SFP Book Club: Personal Finance Books that Won’t Bore You
What are you reading?
I like my personal finance books like I like learning about history: through the lens of people’s experiences and emotions. Fewer numbers, more laughing and crying, please! Not that the technical stuff isn’t important, but that might be easier to learn (and more applicable to your situation) from your CPA or financial adviser.
Sure, you could read John Bogle’s Little Book of Common Sense Investing or Ed Slott’s Retirement Savings Time Bomb and learn lots about indexing and IRA taxes. Or, you could learn your personal finance education in a more human context. And stay awake longer!
Here are a couple of books I have enjoyed that put personal finance decisions and concepts in a more personal light.
Die Broke by Stephan Pollan and Mark Levine
The whole title of this book is “Quit Today, Pay Cash, Never Retire, and Die Broke.” This book is an oldie (1998) but goodie that upends traditional thinking about your relationships with your employer, your money, and your family. And yes, it’s about personal finance, but written in a way that is aimed at your connection with your finances, not just Alpha, Sharpe Ratios, and Standard Deviation statistics.
Reading this book opened my mind to others’ way of thinking about money. It’s not at all about dollars and cents. It’s the way people see the world and choose to allocate resources to support those beliefs.
For example, do you want to leave your kids an inheritance at the expense of your own lifestyle? Great, I’ll run the numbers to help you plan for that. Want to leave them nothing? Fine by me. Hate insurance? Understandable. Love the protection of an insurance blanket? Okay, let’s work with that.
Healer by Carol Cassella
This book was the Broomfield city book club pick about 5 years ago; I was asked to facilitate a talk about at the Broomfield Public Library. It wasn’t something I was excited to read, but I ended up really liking it.
The novel is about a married couple and their financial decisions and reversal of fortune. It’s also about the balance of power in a marriage created by money and how relationships change as finances evolve (or devolve). There are some technical concepts in here (i.e. taking money out of your retirement account with a spouse’s consent). However, the focus is more about communication between family members on important financial decisions. There’s also a sometimes-bratty teenaged daughter and who can’t relate to that?
If you have any books about finance that were powerful to you, I’d love some recommendations. Happy reading!