Author Topic: Recommendation for Basic, Clear, Library Book on Finance 101 & a Hello  (Read 3992 times)

ladyface

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Hello Mustachians!
I am new to the forum and generally don't participate in stuff online because I am on the computer for much of the day with work (and have feeble interwebs at home and would much rather read a book than stare at screens), BUT, after getting a bike because my high car insurance (South Florida. It's ridiculous) infuriated me, I ran across the NYer article and now the website and I'm in!  Except I'm old for life as a baby mustache (42) AND I really love my work and I do the kind of work I'd do if I were retired (lawyer for indigent people facing terrible sentences---not overpaid). I have no more educational debt (as of last year), no credit card debt, no car debt (still have my beloved Honda with 100k+ miles but the insurance is almost prohibitive) and absolutely no desire to be a homeowner and renting where I live makes financial sense.  I have participated in various 401(k) 403(b) plans at my various employments, but without focus and not in an aggressive way (just ramped that up to $1,500/month).  I do not understand a lot of the basic vocab of financialspeak and would not be able to put together a case study because I haven't been keeping my numbers long enough, nor do I understand all the categories.  Is there a book written in the punk rock spirit of the blog that explains this stuff clearly and non-worshipfully?  I have a hard time reading stuff that makes money sound better than crack.  I would love some titles that I could borrow from my public library.  That would be dreamy.  My goal would be to save enough to be able to stop working (even though I might not choose to stop).  Thank you!

ooeei

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Wish I could help with a library book, but I've gotten most finance stuff off of the internet.  If you like the blog, this is a good post to start with, and links out to some of the best posts he's done.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/22/getting-rich-from-zero-to-hero-in-one-blog-post/

olivia

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Agreed, hanging around here is probably the best way to get a grasp on everything.  Your Money or Your Life is a book that gets recommended pretty regularly, but it sounds like you already get the general concepts so I don't know that you would get much from it.

MDM

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ladyface, welcome to the forum.

Some shorter "getting started" reading material (you could print the first two items and read at leisure).  Note that these may not give identical advice, but if you follow any of it you will likely do well:
www.etf.com/docs/IfYouCan.pdf
http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/
http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Category:Getting_started

For books, http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/the-mmm-reading-list/ - Haven't read them all, but A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel and The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein were good.  Have also heard very good things about Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed.

slugline

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For those that are starting from scratch, I have no problem recommending Eric Tyson's books under the For Dummies branding -- "Personal Finance for Dummies," "Investing for Dummies," " Home Buying For Dummies." Tyson is good at breaking down the jargon and warning readers against the most common financial mistakes and traps.

I don't know of any books that quite match MMM's "punk rock spirit" but maybe give Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" a chance. This book is aimed at a more youth-oriented demographic so don't expect much on topics of particular concern to older Americans.

ZiziPB

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I recently saw a feature on PBS Newshour on this book: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/01/08/462250239/when-an-index-card-of-financial-tips-isnt-enough-this-book-is-there

The stuff on the index card is spot on if you are just starting.

ladyface

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This is all really helpful! Thank you, everyone.  I will read the titles the library has, watch the pbs piece, read the links and provide a report after all that.  I am figuring that for the first three months I'll track all spending (I declared full mustachery on April 6: I canceled a bunch of crap like Netflix and NYTimes online, started tracking all spending and miles driven, started to bring all food and coffee to work and make no purchases of consumables during the day,  spend my break time at the library reading the newspapers I no longer get online, and try to ride my bike or walk to work at least three days a week and commit one weekend day exclusively to bike adventures), figure out what I have where in terms of the various accounts from my various jobs and then I think I can set some goals.  The only consumable I sometimes want to buy is ice cream because if I buy a more economical size at the grocery store I eat it all.  If I add cost for weight gain and loss and pain and suffering, it's actually cheaper to buy an occasional ice cream cone or milkshake.

apricity

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If you like listening to podcasts when you're driving or putting around, I recommend Clark Howard. He does a lot of basic personal finance stuff and is extremely cheerful and pleasant to listen to without being preachy. He also has new podcasts 5 days a week so you'll never run out, and you can absorb a lot.

FrugalFan

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I really liked Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam. It is a quick easy read and makes a great case for index investing.

ladyface

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Yo Mustachians,

Thank you for the book, podcast etc recommendations.  I read about 2/3's of The Millionaire Next door and then, unfortunately, I left it on a plane (I think), or maybe in a rental car? Not sure.  It disappeared somewhere in Alabama.  A collateral consequence of mustachianism is paying for lost library books.  That cost me $27.  It was devastating.  BUT, I learned quite a bit and was very pleased to discover that it's a sociology book about people who have been successful accumulating money.  The three things I found especially useful were: the risk of the luxury item/luxury purchase setting a bar for an upward drift toward unnecessary fanciness and consumption (this was the story about the businessman whose friends almost got him a Rolls Royce but he put a stop to it because he likes his old pick up truck and wants to be able to throw fish in the car); the percent savings that a person should have by whatever age (salary x 10% age.  I am behind!) and finally, that  people who have amassed wealth have come up with a way to reduce their tax burden.  So since I lost that book I have moved my pretax savings at work to the amount that would have me at $18k annually and I already do the pretax healthcare savings.  The equation is handy because it gives me a goal and the thing about fanciness explains why when my friend gave my fancy earrings a long time ago, it started me wanting other jewelry that, although very plain, costs a bunch.  It happened! So no more of that fancy brand for me!

