurance and annuities from authors who sell them.

Savage’s advice when selecting a money book: Ask yourself “what profound attitude adjustment can this give me towards money and what new ways of thinking about money and financial topics are there that it makes it worth my time to read?”

Now to the 13 books (some with the longest titles you’ve ever seen), starting with five Krueger said she’s “actually tried to live by” and has “read and reread.”

“The Little Book of Common-Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns”  by John Bogle. The author is the late founder of Vanguard mutual funds, the father of the low-cost index fund (typically a mutual fund that buys shares of the entire stock market) and the man known as champion of small investors. First published in 2007, Bogle’s seminal, plain-English investing book was updated in 2017. Said Krueger: “It slices through the Wall Street noise, getting to the heart of how you and I as investors can do the little things to prosper.”

“The Millionaire Next Door”  by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. First published in 1996 and reissued in 2010, it’s all about ways to spend frugally to save more — the way modest small-business owners often do to help them become millionaires. Krueger said the authors “can change your life by changing your habits.” (I interviewed Stanley when I was a writer at Money magazine, just before the book first came out, and was impressed by his research and advice.)

“Get Good With Money: 10 Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole ” by Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. This 2021 book could be a great primer for your grown child or your grandchild. Its author is also young; Aliche is a former preschool teacher turned financial educator. Krueger’s suggesting it to her niece who just turned 30. “It’s a good book to get kids thinking about budgeting and living without debt,” she said.

Also see: I lost my job at 58. Here’s how I was able to get by until retirement

“The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing”  by Benjamin Graham. Talk about a classic; Graham, an economist, professor and investor, first published this book about value investing (finding stocks trading for less than their intrinsic value) in 1949. It’s been updated, of course; most recently by Wall Street Journal “Intelligent Investor” columnist Jason Zweig. Krueger — who has read this book at least three times — said on the podcast that when she interviewed legendary investor Warren Buffett a decade ago, he said this is the one investing book that changed his life.

“The Savage Truth on Money: Third Edition”  by Terry Savage. Krueger insisted she’d recommend this 2019 book even if syndicated personal finance columnist Savage wasn’t one of our co-hosts. “What I like about this book the most is that these are [personal finance] strategies that actually work for real people, especially for people who are getting ready to retire,” Krueger said.

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