Reading List


The personal finance shelf at your local library or bookstore is crammed with titles – how can you know which ones are worth your time and money? I’ve read hundreds of money books, and found that these titles are among the best:

» General Interest
» Credit and Debt
» Saving Money
» College Planning
» Home Buying and Selling
» Investing
» Retirement
» Estate Planning


Organize Your Personal Finances in No TimeOrganize Your Personal Finances in No Time, by Debbie Stanley

Whether your recordkeeping is a shambles or pretty much under control, you can learn something from professional organizer Debbie Stanley. She specializes in working with adults who have attention deficit problems, so she knows how to set up systems that are simple, comprehensive and functional.

Personal Finance for Dummies

Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson.

This is the money primer I recommend the most often, and the book I gave my artist husband when he wanted to learn about money. Within days, my formerly finance-phobic mate was knowledgeably discussing mutual funds, budgeting and the difference between good debt and bad debt. Tyson’s “Home Buying for Dummies” and “Home Selling for Dummies” also are excellent.

Your Money or Your LifeYour Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

This book is the bible of the voluntary simplicity movement, but you don’t need to be on that particular path to benefit enormously from the principles in this book.

50 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Personal Finances

50 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Personal Finances: How to Spend Less, Save More, and Make the Most of What You Have, by Ilyce R. Glink.

An easy, fun and illuminating read; if you take one of these steps each week, you’ll have your financial life pretty much under control within a year.

Invest in Yourself: Six Secrets to a RIch LifeInvest in Yourself: Six Secrets to a Rich Life,by Marc Eisenson, Gerri Detweiler and Nancy Castleman.

Another delightful read, “Invest in Yourself” discusses the importance of investing in relationships and skills as well as the market.


The Ultimate Credit HandbookThe Ultimate Credit Handbook: How to Cut Your Debt and Have a Lifetime of Great Credit, by Gerri Detweiler.

Gerri’s the debt guru and she offers workable strategies for digging your way out of debt.

Money TroublesSolve Your Money Troubles: Get Debt Collectors Off Your Back & Regain Financial Freedom. 11th Edition, by Robin Leonard and John Lamb.

If you’re already over your head, grab this life preserver of a book and start reading.


The Complete Tightwad GazetteThe Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn.

This weighty book, published way back in 1998, is still the most comprehensive guide to trimming virtually every expense in your life.

Tiptionary 2 Save Time and Money Every DayTiptionary 2: Save Time and Money Every Day with 2,300 All-New Tips, by Mary Hunt.

Hunt, who runs the Debt-Proof Living Web site, is the author of several excellent books on saving money. Her latest is packed with ways to live your life better for less.


The Fearless Home SellerThe Fearless Home Seller: Razzi’s Rules for Staying in Control of the Deal, by Elizabeth Razzi.

Even folks who have sold a few homes can learn a lot for Elizabeth Razzi, who wrote about real estate for a decade at Kiplinger’s personal finance magazine.

100 Questions Every Home Buyer Should Ask100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, by Ilyce Glink.

Another excellent book by Ms. Glink and an essential guide through an often-harrowing process.


The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns, by John Bogle.

If you don’t have time to read Burton G. Malkielâ’s weighty “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” Vanguard Funds founder Bogle has written the condensed version.


IRAs, 401ks and Other Retirement PlansIRAs, 401ks & Other Retirement Plans: Taking Your Money Out, by Twila Slesnick and John C. Suttle.

Before you crack your nest egg prematurely or in preparation for retirement read this book. You’ll still want to talk to a tax pro, but at least you’ll know the questions to ask.

Get a Life: You Don’t Need a Million to Retire Well, by Ralph E. Warner, Ralph Warner.

Technically, this is a book about retirement, but its real message is the importance of having a balanced approach to money.


Plan Your EstatePlan Your Estate, by Denis Clifford and Cora Jordan.

Estate planning is an immensely complicated topic and, in my view, a dangerous place for novices to tread. But this clear, readable and comprehensive book serves as a good primer for those who want to it themselves and those who just want to figure out what the heck their lawyers are talking about.