I also have borrowed and renewed a pile of times, Your Money or Your Life.  I got the updated version.  I think the steps she recommends are very smart but I have a really hard time actually reading the book.  I read it about ten years ago and didn't have such a hard time with the language, but I hardly did any of what they suggested.  Now, I have written down every single penny in or out since April 6 and at the end of the first month I made categories and a chart and at the end of the second month I did same.  My categories need to be more detailed and I haven't been itemizing my groceries in the little money notebook I carry, but I am paying way way more attention in the store to cost and cost/unit of measurement and sales and BOGO (buy one get one free).  For this month I think itemizing would make sense to give me more awareness. Also, I need to do that thing of tallying up how much I really make.  Though, my situation is different than some because I'm already well past mustachian retirement age (42) and I have a job that is my dream job.  It's high stress, but I freaking love it and it's the job that I would want to want to do if I had infinite wealth and time.  But, I do need to work.  I don't have debt of any kind, but there's insufficient savings.  But that's building up.

I got the Financial xyz for Dummies and skimmed some of that but it had too many details and I wanted to get started on the Your Money or Life Activities and get my three-six months of savings in order and then learn some more.  It was easy to understand though and I would definitely borrow it again once I'm trying to figure out what to do next.

Today the library notified me that Millionaire Teacher was ready so I picked that up. I'll be starting that this evening.   I'm riding my bike a lot, though Florida summer includes lots of thunder and lightning.  That i'm not into.  Rain is fine by me, but lightning is another matter.  This morning I rode my bike to buy some groceries, then home to collect foods and etc, then rode to work.  I need to look nice for work so that is a challenge.  I quit the close-by gym because it's 60 fucking dollars a month and that's crazy so what I do is shower, put on clean exercise clothes (not the sweaty ones from morning exercise), try to ride as slow as possible, and then change into my responsible lady clothes after I stop sweating.  It means packing a fair amount and my office is starting to look like a thrift store, but it's not terrible.  When I have work commitments that require true togetherness, I drive the three or so miles.  I really do sweat so much and it's fucking humid here (96% humidity today and no rain of any kind).

Thank you for the help, all of you, and I have more things on hold at the library!!

Basenji

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I second "The Four Pillars of Investing." For some reason, that one helped me get a good grasp of what I was trying to do. I also found the Bogleheads books (one is on investing, the other on retirement planning) helpful, but not sure if you can get them through the library. The Tightwad Gazette trilogy is great, dated and not about investing, but it's good for thinking about saving money.

woopwoop

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Just wanted to cheer you on! Starting at 42 is definitely not too late, and it sounds like you wouldn't mind working longer anyway, so good for you. Seconding Bernstein's If You Can pdf (aimed towards younger folk but still definitely worth a read) and the Four Pillars book. I also like Bernstein's The Intelligent Asset Allocator. Anything by Bernstein is great. When I was starting out, I tried to read a book each month and incorporate it into my investing. Reading too much without acting on the information will just overload you, imo. Good luck!

Jeremy E.

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JLCollinsNH has a stock series that I would recommend,
http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/
He is also almost done with his book, it should be out by the end of the year I think, Title: The Simple Path to Wealth
Your Money or Your Life is pretty good for beginners, sort of gets you into the right mindset
Jacob Fisker from Early Retirement Extreme has a book that is as you would guess, extreme, but it has some very enlightening concepts that make the read worth it even if you're not aiming for extreme... It also has a lot of fun finance math and will help you understand the math/lingo side of it that you seem to be seeking

Dicey

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I really enjoyed "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth" by Ric Edelman. It literally changed my life and set me on a path to FIRE long before MMM even thought of starting a blog. It's a little older now, but still very easy to read. The first chapter is the best, IMO. I got it at the library and read it on a plane. I did not lose it, but alas, have left something far more valuable behind on a plane before, so I feel your pain.

Bee21

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Personal finance for dummies is a good introduction. This is where I started.

Any personal finance book from the library would be useful when you start.have a look at the bookshelf and pick a couple. One of the first books I read on the topic ( because I liked the title)was Jean Chatzky's Make money not excuses and Suze Orman's women's money book ( I forgot the exact title). Elizabeth warren's personal finance book is also a good introduction.

I think Your money or your life is great for creating a mindset, but a bit discouraging for a novice and the investment advice is dated. It is an early retirement classic, so a must read. The concept of selling my life energy for money really changed my life. I have it on my kindle and sometimes I get depressed just by reading it on my way to work. :(

For savings, try Amy Daczyzyn's A complete tightwad's gazette. It is dated, some of her ideas are completely ridiculous  but it is brilliant for creating a frugal mindset.

The Intelligent investor, The four pillars of investing and The random walk on Wall Street are absolutely great, definitely read them when you are ready to invest.

Dicey

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Love me some Amy D! Be sure to request the big, blue book. It's a compilation of the other three plus some bonus material. Life changing. Before there was MMM, there was Amy D. Long live Amy D, the queen mum of frugality.