A Really Good Booklist On Financial Planning
Compiled and rated by Ralph Mero, Former Director, Church Staff Finances
**** Consumer Reports Money Book, and Consumer Reports How to Plan for a Secure Retirement. From Consumer Reports, PO Box 10637, Des Moines, IA 50336, $29.95 U.S. each. $3.50 postage. Both are recently revised and updated, and both yield an astonishing amount of information on budgeting, taxes, investing, retirement plans, Social Security, Medicare, and more.
** Die Broke, by Stephen M. Pollan, Harper Books, 1997, $14 U.S. Pollan advises that we unhinge our egos from our jobs, that we pay cash, that we plan on continuing to work after the traditional retirement age, and that we tell our heirs not to expect much when we are gone. Take it seriously.
* Four Steps to Financial Security for Lesbian and Gay Couples, by Harold L. Lustig, a Fawcett Book, Ballantine Publishing, 1999, $14 U.S. An eye-opener about the burdens faced by couples who are not recognized as constituting a financial unit.
**** Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties, by Beth Kobliner, Simon & Schuster. $13 U.S. One of the best introductions to a wide variety of financial topics. Highly recommended even for persons older than the intended readership. Be sure to get the 2000 edition
** Investing for Dummies and Financial Planning for Dummies, by Eric Tyson, IDG Books, 1996, $20 U.S. Don't be put off by the 'dummies' motif. These are solid summaries of good information laced with funny cartoons. The first covers the various types of investments; the second is a good overview for financial planning purposes.
** Investing With Your Values, by Hal Brill, Jack A. Brill, and Cliff Feigenbaum, New Society Publishers, PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X0, Canada, $18.95 U.S., $26.95 CAN. The basic text on socially responsible investing and an excellent introduction to investing generally. Hal Brill is a pioneer in the movement to include social values in the investment decisions of individuals and organizations.
** Live Rich, by Stephen M. Pollan, HarperCollins 1998, $14 U.S. "Living rich is not the same as being rich." A fresh perspective on how people who never made very much can maximize what they have.
**** Making the Most of Your Money, by Jane Bryant Quinn, Simon & Schuster, revised 1997, $30 U.S. hardback. One of the most valuable 'big books' on personal finances. This compendium could serve for years as a personal reference guide to answer most of the financial questions we are likely to have. The 1997 edition is highly recommended.
* Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, by Suze Orman, Crown Publishers, 1997, $23 U.S. in hardback. Ms. Orman is a popular speaker on financial topics, often appearing on public television. Her nine steps lead to personal decisions improving the financial aspects of living and planning for the future.
* Out of Debt, by Robert Steinback, Adams Media Corp., 1989, $6.95. Advice for people who are already overextended and who need to get out from under before they can move ahead.
** Retirement on a Shoestring, by John Howells, The Globe Pequot Press, PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437, 2000, $15.95 U.S. Strategies for facing retirement with what would usually be considered insufficient resources. Recommendations on where to live and how to afford it.
**** Slash Your Debt: Save Money and Secure Your Future by Gerri Detweiller, Marc Eisenson, and Nancy Castleman, Financial Literacy Center, 2000, $10.95 U.S. This volume contains the best advice for getting debt under control, cutting interest rates, and saving thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest charges. Anyone having problems with credit cards needs this book!
**** Smart Money Moves, by James Lowell, Penguin Books, 2000, $13.95 U.S. How to choose the best mutual funds for your long range plans. A highly recommended guide to this form of investing.
* The Late Start Investor, by John F. Wasik, Henry Holt, 1998. For people who feel it may be too late for them to begin saving for retirement. About making new goals, lifestyle planning, and investing in yourself.
**** The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, Andrew Tobias, revised 1996. Harcourt Brace, $12 paperback. For years this was considered the single best handbook of financial advice for the typical reader. A wealth of financial advice in a small package, and still an excellent introduction.
* Your Money Matters: 21 tips for achieving financial security in the 21st century, by Jonathan Pond, GP Putnam's, 1999, $23 hardback. By the popular public television speaker, "this book covers every major financial situation that is likely to arise in an adult's lifetime." A clear and concise treatment of many financial topics.
Beyond Financial Planning, or About the Bigger Picture
* Social Security and Its Enemies, by Max J. Skidmore, 1999, Westview Press. Understanding the social security system and how it has become a political football in the U.S.
** Social Security: The Phony Crisis by Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot, University of Chicago Press, 2000, $22 U.S. "A succinct, easy-to-read, and fact-packed economic and logical rebuttal to the assault on social insurance." This will be an important resource in fending off those who want to "reform social security" for the benefit of Wall Street professionals.
*** Natural Capitalism, by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins, Little Brown and Company, 1999, $17.95 U.S., $24.95 CAN. An important contribution to thinking about how corporations and the economy ought to work. By the founders of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Aspen, CO, a non-profit research organization educating corporations on using natural and human resources more efficiently and ending global environmental exploitation.